Haggard Cat @ 2000trees 2019 (The VH Interview)

I sat down with Haggard Cat’s Matt Reynolds for what shaped up to be the most random-but-fascinating coversation any attendee of 2000trees Festival had all weekend. Eating plant fertiliser, overdosing on water, and aggressively requesting Nickelback at silent discos – there’s not an underrated topic on earth that we didn’t discuss.

Your set was fantastic, what was your personal highlight?

Thank you very much, first of all. That’s really kind of you. We played two new songs, which was massive. That was the best reaction to any of the songs in the set. I enjoyed the whole thing, but the first new song we played, we sang the chorus one time, and that was it, we had a singalong for the rest of the song, and I’ve never experienced that anywhere. I think that’s kind of unique to 2000trees as well, is how much people put into learning and listening to the bands, regardless of the size of the band. They’re really invested.

People here are real music fans; it seems to be a festival for people who really do enjoy music.

It sounds like a really silly thing to say, but it’s absolutely a music fans festival. It’s a muso festival, right?

I like that term.

Also, second favourite bit in the set – we had a confetti explosion at the end of our set; we did it in a new song as well, which was stupid. We didn’t quite convey when the confetti explosion was supposed to start, so I was just ramping up for the big climax of the song, and as I was going into the quietest bit, loads of confetti shot me in the face. And that was just hilarious to me, and that was my second favourite part.

I feel like that should be the first favourite part. You don’t get hit in the face with confetti every day. That’s a special occasion.

I think the in-joke from now on is that that’s where the confetti always goes off. Just before everyone’s expecting it.

That should be a staple of every show you ever do.

And then I just come on stage with a broom, sweeping the stage like, “Sorry! This doesn’t happen to me all the time.”

Except it will, every night because that is now the staple of your set.

I’m setting myself up for a fail.

Or greatness.

Maybe greatness. Maybe that’ll be a thing that people come back for. “Oh, he’s gonna do the thing.” Or, “He’s not gonna have any control over the thing. It’s just gonna happen, and he’s gonna look like there’s egg on his face.”

It’s a selling point! So, it’s only the very start, but what has been your highlight of 2000trees so far in general? Away from your set.

Away from the set, I caught three songs of Frauds, because we overlapped by five minutes and I had to pack things down, but I caught the last three songs, and it was absolutely amazing. They’re so, so good. It’s always about the atmosphere with 2000trees. There’s no atmosphere like it. It’s music fans supporting music fans, and even the bands themselves are made up of people that love music too; that is palpable. And also my favourite part is that last year when we played, we played first thing on the last day, which meant we couldn’t party for the entire thing. Whereas this time, we played quite early on, on the first day, so after we’re done with this, it’s beers o’clock!

Now it’s party time!

And silent disco, as well!

I was literally just about to ask, are you looking forward to the silent disco?

I love a silent disco!

Are you doing the pop at the Main Stage or the rock at The Cave?

I’m doing both! I’m gonna float. I’m gonna be a cheeky little floater. I’m so looking forward to it. I’ll be the one that’s upside-down.

Same!

Well, we’ll look the right way around to each other, then.

What did you have for breakfast?

Nothing! I missed breakfast because we had to get here pretty early. Never miss breakfast, always eat breakfast, most important meal of the day. Stay healthy. Stay full of nutrients. Stay hydrated. They’re the big three, I think. So don’t follow my example by any means. I’m not proud that I missed breakfast.

You’re not promoting an unhealthy lifestyle.

I’m unhappily promoting. But once the set was done and I felt like I was about to keel over, there’s a company from Brighton here called Happy Maki; they do- it’s basically a sushi roll, but they don’t chop it up, so it’s basically half sushi roll, half burrito. A big, big wrap of seaweed with loads of rice, fake chicken in there, peppers, avocado. All the good shit. Happy maki, you look out for Happy Maki. Even though it happened at like 3 pm, I’m gonna call it brunch. In more responsible answers, I had a lovely sushi wrap made by the independent business, Happy Maki. Big sushi; if you like burritos and sushi but have an indecisive mind…

That is me! They’re my two favourite foods. This is what I’m gonna eat for the rest of my life now. Every day. Breakfast, lunch, dinner.

If I could have a constant stream of that… What did you have for breakfast?

I haven’t eaten today, yet.

No!

Cider was my breakfast. And toothpaste. Toothpaste and cider was my breakfast.

Well, you’ve got two of the food groups there. Apples, that’s a fruit. You got one of your five-a-day, probably. Mint, technically a vegetable; also one of your five-a-day. Fluoride, however… not great for you. Try to have less fluoride in your diet. Less fluoride and more mint.

Probably a bit less sugar, too.

Oh yeah, cider, I guess. We’re in Cheltenham now, we’re technically in the West Country; it’s time to embrace our surroundings and eat cider for breakfast!

There’s also lots of lovely, lush-looking grass that we could graze on.

That’s me later, after the silent disco when I’m upside-down. Like, “What’s this delicious green stuff in my mouth? I’ve lost the power of deciphering delicious food from the grass that we’ve all been walking on all day.”

Just don’t do it near the Forest, it’s very muddy. Well, not really mud, it’s more dirt.

Nutrients!

Nutrients! I mean, if vegetables grow in dirt, then if we eat dirt, it’s the same thing.

Exactly! I wouldn’t even mention fertiliser at this point because then things get a little bit too dark. And specialist, in a strange sort of way.

Yeah, you’d probably sound like a farmer; like you know your shit about agriculture.

A farmer, or a pervert. Oh no, I’ve kink-shamed [laughter]. If that’s what you’re into, then go on! To everyone: you do you. As long as you’re not hurting anybody else. Just make yourself happy. Don’t affect anyone else, and then I am on board. I feel like I’ve been influenced slightly, I don’t know if you’ve heard, but there’s a new series of Stranger Things out.

Ugh! All everyone is talking about is this.

So, you haven’t watched it? Do you plan to?

I do wanna watch it.

It’s completely worth the catch-up, though; it’s really great. But there is a scene where fertiliser is being eaten by an old lady, and that’s just… flashbacks of the whole thing. You’re a product of everything that you’ve watched and taken in and consumed over the years.

I haven’t watched Game of Thrones, and apparently, that’s really weird, too.

I haven’t watched Game of Thrones, either!

You are the only person I’ve met who hasn’t watched Game of Thrones!

What an un-cool duo we are. Against the grain!

I just don’t care to watch it. I don’t want to watch it.

Yeah, it doesn’t appeal to me.

I mean, I’m not into dragons or incest, so…

I’m on board with you; I like you.

Same!

[Bottle of water falls over on the table]

And the water also feels the same. I think it’s had a bit too much cider.

The water’s on side. Thanks, water.

Apparently, you can overdose on water.

No! What, like, drown yourself from the inside-out?

Yeah!

That’s fascinating.

I think it would have to be a lot of water.

So, my advice earlier of hydration, maybe that should be taken with a precursor.

I feel like you’re just giving bad advice all round.

Enjoy water… in moderation. Where’s the public service announcement for that?

I’ll put a disclaimer at the end of this interview; it’ll be fine.

Enjoy everything in moderation. Water, grass, fertiliser. Everything in moderation.

Everything is fine in moderation.

Ok, we have a new message. It’s like Sesame Street. Today’s episode was sponsored by… moderation.

So, we’ve talked about the ground and fertiliser, so it feels a bit weird now to talk about music, but I’m gonna drop it in. All your music videos are very creative, what inspires you to make them?

I guess I love music videos. From being a kid, the bands that I first got into were the ones that had a really great video clip attached. That is what would inspire me to tug on my mum’s trouser leg and be like, “I want that”, and there’d be a picture of a band I’d seen in the video like, “Can I have this single, please?” So I guess it’s always been really important to me. Inspiration-wise for the content of them, I guess just what’s around us all the time. We’re all kind of like machines that are taking in information all the time. It’s all just an amalgamation of what’s been going on around you, mixed up with a brain that doesn’t quite remember things properly and makes their own- the little in-between bits of the sentences are all filled in but the randomness that the brain creates.

That explains it really well.

So yeah, I just love music videos. I do think it’s really important. And it’s really important to actually say something with a music video and make something that someone hasn’t seen before, and to be another artistic output, because otherwise, what’s the point of it being there? It has to have a point.

Do you think the artistry of a music video has been lost in this day and age?

I think sometimes. Some bands do incredible music videos, and some bands don’t. I think we’re at a stage now where there’s just so much information everywhere, that there’s a bit of everything. Some people don’t pay attention to what they’re doing and think, “Ah, this is something that we’ve gotta put out because it has to be there; it has to be a single; it has to be a music video; we have to do a PR campaign.” Although some bands take the other route, which we do, and go, “Wouldn’t it be fun if we made this; if we actually added an extra demotion to the music that we’re making.” That’s what turns me on about music; that’s what gets me excited.

I mean, if you’re into that then you do you.

[Laughter]

Great music videos-wise though, Frauds just put out a new music video to their song called ‘Putin’s Day Off’ and it’s the best music video that I’ve seen in ages!

When you think back to when music videos first really became a big thing, because it cost so much money to make one, they all put so much effort into it. Nowadays it’s so different; you could film one on your phone if you wanted to.

Exactly, yeah. I think there’s less prestige behind having a music video [now]. So yeah, people don’t have it as their pet project. I guess the pinnacle of that was Guns N Roses doing music videos; they would have [a] multi-million-pound budget and at one point Axl Rose would be out at sea; at another point, he’d be in a church with a piano; then Slash is on a hill set in some other location.

What’s your favourite music video of all time?

The best music video of all time is by a band called Down I Go, and it’s a song called ‘Poseidon’. And it’s all very much homemade, and they make their own theatre; it’s like vaudevillian theatre, almost, but they’re all dressed up as Greek Gods in it. There’s sailors involved; there’s waves; there’s thunderstorms, but all made with cardboard like you would if you [were] at school. Watch that video, I think you’ll see what I mean. It’s amazing. It could not be any better than it is; it’s perfect.

Last question. You’re at the silent disco. Nickelback is on one channel; Coldplay on the other. Who do you choose?

Nickelback all the way! Don’t even drop a second on that, it’s Nickelback. Chad for life!

I would choose the same. I hope they play Nickelback tonight.

I’m gonna really aggressively request it until it happens.

I will also really aggressively request it until it happens!

We’re a two-person team just heading up the Nickelback. Bring back Nickelback. Everybody needs to stop shaming Nickelback and their fans. They’re a completely viable band. Isn’t that what we’re all striving for? [Laughter]

They probably inspired a lot of people to be rockstars.

I owned Silver Side Up when I was 13 years old, and that was the pinnacle of music for one glorious summer. Bring back Nickelback!

Coldplay can stay where they are.

Coldplay, you’re fine. I understand your place here, but I’m gonna listen to Nickelback because they don’t make me want to chew off my own ears.

And they don’t have members that consciously uncouple. Because that’s quite annoying. Chris and Gwyneth couldn’t just divorce like a normal couple. And they called their kid Apple. I mean, I know you should eat healthily, but that doesn’t mean you need to name your children after fruit.

In a hypothetical world, [what’s your] first child’s name?

Cider! It’s the 2000trees version.

No! Dark Fruits! Dark for a first name, and then Fruits as a middle name!

“This is your sister, Dark Fruits.”

[Laughter]

Yes! This is the life I envision for myself!

It’s a Bond villain waiting to happen. “Sorry for ruining your life, Dark Fruits. It all came from a conversation at 2000trees.”

Catch Haggard Cat at Burn it Down Festival on August 31st. Watch the video for ‘Goldberg’ off of new album ‘Challenger’ below:

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