Get to Know: Catholic Action

We talk to Catholic Action frontman Chris McCrory ahead of the band's set at Stay Fresh festival in Manchester

Feature by The Skinny North | 14 Sep 2016

Catholic Action's star continues to rise, with the Glasgow outfit heading out on a UK tour this month. They'll join some of the most exciting acts in the North right now for Stay Fresh Fest, a new festival at Manchester's Deaf Institute on 24 September.  

Catch them alongside Leeds' premier DIY crew Cowtown, Chester's ace pop trio Peaness, Liverpool's formidable Pink Kink, and a clutch of other great Manchester artists (Shaking Chains, KyotoyaFrancis Lung and Ethan & The Reformation); but before that, get to know 'em below. 

The Skinny: We've spoken before, so – where does 2016 find Catholic Action? What are you up to currently and how the devil are you?

Chris McCrory: We've just finished recording our debut album, so we're very well thank you! We're currently preparing for our upcoming UK tour, our new single and a rather special show with Teenage Fanclub in Edinburgh.

For prospective Stay Fresh attendees: How would you describe your sound in one sentence?

Too fun to fondle.

And how can gig-goers hope to feel afterwards...?!

I want gig-goers to don their Liam Gallagher parkas and swagger up and down the curry mile after our show, feeling supersonic.

What are some records/live experiences that have been really influential on you as a band?

I haven't really stopped listening to My Bloody Valentine since I first heard them about eight years ago. I'm sad, and I listen to Loveless every night.

Parquet Courts played a show in Glasgow on Halloween 2013 and I think that changed me. Still to this day, it's the most fun I've ever had at a gig (the records are phenomenal too).

If you want in on the secret though, kindly click on this link.

Tell us something people would be surprised to learn about you.

I am a staunch advocate of mindfulness-based stress reduction.

You told The Skinny last year that you worry you can be a dictator in the studio, comparing yourself to Billy Corgan in the process. Which historical dictator do you think would make the best record producer?

Since we last spoke, I feel I'm definitely less of a dictator. However, I think I'll always be somebody that knows what they want when making records. I think I just go about that in less of a control-freak way – it's probably healthier for everybody.

I just finished reading a book on the Cold War. I wonder what Joseph Stalin would be like in the studio. He'd probably send the secret police round to your door after the session if you weren't cutting it. I think it'd be a terribly inefficient way to make music. Wanton loss of life and classic albums haven't tended to go hand-in-hand.

We're really looking forward to seeing you play on 24 Sep, and to have several of the most exciting bands in the North right now all on one bill. Which of the other acts are you most looking forward to watching?

Thank you, we're looking forward to being back in Manchester! There's definitely a similar vibe in a lot of the post-industrial, Northern cities. So I've always felt at home there.

Pink Kink, hands down. I haven't even heard them, I just read the name and some articles. I can't find any music online, but I have a very strong feeling I'm going to enjoy them.

What does the rest of the year have in store for you?

Our first headline UK tour! And our next single, Breakfast/Rita Ora is coming up in September. We cannot wait. We're currently writing album two. (The first one isn't even out yet Chris, cool yr jets). I want it to be very much of the moment, and not something we agonise over. I want to capture that rehearsal room buzz when you hit upon something new.

And finally: What do you like to do outside of Catholic Action? Any projects we should know about/check out?

I pay my rent by producing records with other bands in Glasgow and London, so I'm always looking out for something exciting to get my mics in front of… I just finished something really, really (really) special with a band called Palm Honey from Reading. I've also just about finished a solo record – it's my attempt at making Plastic Ono Band. I cannot wait for people to be able to hear those.

Jamie and Andrew also play in a really cool band in Glasgow called Savage Mansion, and our drummer Ryan is the Scottish keepie-up champion. Umbro are all over him.

Catholic Action play Stay Fresh Fest with Cowtown, Pink Kink, Ethan & The Reformation, Francis Lung, Peaness, Kyotoya and Shaking Chains, The Deaf Institute, Manchester, 24 Sep, 4pm, £6