Q&A: Galib Singh of Cattle Drums: "When We Came up With the Name, We Weren't Thinking About How People Would Take It"
Speaking from a McDonalds in Independence, Kansas, Galib Singh, guitarist for New York's Cattle Drums, is as polite is he is laid back. "I'm inside so I better be careful about what I say."
Thankfully, his band doesn't follow suit. Brash and irreverent, the music of Cattle Drums is a hodgepodge of styles and twisted metaphors. The band's debut full-length, The Boy Kisser Sessions, features songs like "Sluts and Coconuts" and "New Furniture and Wigs" that revel in the classic punk/DIY aesthetic. This is Cattle Drums' first time to tour nationally and they've already received quite a lot of good press. Seeing that it is always nice to catch an act close to the ground floor, here's hoping that a good crowd heads to Fort Worth this evening to catch this exciting band.
Is this the band's first tour?
Yes, it's our first month long tour away from home. We're very excited about it. We just bought a van a month ago. We had to modify it a little bit and put a chair in the middle of it. It is a little risky, but we had to do it. We've been together for about a year and a half. We got together in the fall of 2009 and worked on our songs since then.
When you choose the name, were you worried that people might think you were an alt-country outfit or a band playing world beat music?
No, not really. When we first got together, we didn't have any real aspirations of being a band. We just started playing and then got a couple of shows in upstate New York. Then we started getting a lot of positive feedback. The first music we put out got a lot of positive reviews, so we decided to take it more seriously. When we came up with the name, we weren't thinking about how people would take it.
Where'd you get the cover photo for your album, The Boy Kisser Sessions?
We searched for anything that was free. We saw that on line and saw that it was copyright free. So we went with that.
What bands did you model your sound after?
All of us have different musical influences, so it's hard to say. People tell us that we sound like At the Drive In and Me Without You.
Are you comfortable being often labeled a punk band?
We kind of just go with what everyone else says. We do what we do and other people write about it or talk about it. I like being called indie or punk. There is some Americana in there as well.
You have a song called "Who Punched Pat Moore's Face?" Who is Pat Moore and why did someone punch him in the face?
Pat Moore is our good friend and he was one of the original guitarists in the band. One night we were playing and someone told Pat that he had nice tits. Things went badly from there. Pat is a very nice and gentle person and he got punched in the face. It was awful. He face was, like, green.
Is he honored that you wrote a song about him?
I would like to think so. It's odd that his name pops up a lot now on the internet. We don't see Pat that much anymore.
Is "Sluts and Coconuts" the band's power ballad?
You could say that.
A lot of your songs have bizarre titles. Do you think the title up first and create a song around it?
No, we usually start with the music first and once we have it down, the musical part, and then the singer will add the words. As far as titles, they seem to come from simple conversations and phrases that we think are funny. I think "Sluts and Coconuts" came from some porn.
Does the band see it as a badge of honor to have a very unusual sound?
Yes, I like that a lot. It's nice to fit into one mold perfectly. You don't want to be just that one thing. It's great to be very diverse.