A band that formed in Sussex in 1976 is the pinnacle influence for a modern Charleston instrumental project.
The Cure, part of the British post-punk and new wave movement, with hits such as "Friday, I'm in Love" and "Just Like Heaven," inspired Catholics, a Charleston project formed 35 years later. The members share a love of The Cure's vocalist Robert Smith.
Catholics vocalist and guitarist Tyler Beall talked with Charleston Scene about the band and new EP "Guilt," which we have an early listen of today.
Catholics will play an EP release show Oct. 25 at Big Gun.
Q: Tell me more about the Catholics origin story and your role in the project.
A: Catholics started as a solo project in 2011, out of the ashes of my band Drowning. It was meant to be a The Cure worship band, and I still kind of feel that way; I just haven’t limited my musical interests to one corner of any realm. Since all the members write and everyone has different musical interests, it definitely helps to keep it diverse, though I think we all have a mutual love of Robert Smith.
In 2014, I started trying to bring other musicians into Catholics, very unsuccessfully I might add. We finally secured a lineup for the sound we have now been kindling as a group for three years and some change.
We couldn’t do this without our friends and family and our label daddy, Josh Higgins. (That) man runs a tight ship, and we are thrilled to be in the Refresh Records family.
Q: Why all instrumental pieces?
A: The first few songs I brought to the table were so long and such an adventure on their own, I felt we would only obscure that tale (with words). ... We set out on the path of being a functional band under the assumption we may someday add some vocals, and we got to do that on the last track of this release. It’s a cover of a tune called “Asphalt” by our friends Pygmy Lush from Virginia. It was a ton of fun not having to worry about the composition aspect of the writing. In a way, that sort of felt like it was a farewell bow to us being entirely instrumental.
Q: What were some of your inspirations, particularly when it came to this EP?
A: I think the main inspiration for this EP can’t really be pinpointed to any particular origin story but rather a sort of “magic of the moment,” depending on what we were all listening to around each particular song. I’d say the pool is pretty vast. We all love some heavy music, some '90s emo, older post-rock acts and newer post-rock groups. Of course, gotta love some math-rock tinge. And The Cure.
Q: Let's talk about some of these songs specifically.
A: "Lowercase Agenda with a god Complex" is sort of a poke at how, in Catholic school, you’re made to capitalize “god,” always. I always felt like that sort of subliminal messaging was just a degradation of our respective self-worth as sentient beings.
"Chicago on Meth" is just an inside joke from about 11 years ago between the first recording engineer I worked with, Mitch (Webb) of Mantis Records, for an old band I was in. He told us our sound was like the musical "Chicago" but on meth, and I’m not sure why I always thought that was so hilarious. I’ve tried naming songs that in the past, but this time nobody stopped me.
"Doback’s Permission" is about our bass player's stepdad. Let’s just say I was thanking him for his hospitality during a morning dip when I didn’t quite have his permission to swim in his pool. ... At least we didn’t wreck his boat.
Q: What can we expect at the Big Gun show?
A: You can expect a real rowdy good time with circle pits and some guy flinging blank T-shirts via slingshot at the nonparticipants in the front of the bar trying to sip their brews. It’s gonna be brutal.