Find catharsis in their music with Bingo Queen!
Cat Valley unleash their energetic garage punk music as a way to release their pent up repressed emotions from within. And they do it with such an intense and unapoligetic style and a feminist edge that will cut you down but fuel your soul with plenty of fire.
Cat Valley formed in 2016 in Bellingham Washington when Whiteny Flinn and Abby Hegge met at a house show and bonded to form the group as a two piece before adding Kristen Stanovich and Melanie Sehman to round out the band. The music of Cat Valley focuses on Abby and Whiteny’s experiences as queer women who take on the male dominated music industry. “We hope others find catharsis in our music. said Abby. We find catharsis in writing and playing it, but shared catharsis is really what we’re all about. We hope that by talking about the topics that are important to us and relevant to our own experiences, we can validate the experiences and feelings of others, resulting in us all feeling less alone.”
Some of our biggest influences in Cat Valley are Sleater Kinney, Pixies, the Breeders, Yeah Yeah Yeahs, the Dead Kennedys, Girlpool, Speedy Ortiz, and La Luz. We are also influenced by old school surf legends like the Ventures and Dick Dale. Melanie has a background in jazz, classical, and experimental percussion and drumming and that always shines through in her playing as well. Our sound is heavily inspired by garage rock, punk, surf, pop-punk, and grunge. There’s a heavy emphasis on both vocal and instrumental harmony, lots of guitar solos, lots of breakdowns, pretty singing, and screaming.”
“The band name actually started out as a joke. There used to be this band in Bellingham called “Dog Mountain”. We thought it would be really funny if we called our band the opposite of their band, especially because there weren’t any women in their band and there were only women in our band. It was kind of a sanctioned burn (I did ask them if it would hurt their feelings and they said to go for it).”
Abby and Whitney found a close connection at a house party and the inspiration to form the band took hold. “In the early days, Cat Valley was just me(Abby) and Whitney. We played as a two piece for a long time, and even toured as a two piece. We met through a mutual friend, Tyson. Whitney used to have these acoustic house shows at her old place. In 2016, she had just moved to town and didn’t know many people yet, and she was having a house show for her birthday. Tyson recommended that she book me to play the show. We were both solo singer-songwriters at the time, Whitney playing harp and me playing acoustic guitar. We were both moved to tears during each other’s sets and ended up deciding to jam after that. Our first jam, funnily enough, took place on Whitney’s porch with her playing banjo and me playing her unplugged hollowbody electric guitar. We wrote this song called “Fuck Off” about cat calling, and her neighbor got really pissed at us for swearing, shouting “I have a 6 year old daughter” and we were like, well this song is FOR your daughter. We kind of knew from the get go that we wanted to include topics about feminism in our writing, that we wanted to play electric guitars, and that we wanted to have a collaborative writing process. I think a lot of why we ended up talking about social issues so much was because those were the things we had in common. We started validating eachother’s expereinces and experiencing catharsis in our writing, and the more we played, the more we got feedback from others that we were also validating their experiences and providing them with catharsis, too. This has pushed us further along the road of writing about political and social issues that impact us and our audience. Over the years we’ve grown louder and louder, and we are proud to be as heavy of a band as we are now. Our first foray with playing with a drummer happened after doing a Pixies cover band with our friend Sam for Halloween. Then Sam joined Cat Valley sometime around 2017, often playing a toy drum kit. We met Melanie at Bellingham Girl’s Rock Camp and she joined the band in 2018. That was when we first started to take the band more seriously and see some of the sonic possibilities that we could explore. Our first foray with bass was playing with Autumn Marceau, who joined in 2019. That was a big step in us getting heavier and realizing that we wanted to be a loud rock band. In 2021, Kristen joined the band and has helped us to grow and get tighter, and we’re so excited that she’s singing with us. We’ve come a long way and changed a lot sonically over the years, and I’m so proud of the learning journey we’ve been on. Cat Valley was the first band I was ever in and I’m so proud to still be learning and growing together in this project.”
Bingo Queen is the latest release hot off the press released in mid September. “We are so excited to be releasing our new EP “Bingo Queen” and will be spending the next couple months playing a bunch of shows around the pacific northwest promoting it. We also have a bunch of new songs in the works that we’re going to spend the winter workshopping and writing with the hopes of releasing some of them as singles with music videos sometime next year! Follow us on instagram or facebook @catvalleyband to keep up to date with us and see what we’re up to!”
“The title track, “Bingo Queen” is something of a self love anthem. It’s kind of us poking fun at our grandma-ish self care (staying in, drinking tea, playing cribbage, etc) and both celebrating and elevating the weird parts of ourselves. The first part of the EP has a similar tone, with “Mean Girls” calling out negative self talk and “Not Me” decrying unsafe gender norms and male entitlement. Then the EP takes a shift and the topics (and songs) start getting heavier, starting with “Impostor” a long grunge jam written by Whitney about the feeling of Imposter syndrome that it’s so easy to have as a woman in such a male-dominated industry. Then we transition into two fast paced punk songs “My Body” about abortion rights and “It’s Over” about healing from trauma. Whitney wrote “My Body” shortly after the supreme court overturned Roe V Wade. It’s been a labor of rage and love and is a very powerful experience played live with the audience singing along. It’s an EP that stands up for and celebrates the self, bodily autonomy, and kind of a “fuck you I’m going to thrive in spite of you” to the onslaught of oppressive politicians and policies that have been happening lately.”
“But basically we want to project a message that it’s ok to be angry, it’s ok to be upset, and it’s ok to give voice to those feelings. And when you do, it can be empowering both for yourself and for others. We want to highlight and challenge toxic societal norms, and pave the way for other folks who have been excluded from music communities.”
Cat Valley have fueled a sort of revolution with their ideas and music and energy behind it all goes beyond just making music but inspiring others as well. “Yes, I hope that by seeing us play at the level we play at (not saying we’re the greatest musicians to ever walk the earth, but we all practice hard and push ourselves on our instruments and with our writing) other folks know that they can do it too! We’ve grown a lot over the years and you can hear some of our early demos still and see the difference of what 7 years of practice and shows has done, and I hope this inspires people to start bands even if they’ve never been in one and don’t know what that looks like (which was certainly the case for me).”
Looking forward Cat Valley hopes to keep the energy and fight going and building towards better things to come. Cat Valley are sure to catch your attention as their music is going to catch your attention and bring you back for more. “We can never know what the future holds, but we’ve been fortunate to get into some great festivals these past couple years and hope to play more in the future and eventually tour. We hope people relate to this album, we hope it makes them feel better, and we hope to meet and talk to more of them at shows soon!”