Cat Canteri

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Cat Canteri

Cat Canteri may describe herself as a drummer/singer/songwriter from west of Ruckers Hill, east of Merri Creek, north of Northcote High School, south of Arthurton Rd, Northcote, Melbourne, but after a chinwag with the affable brunette (on the side of the highway on her way to a gig in Adelaide) I could tell she is finally right where she wants to be.
You may not recognise Cat out from behind the drum kit that she rocks as part of The Stillsons, but take note of her face – I predict you’ll be seeing a lot more of it in the future. To celebrate the release of her debut solo album When We Were Young, Cat, with her hand-picked band in tow, is coming to a venue near you.
“Ben Franz and Justin Bernasconi from The Stillsons played with me on When We Were Young, but I’ve slightly changed it up for the tour,” she smiled, adding, “Justin will still be playing guitar and so will I, but Justin Olsen will play drums and Daniel Hobson will be on bass.”
Cat is the epitome of cool confidence as she breezily answers my questions with the constant buzz of high-speed traffic in the background. But as she openly divulges, that was once not the case.
“I’ve wanted to do my own thing for a long time, but I didn’t necessarily have the right set of skills or the confidence to do it earlier on in my musical journey, as it were,” she laughs self-deprecatingly. The music industry is a social industry, so you have to learn how to work with people. You’ve gotta book your gigs and venues and work with other musicians. There’s a lot of liaising and people skills that go with being in the industry.”
Cat continued candidly: “I used to suffer from a lot of anxiety when I was in my late teens and early twenties, to the point where I couldn’t even call people like I did for you today. It was too much … I’d have too much anxiety to simply make the call.”
As a young musician with an almost debilitating anxiety, Cat learned to lean on friends. “Thankfully a lot of that has gone away, particularly in the last few years doing stuff with The Stillsons. I’ve got a lot more confidence and managed to get rid of a lot of my anxiety problems. I’ve been able to have a clearer head.”
That clear head and sound ear are shown in the eleven exquisitely crafted tracks on When We Were Young. Cat Canteri’s beautifully fragile and complicated soul is laid bare for the world to see – something I think Cat has learned to embrace. “When you get up on stage you’re quite exposed and vulnerable to people’s opinions and criticisms. A lot of musicians can struggle getting over those things … I’m getting through my issues and looking forward.”
When&Where: Basement Disc’s, Melbourne – September 5; Ararat Live, Ararat – September 19; and Wolseley Wines, Torquay – October 19
By Natalie Rogers