Singer and songwriter Cattski Espina plays guitar, harmonica, and a bit of piano. She can also mouth-trumpet. In the local music scene, she is remarkable for her raw, powerful voice and her lyrical, straightforward way of writing songs.
Cattski likes to say that she doesn’t just write songs—she nurtures them. By this she means that she brings them to life in a recording studio and turns them into the kind of music that people play on their digital music players.
With her band, Cattski made a total of three albums in a span of nine years and then stopped. She did not stop making albums, but she stopped being in a band. The first album she produced with the band was a self-titled debut EP in 2001 followed by Vacuum My Inside in 2004, and Sound Minds Speak Volumes in 2009. The band bearing her name officially disbanded in 2010, after a decade of music and performances. The band’s front woman paid tribute to their fellowship by releasing an anniversary album. It’s a retrospective compilation of their most memorable songs and is aptly titled Cattski Ten.
During her years in a band, Cattski collaborated with other songwriters, one of whom is Ian Zafra of the well-known local band Sheila and the Insects. Together, the two of them released an EP album with the title Kismet: The Singles. Aside from the three versions of the song “Kismet,” the album included an acoustic piano version of Cattski’s song “Being Good” from Sound Minds Speak Volumes, as a bonus track.
Two years after going solo, Cattski is more self-assured. Her fourth full-length studio album and first official endeavor as a solo artist is called 0:00:00 and she thinks of it as her best work yet. When you pronounce the album’s title aloud, you can just say “zero.” The album was released on June 22, 2012.
Cattski spent two years creating the album. The whole of the first year was devoted to facing fears, feeling unpleasant things and writing them all down. Through this process, she let the unpleasant transform into the pleasant, because the songs on the resulting album carry endearing qualities whereas on the past albums, Cattski may have sounded like life beat her black and blue.
The second year of creating the album was all about building the music into layers upon layers of sonic waveforms with co-producer Jad Bantug (owner/engineer of 1032 Recording Studio), though one of the album’s songs, “Small Things,” was co-produced by Jay Young. Cattski called the digital production process by far the most fun thing she had ever done, even if it was a roller-coaster journey.
Cattski wants to spend her life feeling things and making music out of those things. Most definitely, she wanted to dedicate the next twelve months after the album’s release to putting 00:00:00 out there on the World Wide Web so that the music will find its way to listeners’ ears, then to their hearts. Speaking of ears, Cattski said that you can experience the album’s music better if you put on a pair of earphones to listen to it.
Mel Libre, editor and publisher of Cord, a music magazine online, made Cattski the magazine’s cover story for its July 2012 issue. He also mentioned in his column for the Sun.Star that he was acquainted with Cattski back in the days when she and the band were on NU 107’s In the Raw, which he had been in charge of when he was one of the station’s disc jockeys. Back in those days, Cattski told him that she and the band didn’t want to put their music on the Internet, for fear that their songs would be pirated. Luckily, many people in the music business have adapted since then, and Cattski is no exception.
Conceptually, 00:00:00 can be thought of as a departure or a starting-over. Cattski said in Cord magazine that she gave up her old self for the new. The album title is in the format of a digital clock representing zero because a lot of digital and electronic elements went into it and its distribution is exclusively digital.
For more information about local artist Cattski Espina, you can visit cattski.com and, from there, find the links to buy 00:00:00 from Web sites like Bandcamp, iTunes, CD Baby, Amazon, and Indie Music Philippines. If you Like the album on Facebook or Tweet about it on Twitter, then you can have it for free. In effect, it takes zero to get zero. If you really like the music, Cattski asks that you share it to your friends and let it travel from you to them. Music lovers will not have to look for the album in the stores. You can also connect with this talented local musician through the leading social network when you go to facebook.com/CATTSKI