Get ready to head-bang and thrash in some mosh pits as Cathercist comes to the Whiskey a Go Go in West Hollywood this Saturday.
Though the quintet is considered a hard rock and metal band by most, lead guitarist Taylor Roberts said that it is more of an amalgamation of different musical influences.
“We’re too hard to be hard rock but we’re not hard enough to be metal, so we’re kind of a nice little in-between,” Roberts said. “We hate labeling the genre that we’re in. We play music and we like to have a good time.”
The name “Cathercist” comes from a play on the word “catharsis,” which Roberts defines as the purging of emotions through music or an action.
“There were a bunch of other bands called Catharsis out there, and we were like, ‘We really love the meaning of the name,’” Roberts said.”
So they tweaked the wording, and while no other group can lay claim to it, Roberts said the name is often taken not-so-seriously.
“It’s really opened us up to a lot of medical jokes,” Roberts said. “It’s both a blessing and a curse. We actually invite people nowadays to see who can come up with the funniest play off of our name. It used to bother us at first, but now we’re like, ‘What can you come up with? How can you top what we already know?’ It’s almost like a game at this point. You’ve got to be able to laugh at yourselves.”
Despite Roberts and bass player Hollis Godsey hailing from Mississippi and the other three members from Mobile, Ala., the band doesn’t incorporate its Southern roots into its sound.
“We’re all huge fans of modern rock and metal — not huge Skynyrd fans or anything like that,” Roberts said. “I think the fact that we are from the South makes us want to not sound like we’re from the South. Not that we’re ashamed of that, but we want to represent our own brand. In our area, we’re really some of the hardest bands out there. It almost kind of pushes us away from a Southern feel.”
The band officially formed in 2010. Before that, Roberts and lead vocalist Zack Sawyer would play shows together, and members would drift in and out — their guitarist left due to military obligations, for example, and rejoined last year.
It wasn’t until four years ago that they pinned down official members, and three years ago that they released their debut album, The Untimely Death of Zack Sawyer. Their second album, As Hope Expires came out May 25 of last year. Roberts said the second record was much more representative of the group as a whole, as it drew upon their shared ideas and inspirations.
“The first record was mainly myself and Zack, and on this last record, it was more of a collective effort,” Roberts said. “Everyone pitches ideas, everyone helps, everyone writes, and so it was different in the fact that it wasn’t just two people converging on ideas — it was five people.”
Though the collaboration was different, the recording process behind both records was the same.
“We did both albums in a week, which we really hated, but at the time, we were all still working 9-5 jobs, and we can only carve out a week of time before we get fired,” Roberts said. “I feel like both records were really rushed, and the next one we do, I’d definitely like to take two or three weeks to record 10-12 songs, and then spend months on pre-production prior to that, as opposed to going in there guns blazing, and saying, ‘Well, I hope we get this done.’”
Despite their own youth, with band members ranging from 20 to 24-years-old, Roberts said they don’t necessarily have a specific demographic they try to target.
“We have people who like us from ages 12 to 60 and everywhere in between,” Roberts said.
Cathercist does a lot of touring — the tour the band is on right now, which takes them to the Whiskey a Go Go, will last for another three weeks.
“We’re going everywhere from Mississippi to Cali, up to Minnesota and Wisconsin, all throughout West Virginia and everything else like that,” Roberts said. “We’re trying to maintain ourselves on the national circuit as opposed to the regional thing. We try to keep busy because in this business, if you stop playing or you go away even for a month, you’re almost irrelevant.”
Roberts said there are both ups and downsides to being on the road.
“I love the fact that music is taking me places that I would have probably never gotten the chance to go,” Roberts said. “I would have been stuck at home working a 9-5 job, scrounging for money to be able to go to some of these places, and now we’re getting paid to do this … My least favorite part is probably travel time. Sometimes tensions boil up because you’re stuck in a van with four other dudes. It gets kind of trying sometimes.”
Despite having so much experience with live shows, the band has never performed in California, let alone Los Angeles, and is looking forward to the change of pace at the renowned Whiskey a Go Go nightclub.
“It’s a legendary place, and just to be on the same stage as some of the greats is really cool,” Roberts said. “I’m really hoping people are going to be drunk as s**t and going nuts and excited to be at a rock and metal show. I don’t know what my expectations are — a mosh pit here and there, and people going crazy.”