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About The Cathodes

Dave Forward lead vocals, guitar, keyboards
Paul Cargill bass, backing vocals
Barbara Verrall keyboards, backing vocals

The Cathodes are a three-piece band from the Tameside area of Manchester in the United Kingdom. The band are influenced by the melodies and sounds from the 80's with a small dash of the 60's thrown in. Although a relatively new band, all members have extensive past experience playing both live and recording.

Background

Dave Forward started writing songs in the late 80's and joined local band - Landing Party as a keyboard player. By the mid-90's, Dave had opened up his home studio to a number of local bands and with guitarist - Jon Dean, received some interest from a number of record labels as well as Kennedy Street Management. As part of his collaborations, he was briefly signed to independent record label "Synthetique" and remixed a track for Stress Records in 1996.

Barbara Verrall joined Dave as a keyboard player and also provides some backing vocals. Barbara has played keyboards for many years and is classically trained. She works for the NHS.

Paul Cargill has been working as a sound engineer, or to be exact, a Senior Sound Supervisor with the BBC for many years. He's worked with many artists and bands in the course of his work as well as working on various dramas with a range of mixing from Kylie Minogue to Choral Evensong to A Question of Sport! He has played bass for several bands and has extensive live experience across a range of venues from The Glastonbury Festival to the local Charlesworth Village Club where he met Dave and Barbara at an 'open mic' evening.

 

The band had been trying to find a suitable name for some time and only settled on 'The Cathodes' two days before the UK lockdown following the outbreak of COVID-19. This came after a glance at the band's musical equipment and in particular, the guitar amplifier which contains vacuum tubes or valves. In a valve, electrons flow from a heated cathode to an anode and likewise, music flows like electrons from The Cathodes. Although the band have technically been together since 2018, they've not played any gigs under the name of "The Cathodes".

 

Recording

Mad World
Due to the COVID-19 lockdown, the band have not been idle and decided to record their own cover version of Mad World (originally recorded by Tears for Fears). It seemed very appropriate for the time and this was quickly followed up by an original song called Being Lonely.

Being Lonely
The band chose to record Being Lonely during the lockdown, partly due to the loneliness of lockdown itself which we felt that many may relate to, but also due to higher unemployment figures. Dave wrote the song based upon some of the feelings from a spell of unemployment during the 80's. The video actually features part of the route he took walking to the station after signing on. The walk from the office after signing on would always bring on a feeling of low self-esteem.

Spies
Spies was probably the first song Dave wrote and dates back to the late 80's. Only close family had heard it and more recently, his brother Simon requested it to be played by the band at his birthday party in April 2020 as part of a set of songs. The band started practicing the song in January 2020, tested it on a small audience at a local 'open mic' event in February but in March, the party was cancelled due to the lockdown.

Empty Rooms
Originally by Gary Moore, this is one of the more recent songs the band would perform live featuring lead-guitarist Dave Townson who is also featured on the recording.

Time
Time is song written in the late 80's by Jon Dean, one of Dave Forward's friends. This song features Dave Townson on lead electric guitar.

The More You Live, The More You Love
The members of the band had been playing at an 'open mic' event in 2019 arranged by Darren Poyzer in Lymm, Cheshire when Dave Townson and Paul Cargill started playing this track. Originally written by A Flock Of Seagulls, it had been one of Dave Forward's favourite tracks back in 1984 so he suggested adding Barbara's keyboards and his vocals to the track. During the lockdown, Dave Townson started work on recording the track and this was mixed by Paul on 3rd September 2020 then finally released on 30th October 2020.

Dr Fell
The real Dr John Fell (1625-86) was a college dean at Christ Church, Oxford. After expelling the satirical English poet Tom Brown, he offered to take him back if he could translate a few lines of Latin. Brown twisted the translation to read "I do not like thee, Doctor Fell, The reason why - I cannot tell; But this I know, and know full well, I do not like thee, Doctor Fell". Since then, Dr Fell's name has been used to represent an unaccountably repellent person and the author Robert Louis Stevenson drew on this tradition by including a reference to Dr Fell in the Strange Case of Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde. Likewise, The Cathodes song also draws on the negitivity of the split personality with these historical and fictional influences. The track has a driving bass line with a massive influence of Trevor Horn's production work. There's a mix of distorted and clean electric guitar sounds as well as acoustic guitar. A mix of keyboards used includes the iconic Roland Jupiter 8 and Juno 60 along with samples from a Fairlight CMI.

Life In Make-Believe
Although sounding like a lullaby, it's about someone in a failing relationship who's hiding in their own make-believe world of magical innocence.

White Wedding
Our version of Billy Idol's classic track from 1982.

In From The Cold
This features lead-guitarist Dave Townson. This song was written in 1990 and although finally recorded in 2021, it features some classic analogue sounds from the 80's including the Roland Jupiter 8 and Sequential Circuits Prophet T8 giving the track a classic 80's feel. The insparation for the lyrics came from finishing late at college and walking to the next train station on many a dark winter's night, just to keep warm.

Light My Fire
The classic track by The Doors is a track that we enjoy playing. We decided it would be quite a good exercise to try and capture the original 60s sound as much as possible with our version.

Believe In Me
Believe In Me is essentially a song about the initial feelings and innocence of falling in love.

Shipwrecked
Written in 2021, this song can be taken literally about someone who has been taken prisoner by a foreign power after becoming shipwrecked or stranded in a distant country and away from loved ones. A parallel to this would be the fate of the USS Pueblo. Although not shipwrecked as such, the USS Pueblo was attached to US Navy intelligence as a spy ship which was attacked and captured by North Korean forces on 23rd January 1968. This later became known as the "Pueblo incident". The subsequent abuse and torture of her crew became a major Cold War incident. Equally, the song works as a metaphor referring to someone who has a feeling of unrequited love and wanting to be "saved".

North Of England
This is song written in the 70s/80s by Jon Dean and was the first song originally recorded by Dave Forward and Jon Dean in the late 80s. It's since been rearranged and recorded by The Cathodes.

So Clear
This originally dates back to the early 90s and was written to see how a new acoustic guitar would sound recorded. The same guitar and vintage keyboards were used to record this new version.

Tonight's All Mine
This was originally written for a musical with the setting of last drinks at a party. The musical was never finished, but we're sure the drinks were!
"In the early 90s, I was writing music with a friend - Jon Dean and another of my friends suggested writing a musical. He came up with the basic outline while Jon and I wrote the songs. The musical was set around 1905 and the idea was that "Tonight's All Mine" would be sung by the heroine at her hen party where she'd be swept off her feet (perhaps literally) for one last fling before she gets married. I've always loved playing the piano sequence and happened to play a little of it to the band one evening. They suggested the song should be included on our album, perhaps as the last track. I also felt it would fit in well for a certain late night radio presenter who happened to be looking for a song to finish on so it was recorded. There was a 3rd verse but it sounded a bit tacky and as it was written originally for a female, it was dropped. I sang the vocal kneeling down and very close to the mic to get a really intimate sound. The piano part was recorded live to keep it as real and human as possible. Paul later added a fretless bass part onto the track."



 

All music to date has been recorded at the band member's homes (due to Covid-19), transferring parts via email, then mixed and mastered to a professional standard by Paul.

 


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