Photo Credit: Emma Swann
As one half of Cat’s Eyes – the other half being The Horrors’ Faris Badwan – Rachel Zeffira has already been making a bit of a name for herself. Badwan’s partnership with a Canadian classical musician didn’t seem like an obvious career move, but last year’s eponymous debut from the duo was so well received, it even found the future of his other band being questioned in certain quarters.
With exquisite solo album, ‘The Deserters’, ready to be released, and the opportunity to quiz Zeffira over coffee in North London, it seems like an apt time to double check that this outing doesn’t mean that time has been called on Cat’s Eyes. “No way, no way!” Rachel shoots down the suggestion quickly, “We’re always working on Cat’s Eyes, we’ve already started the next album.”
To further allay the fears of any Cat’s Eyes fans, the story of how Zeffira’s solo album came to be is one of the ‘unintentional record’. Inspired after recording an orchestral cover of My Bloody Valentine’s ‘To Here Knows When’ last year, Rachel found herself writing more and more solo tracks. “I was gonna do just a couple of songs,” she chuckles, “I didn’t really plan on doing a solo album, I just kept writing.”
Having written the record, the next logical step was to draft her mates to play on it. As well as enlisting Mel from S.C.U.M. on drums, to ensure TOY’s participation, Rachel wrote a song specifically to get them in the studio. “Panda, the bassist in TOY, he was in Cat’s Eyes as well,” she explains, “I wrote one of the songs for them, because I just wanted to hang out with them. So, there’s one song on the record, ‘Here On In’, that has Charlie, Tom and Panda on, where they’re singing, in harmony, as well as playing their instruments. It was a really great day, they’re so musical, and fun.”
The lion’s share of recording took place at The Pool studios in South London, but when it came to laying down the lush strings that are heaped all over the album, Zeffira headed off to one of the country’s most iconic studios. “All of the orchestra stuff was done at Abbey Road,” she grins, “That’s the best place to do orchestra. I’ve worked there quite a bit, it’s my favourite place to record. Every time I go in there, I feel lucky, because it is an amazing place, it’s just got a fantastic atmosphere. There’s just a lot of history there.”
Having invested so much in recording ‘The Deserters’, when it comes to the actual release, Rachel is taking no chances with a label; she and Badwan have formed their own, RAF Records. “It just seemed to make sense, really,” she muses, “So far it’s going better than when I was on Polydor, because we ended up doing all the work ourselves anyway. And in the end, no one cares about your record as much as you do.”
Rachel Zeffira’s debut album The Deserters will be released on 10th December via RAF Records.
Taken from the November 2012 issue of DIY, available now. For more details click here.