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The Mac Weekly

The Student News Site of Macalester College

The Mac Weekly

The Student News Site of Macalester College

The Mac Weekly

Why should you care about Cataldo's 'Signal Flares'?

By Hank Hansen

You should care about Cataldo’s most recent album Signal Flare because it is a stirring collection of painstakingly crafted, musically diverse folk-pop gems. You should care because each song features uniquely inspired lyrics and moving melodies, and because of the striking inflection of singer Eric Anderson’s voice. If that isn’t enough to make you want to listen, you should care because Eric Anderson, class of 2008, is a Macalester graduate. Currently on tour with indie songstress (and Carleton grad) Laura Veirs, it seems clear that Anderson and Cataldo are on their way to even greater success. Despite the hectic schedule of his current tour, Anderson was kind enough to answer a few questions for the Mac Weekly:The Mac Weekly: What did you study/major in at Macalester, when did you graduate, and did you play music while you were here?
Eric Anderson: I majored in English, graduating in 2008. I did play a lot when I lived in the Twin Cities, especially my last two years of school.

TMW: What is some of your favorite music to listen to? Who/what gives you musical inspiration?
EA: I really like people who are doing something fresh in the three to five-minute, lyric-focused pop song. The Magnetic Fields, The Mountain Goats, Smog, etc.

TMW: What are some of the challenges you face as a professional musician? Did you have to actively promote your music (to get gigs, reviews etc), or did opportunities just sort of present themselves?
EA: If there’s a show I think for which I’d be a particularly good fit, I definitely pursue it. When I put out a record, I also do a big press/radio mailing. Other than that, things tend to come my way without too much effort.

TMW: How do you feel your music has changed from your first album to Signal Flare?
EA: It changed a lot. I learned more about recording and became a better engineer. I think the songs are better, and the performances too, [they are] more fleshed out creative arrangements.

TMW: iTunes reviews of your first album include praise like “heart-wrenchingly amazing” and “so good it makes me want to cry”. What is it like to know people genuinely like your music that much?
EA: It’s really gratifying and cool to know that folks are enjoying it. Putting stuff out into the world and having people respond positively is obviously a great feeling.

TMW: If you could collaborate with any musician, living or dead, who would it be?
EA: Hmmm, Sam Cooke? The Wrecking Crew or the Funk Brothers? Too many to list.

TMW: The songs on Signal Flare seem personal… does the subject matter come from your own life? What is your process for writing a song?
EA: Some are fairly autobiographical, and others are pure invention. I don’t have a set process for writing a song; the variety of methods is one of the fun things about songwriting for me.

TMW: How is your current tour going? What is the coolest venue you’ve played thus far? Are you looking forward to coming back to the Twin Cities?
EA: We played at the Union Chapel in London–this crazy old church with a very cavernous reverberant sound. That was a cool show. Berlin was also a good one, for whatever reason the generally staid Germans went nuts at that one. That being said, it’s good to be back in the states. We just played NYC, which is always a fun experience.

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