Wednesday, 24 July 2013

Cat Bear Tree

South London-based Cat Bear Tree are made up of Zoe Konez (guitar and vocals) Claudia Mansaray (bass and vocals) and Sarah Smith (drums and vocals).  Their influences include Warpaint, Sleater Kinney, Pixies, Bloc Party...

Is there a Slits influence?  The staccato guitar on Crayons reminds me of them, I suppose its the London accents as well! 

Zoe: No my guitar playing isn't directly influenced by the Slits. I love PJ Harvey, Kaki King, Ani difranco, and heavier bands like Glassjaw, Mars Volta and Deftones which probably shows a bit.

As female musicians, do you ever feel that you're being treated differently than male artists would be? 

From our experience of playing gigs around different venues in the UK, it seems that female musicians perhaps have to work harder to be taken seriously, however we like to think that once people hear our music that gender becomes irrelevant. We have recieved the occasional ignorant comment like, ' you're too good to be girls' but essentially the outcome is positive. Like so many female musicians before us we hope to continue to help raise the profile, educate and improve equality for female musicians. 

How do you feel about being labelled as an all female band? 

Again, we would prefer that we were known for our music first and foremost, I mean how often do you hear/read.... ' we love this new all MALE band?!'   However, that said, we are what we are and we are proud to be an all female group. All girl band nights and riot grrrl themed events seem to be growing fast in popularity and we love getting involved with this stuff. 

Do you have any particular experiences of sexism you'd like to tell us about?

I guess our only experiences of sexism would be that we frequently get told that we "play well for girls", which is a interesting comment to take. On one hand it's a compliment being told that we play our instruments well but then on the other hand, being female shouldn't have any bearing on that. We would however never react in a negative way when somebody says that, as in most cases when guys say that, they genuinely think that they are giving us a compliment and don't see any problem with making such a a comment.

What would you say to all the 15 year old girls just picking up a guitar now?
To all 15 year old girls picking up a guitar we'd say "GO FOR IT AND STICK AT IT!". We all started playing our instruments when we were teenagers and are very glad that we kept at it. We'd also tell them to "PRACTICE, PRACTICE, PRACTICE". They may come against some sexism in music and the best way to fight against that is to know how to play your instrument well. That way there's no room for silly comments.

We also think its good to have some strong musical influences and to spend time listening to their music and style. Some amazing female musicians who we are influenced by include (Pixies and Breeders bassist) Kim Deal, Melissa Auf der Maur, Kaki King, PJ Harvey, (Yo La Tengo percussionist) Georgia Hubley, (Slits and Raincoats drummer) Palmolive and (Sleater Kinney and Wild Flag drummer) Janet Weiss.
Any plans to play a gig north of the border?

Yes we certainly do have plans to play some gigs north of the border. We want to try and play as many places as possible and spread some Cat Bear Tree love! Especially after our EP 'Let's Share Hearts' is released on 5 August. We are also very keen on doing 'gig swaps' with other female bands. We'll sort out a gig for them in London for both bands to play and they do the same for us in their home town. This benefits both bands as we can find each other good gigs.

New music video for 'Blind'


  1. Good band. and... Good call!
    (From one of the female music promoters /
    scout women) X

  2. Loving this band. Thanks for the introduction to them. Their song Blind is wicked!