L.A.-based rock band Nightmare and the Cat makes music that escapes easy categorization, blending jangly pop, bluesy riffs, and anthemic hooks that soar with lead singer Django Stewart’s powerful vocals. Catch them this Thursday night when they play Gary Baseman’s House Party to celebrate the opening of Gary Baseman: The Door Is Always Open. Stewart speaks below about the band and their unique collaborations with Baseman, who will paint live on stage during their set.
What is the origin of the name “Nightmare and the Cat”?
It is a song by an amazing artist who never got signed and never made it on stage. He disappeared without a trace, and Sam and I just loved the song and his lyrics so much, we named our band after him. I’m hoping that one day we may meet him wherever he may be.
How did you meet Gary Baseman?
We met Gary at our friend Carina Round’s birthday party. She had written a song for one of his characters and Gary came out of nowhere dressed in a giant pink ChouChou costume and asked Claire in our band to dance.
Watch a video of ChouChous dancing:
How did Baseman painting on stage while you play come about?
This was a very natural occurrence. I feel Gary has always been making art while we sing and play. Painting was just a grander medium than the usual little sketchbook.
How does his presence on stage affect your set?
Personally, everything goes pretty blank when I’m performing. It’s like a blurry rush of energy and I really enjoy just letting everything go when I’m on stage. I really only look over in between songs as I’m curious what visions he’s seeing from our music. I don’t even know if he knows what to paint before we start! I love it.
Can you tell how your music influences what he’s painting?
I can. Also, I think personality and dynamics in the band can be seen in his paintings. I think our sound is very bittersweet and Gary captures that so well.
Are you ever surprised by the result?
Check out Nightmare and the Cat’s video on youtube: