Two vagabonds, on their way through winding streets, and through musical nostalgia

Two vagabonds, on their way through winding streets, and through musical nostalgia

Written on 02/05/2020
Marie De La Montagne


Acoustic Duo Black Cat's Smoking are musical strays, sometimes quiet and hidden, sometimes going full throttle like a power steam train through dry fields and rainy streets. No frills, just pure sound! It all started as a spark in winter 2017 and has since had time to develop and grow. Their sound is a mix of valid own songs and expressive covers. Following the trail blazed by the Tedeschi Trucks Band, The Black Crowes or Neil Young, Black Cat’s Smoking are vagabonds, on their way through winding streets, looking for this one bar where this music plays, the music that sounds like memories.


Marie: Black Cat’s Smoking is not only a band; you are also a couple! Tell me, how and when did music journey begin for you?

Jenna: We now know each other for more than ten years. We started in the same Rock band back in 2010 and after 3 releases we just wanted to start something different. We often sat down with our acoustic guitar and just jammed some covers before started to write our own songs. The song "Journey" (which is also on our EP) was actually the first song for Black Cat's Smoking we've wrote. Sandro listens a lot of music from all genres - actually he’s a walking juke box, you can ask him literally everything to music! And as he started to show me stuff like Gillian Welch and David Rawlings - this just blew my mind.

 

Marie: Tell me more about your first EP - the recording process, who produced/engineered it and if they have any other successes? 

Jenna: We recorded all six songs in Winterthur at the suburban sound studio with Manuel Egger. We had the songs before going to the studio and idea how they should sound and a clear direction of the sound we wanted for our first EP. Manuel gave the final touch to the songs and we recorded them in 3 days. For the mastering process we worked together with Greg Calbi from Sterling Sound in New York. He did the mastering for really big artists like The Rolling Stones, Kacey Musgraves and Bob Dylan (just to name a few).



Marie: I know you spend a lot of time gigging. What was your campaign like and what are plans for this year?  

Jenna: We had a super excited release year in 2019. We played 45 live shows through all the parts of Switzerland with our fist EP “Black Cat’s Smoking” and met so many beautiful parts of our Country and made a lot of new friends. We did a lot by train and finally both of us got our driving license this summer – this makes gigging a lot easier for us.

This year we plan to release our first album but first we go for a short break to travel in the South of United states for almost 3 months. We'll travel from San Francisco to Atlanta and will catch as many inspirations as we can get to write new songs and give the ones we have their final touch. And of course we will eat as many Burgers as we can get! :) So we plan to get back to the studio this winter and hope to release our first album in early 2021.

So, we have some gigs planned before we leave, and we will book some more for this summer when we're back. But we're super happy to have some time during our holidays to focus on our songwriting and try out our new stuff in different constellations and with some new instruments.



Marie: Sounds great! So back to your songwriting. Is your writing process a stream of consciousness type writing or more planned and thought out? Is there an underlining theme in your music? 

Jenna: For some songs Sandro came up with the chords and I made the lyrics. Or I come up with an unfinished idea for a refrain or a verse and then we finish the song together. We often take the ideas for new songs from the artists that inspire us the most. Other songs started as a jam.

 

Marie: Where do you like to create and how does place and time influence you and your writing process?

Jenna: Most of the songs were written in our apartments and in our rehearsal room. And sometimes it is really easier to write songs when you just don't feel pretty well. For us, it's easier to write about the "sad side" of life. To write happy songs with a meaning behind is the hardest part. But that does not mean we're depressed all the time - we're just not the happy songwriters.


Marie: If you could hope that your music inspires someone to do something, what would that be?

Jenna: Dare something in your life, be curious, learn to forgive and never stop exploring!

 

Marie: Tell me more about your musical influences?

Jenna: Gillian Welch, Dave Rawlings Machine, Brandi Carlile, Anders Osborne, The Band of Heathens, The Black Crowes, Neil Young, Tedeschi Trucks Band, Doyle Bramhall ll, The Allman Brothers, Jackie Greene, Jackson Browne, Jason Isbel, John Prine, Lilly Hiatt, Maggie Koerner, Marc Ford, Margo Price, Matt Mays, Neal Casal, Nikki Lane, Nicki BluhmRuston Kelly, Ryan Adams, Ryan Bingham, Songs: Ohia, Sturgill Simpson, Tom Petty Wilco, Willie Nelson, Willie Watson, Zephaniah OHara

 

Marie: And last but not least, what are your hobbies/interests outside of music? Anything else I should know about you?

Jenna: We both love cooking and food. We try to spend our free time outside of our rehearsal-room in the nature and taking longer walks on the weekends. And we do have a remarkable collection of plushies - they all have names and their own story.



Photo by Sebastian Claus 
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