The music industry is a turbulent place and has shifted immensely over the past decade. Artists are now able to successfully record, release and distribute full bodies of work without the support of a record label. Cat Pierce – half of the bewitching and eclectic duo, The Pierces (currently on hiatus) – has ventured into the process of creating her first solo album without a label. Cat has generously given us a glimpse into what creating has been like for her upcoming project, which is slated for a 2019 release. To tide fans over, Cat’s new song, Human Experience, will be released on December 26th, for fans to enjoy along with the handful of singles she has released over the past two years. If you want to keep up to date on the newest music Cat is releasing be sure to check out Spotify, Apple Music, YouTube and Instagram.
Words: Tracey Flores
Your career seems to be rooted in resilience. You've experienced the music industry changing radically (with the popularisation of iTunes, illegal downloads, streaming, etc...) as an indie artist, multiple record label changes, going from being in a duo to a solo artist and you are now creating a project without the support of a record label. How do you feel about your experience in the music industry thus far?
For the most part, I’m really enjoying it. In regards to my solo album, I’ve had offers from labels that I’ve turned down because they just don’t provide the support that they used to. It’s not worth it to sign away so much for the little that they are willing to invest. I love making my own decisions for each creative aspect. When you have a team from a label working for you, you sometimes lose sight of your own vision because it gets cluttered by everyone else’s opinions. It can be scary doing it alone but ultimately really gratifying. There are no rules anymore and the music business is a bit like the Wild West. Everyone is just experimenting and seeing what works.
Your last two records, as part of The Pierces, were released under Polydor. What encouraged you to create your first solo project without the support of a label?
Well, in the beginning, there was no label interest, so it was kind of the only path. As I’ve been releasing singles on my own and growing, there have been offers but I’ve been so happy doing it on my own that I haven’t wanted to change it. I like being the captain of this ship!
"There are no rules [in the music business] anymore … everyone is just experimenting and seeing what works."
How do you feel that your creative process has changed now that you are not tied to a label and do not have a bandmate to answer to?
It’s way more internal. It’s a clean vision of how I want to express myself. That’s the good side of it. The drawbacks are that there are no deadlines unless I create them myself, which can lead to overthinking. Sometimes you want someone to make decisions for you, but this forced me to take command in a new way.
Much of the music that you have written (considering the solo material you have already released and the songs you wrote for The Pierces) has a uniquely bewitching energy that is somehow ethereal and haunting at the same time. Where, and how, do you feel you harness your creative energy? What inspires you?
I think that ethereal energy is inherent in all of us but it gets washed away over time if you don’t stay connected to it. I’ve always been drawn to mysticism and the supernatural and I’m glad that it’s reflected in my music. I don’t think it’s always intentional but it creeps in. I’m inspired by this weird and wonderful life I’m experiencing. It’s so rich with mystery and beauty... there’s an endless well to draw from.
"I think music is particularly powerful because we can take it with us wherever we go."
As a creator and consumer of music, what do you think makes music, in particular, such a powerful art form?
I think music is particularly powerful because we can take it with us wherever we go. We can use it to create an atmosphere or to change our mood. Also, you can become a part of the music by singing along or moving your body. It makes life so much richer.
"When I make music on my own… it’s a more intimate experience between myself and the listener."
What do you feel makes your upcoming solo project particularly unique in comparison to the body of work you have released as part of The Pierces?
When I make music on my own I feel more open to reveal things that are very personal to me... I suppose it’s a more intimate experience between myself and the listener. I’ve loved the experience. Although, Allison and I are talking about doing more music together because we miss it.