Quarantunes with Feralcat and the Wild | Music | Pittsburgh | Pittsburgh City Paper
click to enlarge Feralcat - PHOTO: NICOLETTE KALAFATIS
Photo: Nicolette Kalafatis
We're stuck at home. Musicians are stuck at home. We're looking for entertainment. Musicians are looking to entertain. So City Paper is working with Pittsburgh artists and bands to bring you Quarantunes, a series of at-home performances to bring a little enjoyment to your day.

In June of last year, Roger Rafael Romero, who creates music under the moniker Feralcat, performed with his band (the Wild) at a double-release party alongside funk-outfit Starship Mantis. Romero was debuting a self-titled EP, and the show at Mr. Smalls Theatre was the first time Feralcat and the Wild played the music together as a full band. Made up of Romero (saxophone), Drew Bayura (guitar), Brandon Lehman (guitar), Caleb Lombardi (keyboard), Christopher 'Trip' Trepagnier (bass), and Allen Bell (drums) β€” the group has not played together since then. Well, until the video below.

"Anselm the Wise" is the first single performed and released since the Feralcat EP. Romero submitted it for today's Quarantunes, in addition to NPR's Tiny Desk Concert.

"I'm currently in the process of writing a full-length record," says Romero, who wrote the new track. "Our NPR Tiny Desk video is a live recording of my new song, 'Anselm the Wise,' and is meant as a preview of the record to come. I feel like my music is getting heavier. There's plenty of fun rhythms and cool grooves, but I feel like I'm really coming into my voice as an artist/composer with these new songs."

Although Romero's musical influences have always been all over the place, lately, he's has been drawing inspiration from video game soundtracks and some heavy hardcore and metal. The hope is for Feralcat and the Wild's new album to drop in the fall, "pending our release from this statutory imprisonment," says Romero, and will be called Mixed Culture Kids.

"Outside of Feralcat and the Wild, I've been working on writing/producing my own solo tracks as Feralcat," says Romero. "The vibe is VERY different
β€” definitely more jazz, lo-fi, and sensual. There's no plan for this at all β€” writing this stuff feels like my brain is making a sub-conscious over-correction. Feralcat and the Wild is bombastic, in-your-face powerhouse music, so the solo Feralcat tracks are the ying to it's yang."

Watch the video for "Anselm the Wise" and find out a little more about Romero below.

What's been your favorite thing to do while home?
I got Animal Crossing: New Horizons on launch day and I've been spending my time ripping away at the capitalist establishment board by board. Basically, I've been hiding away in this wholesome fantasy world doing things that I'd never actually do in real life, like go fishing or building a fence πŸ˜‚

Name a song that you feel encapsulates our current state.
The first song I think of is "Great Indoors" by John Mayer. It feels like a wholesome take on isolation, from a perspective I both admire and feel akin to. I've always been an indoor cat (irony) and, although times are rough (understatement), I can sit in calm satisfaction admiring the things I'd normally take for granted in my own home. His song reminds me that I can still exist as a musician while I'm idle; I can explore creatively with the tools I'm stuck with. In my mind, this time is a call to action to all who have always wanted to do something but were burdened by a busy schedule and societal calls.

"Check your pulse, It's proof that you're not listening to / The call your life's been issuing you / The rhythm of a line of idle days"

If you could go one place right now, where would it be?
I would go to my Animal Crossing town and live my best life πŸ˜‚. In reality, I'd want to go places where I can meet the international fans I've garnered on Spotify. I've wanted to travel to Mexico, Japan, and Brazil for most of my life. COVID-19 wasn't what stopped me before, but it sure as hell is stopping me now. When this is all over, I won't be taking travel for granted ever again.

How can people support your music during this time?
To support me directly, you can go to [my website] to buy CDs, T-shirts, and digital downloads of anything Feralcat that currently exists. I'll be sharing some sweet new merch items in the near future, so keep an eye out for that. Bandcamp also has some of the same options, so if you're used to that platform then you can support me there!

Stream. Stream. STREAM! This part is easy β€” just leave my music silenced on repeat overnight! Don't just do it for me β€” make a playlist of your local favorites (or find one) and keep the music going while you're idle. It's not much effort on your part, and it makes a huge difference for artists like me.

Want to participate in CP's Quarantune series? Reach out to Jordan at jsnowden[at]pghcitypaper.com.

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