Catnapp shares insights on “Dating is in China” and more
Catnapp has been a part of the Monkeytown family for years now, and the Berlin-based Argentinian also happens to be one of the most eclectic artists on our roster. Back in May, we released her Damage Remixes EP, and now she’s teamed up with Modeselektor on Dating is in China, a reworked version of the track Disc from their Extended mixtape. Wanting to find out more about this unique artist, we asked a few questions, touching on her old life back in Buenos Aires, her relationship with nu-metal and why fun is such an important part of her musical vision.
How did you first connect with Modeselektor?
At one of their parties at OHM (where I used to work in the box office and coat check), I met the guy who was their tour manager at the time. After chatting for a while, he mentioned they were looking for new music for their label, and invited me to send them my demo. So I did! After that I met the label manager and eventually Gernot and Szary too.
You collaborated with Modeselektor on Dating is in China, a reworked version of a track from their recent Extended mixtape. How did that come together?
The guys sent me some of their new instrumentals to see if I felt inspired to make a collaboration. One of those was Dating is in China (which is based on Disc on Extended), which I connected with immediately and wrote the words for in a few hours. Later on I met the guys at their studio where we worked a bit on the structure and recorded some extra vocals. The lyrics I did for this song are very sincere and personal.
You’re originally from Argentina. What prompted you to move to Berlin?
I wanted to leave Argentina because the economical situation there was super hard back then (it’s even harder now). It was really difficult for me to save any money with a normal job, and making a living out of music there was impossible. On top of that, I was very uninspired in Buenos Aires and felt like I couldn’t have a future there. I had the urge to get out and explore what else was out there, so I set up a small tour, bought a one-way ticket to Barcelona (where I had a friend) and went. I was not sure where in Europe I would end up. I thought I was probably going to live in London, but I spent a couple of days there and I could tell that I didn’t feel connected to the vibe at all. As soon as I arrived in Berlin, I felt that this would be a good place for me. The mix between city and nature really hooked me, along with the huge and diverse music culture that’s available here.
What (if anything) do you miss about your home country?
I miss my family, my friends and my cat. I miss the smell of my neighborhood. Especially during these last few years, I’ve felt a special need to be close to all of that again, and have realised how important it is to be close to the things you love and that love you back.
What’s the best Argentinian food, empanadas or dulce de leche?
Empanadas all the way. I miss them so much too!
You covered Limp Bizkit a couple of years ago, and your music does seem to have a lot of references to nu-metal. Were you a metalhead when you were growing up?
I don’t think I was a real metalhead. The only metal I heard was Limp Bizkit, and maybe just a couple more artists. I was more of what we called in Argentina an “alterna,” which meant I listened to a mix of emo sad and happy/childish music—and had a look to go with it haha. However, I always listened to many different types of music, from bachata to Infected Mushroom, and Limp Bizkit was part of that mix.
Berlin is obviously known for techno and a lot of other DJ-centric electronic music. Are you influenced by that?
Ironically, I was more influenced by all of that before I came to Berlin. Back in Argentina, I used to be a DJ as well, and played different types of electronic music throughout the years, from minimal and house to electro and breakbeat. I even produced minimal electro-house under the name Ampexx back then.
Vocals are a big part of your music. Who are your favorite singers, past or present?
That could be a very long list… I like so many singers and vocalists. One of the people I enjoy listening to the most is Mariah Carey.
A lot of electronic music artists stay away from anything that sounds too pop, but you regularly incorporate elements of pop into your work. What attracts you to that world?
When people ask what genre of music I make, lately I’ve been saying pop. I think my music is mainly that. Yes, it’s also electronic and very alternative and weird, but it has verses, choruses and bridges. I’m deeply influenced and inspired by pop music, more than any other genre. Maybe what I like the most about pop is that it makes me feel good, even when it’s a sad song.
Your music is really eclectic, but fun does always seem to be part of the formula.
That was my main motivation when I started Catnapp. I wanted people to have fun. If either the audience or I aren’t having fun, then something is wrong.
Speaking of fun, what are some of your favorite things to do (besides making music)?
I love in-line skating and painting. I make a lot of silly cat paintings which I hope one day will be worth millions of dollars so I can live off that.
Looking at your releases, you have a really striking visual aesthetic. What influences have shaped your artwork and how you present yourself as an artist?
When I’m thinking of an idea for a video or artwork, the ideas are always influenced/inspired by the most random or specific and weird things. Maybe I’ll suddenly remember something I once saw when I was a child, or a feeling I had when I played a scary game. Whatever the idea is, I generally have to sketch it to show the visual artists what I want because it’s very hard for me to find references on the internet of something that doesn’t exist outside of my head. If I can find it online, that means someone else already did it and I might want to change the idea, so it’s better not to look!
See Catnapp live:
16/7/2021 – UA-Odessa (Tru Man Hot Boat)
17/7/2021 – UA-Kiev (UBK)
Pic: Matias Casalh