By Kelly Reed
It isn’t everyday that you get to talk to the lead singer of a band that is making a name for itself. I was able to catch up with Zack Sawyer of Cathercist. He was gracious enough to share some insight as to what it takes to make it in a band and a little about his personal experience. He answered my questions candidly with humor and a dash of southern drawl. Cathercist is on tour in support of their May 2013 album, As Hope Expires.
Let’s dive into it. How in the world did you come up with your debut album’s name?
The Untimely Death of Zack Sawyer? It started off as a joke. We had been practicing in Gulfport, MS. I would drive up from Mobile, AL in this little four cylinder Jeep Wrangler and would get like 14 miles to the gallon. Between all the practice and writing sessions for two to three times a week for several months I would make comments like “This band is killing me!”. Some others joked that we should come up with something witty along those lines for the album’s name. By the time we finished the record we had a lot of ourselves in it emotionally. The title stuck. We joked about it and figured we’d get the last laugh.
How’s the current tour treating you?
Well actually, we’re not quite on the road yet (Editor’s note: At time of interview). We start next week with American Head Charge. We’ll start off in Arkansas.
You have a pretty unique band name how’d that come about?
The word cathercist is derived from catharsis. We wanted there to be no problems discovering who our entire identity was without sacrificing who we are. The only way to do that was to change the name but keep the meaning of the word. The meaning of the word cathercist is: to purge yourself from emotion through music or art form. We felt that was a pretty good representation of what we bring to a live show.
Are you like a walking dictionary or thesaurus to come up with this? Did you do some research first?
I have no idea exactly how the word came into play specifically. (Laughing) I’m no walking dictionary or thesaurus.
How long did it take to come up with the As Hope Expires album?
We started working on As Hope Expires a few weeks after recording our first record. We had already learned some things that we wanted to do differently and we had a blast working with (producer) Joseph McQueen. We really learned a lot about what kind of band we were and what we wanted to write and bring to the table. So we got started almost immediately. It took almost the entire time working with the strings and the arrangements. We definitely intended to take our time from record to record and try to come up with a lot of different ideas to bring out the best songs and music.
Any headaches or hurdles that you had to overcome?
Well we’re a completely independent band. It’s been hard enough to raise enough money to make a record. You do it once, then you have to do it again for the next record. That’s why we’re always trying to play more shows and reach more people to gain more fans. The whole musician experience is a hurdle.
I think that’s why it’s called a labor of love.
We do love it and that’s why we do it. …Because there’s nothing else we can do.
Touring is always positive for the band and fans, what do you bring to your shows that sets you apart from other metal bands?
I’d like to think we bring a lot of energy to our shows. When someone takes in our show, we don’t want them focusing on one person too long because they’ll miss out on everything else that’s going on. Our energy is chaotic in a way. …Plus I like to make faces at the crowd.
Any particular show that stands out in your mind?
I never really knew how cold it gets up north coming from the south. We’re driving in snow and through the worst conditions. Ice. Couldn’t believe it. Also we’ve had some bad luck with Metairie, LA. Seems like we’re always having to stop at this one tire shop. Just really weird. They have terrible roads.
Biggest misconception about being in a metal band these days?
I’d say that religion has anything to do with us. Metal and religion are two totally different concepts. For us this is music. I don’t have anything religious to say. This is what we enjoy doing. We have fun on stage. When you write music it isn’t just about writing, but also performing. We try to get our fans involved and create energy. We’re just having fun here.
When you were 8 or 9 years old, what was your favorite toy and why?
I’d have to say PlayStation because it came out when I was like 9 years old. I was a master at it.
For more info on Cathercist visit their web site at: www.cathercist.com