Cubicle Concerts: CATWOLF

The Conway-based “sweet n’ heavy” soulful rock group talks Bo Diddley, playful collaboration and making covers their own
Colors In The Tree

Photo courtesy CATWOLF

Infused with the woodsy weirdness of White Mountains valley towns and the performative streak of ’60s and ’70s rock icons, CATWOLF taps into a very specific vein. Catching them live is a smooth, electrifying experience; the Conway-based three-piece band dons crazy costumes complete with cat ears, performs in the midst of a purple-and-pink light show and often howls in-sync during instrumental breaks. Lead singer and guitarist Cat Wolf can be found swaying and bobbing with the rhythm, inviting and upbeat, while drummer Moselle Spiller and bassist Moa Hedegaard give off a cloaked, mystic vibe, adding sweetly-harmonized background vocals. The band started as a duo between Wolf and Spiller, and after becoming fast friends with Hedegaard and identifying a similar ardor, grew into a trio obsessed with harmonies. First performing at Mount Washington Valley spots like Ledge Brewing Company in the summer of 2021, CATWOLF strengthened their chemistry and prepared to record a debut full-length album. Taking advantage of Hedegaard’s roots in Sweden, the trio traveled to her dad’s recording studio in Norrköpping to lay down their LP “Vision in the Dark,” stoking deeper bonds and fruitful sonic innovations. Getting into a live performance groove and learning from other Granite State bands, the oddball triumvirate stands poised and ready to spread even more “lovecraft,” as they’ve coined their musical seances.

CATWOLF stopped by New Hampshire Magazine’s office in late-December to perform three songs for our Cubicle Concerts series. Watch their performance below, created by videographers Alex Kumph (@akumph) and Michael Dowst , and stream their album “Vision in the Dark” on Bandcamp, Apple Music, Spotify and more. Follow them on Instagram (@catwolflove) for updates on where to catch them live, and look out for their upcoming album, “Woohoos and Go Go Boots!” set to release in May.

Video by Alex Kumph and Michael Dowst

New Hampshire Magazine: If we can imagine your style as a reanimated Frankenstein monster made up of the body parts of your influences, who would be the arms?
Moa Hedegaard: I think Janice (Joplin) is a huge part of our monster. She might be the head and torso.
Cat Wolf: I always think of the women singers I relate to vocally. There’s so much more than that to our sound, but someone on that tone is Stevie Nicks — in the same range and mysticism and smoothness. And the growl is like Janice, when I get growly (laughs).
Moselle Spiller: I think we definitely have a lot of influences from the ’60s and ’70s…And I always go to The White Stripes, because we performed our first little house show as a duo, and I think that even though we try to play all our shows with Moa when possible, in survival mode, Cat and I could still play a show together.
CW: There’s so many influences, it’s hard to make the monster.

NHM: So one arm is Janice and one arm is Stevie Nicks?
MH: Sure! And the torso is The White Stripes.

NHM: How about the brain?
CW: It feels collective…It’s been really playful making all the songs. Moa will come up with a bassline and Moselle and I are like, “Sweet! Boop-boo-boo-doo…” And I’ll start singing some lyrics, and then we feel the rhythm, we pick it up, we slow it down and that feels like the energy behind it. Or Moselle will be like, “I really want to play this type of drumming,” and we’re like, “All right — let’s do it!” And then we make a song out of it. Most of the layers that come in are what we’re in the mood to do.
MS: We’re very feelings based…Like, this feels right with what we’re making at the time. And then someone will mess up but it’s not really messing up, it’s being creative, and then we follow that difference from the steadiness and it turns into a cool portion of the song.
MH: I also want to say we get inspired by a lot of the bands that we play with. We played a lot of gigs with other bands this last fall and winter, and that’s definitely been noticeable in the songs and the theme of the songs that come out of those collaborations. It’s been super fun.
MS: Like what bands?
MH: Well, Burly Girlies, and Kalliope Jones, and we always play way more rocky when we play with Way of the Headband. Yeah. That sorta thing.

Band Photo Vision In The Dark

Photo courtesy CATWOLF

NHM: How about the legs?
CW: I think we can’t ignore that a lot of girl group harmonies definitely show in our style and I’m a huge fan of the ’60s. The Ronettes come to mind…Even The Beach Boys and other three-piece harmonies. I think we got really into creating harmonies for the second album, and no one’s heard it yet, but there’s going to be a lot on there.
MH: I feel like that came from just listening to Kalliope Jones. We were like, “Woooaah! They can do that? We can do that!’” Or at least that was what I noticed after we played with them. I mean, also inspiration from just listening to other girl music, but I feel like the big change in our harmony-creating came after that gig. We were way more aware of what we were doing after playing with another band who did it really well.
CW: They were really cool. We were definitely tuned into our harmonies more. But we were always feeling each other and being like, “Ooh, this sounds nice here.” And now it’s so beautiful playing together, whenever I hear all of our voices together, it’s like, “Ahhhh” (laughs).
MS: Naming a specific band for the legs…
MH: We did take quite a lot of inspiration from…
MS: Oh — Bo Diddley!
CW: Good one, Mo!
MS: Let’s just put Fleetwood Mac on the other leg.
MH: Yup, Fleetwood Mac. Definitely. A band I don’t like but that I like to play covers of.
CW: We often make our own songs of covers as well. We’re inspired by a cover and it has the elements of the song but we bring in CATWOLF-ness to it; it has intentional stops or rhythm changes that make specific moments of the songs stand out, and people are always like, “You made it your own version of the song and it’s awesome.” So that’s cool.
MH: What was the question?

70s Wedding Photo

Photo courtesy CATWOLF

NHM: The last body part: The eyes?
CW: Heart (the ’60s rock band).
MS: Brandi Carlile’s a newer artist in a lane that’s more set…
CW: Looking through the eyes, there’s feminine energy there. There’s an intention of sharing the voice of the feminine that isn’t always heard. That’s an intention of the lyrics, of the energy and of the experience of us three connecting and sharing it with people through the music.

Categories: Cubicle Concerts, Music & Movies