Molly And The Krells frontman, Blake Cateris, jumped on a Zoom call to give Moody Music the behind the scenes stories about the Sydney band. A very chatty Blake confirms who Molly is? Hint. Dog, ex-girlfriend and Mum were thrown around as possibilities (by me), the band’s cryptic colour theme, artistic inspirations and the bromance/ admiration Blake has for his band members.
To kick things off with what is probably your most hated question, but who is Molly? Is it someone’s dog? Someone’s Mum? Someone’s ex-girlfriend?
Someone’s dog? I’ve never been asked if it’s someone’s dog, that a good one.
Molly is no one. A lot of people ask us if we are a female fronted band because of ‘Molly’, or ‘who’s Molly?’. Molly isn’t actually anyone, the name behind the band is basically that we couldn’t figure out what to call the band, we just had no idea, it was like pulling teeth trying to figure out what everyone would agree on or what was a decent name. So, we just agreed to stop thinking too much about it, and eventually it will come if we stopped trying to force it.
We got onto talking about other things and naturally we got talking about drugs and different street names for drugs, and then our drummer (Chip) said “What about Molly and The Krells?”. Because it’s like ‘something and the something’, like ‘Joan Jett and the Black Hearts’, it just sounded like a band name, so we were like “okay let’s roll with it”, and we just settled on it and haven’t looked back since.
When I first started the band, I wanted to call it Lovesick, and I thought it was completely flawless and that it was an amazing name and a done deal, and had made the executive decision for everyone. And when I put the name to the band, our guitarist was just like “Dude, it just sounds like some 80’s glam band, we can’t”, like Pretty Boy Floydd or Tiger Tails or something like that, and as soon as he said that the seed was planted, and it was like “yeah, no that’s a terrible name, we can’t do that”.
He ruined the name for you!
Yeah basically! haha. He had a point though, as soon as he said that I was like I can definitely see a band from the 80’s being called Lovesick, if there isn’t already one. Yeah so, it was like let’s not do that.
How did you all meet and become a band?
I had a bunch of different people in the band when it first started, it was just basically my close friends who were already in other bands. I was just like “Hey, I’m trying to start a band, and this is what I want to do if you want to be apart of it, or at least help me get the ball rolling. I don’t expect you to make it a priority, I know you have your own band that is your baby, but if you could play some shows and write some songs to get the ball rolling, it would really help”, and they were like “yeah no worries”.
The two guitarists and the drummer eventually had to say “look I need to take some time off and focus on my band”, cause it’s expensive being in two bands and time consuming. But this was always the plan, and it’s completely understandable, so eventually they dropped off and I brought in new people.
The band that we have now is Dan Taylor on guitar and I met him through BandMix, and it was really good timing just because when I got in touch with him, he was like “Hey man, thanks for getting in touch I appreciate it, I was about to take my account off because if someone did get in touch with me it would be for something I was just completely not interested in”, and he was getting really discouraged like “I’m never going to find a band, is there anyone out there who likes the same kind of music like me?”
And with Ian, the other guitarist, we’ve been in the same musical social circles for a while and this is the first band he’s been in, but he’s always been around. I used to watch him upload videos of him doing guitar solos or playthroughs on other songs, and I would watch him play and be like “How is this dude not in a band?”. It got to a point where I needed to find someone, and it was like a lightbulb went off and thought “Oh I’ll ask Ian!”.
We all kind of like the same music and grew up on the same sort of stuff like rock Guns ‘N’ Roses sort of music, and we just grew as a band and we are all on the same page when it comes to song writing.
Then Chip, the drummer, initially I met him on BandMix as well, but when we got in contact he was still in uni, and I told him what we were doing and he was really interested, but he said that he wasn’t sure how much time he can commit to the band because of uni. He said that in two years time it wouldn’t even be a question, it would just be “Yes! Let’s do it”, and I respected that.
Time eventually went by and we needed a drummer again, I already had him on my radar and we got back in touch and it was meant to be. Chip’s amazing and I really feel quite lucky to have a drummer like him in my band. A lot of drummers just want to sit on a stool and hit things loud and hard, but Chip approaches song writing from the angle of a song writer not a drummer, so he always has the song’s best interest at heart, he’s not just like “Oh I feel like I just want to hit the drums really hard!” So that is quite refreshing that everyone kind of understands that the song comes first. That whatever is in the best interest for the song, is the path that we tend to take when we are writing the music.
I just wanted to touch a little bit on Molly And The Krells debut Ep Relationshit, how did you guys come up with the name for that? I think it’s a fantastic name, what’s the backstory?
Thank you! I went through a phrase of just really trying to come up with those puns, just like play on words, and Relationshit just kind of stuck and the chorus was really catchy.
One of my ex-girlfriends did the whole cliché thing like “oh this song is about me” and all that, but I actually wrote the song while I was still dating her and it’s not about her. I specifically wanted to keep gender out of the song, cause it sounds like it’s about a girl, but it’s not. It’s actually about a guy I used to be in a band with and he used to be an absolute pain the ass, and just everything he did you would just look at him and it would be cringe. It got to a point where I was like “What am I doing in this band? This guy’s an idiot”, so that was the inspiration for the song. I finally woke up and ‘smelled the roses’, and was like what am I doing in that band, I got to get out of there.
Relationshit sounds like a break up song, but there’s actually a curve ball in there and it’s not about that.
Right, so it’s a friend break up song, not a romantic break up song.
Moving onto the latest single Expectations how did you guys come up with the idea for that one?
The song was finished last year, so there wasn’t any coronavirus-lockdown-self-reflection-trying-to-change-the-direction-of-the-band or anything like that. I reached a point where I was going as a musician, going as a song writer and I wanted to get out of writing songs like Relationshit, and make them more complex with the subject matter being a bit more real.
The premise of the song is basically getting caught up in comparing yourself to others and getting really bogged down and dragged under by drawing comparisons and feeling like you are losing your concept of self worth. I wanted to touch on something like this in the song because it would be like delving into researching what we know of mental illness in the 21st Century, and I spent so long convinced that I didn’t have anxiety and depression and felt quite blessed that I didn’t suffer from those things, but the more I researched it the more I saw little behavioural things that were classified as having anxiety or not necessarily depression to the point that it needed medicating, but just little traits within myself that were technically classified as having those symptoms of that illness. I was like “Oh okay this is really interesting” and had spent so long convinced that I didn’t even have it and I wanted to touch on that whole thing.
There’s this thing that still happens, this song didn’t magically fix this thing that I do, but it was a good bit of therapy to write this song down and get it out. I would wake up at 3am in the morning and be lying in bed and you know just question every single thing you’ve done in your life that leads to where you are now. I was almost embarrassed about it at the start, but then I talked to a few friends about it and they were like “dude, yeah I do that all the time”, and I was relieved that it wasn’t just me, it was great to know that I wasn’t just the only one. In hindsight, it’s like of course I’m not the only one that thinks like this, it’s such a common thing that people do.
That was the whole premise of the song, that like you’re in bed, it’s dark and you’re thinking about what you have to do tomorrow like “Is there any point?”, but then you wake up and you don’t even question it, you just get out of bed and get shit done.
I read somewhere about Molly And The Krells having a bit of a play with a colour theme that was connected to one of your band members having synaesthesia, What Went Wrong is orange and Expectations is purple, could you talk a little bit about the decision to incorporate this particular colour usage?
Yeah, so our drummer Chip was really embarrassed of it at the start, he just told us in our Facebook band chat, we were discussing what to do because we saw a lot of bands using colour themes and we were like ‘Yeah, let’s do that, it could be a cool idea’. Then Chip told us that he has thing, synesthesia, where he associates numbers with colours.
He wasn’t the drummer on the Relationshit Ep, but he was the drummer on Losing Friends, and there were five songs on that Ep, he associates the number six with the colour orange, What Went Wrong was the sixth song that he recorded with us. So, when he thinks of What Went Wrong he sees orange, I think he sees it as like this orange text in his head. He was kind of embarrassed when he first told us like how he sees it, and he was just like “Please still be my friend”, and it was just like such as wholesome moment like ‘awahhh Chip’, cause he was so embarrassed about it, even though it was a great idea and we wanted to roll with it, to use this colour theme that he saw in his head and base the release around that.
In the photoshoot I was driving around, trying to find an orange wall to take some photos in front of, and with Expectations it was kind of hard to find a purple wall, so that took a while…
I’ve got one! (Anyone who has done interviews with me, Jess, will know I have a purple wall and animal paintings/pictures in the background- I swear I have a Linkin Park and Foo Fighters posters on the wall next to it haha)
Yeah! We should have gone to your place!
It took us a while, and we ended up just getting some lights and projecting them onto a wall, so it was purple themed, that’s what we ended up doing for Expectations.
So yeah, Chip has this thing, it’s a condition, he associates sounds specifically with colours, and then also thinking about numbers. I don’t know what eight is, because six is orange, seven is purple that’s why we went with the whole purple theme with the photoshoot and the artwork. But yeah, I need to ask him what eight is cause we need to get back into the studio and record some new songs and build a new colour theme around whatever number eight is.
At first, he was really embarrassed about it, but it’s like “Dude, it’s okay, Chip we still love you!”
What are some of the band’s biggest musical influences? I know that I hear a lot of Green Day come through your music.
If ask each of us, you would get a different answer. In terms of influences, Green Day is a big one, but not purposely. When I write a song I’m not like ‘Okay, it needs to sound like this, or it has to sound like Green Day or Offspring or something like that”. But without a doubt, I would be lying if I said that they haven’t subconsciously influenced how the song came out. I am big fan of Green Day, American Idiot was the first album that I bought and Against Me!, and you can’t go wrong with a little bit of Offspring. I’m a huge fan of Laura Jane Grace, Against Me!’s lead singer, and fun fact, we share the same birthdate, so it’s like “Yes!”, a little bonus point there.
Dan our guitarist loves Sum41 and Frenzal Rhomb. Ian is a little bit more of a rock dude, he loves Foo Fighters, and we all kind of grew up with that sort of music as teenagers. We all like Guns N’Roses and even though we don’t necessarily listen to Guns N’Roses anymore, it was just such a big part of our teenage-hood so-much-so that in rehearsal someone would just play a riff off Appetite For Destruction and we would all know the song and just join in and start playing. So, we all come from that rock background.
And Chip is the one that has his finger most on the pulse when it comes to modern music, and I would be like “oh I heard this cool band on a playlist, I’ll link it to you”, and he’ll be like “Dude yeah, I’ve been listening to those guys for years!”, he’s just like an encyclopedia for pop punk, so it’s really handy to have that in the band as well because his knowledge of the genre is just amazing.
Even branching out from the genre of pop punk and the sound that we have, I’m a big fan of songwriters and those like troubadour kind of people, and the old school ones as well. I have my select few favourites that are still current artists, but then you delve into who they were influenced by, and it always ties back to people like Neil Young and Kris Kristofferson, like those ‘Great American song writer’ type of people, even though Neil Young is Canadian, but also artists like Tom Petty and Johnny Cash. I’m big fan of that sort of stuff, and lyrically I like to soak up that kind of song writing, because I find that the subject matter is very different to what you would find in modern pop punk, and I try to take that and then put it behind a modern sound like Molly And The Krells.
What is next for Molly And The Krells?
Well, no one was exempt from this, just like everyone else who had their 2020 plans scrapped and everything went to shit, we had these 12 months planned out. We had What Went Wrong and Expectations ready to go, we recorded them at the end of 2019. The video for What Went Wrong was meant to come out in April, and Expectations was meant to come out in May and then have that video ready to go in June/July, and then have all of these other new songs ready to go as well, while we were releasing those first two songs. But then, of course everything changed because of the pandemic we had to just scrap our plans. At this stage by December 2020, we were planning to have enough songs for an EP, but because of the studio that we go to only has like two or three rooms that artists record in, due to social distancing they could only have one band in there at a time, so it’s started to stretch all the dates back, and we didn’t get back into the studio when we were planning to.
Our plans have changed, and we are just taking it as a singles approach at the moment, but down the line we definitely want to get an EP out.
So, getting back into the studio and getting some songs ready to go is a huge priority, I would like to do some tours, if everything is going the way it is going and getting eased, I would like to do two tours next year. We were actually mid tour when it got cut in half because of lockdown in March, so we only got to do Brisbane, Gold Coast, Sydney and Woollongong which was our last show, that was awesome cause on a technicality we sold out La La La’s in Wollongong because of the capacity restrictions, so it was like “Yes! We’ve still got it!” we sold it out, and nobody has to know it was due to capacity limits haha.
But yeah, we just want to record some songs, do some tours and just keep the ball rolling, cause everyone in the world had their 2020 de-railed so we kind of just want to get that happening again.
Do you have any final words on behalf of the band and any messages you want to get out to fans?
Well, shoutout to my band for being so awesome! And I can’t wait to get back into the rehearsal studio, we’ve had some time off while I’ve been writing some songs and now, I’m ready to take those to the band to flesh them out in the studio.
Shoutout to everyone who reads this article, thank you for reading and please follow us on Facebook, Spotify and Instagram to keep up to date with what we are doing.
And thank you, to you Jess for doing this haha.
That was a very chatty Blake Cateris from Sydney band Molly And The Krells giving Moody Music a snapshot into the band’s story.
Molly And The Krells are
Blake Cateris | Vocals/ Bass
Ian Knighton | Guitars
Dan Taylor | Guitars
Christian ‘Chip’ Scanu | Drums
Molly And The Krells Social Media
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