Austin quartet Wildcat Apollo blends garage and psych sounds, prepares for new album

Jenna Million

With influences of shoegaze, psychedelia and garage, local band Wildcat Apollo finds it difficult to define its music — but that’s how the quartet intends to stand out.  

“The garage and psychedelic scene is so popular here,” Wildcat Apollo’s guitarist Taylor Eichenseer said. “When we first started the band, we were playing more like that, but we wanted to be an artist that innovated and did things differently.”

Long before the band officially formed in 2012, drummer Alex Margolin grew up playing music with band members and brothers Taylor Eichenseer and Aaron Eichenseer. After graduating from college, they founded the band when Taylor Eichenseer met Cat Tassini, the band’s vocalist and keyboardist, in Brooklyn. Once Tassini was on board, the group decided to reconnect with their roots and move back to Austin this past January.  

“People are a lot more friendly [here] and want to help you out,” Taylor Eichenseer said. “It’s more of a community here.”

With the band’s second album in the works, Margolin and Taylor Eichenseer said writing their latest project was no different from their debut self-titled album released in 2013. They said they have already solidified their sound.

“The members of the band all have very different tastes in music, so that’s what comes through,” Margolin said. “It’s more like experimental in what type of music we play.”

In 2013, Wildcat Apollo won the John Lennon Songwriting Contest’s Grand Prize for the rock category. Taylor Eichenseer said the band’s writing process produces a mixed bag of songs. While they give each song the attention it needs, he said they don’t force the creative process.

“If the song wants to live, and it’s strong enough to filter through our process [it will make it on the album,]” Taylor Eichenseer said. “It should excite. It should inspire people to create.”

The members said they often have to revisit finished songs. They said deciding if a song is strong enough to make it on their record, it comes down to the final stages.

“You have to follow your instincts,” Taylor Eichenseer said. “We have a really strong group where everyone contributes to the creative process. Our music ends up being a collage of our influences.”

Taylor said the group knows the struggles of being a young band. Both of the band’s albums have been self-funded and produced.

“You can’t really expect to make any money off of it for a while,” Taylor Eichenseer said. “You really have to expect that if you want to put out legitimate records. You have to invest in the project.”

The band will perform July 30 at Lamberts Downtown Barbecue. Wildcat Apollo’s members said they have plans for a music video and hope to have KUTX pick up a song from their forthcoming record. For the longterm, Taylor Eichenseer said they want the band to be sustainable.

“Every band wants to make it,” Taylor Eichenseer said. “We don’t want to be rock stars, but we want to make records and play live music.”