Firsts are can be a rather dubious thing to celebrate, either for fear of jinxing (if you're a believer in that "step on a crack" type stuff) or for fear of setting too high a precedent. Luckily for us, the first we're celebrating this week bears little significance to either of the two proposed scenarios - this week, we celebrate our first interview featuring a married couple! It might seems small, but it is amusing to think that in nearly 60 interviews, Catalina and Jon Galvin are the first married couple to be interviewed on the site. But let's not get too carried away with that fact, as we're here to celebrate Catalina and Jon, not the fact that they're married (though that is a fact worth celebrating). Anyway, Catalina is an exceptionally talented singer and performer who came to Now/It's' attention thanks to the wickedly cool lyric video for her single "Think You'd Fool Me." Directed by MindProFilms, the video applies some high end animation to the club-pump up tune. While Catalina holds it down as the namesake for the project, Jon keeps everything in line on the back end, serving as a rhythm guitarist, auxiliary musician, etc. during any and all of the band's shows. It's been nearly two years since the duo made the great trek from Connecticut to Nashville, but they've wasted no time making top of the line soul/world music to better cement themselves as a fixture within their own community of Nashville. Their energy was dynamic and infectious (as you'll soon learn firsthand) and made for an ideal mid afternoon chat over tacos and Tecate.
Now/It's met with Catalina and Jon Galvin at Mas Tacos in East Nashville.
N/I - How long have the two of you been married, if you don’t mind my asking?
Jon - Since June 2016 - so we’re coming up on six years.
N/I - That’s exciting. You guys are willing to come to Mas Tacos together, so it must be doing well.
Catalina - I’d say so [laughs]. We share a love for margaritas.
Jon - We gorge ourselves on tacos.
N/I - Great.
Catalina - We also have two dogs, so I’d say it’s pretty steady [laughs].
N/I - I’d say that’s a pretty solid sign. Let’s see, where to start? We’ve got the single. We have the lyric video, which is out in the world.
Catalina - Yes! It’s already out.
N/I - That’s right. So tell me about that. What’s become of it now? Once the lyric video is out, what’s next? Are you booking more shows? Are you writing more? Recording?
Catalina - We’re actually writing a lot of more - as a band - we’re working on what’s next. It’s not that I’m forgetting about “Think You’d Fool Me,” it’s still there, we’re working on post-release content creation.
N/I - Sure. Riding that initial wave for all it’s worth.
Catalina - Riding the initial wave of the release. We’re recording an NPR Tiny Desk submission, and we’re going to do that song, so that’s pretty exciting. We’ve been brainstorming, and I think we’re going to do a 360 degree Facebook video on this huge conference table at this place called Deavor. So we’re going to put a camera on a little turntable thing and have all of us sit around….
N/I - So the camera is rotating 360 degrees?
Catalina - Right. I like messing around with video stuff, because I enjoy watching it so much, so I was like “We should do this!” But everyone else was like, “What’s the miking situation going to looking like? What are we going to do with cameras? How is it going to rotate?” and I just said “I don’t know, but we’re going to make it work!”
N/I - I’m always fascinated with the NPR Tiny Desk series, because when submissions re-open every year, you see all sorts of innovative ideas, and each year after that, you can’t help but wonder what people will do to top it the next year? But I think the 360 video idea is the right amount of ….
Catalina - Extra….
N/I - Extra cleverness, for lack of a better term.
Catalina - Well, we’re also trying to figure out - we had a budget to do a video for the previous release, which was very intricate in terms of editing, so we didn’t have anything in mind with this one, but we knew it needed something. The lyric video is incredible, and I thought it was such a good way to present it. The guy who we partnered with, Juan [of MindProFilms], I just posted something, and he wanted to give it a try, even though he had never done that type of animation before.
N/I - That’s pretty dang impressive for having never done that before!
Jon - Yeah [laughs].
Catalina - And I didn’t hear from him for a whole month, so I’d reach out to him and say “Hey, how’s it going? Can we see something.” and there would be radio silence. But then he sent it and said he hoped I’d like it….
Jon - I started getting nervous when we hadn’t seen anything, and the fact that he hadn’t done one before added to it, because it was just like “Okay, maybe we could just see a small cut?” But he told us he’d have something to us when it’s done. But it turned out great. We were so impressed.
Catalina - Those little dancing animations are amazing.
N/I - I understand. Especially if you’re paying for something, you’d like to see something beforehand, at least in terms of hat your money had gone to. I can’t imagine it getting to the point of asking for as much as a text outline or a storyboard just to settle the mind. But the final video is great. It’s really awesome.
Catalina - Right! We wanted to keep that visual going, because it was such a dance-y song. We binge watched a bunch of OKGo videos, because how they do the crazy video production every time?
N/I - To the point that they’re forced to outdo the last video.
Catalina - So I was like “How can we do something low budget, easy, DIY, and make it different,” so we were working on that, but we wound up on our couch watching the OKGo videos too.
Jon - We got sucked into a black hole of OKGo videos, because we needed to see how they did the videos, where they went after those original ones. Like that one where they got in the plane and flew up into the atmosphere….
N/I - The vomit comet where there going up and then dropping down with zero Gs?
Jon - Right. Doing something with NASA.
Catalina - I can assure you, we won’t be doing anything like that.
N/I - Well in terms of DIY, that’s about as loose an interpretation as you can get.
Jon - At that point we came to realize we were just wasting time [laughs].
Catalina - It was purely inspirational.
N/I - Right. Unless you guys have an in with NASA, I don’t know if you’re going to be able to snag that, no offense.
Catalina - [Laughing] No, you’re good.
N/I - So what was the original OKGo video that inspired you guys? Was it the treadmill one?
Jon - I remember, I think that was the first one I ever saw from them….
Catalina - So I thought about that treadmill one, and then the one with drones, that they did with the dancers somewhere in Japan, and it was all one take. So then it became us studying what they do and then happening upon this random idea. I had thought about a couple of other things, but they required renting a space, or something a little more intricate or spend more cash than you might want to. We were thinking about doing a zumba video, which there aren’t many or any at all. That idea was going to be having Jon as the instructor….
Jon - Which at that point you already know it’ll be a little comedic. Because the last thing I’d be able to do is be a zumba dancer.
N/I - Or because it’s going to be how hilariously good a dancer you are on top of that?
Catalina - He’s a good dancer!
Jon - I think it’s going to be somewhat humorous, because we found a studio, so we can go in and use this legit looking dance studio.
Catalina - So if you feel like dancing in the next couple weeks, I’ll send you an email.
N/I - Well it’s funny, in high school, I finished playing basketball and then just started going to zumba classes all the time. It fallen off since….
Jon - But it’s still in there somewhere!
N/I - I have zumba in my blood.
Catalina - [Laughs] Well, we’re going to find some way to incorporate members of the band, friends, family, basically anyone that wants to be a part of the take. That song just makes me want to shake my body.
Jon - I like how it’s like that right from the get go. The horns are playful at the beginning, and it makes you stop and listen to what’s going on.
Catalina - It’s very sassy in a tongue in cheek kind of way. We’re just trying to think of ways to showcase that a little more, and cater to different audiences, because I think - I love both singles, but to me, this one has so much potential because it’s such a good vibey song that people will want to listen to in the car to get pumped up before going to the club.
N/I - It’s a good pre-game song. It’s a weird term. I probably sound like an old-timer saying that.
Catalina - We sound like that all the time… “Kids these days…”
Jon - Even at our company happy hours, people will say “Okay, where to after this?” and I’m like “I thought this was it?” It’s like 10 PM when people are asking where everyone wants to go next, and I just want to say “bed!”
Catalina - No. It’s no that bad. The last time we did go out with them, we wound up at karaoke….
N/I - Well karaoke is fine.
Jon - It’s hard to say no.
Catalina - It’s hard to say no to karaoke.
N/I - I’m a sucker for it.
Catalina - I love it too. I want to go to Santa’s Pub. Have you ever been?
N/I - I have. I’ve been a number of times.
Catalina - Is it fun?
N/I - It is. It’s a lot of fun…. How long have you guys been in Nashville?
Jon - A year and some change?
Catalina - A little bit over a year.
N/I - So there’s still plenty to take, for example, Santa’s Pub.
Catalina - Well, when we used to live up in Connecticut, our favorite bartender at our favorite neighborhood bar - The Tipping Chair - I can’t remember if her family was from Nashville, or she had some sort of tie to the city - she told us we’d love it. So the first time we were here, we were just visiting - we came in town for the Green Bay Packers/Tennessee Titans game. Jon is a huge Packers fan.
Jon - My Green Bay Packers got our butts kicked.
N/I - That’s very rare, especially at the hands of the Titans.
Catalina - We still had fun, though. I bought the tickets, and thought, “This is going to be great. We’re going to see Nashville, the Packers will probably win, and then it was a big ole nope.” But we didn’t make it to Santa’s Pub, and our bartender friend was like “You have to go.” She said it’s very dive-y, the atmosphere is great, weird, and ridiculous.
N/I - Those are all accurate. Very dive-y. There’s never a time that I’ve gone there and there isn’t some random old person in a corner ripping cigs, and chain smoking out the wazoo.
Jon - A carton of Pall Malls next to them.
N/I - Just sitting there, ready to be cracked open. And then there’s the Ice Cold Pickers, which is one of the best house bands in Nashville. They’re all in local touring acts here, but when they’re at Santa’s they’ll play all the old, classic country songs, do that for like an hour or two, and then have other people come on and play their songs, and then it’s karaoke. It’s interesting, because unlike Ms. Kelly’s or Lonnie’s downtown, you have these karaoke lifers with six or seven songs that are their go-tos, and never have any aspiration of being a big time performer or anything like that, but that karaoke song is their moment to do it big. They come to Santa’s and nothing else matters except for that particular Loretta Lynn or Hank Williams song. They’re never “fun” karaoke songs, almost exclusively heart wrenching ballads. It’s a beautiful thing as well as an unsettling thing, too. Santa’s is great. You should check it out sooner rather than later.
Jon - We always get roped into Ms. Kelly’s because it’s right across the street from where we work. That’s basically a three minute walk to get there, so that’s where everyone from work goes, but we’re trying to find different karaoke places.
N/I - So do you play in the band, then, Jon?
Jon - So I play rhythm guitar, some lead stuff every now and then, basically so she can just concentrate on singing.
Catalina - Before we moved down here - the nucleus of the band is really me, Jon, our other guitar player and our bassist, Justin and Evan. So I met Evan, the bassist, in college, and [Jon] and Justin met each other in high school, or earlier than that, in upstate New York, and then Jon and I met when we were in Connecticut, but we were never all in the same place at the same time, and Jon used to play with another band up in Connecticut, so I was just playing solo stuff on the guitar, or sometimes Jon would accompany me once we met, so it’s been nice now that we’ve been down here, the four of us have been together. So they let me stay loose and shimmy around….
N/I - But also fill it out with sound so the shimmying makes sense.
Catalina - And really create. Have fun, and create the show aspect of it. I enjoy doing the solo thing a lot. I haven’t done it in a while. I’ve been leaving it behind a little bit….
N/I - Maybe getting a little too used to the luxury of having a full….
Catalina - Of having a full band. So when there are shows when we have a stretch of time, like ninety minutes, if I wind up doing things on my own to fill, I’m a little rusty. I have definitely let that go, a little bit. I miss it, but then I don’t. It’s nice to have the boys playing alongside me.
Jon - Now that the boys are back in town.
N/I - There you go.
Jon - It’s always fun when we can get horns involved. Because so much of the full-length, before these singles - it was from 2015? It was so horn driven. She had this guy come in who was just an absolute mastermind, he had all these different horns and mutes, and layered these awesome horns in there. It just drove so many of these songs that it almost feels empty without them. We can add in extra drums or this or that, but it doesn’t really encompass the older songs. So we have this girl Julia on sax, and she’s really incredible.
Catalina - Oh yeah. We saw her at a different show.
Jon - And we’re trying to get her to play more and more. It’s just so great playing with horns. I had never played with horns before playing with her. I was in an indie rock, sort of Brand New, Thrice kind of project. So horns were just never really a thing. But now I’m like “Can we just put horns in everything?”
Catalina - I listen to so much music like that - with the horns - between growing up and now, there was a lot of soul and jazz, it was all big band.
N/I - Sure. Everything seems to revolve around filling any sort of crack or nook or cranny, so to speak, within a song, with something. So when it’s not guitar, you have your rhythm section, your melody, but if there’s any other space, you could do a synthesizer, but would that really lend itself to the type of music that you play as much as horns would? Because horns are a lot more punchy in my opinion.
Catalina - Definitely that, and to add to it, horns are just so heroic sounding. They’re sassy too.
N/I - There’s a bravado to them.
Catalina - There’s such a spirit that - no offense, Jon - guitar, or drums, or bass can’t quite reach. They add such character. I love that, but even incorporating synth - we have some songs that are more synth or PADI driven - it’d be nice to have a string quartet. It’s always going to be us looking to add anything and everything. My ideal scenario would be like the Tedeschi Trucks Band, because they had a flute player, a trombone player, trumpet, three guitars, acoustic guitar, percussionist, drummer, keys.
N/I - They’ve got someone to fill any sort of whim on any song.
Jon - They do a really good job of making it not sound muddy, either, despite having so many players. Because they all know how to play to the song and arrange things that aren’t going to get in the way. It’s the appropriate amount of filled in.
Catalina - Because that’s the other thing, you have to let the song breathe. If there’s a million solos going on, it’ll be too much.
N/I - If there’s too much, it can sound like a barrage of sound, and not necessarily in a good way.
Catalina - Our bass player actually introduced me to Tedeschi Trucks Band. Them and Sharon Jones & The Dap Kings. Evan and I actually used to work at the New Haven Symphony Orchestra up in Connecticut. He knows a range of music. He was in bands and punk bands when he was younger, but he worked at the symphony, he did musical theatre. He just has such a broad range.
N/I - So were you in the symphony?
Catalina - I was, but not as a player. Not that virtuosic of a musicain.
N/I - Fair enough. I figure I’d ask.
Catalina - [Laughs] I was a development assistant. So everything that had to do with sponsorships, fundraising, our numbers.
N/I - The things that kept the symphony going.
Catalina - Existing. That was my first job fresh out of college, or my “Big Girl” job. That non-profit thing was for real. We were a small staff of seven or six, dealing with every different type of patron and board member. It was super interesting. Just to be exposed to that in the world of music, too. It’s not that I wasn’t a classical fan, but I don’t know if I’d go out of my way to listen to classical music, until I was more exposed to it. Because after high school, I was only going to study classical music here and there. Some Beethoven here and there, some Mozart, whatever. But seeing it still alive, and the struggle of that genre to try and keep up with everything else was very interesting.
Jon - And they would put together some very good shows - they did a Brahms, Beers, and Beethoven - it was the coolest thing. I got tickets - me and my buddy went - they brought all these local breweries with beer samples, and they gave you six tickets to try six different beers, and they had an intermission for that, I loved it. Where was that?
Catalina - It’s Woolsey Hall, at Yale. Yale has the bigger concert hall. We didn’t have our own hall like the Nashville Symphony does - which I can’t even begin to pronounce that one.
N/I - The Schermerhorn?
Catalina - The Skrim Skram [laughs]?
N/I - Something like that. At least we all know what place you’re talking about.
Catalina - Right [laughs]. I’m going to start saying that in public, so if it’s wrong, that’s on you [laughs].
N/I - I’ll deny it.
Jon - If someone gets upset, we’ll just play it off as a joke.
N/I - So do you take an experience like working with the symphony and the business that surrounds that and apply it to your solo music? Obviously, a symphony is much more than five people, but are you able to take the large(r) scale struggles of a symphony being a non-profit and apply them to being an independent artist? Is there an overlap? Or is it totally different?
Catalina - I think there’s definitely an overlap. I definitely learned through my specific position and working with Eric, because he had been in the position longer. Once he heard I was a musician, he started giving me certain advice and was super nice about that. In a way, selling yourself or dealing with a proposal became a big crossover. We were dealing with thousands and thousands of dollars from grants and things like that, where as, being a musician, you’re asking people to buy your music and put their hard earned dollar toward a song or a show. Even if there’s a five dollar cover, that can be enough for people to second guess it.
N/I - How do you make the appeal to someone that a five dollar cover is still a really good deal?
Catalina - That’s a good question, especially when you consider the quality of what it is you’re getting. I’m not just doing it for people to spend five dollars, so I think there’s something to be said for the development side of funding that I learned from working in an orchestra and a non-profit. I think they’re very similar - being a musician and a non-profit - there’s not a lot of support, anything can happen, you can sign to a record label, get shelved, and then dropped like that.
N/I - And people can be quick to voice support, but not so much when it comes to actually enacting said support.
Jon - Yes! Exactly.
N/I - That’s something I’ve become more and more aware of thru talking to musicians, the fact that people get hit with that passive support often enough to where they express their displeasure in a non-constructive manner, going deeper into the hole, while others take a step back and figure out what it is they can do to better appeal and change things. So it sounds like you have a background in not getting upset.
Catalina - Not flipping a table or anything like that.
N/I - Exactly.
Catalina - I think it’s just hard within this society and the community aspect of things, because people can wind up asking for so many things of other people. I definitely used to be the kind of person in high school who would message or text all my friends about a new YouTube cover asking them to watch it. Every two weeks, I was over-saturating them with all these things.
N/I - Eventually, people just start tuning you out.
Catalina - Especially if it sounds more automated, like people are just copying and pasting, and then the relatability is lost. But you really can’t be mad, because you never know who will show up, and who will show up for the other bands you’re playing with, too. If you’re playing with a metal band, they might bring out a ton of people but sometimes some of them might not like metal music, and are just there for their friends, so if you’re there, doing something different and doing it well, they can change everything. Then they’re pumped because they like soul and we’re playing there, and now you’ve got a new connection with a fan. That’s great, and I think that as a musician, you can’t allow yourself to get upset or angry because that pushes you away from the goal, or the reach. You don’t really gain anything. If you are angry, just scream into a pillow, write it in a diary, write a song about it instead of blabbering on social media.
Jon - I think the nice thing we’ve found down here as opposed to the Northeast is the amount of support that we find from other artists. We’ll make it a point to go to someone’s show, and then they make it a point to come to yours.
N/I - There’s some social currency to that.
Jon - Right. And to me, that’s been such a huge change, because in the Northeast, I’d play shows with my band to basically just the other bands on the bill, and that was it outside of the bartender.
N/I - That happens, for sure. But there are worse scenarios that I’ve heard, but that can be rough for sure. Sometimes you can share a bill with someone and when you’re playing the other bands on the bill decide to go grab some food or something, and suddenly, you’re playing to a truly empty room.
Catalina - That’s happened to us [laughs].
Jon - Not in Nashville. We’ve been steadily building our bubble and getting out more….
Catalina - We won’t say where it was.
Jon - Definitely. But it was like, “Okay then. There’s that.”
Catalina - It’s definitely night and day. I think the karma cycle of things comes into play. If those bands were coming up to us about a Nashville show, you want to do good by them regardless, because you always want to see everyone succeed one way or another. And if it goes well, people will return favors when they go well. You pull everyone else up instead of pushing everyone else down on your way up to the top. As Jon was saying, that’s such a nice thing about living down here in Nashville as opposed to Connecticut. There wasn’t much of a scene for what I do up there, which was a big problem, and going into New York City is super expensive, super cutthroat, and generally not nice.
N/I - Going into New York City as a musician is like diving into the middle of the Atlantic Ocean knowing that there’s treasure somewhere, but not necessarily knowing where. You just find out it goes deeper and deeper.
Jon - You wind up on a rotating bill in the middle of the afternoon and they expect you to bring out fifty people in New York City, but we’re not from there.
Catalina - And sometimes they’re pay for play situations. While there is a community up there in New York, that can be very difficult, and there need to be more than just one. There was sort of a community in Connecticut, but coming here has been such an eye opening experience. I’m doing all the booking and business side of things for us, and booking has been one of the hardest things I’ve ever had to do - getting moving parts going altogether - but I reached out to this manager and said I’d love to have these people on the bill. He got back to me and said they’re a nationally touring band, but he offered all the other artists that were on his roster as well as others he just knew of, and wished us luck. He was so nice, instead of never getting an email back or a “no.”
N/I - Well that’s how you learn to deal with rejection.
Catalina - Exactly, but that was such a breath of fresh air getting a polite decline and some general advice. I think that goes back to the struggle with getting people out, the symphony stuff - in the music industry, you see so many closed doors, but you eventually stumble across the places that have their door open to at least the front room, not necessarily the living room, but they’re willing to have you in for a bit.
Jon - They welcome you, and eventually Nashville becomes more and more of a melting pot that welcomes you despite what type of music you play, whether it’s country, rock, or latin.
Catalina - I’ve really been impressed by the Latin community here in town. I was happily shocked. Coming from Connecticut and New York, where there are a lot of Chileans, I never really met or hung out with any of them, so I was lacking in that department, so much so that I’d call my mom and everyone back home in Chile, and they’d mock me for losing my accent and stuff like that [laughs]. But I had no one to speak to up here, Jon’s learning it, but still.
Jon - I’m learning, slowly but surely [laughs].
Catalina - He’s learning [laughs]. But coming down here, I definitely didn’t expect it, but Juan, who wound up doing the lyric video knew a guy who was Chile here in town, and we got linked up, and he books these shows called “Intimo” which caters to Latin music, but really just endorses a multicultural experience, for anyone that’s interested in expanding their horizons. That just opened up this whole other door to this huge Latin community. There are a bunch of Chileans here, which I never expected, and other Latin and Hispanic countries are represented, and my people are here! It’s amazing! It makes us love Nashville all the more.