Contributor’s Note: Darkwave Artist Cat Hall aka DISSONANCE recently released their maxi EP entitled “Trials”, which is the second of the three EPs in the trilogy. “Trials” is about feeling helpless when watching a loved one going through excruciating pain. Even more recently, Dissonance released the final EP of the trilogy entitled “Ephemeral”. Out of Texas, Dissonance got their start in the synthpop scene in Dallas venues such as the Lizard Lounge, Curtain Club, Galaxy Club, Trees and Arcadia. Dissonance worked with Paul Robb of Information Society on her synthwave/darkwave music. In this mental health conversation with William of Madness To Creation, Cat Hall aka Dissonance discusses mental health, her music and what’s next for her in 2021. Fans can find Dissonance at the following locations:
Madness To Creation: What gets you through the difficult times?
Cat Hall aka Dissonance: I have several resources when things are difficult. Sometimes it is time spent walking in the woods. This solves most issues- time in solitude to think. Sometimes I reach out to one of the few I am truly close to. I know many people, and have several good friends, but there are only a few that I really open up with. I think most of us are that way.
Madness To Creation: What got you into music?
Cat Hall aka Dissonance: I’ve been singing since I was a kid- in choir or voice lessons- it’s something I enjoy. I began recording professionally around 1994 when I met some talented people to work with in the DFW area. I had been living in New York City for a few years, but my reason for being there dissolved. Finding creative people who wanted to work with me in Dallas made moving there the obvious thing to do.
Madness To Creation: Tell us about your current project, what were some challenging and rewarding aspects?
Cat Hall aka Dissonance: I’m a lyricist/vocalist, still recording under the name Dissonance- I was the first Dissonance, but many other bands have surfaced through the years under that name. It’s difficult to sort through us, so I’ve added my name to it on social media- Cat Hall/Dissonance. I started off with a writing partner for my first 2 albums, but life makes demands of us, and my partner decided he needed to work on other aspects of his life. I’ve since been working with as many co-writers and producers as I can manage. I find I learn something from every partner, and it keeps the creativity flowing. I no longer have a “band,” as such, but I have remained very active in the studio, releasing an album (Void) in 2017, a maxi-single (Sycamores) in 2018, an EP (Ascent) and two maxi-singles (Starstuff and Poison Kiss) in 2019, and three maxi-singles (Precipice, Trials, and Ephemeral) in 2020. More to come in 2021.
Madness To Creation: The soundtrack to your life is from this artist/band and why?
Cat Hall aka Dissonance: Probably Information Society- I started out as a fan in 1988/9, was fortunate enough to be asked to sign with Paul Robb’s indie label in 1996, and have been happy to work with Paul Robb as my producer on occasion, and with Kurt Larson on lyrics and vocals a few times.
Madness To Creation: What has been the biggest blessing and curse about going through the pandemic? How has it affected you mentally?
Cat Hall aka Dissonance: I have had more “focused” time on music, and the people I’ve been working with, for the most part, have had additional time for it as well. For me, it went well for the first 5 months- after that I noticed I actually wanted to spend some time not being so inwardly-focused. Writing lyrics for me is a very personal journey- each song comes from some aspect or occurrence in my life. Too much introspection often leads me to depression. On the other hand, my means of overcoming depression is often through my music.
Madness To Creation: Are there any songs of yours, published or unpublished that perhaps mentally served as a vehicle of therapy?
Cat Hall aka Dissonance: Yes. The majority are therapy.
Madness To Creation: Are there perhaps any that dealt with a subject too painful, that you didn’t want to release them?
Cat Hall aka Dissonance: Void is a particularly painful album for me. Many things were going on in my life during that time- my parents were dying, I quit my job of twenty-plus years, and I went through what felt like a mid-life crisis. I confronted some of my demons. I came away quite bloodied and unwhole. My meltdown was visible to those dearest to me, and it cost me. It is perhaps some of my most beautiful, intricate vocal work, and the lyrics are very raw and heartfelt. I love the album, but I can’t listen to it much.
Madness To Creation: What do you hope for in 2021?
Cat Hall aka Dissonance: Repair- healing- joy- love- inclusion.
Madness To Creation: What’s next?
Cat Hall aka Dissonance: My next release is another maxi-single with a new cowriter, Melodywhore. The song is called “Damage” and it’s a fun one. There are at least 4 other collaborations in the works as well, so it’ll be a busy new year.
And there you have it! Check out Cat Hall Dissonance via Spotify in its entirety below: