First Look: Catnaps

If you could personify the word "cute" and slap a band along with the image, you'd stumble across Catnaps, formerly, When I was 12, of Philly/New Jersey. In their own words, "We like to write silly love songs and we want to feel alive. With charming lyrics sprinkled on top of cute melodies let us capture your heart!"

The perky, wide-eyed, indie/twee quartet may come off innocent and trite, but don't be fooled. Their archetypical themes and unadulterated passion has garnered more than a little grassroots support. The band, comprised of Adrianne Gold, Dan Houwen, Carolyn Haynes, and Ryan Heuple, met each other through typical channels, on Myspace, and at Drexel University, where fear of failing a music class sealed their fate.

The Catnaps recorded their first EP then, in the spirit of Bohemian star-chasing ambitions, embarked on their first national summer tour, bringing their love songs and messages of hope to the masses.

antiMusic caught up with the band just before they took off. Keep an eye out for them in your local watering hole. Their light airy pop will make you fall in love with them.

antiMusic: Why ‘When I was 12" as a name?

Adrianne: we actually just changed our name to Catnaps and we're pretty excited about it. When I Was 12 was kind of limiting; everyone kept asking us if we were 12 and when we told them that we are a indie pop/twee band they thought we meant a tween band. they started asking if we've ever played with The Jonas Brothers or Miley Cyrus!

Carolyn: Catnaps is a bit more versatile! It's still cute like "aw look, sleepy kitty" but when you wake a cat up they can be pretty fierce!


antiMusic: How did you meet? How long have you been playing together?

Carolyn: Adrianne and Dan met first and they met on MYSPACE, so old fashion! Dan introduced us to Ryan at a basement show. Adrianne and I had Piano 101 at Drexel University, our freshman year. We bonded over our fear of messing up "Imagine" by John Lennon, similar music taste, and ugly sweaters.

antiMusic: What do each of you bring to the table?

Adrianne: Something special! When I first started this band I didn't have a drummer or a bassist; it was just acoustic guitar, glockenspiel, and tambourine. Now, we have a fantastic drummer; Ryan Heupler comes up with new and exciting drum beats that give this band the energy its always needed! Daniel Houwen plays guitar AND bass in the band. He always comes up with super cute/Rilo Kiley-esque guitar riffs that i can't resist! Carolyn can play any instrument you hand her. Honestly, she plays glockenspiel/melodica/SAXOPHONE/bass/back-up vocals/tambourine/guitar/so many more; she's sort of like our secret weapon! I write the lyrics, melodies, and skeletons for almost all of the songs and they help me fill in the empty spaces!

antiMusic: What have your successes been to date?

Carolyn: We very recently got an awesome manager, Joe M (Paperback Management), who is just as motivated as we are in seeing this band go places. We've also been lucky enough to play with bands we admire (even cute French bands!) like: Hop Along, Dangerous Ponies, Des Ark, Algernon Cadwallader, Laura Stevenson and the Cans, Joe Jack Talcum (Dead Milkmen), Jason Anderson, Times New Viking, and Delicate Steve.

antiMusic: Where are you headed in a perfect world? In the real world?

Adrianne: in a perfect world? SUPER STARDOM!!!!! in the real world? on a 6 week tour this summer across the country!!! I suppose it's sort of the same thing, don't you think??? You should check it out and see if we're playing in a city near you here

antiMusic: You grew up in the suburbs of NJ; what was it like growing up there? What was the music like? Do you ever get the Jersey stereotype?

Adrianne: Carolyn was lucky enough not to have grown up in New Jersey, but Ryan, Dan, and I did! I had a band called At The Bake Sale and we used to sing about it, like, Crayola crayons and bright yellow school busses. Everyone seemed to be really into HARDCORE but I like CUDDLECORE (definition here) when people ask I tell them I'm from ALASKA so I don't get the Jersey stereotype ;)

antiMusic: Talk about the move across the bridge. Did Philadelphia open doors for you that weren't available before?

Adrianne: Definitely! We had some fun playing house shows in New Brunswick but other than that there weren't many venues to play at in my area. There are so many great venues in Philly and we've had so much fun playing at: World Cafe Live, Johnny Brenda's, Kung Fu Necktie, etc.

antiMusic: What do you think of the indie music scene in Philly? In the nation? As a whole?

Carolyn: There are so many different sub genres of indie music here; it's astounding. This city has such a versatile music scene and I think that's why I enjoy living here so much. Everyone's very supportive and they all know each other. It's really interesting to see bands from opposite ends of the country tweeting and interacting with each other like they're great friends. And even though the industry is going down the tubes, the music is still thriving!

antiMusic: What is missing from the scene? Who do you think is doing it right and why?

Carolyn: Because it's so easy for millions of artists to reach billions of people, things start to sound the same. You can have 20 bands that sound exactly like a great 90's band but there's nothing original about them. The 90's pop punk sound is so big right now and there are thousands of bands from the tri-state area alone that fit into that category. But then you have bands like Mixtapes (who we played with) and they are absolutely amazing! There are also tons of great local artists that we've mentioned before like Hop Along, Dangerous Ponies, Algernon, Everyone Everywhere that have created their own unique sound in genres that include too many artists to count. There are also too many 21+ venues, we need more ALL AGES stuff! Our lead singer is just a baby! She won't be 21 for another 2 years!

antiMusic: Who were your influences growing up?

Adrianne: Oh, Disney pop stars for sure. I always admired Hilary Duff. She always wrote super catchy songs and seemed to really stay true to herself! I also really liked Avril Lavigne (and still do) she had such a punk rock attitude, she didn't care about what people thought and she made the art that she wanted to make!

Carolyn: Avril Lavigne for me too! Also Gwen Stefani (in the era of No Doubt, the pink power ranger, and my cousin Emily because (like me) she had short hair and didn't give a crap!

antiMusic: What kind of music did you start off writing and playing?

Carolyn: I took Song Writing this year and I learned that all the songs I write are sad and depressing! Everyone leaves. I think we're going to try and incorporate some of this in future songs!

Adrianne: I've always had a knack for writing sugary sweet songs.

antiMusic: Talk about the themes you sing about. Are melodies, rhythm, lyrics or overall vibe the most important element in your songwriting?

Adrianne: I really like to write about boys! I took a Writing Fiction course this year and my teacher kept reminding us to write what you know. I've always taken that to heart with all of my songs. I like to sugarcoat sad lyrics with happy and upbeat melodies.

antiMusic: What drives you? What's your muse? How do you blow off steam?

Adrianne: ROMANCE inspires me the most i think. & i blow off steam by writing. I really like to write poetry AND short stories AND of course songs!!!

antiMusic: Talk about he recording of your EP. The EP was a project that was handled at Drexel University from start to finish, Can you walk us through the process, and how it came to be that you recorded withe start-up label?

Adrianne: I was in the Bantic Media class when we chose the artists to make 7-inches for. We went around the rectangular table and took a vote! We recorded all 4 songs at the Drexel University studios with our friend Eric Sanderson (who is fantastic by the way!) The EP was mixed by both Eric Sanderson and Clark Connor. Clark sang on the end of "Tree Trunk of My Heart" and Ryan Schwabe was nice enough to master the album for us!

You can purchase the record here

antiMusic: Talk about Drexel's label/program and what it offers in terms of developing their artists?

Adrianne: It's a super cool program. We get to go on this 6 week tour as our Co-op! It counts for credits! And while it's going to be a blast it's also going to be a lot of work but it will be a really great experience to have.

Carolyn: It's a chance to take what we've learned in the classroom and use it in the real world. We're making deal memos, negotiating with promoters, managers, and we're getting ourselves press!

antiMusic: To date you have played some great venues in Philly, World Cafe Live, Johnny Brenda's, and more, do you feel as if you are ready to go on the road?

Adrianne: Yeah we've had a lot of fun this past year! We went on a 10 day tour last summer and we're really excited to hit the road for 6 weeks this time! And we made a blog (catnaps12.blogspot.com) so we can keep everyone posted!

antiMusic: I am a huge Jack Kerouac fan. Do you really you hate books by him? What was the motivation behind that song and title?

Adrianne: Once I had a crush on this boy and he lent me "On The Road" by Jack Kerouac. Although it's all about coming-of-age and going on an adventure I couldn't make it past the first 20 pages! After we stopped seeing each other I ripped a page out of the book but then I felt terrible about it so I folded it up and gave both back to him.

antiMusic: Of the EP , what song do you feel is your best, that showcase your talent the most and what song keeps you up at night?

Adrianne: I really like "Tree Trunk Of My Heart" we made a music video for it (here) and we all really like "Bedroom Sighs" there are some cool guitar riffs in that one and we've just started playing it live! I think if we had more time we would have slowed the tempo on "So Sorry" it doesn't sound as heartbreaking as it was meant to when it's this fast!

antiMusic: What's next?

Adrianne: Hopefully good things!

Carolyn: Definitely good things! We're going out with a new FULL-LENGTH CD called "Why Don't You Whisper?" we're playing at a pool party and Adrianne and I are moving into a new house next year! so hopefully we'll start having some house shows!

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