Swiss-American electronic pop trio Lapcat recently dropped a spellbinding cover of Roads by Portishead ahead of the November 17th release of its 3rd album, She’s Bad, via Mouthwatering Records. Jonas, Cate, and Hans take some time out to chat about the band’s inner workings and the resulting engaging music. Lapcat’s Portishead cover, which contrasts a crunchy, menacing electronic vibe with Cate’s more vulnerable vocal tone, sets the mood for the act’s impending album.
Hey there! I hope you don’t mind in we cut to the chase – Who or what is a Lapcat?
Jonas: Lapcat is a Swiss-American trio making slightly melancholic, hardcore street pop. It’s comprised of me, my wife Cate, and our best friend Hans.
As a trio you manage to create music across two continents. How does that affect your sound and your band dynamics in general?
Hans: It’s been magic so far. It works for us. Of course there are quite a few complicating factors as far as our work relationship goes; the distance being the main one. If you are not (working) in the same physical space, you are just out of touch somehow. It’s hard to do live sets and it can be hard making decisions and keep communication transparent.
Cate: We have pretty set roles at this point though, so that helps with not stepping on each other’s toes. I don’t know if these factors influence our music. I guess they must. We definitely only get limited time with each other, which makes things urgent, but limitations are also good in order to get things done.
You will soon be releasing your 3rd record titled She’s Bad. What has changed between this one and your previous two?
Hans: We are way faster now, I guess, or we just got lucky this time around. We wrote and recorded 80% of the album within 4 weeks this past spring and by June all the songs where finished.
Jonas: Our first record Trickster Trickster was more of a patchwork, sound-wise, production-wise, and for the fact that we recorded bits and pieces on two continents over a longer period of time. Blitzpop, the second one, although stemming from a single session, took us a good year to wrap up.
She’s Bad was the shortest production time for any album I ever did. The wonderful thing about that is that the record still feels fresh and I am not quite sick of hearing it. Big plus. Musically, this new record feels more mature, seasoned, and thought out. It has a defined vibe to it that I am really fond of.
Cate: We had sort of a conceptual idea of the music going into the session and we were able to translate part of that into the tracks.
Hans: Also, I feel it’s more personal sonically, since we build most of the sounds from scratch using sampling, and recording real instruments, and using hardware synths and drum machines, rather than plug-ins.
You chose to announce the new release with a cover of Roads by Portishead. Why did you decide to do it this way?
Cate: We had the track, but it wouldn’t fit on the album. We wanted to get it out there and our label felt like it was the perfect track to get some attention.
Did you get sweaty palms at all before releasing this? Portishead is an iconic entity to many…
Cate: Honestly, we didn’t over-think it; maybe partially due to the fact that we are such small fish in a big pond. We never had any intention of doing a cover. It was a happy and magical accident and just too good to not go through with. And this makes me relax. There was no plan, no goal of trying to make something specific. It just came out of the fabric of the universe. Voilà!
As Lapcat, do you hold any type of music in the highest regard?
Hans: What does that really mean? Music is music – There is good stuff out there and also terrible… and it’s all up to the listener to determine what’s what for themselves.
Jonas: As an artist, I think I only have limited control over what comes out of me and how it will be taken in by the listener… The creative force is a mysterious one. It’s like taping into a metaphysical stream of ideas and frequencies and then using your hands and head to bring it into our reality. Calculating things is not something we do when it comes to art. That sort of planning and expectation will cause wrong turns along the way and take the heart out of it for us.
Written by: Jen Dan