There’s nothing wrong with Christian rock – but Catholic Action definitely don’t fall under that genre. “We thought it was an unusual name,” lead singer Chris McCrory tells Music Week. “I was brought up Catholic. The songs aren’t religious or anything; a Catholic action would be something you do that’s influenced by the incredible and often funny things that come along with Catholic guilt. I’ve been in a lot of strange situations; it gives you a strange worldview.”
The rising Glaswegian band have a way with naming things – debut single L.U.V was released, by happy coincidence, on Luv Luv Luv Records. “It’s a total coincidence!” McCrory jokes. “That happened to be the label that were really into it. I don’t know how they heard of us, they just got in touch.”
As it turns out, L.U.V is intended to be pronounced letter by letter – it’s named after an area of Glasgow. According to the singer, it’s a nice area with lots of listed buildings, within a more notorious area, and “basically the song came from a mad New Years we had there”.
He adds: “I always say to our manager that I want to get as far away from Glasgow as I possibly can with this band. Not because I don’t like Glasgow - I think it’s a great place.
“I’m sure I’d be happy living and making music elsewhere, but I do think, having been around the UK a lot with this band and other bands, that Glasgow is a special place for music and art. There’s a lot of good music going on; there’s a lot of good music that’s very different. At one end, there’s a strong dance scene and electronic stuff here, and at the other there are obviously a lot of guitar bands as well.
“Half the time, some of the people that are in the electronic bands are playing with the people in the guitar bands - it throws up a lot of interesting combinations. Things are always shared; it’s great to be a musician here. It’s great to be a recording engineer or record producer here as well; there’s always something interesting to work with.”
McCrory speaks from experience – as well as being the frontperson for Catholic Action, he’s also known as the drummer in Casual Sex and as a record producer, with his own home studio, Shady Lane. It’s perhaps because of the latter occupation that he says he likes to write whole albums, rather than individual tracks. L.U.V will be followed by an EP, with an album planned to follow early next year. “It’s all written,” McCrory confirms. “We’ve recorded about an album-and-a-half’s worth of stuff.”
He notes: “The music we write is quite broad, and [the EP] gives us more time to hone it a bit. I like to write albums; I like to sit and listen to an album from cover to cover. I want to make something that is an album and isn’t just a random collection of tracks.
“It gives us a chance to make a product we can be proud of. It gives us a chance to get more people into the band before we do the album too, and maybe find a nicer home for the album, get more money behind it so when it is ready, it’s done properly.”
And as for drumming? McCrory admits: “I do miss drumming, but we’re still working together, I’m still drumming in the studio when I’m not doing things with Catholic Action. I get my drumming fix. Drumming’s very physical; singing’s quite physical in a different way. They’re both good for the soul. I don’t go on stage and wish that I was playing drums.”