Inside the combined mind of Cat & Calmell is an elevator that stops at seven floors. Each track on the Sydney-based alt-pop duo’s new mini-album, How Do You Feel? explores a different floor, or, as Cat explains, “a different little pocket, or memory, or situation.”
It’s an apt analogy for a project that plays like a love-hate letter to growing up, each song unpacking the trials and traumas that accompany women as they enter adulthood and mourn the loss of who they once were. Steeped in soul-bearing vulnerability, How Do You Feel?, invites us not just to listen, but to connect with Cat & Calmell on a deeper level as they dissect their dread in poetic detail.
Latest single ‘How Do You Feel’ which comes off the back of the recent ‘Feel Alive’ and ‘Overstimulated’, is an urgent and epically cinematic closer to the mini album, ‘How Do You Feel?’, two years of life, trauma, and healing have unfurled over 40 mystical minutes. “How Do You Feel? / How do I heal? / You never did answer so / How do you feel?” they ask on the title track, a question mark dotted with equal parts sarcasm and sincerity. “It’s like we’re saying, I don’t know what the next step is, I don’t know if I’ve fully accepted everything that’s just happened in the last six songs, or if I ever will”, says Calmell.
“‘How Do You Feel?’ kind of feels like purgatory to me”, says Cat. “Not in a scary way, just in a it’s-not-bad-or-good-kind-of-way. It’s like when you have a huge crying fit and afterwards it’s eerie and silent and you’re sort of zoned out but also hyper aware of everything. The vibes are melancholy, but you feel a sort of release.”
The stunning video shot on location in South Korea, collaborating with directors Joshua Moll and Oliver Kirby, is a captivating and evocative realisation of the themes explored in the song.
This new project comes two years after releasing their debut EP, ‘Life of Mine’, which featured Cat & Calmell’s breakout hit, ‘Dumbshit’, alongside ‘Dramatic’ which appeared on an episode of Netflix series, YOU, and catapulted them onto the global stage. 73 Million global streams later and a growing fanbase hotly anticipating their next move, Cat & Calmell scored a coveted support slot with Dua Lipa in Melbourne late in 2022 and again with Mallrat in 2023. Acting almost as a sequel, their new project excavates the experiences and issues on ‘Life of Mine’ and re-examines them with the gift of hindsight.
“I feel like the last song on LOM was super vulnerable and sort of set us up for this new project. For the most part, on our last album, we were just having fun and writing about whatever, and then with the last song the ice had just started to crack. Now, with this project we’re like, ‘OK, we’re dealing with it now. There’s shit we need to talk about’”, says Cat.
‘Feel Alive’ is out today with ‘How Do You Feel?’ set to be released on September 29, with more music to be released over the coming months. 2023 is shaping up to be something special for the world of Cat & Calmell.