Isn't it weird what can happen in just six months of rock music. When I sent these quetions off to Cay earlier this year, it seemed to be only fanzine bods that were raving about their debut single on Org, 'Better Than Myself'. They are now one of the most talked about new bands around, and have generated loads of support and positive reviews from the NME, Kerrang!, Steve Lamaq and even the broadsheets! What's more, Cay deserve all this praise; their recorded output has been fantastic, and although I haven't actually seen them, they're supposed to be a bit special live too. I was delighted therefore, when Mark (drums) and Tom (bass) from the band answered some of my questions...
What does the name mean?
MARK: The name 'Cay' came about by accident really. Anet was on the phone to some or other record company a few years ago trying to blag a deal, but forgot about a name. When they asked her for one she had to think quick, so she looked at a demo tape with the song 'Cool As You' on it, put the initials together and voila. Before we started gigging seriously, we all sat down to think of another, but by then it was too late, we had become Cay whether we liked it or not. Incidentally we found out afterwards that 'Cay' is the name given to small groups of islands in the Bahamas I think.
Does Anet treat the Courtney Love comparisons as a compliment or is she already sick of them?
MARK: She got sick of the Hole comparisons really quick, we all did. 'Lazy Journalists' is a term we often use for the people who make these comparisons. We're not so bothered anymore, but for a while it really bugged us. There's nothing more annoying when you're trying to form a name and an identity for yourself than people lazily spouting off that you're an imitation of something else. As Nicky always says anyway- they don't even listen to Hole. We like punky, grungy music and as a result we've probably drawn from the same influences as Hole, but no more so than any other band.
Do you prefer your punkier tracks, or more technically adept ones, like 'Reasonable Ease in Chilled Out Conditions'?
MARK: It doesn't necessarily follow that either types are our favourite. In any case, it's difficult to classify them as one or the other. 'Reasonable Ease...' is technically very varient with fast bits, slow bits, etc, but what we play within those parts is actually quite simple. On the other hand, a track like 'Better than Myself' is structually very straightforward, but the parts we play that make up that structure are more technically difficult than a track that appears superficially to be pretty tricky. I guess it's safe to say that most of our songs are challenging in some way, even 'School' has a quirky time change throughout that means we can't fall asleep in the middle of it! In short, all are songs are fun to play. No-one ever complains that a part is boring for them to play, or if they do they get told to shut up and use their imagination to liven it up. I think that's what makes us a little bit better than a straightforward punk band.
Why did you sign to East West and not the other labels offering you contracts?
MARK: East West were into us from day one. Right from, I think, our second or third gig they were coming to see us and talking to us. The A&R men we deal with are both totally cool, down to earth people who genuinely like what we do and want only to help us achieve our goals as a band with the help of a bigger label. We got a little bit of flak for not signing to an indie label, but the question of 'coolness' never entered the equation. We signed to the label who offered us the best deal in terms of artistic freedom and development. Questions of money or status were entirely secondary.
What was touring with Three Colours Red like?
MATK: Touring with Three Colours Red was fantastic. It was our first proper tour so it was all pretty new and exciting for us. We had a lot of fun, and Three Colours Red and their crew were great. I don't know if their bad experiences with Marilyn Manson taught them how shitty being the support band to an utter bastard were, but they were more helpful and friendly to us than we could have ever hoped for, and I think we learned that in an industry dominated predominantly by idiots, a little manners and common decency mean a lot.
Have you played with any other bands that you like?
MARK: I got to play with my favourite band in the whole world, NoMeansNo. In the years I was playing in garages and sheds my highest aim was to play with them. I'm not sure what could compete after that. As for the music scene in general, and bands that we play with in and around London, I think the standard is definitely improving. In the band's early days we had to play with far too much indie shite, so much so that it really demoralised us and made us think that we were all alone in an Oasis dominated music scene. More recently however, we've played with a lot more bands that we really like- Muy Feo, Mariachi, Rothko, Monkey Boy and Seafood among others, giving us confidence that there is light at the end of the long dark tunnel of indie bollocks. And hopefully it's the light of a juggernaut about to mow down Oasis, The Bluetones and all the rest of those idiots!
How do you rate yourselves as a live band?
TOM: Playing live can be weird; one night will be spot on, another totally shite. But as long as you go for it, you get a lot out of it. When we finished the tour with Three Colours Red, every night had got better and better, and when we returned to homeground we played in the Falcon and whipped up a riot- that is when you can rate yourself as a good live band.
When's the debut album out?
MARK: July the 5th hopefully. We always knew that things take a long time to complete and come out, but it's nothing short of torturous waiting and waiting. We can't wait for it to be released, we're all pretty proud of it and we're looking forward to touring it and getting on with new stuff.
Look ot for Cay in the next few months, then. The album, 'Nature Creates Freaks', did indeed come out in July and they're also playing at the Reading/Leeds festivals on the second stage, and I wouldn't be surprised if they embark on another tour fairly soon.
Issue 4 Contents
Issue 4 Summer '99 © Tim Bragger