Name: CAT BROOKS
Mission: TO EXPLORE MIND, BODY, SOUL AND UNIVERSE THROUGH CREATIVE OUTLETS
In 2007 I went to a festival called Bangface and ended up meeting some amazing people from Reading. A few months later I travelled to Reading to go and meet up with them, and they introduced me to more lovely people. Cat was one of these people, and despite the fact that I haven’t seen her for quite a few years, I have been following her progress on Facebook.
Music has been a part of Cat’s life for a long time as she learnt to play the piano, violin, guitar and to sing from a young age. She formed her first band when she was 16 called Feral Mundane. Cat studied Art at university in Reading and it was here she “met some properly strange people who made me feel accepted and inspired. My work was varied, I did a lot of sound art and installations combining sound, lights, film, performance, sculpture, painting and photography. My final piece was a bit of a metamorphosis and self-portrait exploring language and knowledge.” She also met a lot of musicians, DJs, promoters, and other creatives who she is still good friends with. “I realised that the people you surround yourself have a huge impact on your life.”
Cat started her solo musical career in 2005 and she adopted the pseudonym Jimmy Corrigan. She welcomed the addition of bassist Holly Chapman for a few years (then she moved to Bristol) and later Danielle Corbishley, “a percussionist turned electronic producer, as well as being a successful theatre deviser, producer, and magician. Together we created an EP of acoustic and electro songs in 2013.”
In the summer of 2013 Cat realised “what you spend your time doing becomes who you are and so I ditched my finance job in order to focus on my creative outlets.” After doing a course in garden design she then decided it was music. “Learning to value myself and my music and allowing it to be more important than the mundane day to day demands of life was challenging. There were some big black storm clouds in my mind, a few were really dense and scary, but once I found my way through I felt reborn.” It was about the same time that Cat quit her job that she received Sharron.
Danielle’s godfather Stuart Shone had started making guitars and created the electro-classical Cat had always dreamt of. “He showed me his fast and meticulous progress in person and via email and before I knew it, there she was, a dream come true from an angel of a human being. Sharron was kind of an experiment show piece, but super bling with abalone pearl inlay, ebony and gold-plated tuning pegs, fishman 3 electronics, with a built in pick up and mic cut-away for easy playability. I love her so much!”
Later on that year Cat set about finding a drummer and bassist. “Vince Charles (drummer) had joined a few rehearsals when I played with Holly, we ran into each other again randomly at a yoga class and he was the obvious choice. Eddie Chilvers (bassist) and I had been friends a long time, so when I said about looking for a bassist, he immediately put himself forward. I was hesitant about having this frontman singer-guitarist whose main instrument was piano on bass, would our egos clash? Well the reality is that his musical knowledge is incredible and as Victor Wooten’s The Music Lesson explains, the easiest way to get better at music is jam with the best, even if that means jamming along to a CD!”
So Fancy Jasper was born. “The three of us have so much fun at band practice, it’s an intellectual and spiritual adventure with sounds in a playground of possibilities.” They’ve played in Reading at BBC Introducing and Wall of Sound nights and recorded three tracks in January 2015 with Ben Capp at The Island in Bristol, one of which was played in part and discussed on BBC Radio Berkshire.
Cat gets “an immense amount of pleasure from being creative and I love the place you go to in the presence of artwork and music. I’ve always placed a lot of value on intellectual and emotional growth, art and music seem to be great ways to develop ideas. I also believe that creative pursuits can have strong healing properties.”
If you want to see Fancy Jasper in all their glory they will be playing BBC Introducing at The Purple Turtle, Reading 18th March. “This year we hope to play all over the UK and at some festivals, please get in touch if you have any suggestions of good venues near you. Also if you’re interested in collaborating then I’d love to hear from you.”