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Musicians and their cats, cats and their musicians. A relationship of a special kind, led a thousand times. They are incredibly adorable, these tiny little partners, so clingy and endearing … mostly … at least: sometimes. But before giving one’s heart – be it a musician’s or not – away to a cat one should consider one fundamental thing: the cat is the boss, its human the minion. What is to be a binding ritual is determined by the cat. The exact point of time and duration as well.

Compulsory events are sleeping, eating and cuddling. But making music, including partial disciplines such as composing, producing and jamming, belongs with households of musically talented artists just as well. This vocation – even though it may be kindly tolerated by the cat – bears potential for conflicts, puts the relationship to the test. But yet, for many artist-cat-liaisons music is an important anchoring point, a beloved common pastime. VOLT offers evidence, based on several examples.

A few weeks ago, Fade Kainer finished the new Statiqbloom album in Chicago and is now back home in Brooklyn, NY, where he and his cat have holed up for the virus. Fade: “My cat’s name is Speedy. He is always by my side or in my lap when I am creating music. He likes to climb behind my gear in the winter to feel the warmth of the electronics.”

Three cats are living with Aga Wilk of Romance Disaster: two brothers from Copenhagen, Kafka (black) and Midi (tiger), both eleven years old, and a girl from Poland, Wiesia (8 years), a three-leggy cat. Aga: “The three cats are really loving each other, playing and sleeping together. When I adopted Wiesia, she had problems with her leg, so there was no other option than amputation. But she is really taking care of herself, is very energetic and loves people. And about the boys: Kafka is the boss, pure alpha, but he is also very loving and very gentle. Midi, his brother, is super sensitive and very, very shy. He is also great jumper, as if there was no gravity.”

Mark Wheeler (Ex-Love Like Blood): “I have had Nutz for about six years, but it is more fitting to say Nutz has had me for about six years. He is as all oriental cats extremely bossy and dominant. I always have the feeling that when I play guitar he allows me to do it out of the goodness of his heart, but my real vocation in his opinion is to be his human pillow. He has various strategies to interrupt me, sitting so near the computer keyboard that I can’t use it or watching me with a sad but adoring look. If he gives up and retires into another room it doesn’t mean I am not under his surveillance. When I stop practising he hears me unplug my guitar and immediately dashes in, jumps on my bed and launches himself onto my shoulder. He is utterly adorable and my life would be far less without him!”

Oliver Chesler didn’t manage to take a photo showing him and his two cats at the same time. The hairy duo is “fucking crazy”, says the musician, better known as The Horrorist. He introduces his roommates as follows: “Here are my studio helpers Niniku, which means garlic in Japanese, and Tiffy. They are both 7 years old. Tiffy came from the Bronx and Niniku from Paris. Niniku just had a shave so he looks like a little black lion. He likes the heat that comes from the vintage rack of gear. Tiffy is more of a swipe the cables kinda gal.”

Stefan Netschio of Beborn Beton: “Gizmo and Scratchy are the creative directors at Netschio’s/ Beyer’s. While Scratchy is not leaving his mother’s side and supervises her singing and photo work, Gizmo sees himself as executive producer in the recording studio. He knows exactly when the bass is right and kicking. And both of them are responsible for making the recording process of the vocal takes an ordeal every now and then.”

Blac Kolor doesn’t only love blac kats. Ingrid (left) and Bergman (right) are siblings, five years old, faithful studio companions and quite obviously named after a famous Swedish actress.
Hendrick Grothe: “Ingrid is more of the feel-good-manager type of cat with a soft spot for cushions and everything non-technological or rather analogue stuff, whereas Bergman is the embodiment of a synth nerd and completely digiphil. He is absolutely into VSTs, but also loves lying on Korg- and Moog gear.”

A misanthrope with old synthesizers and a cat? Peter Siemandel a.k.a. Zynic is the epitome of this cliché: “It was love! At first sight! Back then, at the shelter, as a tiny fluffball positioned herself courageously in front of me.” For 13 years now, Peter is allowed to live with Spooky and share the best sleeping spots and various other passions with her.” Mylady is quite peculiar. She’s sleeping deeply while Cannibal Corpse is playing loudly, loves cheese but not mice, ignores expensive toys but loves jumping into piles of packaging material, growls at the postman and purrs depressions away – while exhaling salmon/ crab breath and lying on my chest.” Spooky herself is absent sometimes, too – when casting shows are on.

Mahk Rumbae (Codex Empire) has been living with cats ever since he left home and got his first place in the early 90’s. He couldn’t imagine living without Gibby (8) and Josie (10), both rescue cats from a local shelter. “Gibby looks like a panther but is the sweetest, softest, friendliest cat you’ll ever meet. Has huge claws, but never seems in the mood to use them. When we first got him as a kitten, he used to sit on my shoulder as I walked around the apartment, and still does so today despite being over five kilos. Josie, full name Josephine, spends most of the day with me in my studio, mostly asleep on the studio sofa. She makes a weird croaking sound when she tries to meow, most likely due to some injury when she was a kitten. She likes to stand on her hind-legs and likes to follow me around the apartment like a lost dog. Neither seem bothered by the constant noise, which is just as well …”

Full House at Marcel Van Blumen’s (a.k.a. 100blumen) home as well! The industrial-punk is getting quite mellow when it’s coming to his furry darlings: tomcat Tigger and feline Floh [= flea] were both 19 years old when they crossed the rainbow bridge in 2018. The tracks Puce [French for ‘flea’] and Tigre by his side project Van Bloomen are dedicated to his deceased cats.
At the moment, Gataki, found in Greece by Marcel and taken home, and Maya, a Greece girl, too, are living with the Düsseldorfer. “Maya is my newbie, she will get her song as well”, he promises laughingly. On stage, he’s becoming a predator himself sometimes: not seldom, he’s kicking off his solo gigs wearing a cat mask.

Torben Schmidt (Infacted Recordings, Suicide Commando, Light Of Euphoria): “Minou is a foundling, rescued from a shelter. She’s living with me for a good five years, is about six years old, an outdoor-cat and my daily companion. Minou love silence and bird’s twittering. She’s pretty affectionate and loves laptops. Wherever I am, she’s there, too. And she’s quite a diva.”

Espe of the Spanish Post-Punk-/Cold-Wave-outfit DILK sent us a brand-new picture. It shows the bassist player with her two cats Gordo (means ‘fatty’) and Umi (as homage to Uma Thurman) in Corona quarantine.
“They are adopted and they are nine years old. My flatmate tried in 42 photos to make Umi look at the camera but it was impossible because she preferred to bite me – as she always does. Whenever I play bass in bed, Gordo comes to demand pampering. Umi likes to bite the wires and strings.“

Kalle Lindberg (Cardinal Noire, Protectorate): “Silja has been my trusty studio partner for over a decade. Recently, since she’s gotten a bit on the old side, she’s been a bit less interested in music, unless I’m somehow way off in what I’m doing. If there are serious problems with the mix or something, Silja will protest. She also dislikes sessions where I’m working with rough stems. Silja seems to like jam sessions with vco synths and delay textures, as she often hangs around when I’m doing that kinda stuff.“

Musician and producing luminary Krischan Wesenberg and his wife Martina are living with M and Q, named after James Bond characters and consequently British shorthair-cats. Krischan: “They just turned six. Siblings of one and the same litter, who are purring and snoring from time to time. They won’t make their peace with our robot vacuum, but I guess that’s how it should be. Also diagnosed: recorder-flute-allergy, which makes them even more adorable.”

Bonus material: The VOLT-cats (excerpt)

Now feel like having a furry companion yourself? Or just like doing something good and donating a little cat food? Please have a look at the animal welfare associations Tierheim Gelsenkirchen [www.tierheim-gelsenkirchen.de] or Straßenkatzen Köln [www.strassenkatzen-koeln.de], selected by highly subjective criteria of the VOLT crew – or at any other shelter near you!
Adopt, don’t shop! ♥


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