Eric Anderson is the brains behind Seattle-based indie pop group Cataldo. His fifth full-length LP is called Keepers, and it proves to be another leap forward in Anderson’s career. He’s currently on tour supporting the new tunes, and will appear at Resident in LA on May 10th! You can win tickets to see the show; download the Thrillcall app in order to enter.
We sat down to speak with Anderson about his new record, Molly Moon’s ice cream, and Beyoncé; read all about it below and be sure to enter to win tickets to his show on 5/10!
Thrillcall: Keepers is the debut release for Mooncrew Records, a label formed under the Molly Moon Ice Cream brand- but I’m told there’s more to this than just a frozen snack. How was this release process different from your past LP launches?
Cataldo: I’ve worked for Molly Moon’s for 8 years–Molly came from a music focused political non-profit called “Music For America” that focused on voter registration through rock shows so she knows and loves musicians and the music industry. The label started out of a very organic conversation about the challenges involved in releasing vinyl. Getting a little financial help to get the vinyl off the ground was insanely generous and is turning into a fun and profitable little project for both the band and the company. We’re stoked and already laying ground work to help out another employee band next year!
TC: You put out a video ahead of the record, where you conduct “market research” about your new music on the streets of Seattle with complete strangers. Not many underground artists would put themselves through that- where did the idea for this promo come from?
C: Well I have to say I was not tremendously brave because we weren’t playing them Cataldo! We played the most abrasive music we could think of–Jandek, Death Grips, Aphex Twin etc. I think the idea was really born out of the idea that a little band like us would conduct market research for a record release and just grew from there.
TC: The album art for Keepers is simple, yet brilliant. It seems to borrow some visual motifs used in the video for “Photograph,” which begs the question: which came first, the art or the video?
C: The designer and director Christopher Harrell has been my collaborator on almost every visual element of this record from the merch and album art to the videos, to screen printed posters, etc. He’s an insanely talented creative person–the concept for the “Photograph” video was all him. I had a kernel of the idea for the record cover being different clothes that each represent a song for the record but he and his team (Andrew JS and Natasha Felker doing photography and styling) took that concept and made it super beautiful and in-line with the other visual elements of this record.
TC: I found that your sound on Keepers has key similarities to the work of Ben Gibbard, and I was delighted to learn that Gibbard is actually featured on “Room Without a Flame.” How did this collaboration come about?
C: Ben and I got to know each other a little bit through volunteer work for a non-profit. He has been incredibly generous with his mentorship and contributing a bit to the record. I have always really loved his music so it’s been a fun surprise to get to work together a little bit here and there.
TC: In an interview with The Stranger, you compare yourself to Beyoncé, in the sense that you feel comfortable making music without worrying about profiting from it. In this sense, you don’t actually comment on “becoming successful.” How do you measure success?
C: Oh man, well that remark was more than a little tongue in cheek. I more meant neither of us need our next record to be financially successful to survive as a person in the world. I measure success by how excited I am by the finished record, how much fun I have at the shows, and secondarily the number of real people in the real world who actually like it and maybe reach out to let me know or come to a show or buy a record. I would of course like to play to bigger crowds, sell more records, or get a song in a paper towel commercial but I feel totally stoked on the number of people who are tuned in to our frequency.