Floyd Marek a.k.a. the phenomenal Cat-Trophy is a solo artist putting out his own brand of electro post-punk. His latest album is available to download for free and each track has a corresponding picture painted by Floyd. We caught up with Floyd to ask him about his latest projects.
Where did the name “the phenomenal cat-trophy” come from?
I was in a big Kinks phase at the time and cat’s seemed to be really popular on the internet at the time, and I wanted to be both popular on the internet and like the Kinks at the time. I had been doing unmelodic noise-rock for a few years and just started doing a few songs as a half-joke experiment almost, and wanted to sort of present myself as some kind of faux confident idol, and it seemed perfectly cute and unpleasant and annoying and clever all at once. Ironic too, I hate to have to admit.
And, if anyone thought that I really thought that I was cool they could maybe look into the song and figure out that I spent much of my life alone and eating and avoiding the world.
What inspired you to become a musician?
I was an intense little guy who was really bad at communicating so things would build up and the best release, actually, was falling down the stairs. But I couldn’t do that at night when I wasn’t sleeping, so I would listen to The Monkees. I suppose if my parents both worked third shift I would be a stuntman but you play the cards you’re dealt.
You have quite an unusual style, what are your main influences?
Well, when I was an intense little guy it was the early and mid 80’s and I have a lot of memories of being morose and despondent in the backseat with my face pressed up against the window on rides home with those kind of radio hits invading the softest spots of my heart. One of my biggest inspirations, funnily enough, were those garage band sketches on Kids in the Hall. When Rod Torfelson’s Armada featuring Herman Menderchuk came on my TV the world became a liveable place.
My biggest influence would be The Pixies. Thanks to my sister’s Christian Slater crush I got to hear wave of mutilation UK Surf in fifth grade and then she bought Trompe Le Monde, but said it wasn’t good and almost sold it at a yard sale. More than a year went by before I heard any of it but when I finally did I listened all the way through 5 times in a row until I couldn’t wait to go to the bathroom anymore. (good thing it wasn’t Doolittle) It was absolute magic to me. I would actually jump up out of bed in the morning excited to be able to listen to them more.
Is it hard to make all the music on your own?
There’s disadvantages certainly but it seems to suit me, bouncing from drums to keyboard and all that is fun and very satisfying, keeps me from having to throw myself down the stairs at the end of the day to relax.
What made you decide to give your latest album for free?
Right now I’m completely DIY and just want to get my music heard by as many people as possible, but even if my situation changed it seems like an easy decision. When napster first came out I felt really blessed, discovering and instantly enjoying music that I probably would have never even heard otherwise.
You also painted a picture for each track, where did this idea come from?
I have the painting bug these days, and it really amplifies momentum and inspiration going back and forth between the two mediums in that way. I’ve always loved album art and colour associations and hopefully people find it interesting, seemed like a nice little hook.
Will future songs have a painting correspond to it?
Absolutely! Unless I run out of supplies, but I was privy to an internet coupon recently so I’m pretty well stocked up.
Have you painted artwork for any non-music projects?
I have, some of my stuff is here.
I started a 4 set of spiders recently and an enormous one showed up outside in real life so I’m changing it to treasure chests. Treasure chests that only I can open.
What came first, the paintings or the songs?
Always the songs, but it’s great to take a break at certain points and build them piece by piece and let them influence each other
You’ve also started an offer for people to purchase a painting with an otherwise unreleased track, where did this idea comes from?
Boy oh boy I don’t remember, spitballing I think that’s called? Just seemed so odd I felt like I had to give it a whirl, thought it would be cool if some weirdo collector kept the songs to themself for years and a documentary could be made about the whole thing. Anything to get into the newspaper.
How do you choose what songs go into the albums and which ones get used for other projects?
Sometimes the songs come in clumps that I feel go together and sometimes its just one stick in the mud that’s sticking out of the mud, so to speak.
Where do you get your inspiration for your lyrics?
Most often something will come to me that I have termed a “nugget”, usually one or two lines, and I log the nugget data in a Black Sabbath themed notebook and sooner or later the rest of the song will form around it. Sometimes two nuggets get together and the process is even faster. I meditate a lot, too, and the songs just seem to flesh themselves out.
Nugget Flesh would be a good band name if someone wants it I’ll take a quiet co-credit
How do your live performances compare with your studio recordings?
Some comedian had a joke I remember about REM or something that went “play your hits and make it sound like it does on the record!” So I try to keep all the phrasing the same and am really good at remembering all the words. If I’m just playing with an acoustic guitar I keep my low voice almost the entire time though, and won’t falsetto til the 2nd encore.
Do you ever listen to your own music?
I do actually, I love when enough time passes that I can go back with fresh ears.
Nothing ruins a slow afternoon faster than hearing something you want to change with all your being though
What other music do you listen to?
I’ve been listening to a lot of Depeche Mode lately, and that doo-wop album Frank Zappa did. Bowie and Leonard Cohen, always, and people should listen to Marmoset. I love Marmoset, especially Record in Red and Florist Fired.