Music Q&A:
Cattle & Cane

Led by Joe and Helen Hammill the North East family band head out on tour in support of their new album Mirrors next month. Helen tells us she's looking forward to trying the north's best cuisine

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What informs your songwriting?
Our debut album Home was quite introspective and built around personal experiences but with Mirrors we’ve taken more inspiration from what’s going on around us. Through touring and recording, we’ve visited a lot of new places, in a lot of new countries and it’s hard not to be inspired by the things you do and the people you meet. Musically, as siblings we grew up listening to The Beatles and lots of 1970s stuff like Gerry Rafferty, 10CC, James Taylor, Joni Mitchell and ELO. My favourite era is the 1960s though – I love Brigitte Bardot, Pattie Boyd, Jane Birkin, the Supremes and anyone who wore their hair big and skirts short! They look so glamorous, yet effortless.

How have you evolved as an artist over the years?

We’ve matured and developed our sound over the years without doubt. For Mirrors we’ve tapped into some new sounds that we’ve never experimented with before, which was exciting and fresh for us. We did a lot of pre-production for this record that we’d never done before, so we had a much better idea of how we wanted the songs to sound before we got into the studio. I think Joe’s developed as a songwriter too. He’s written with quite a lot of other acts over the past couple of years and I think that’s really brought out the best in his writing for us too.

What are you up to at the moment artistically?
We’re preparing for our headline tour this May and working hard behind the scenes in preparation for the release of Mirrors on 28 April. Aside from that, we’re writing a lot and recording lots of new demos. We love creating, so we never stop doing that and we’re really pleased with how some of the new material is sounding.

What’s on your rider?

We love trying the local delicacy so we always put on the rider we’d love to try a local beer/snack. We’re always grateful to be looked after so well by promoters, but we’re not big lager drinkers so getting a few cans of generic warm lager isn’t always ideal for us. It’s amazing when we get to try something a bit more connected with the area we’re playing.

Tell us your most embarrassing or surreal experience.

Where do we start? There’s too many to mention but the time our brother Fran introduced himself to Dermot O’Leary as Helen is probably the best place to start – and finish. That was pretty embarrassing, although it was also a pretty good ice-breaker with Dermot.

What song do you wish you’d written?
You Can Call Me Al.

What’s your worst lyric?

It’s not fair for me to answer this one as Joe writes most of the lyrics. Can I just say that he’s never written a bad lyric? I can say that, right?

Cattle & Cane play Liverpool Buyers Club, 2 May; Leeds’ Wardrobe, 6 May; and Manchester’s Gullivers, 9 May

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