Artist Spotlight: Warhola Cats
Chamber pop band Warhola Cats played an afternoon show at Company Brewing on Sunday, as the Cranksgiving fundraiser hosted by Cream City Hostel collected goods for those in need this holiday season. The show celebrated the release of their new album “Eros + Vibes.” Solo electronic artist Future Living Things opened up for them.
Warhola Cats consists of vocalist/guitarist Elisabeth Gasparka, cellist/flutist/vocalist Sarah Gail Luther, keyboardist/vocalist Jackie Mich, and drummer Alex Cain. Gasparka explains how the band formed.
“Sarah and I started playing together in 2015 for the occasion of this art project I was asked to participate in, and Sarah wanted an excuse to play cello…she had just started playing pretty recently, and I wanted to play electric guitar. That was when we started working with those instruments and singing together, and then our friend in 2016 saw us play and thought we could use help, and he joined our band as lead guitarist and drummer – he played with us for about a year and a half and in that time we made “In This Light.” He actually moved to Texas while we were finishing the album, and then we decided to regroup. We were still playing as a duo very occasionally, but Sarah planted the seed early on that Jackie – her best friend from growing up – should join the band if/when she came back to Milwaukee…then Jackie did move back. We were at the listening party for our first album and basically we got her to agree to play with us. Alex was recommended to us by a number of people, as a drummer who was back in town last summer, and we started playing with him around September 2018.”
She goes on to describe the new album’s title and recording process.
“(The title) just came to me one day; it was kind of a rumination and it got stuck in my head as a melody. It’s really just a phrase that occurred to me and I made a song out of it. The album artwork is by the amazing local duo BearBear. Recording it was in two phases…first phase was us wanting to create a recording that captured the energy of our newly formed band, and we practice in Alex’s home in Bay View. Our friend Steve Strupp is really adept at making home recordings, and I kind of raised it to him as something I thought he’d be good at – he was super willing and excited about it. He came in and recorded the first four tracks on the album all in one day. The second phase was done at Silver City Studios with Andrew Jambura – he was recommended to us by Steve, and he was amazing to work with.”
Finally, Gasparka describes the album’s lyrical style.
“It’s about desire. It starts from a place of loss and its aftermath – how it calls everything into question. Its songs reckon with questions about the self, how we define ourselves, who we want to be, and the role we let others play or ask others to play in that. I wrote many of the songs by reflecting and chasing the apparition of a feeling, then taking the nut of a feeling and milking it to construct a story-song.”
Luther talks about what the band has in store for 2020.
“We have so many goals; Elisabeth is always coming up with new ideas and we actually have a whole Google Drive folder of new songs that she’s been churning out. We have our work cut out for us to write some new music.”
“We’ve been thinking about having a drum machine,” Cain added. “I wouldn’t mind stepping away from the drumset because I feel like it’s kind of a redundant job. It is nice to have rhythm, but I do other things besides drumming. I’d like to explore more harmony. There’s some opportunity to incorporate maybe a little more technology to the outfit, but it is definitely a departure from this current music trend with what we are creating.”
Warhola Cats play Bremen Cafe on January 25th.