Coffee with singer/songwriter “Eden the Cat”

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Singer/songwriter Eden Rohatensky graces the Carillon with an interview

Smokin’ and singin’ / Eden Rohatensky

Smokin’ and singin’ / Eden Rohatensky

Author: Liam Fitz-Gerald

Eden Rohatensky possesses many talents.

Not only is she employed as a web developer at Vox Media–creators of websites Polygon, Verge, and Vox.com– she also does podcasts on video games called “Jimmy and Eden.” She’s also very musical, singing and song writing in two bands: Orphan Mothers and Eden and Escrow.

However, it’s her newest solo-project, Amateur, a folk album released under her moniker “Eden the Cat,” that demonstrates both her continued progress as a singer/songwriter and promise as a young musician.

Despite her role as a front-woman, Rohatensky decided she wanted to make her own music: instrumentation and all. She explains that she “wanted to be a little more independent” in writing music and embarked on crafting her own EP.

“[Amateur] was really an experiment to see how far I could push myself and what I could learn in a short period of time,” she says, adding this was a “new experience” and citing that as an influence behind the album’s title.

Recorded in her mother’s Saskatoon apartment, Rohatensky wrote the music and lyrics all herself and used Garage Band and a podcasting microphone to create the album. Initially planning a four-song EP, she wrote more songs and ultimately the nine-song EP gave genesis to Amateur.

This album is a pleasure to listen to musically and lyrically. The acoustic guitar is combined with down-to-earth lyrics about loneliness, life changes, and new experiences. Highlights of the album include “Going For the Gold,” “Sleep Alone,” and “Summer Days” and the hauntingly beautiful chant “Chorus.”

Sound-wise, think of it as Neko Case (New Pornographers) meets Chuck Ragan. It’s a relatively short (30 minutes) listen with quality making up for quantity. The listeners at bandcamp (an online music site) also agreed, voting it number one for folk artists. Rohatensky characterizes the feeling of seeing the positive responses to her work as “kind of surreal.”

Rohatensky cites musicians Kelly Hogan and Jenny Lewis as huge influences on her work.

“I don’t know if the sound comes across in that, but they are both extremely witty and forward female vocalists that do really amazing things that I’m always inspired by,” says Rohatensky.

She cites hip-hop and punk rock as other musical influences, saying the album’s “anger” draws from those genres. She also cites local musician Nick Faye as an inspiration on her work.

“He’s the reason I started playing shows in Regina and I kept at it,” she says.

Indeed, Rohatensky did backup vocals on Faye’s latest album and hopes they will further collaborate in the future.

Speaking of the future, Rohatensky says she “want[s] to do everything” and is currently planning a solo-tour throughout Saskatchewan and Alberta to promote Amateur. Helping her organize it is Moose Jaw musician Megan Nash, who was very supportive of Rohatensky. Rohatensky plans to play some shows by the end of September and wants to make some music videos. Meanwhile, her other bands are planning CD releases.

Busy, busy. Pick this album up if you enjoy indie-folk (e.g. Sufjan Stevens, Northcote, City and Colour) or are open to experience the sound of a new up-and-coming-artist.

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