Interview: Fuzzy Seo & Cat Ames
The first time that I heard “YDY” I was stunned. I had heard freshman Cat Ames sing with Beyond Unison, and knew of composer FUZZYSEO’s energy and charisma, but didn’t know what to expect when their seemingly divergent styles combined. The resulting track, released in late January, is lush and vibe-y and deeply emotional. With contemplative lyrics, smooth vocals, and exhilarating production, “YDY” is a worthwhile listen, made even more exciting because it showcases the creativity of two Bucknell musicians.
I had the pleasure of chatting with the duo and getting the story behind the track. Read on to learn more about Cat and Fuzzy’s chance meeting, the emotions that inspired the track, and if there’s the possibility for more collaboration from these two on-campus collaborators in the future.
How did you two meet? I know you’re both involved with the Bucknell music community, but was there an organic point of intersection, or did you seek each other out specifically as collaborators for this track?
Fuzzy: Funny story actually. I was hanging out, and a group of friends (one of whom was Catherine) entered the outlook area I was at. I started a conversation and found out that we both love music! Fast-forward a couple of months, we became homies and created “YDY.” It all started from our first meeting at the nature outlook, we just clicked!
Cat: My friends and I had heard of this cool lookout spot along the river. We set out after orientation activities one day to find this secret hideaway. We found it and emerged from the woods into this beautiful cove right along the water with a beautiful view of the Susquehanna. We spent a few hours there talking, laughing, playing music, sharing stories, bonding, the normal things one does when they’re a first-week freshman. All of a sudden, we heard some rustling from the path up above that turned out to be Fuzzy. We quickly bonded over our mutual love of music.
What was the collaborative process like when writing and recording YDY?
Fuzzy: I composed “YDY” in September, and put it into my archives. When I met Catherine I realized she needed to be on the track. I reached out to her and asked if she would like to sing over my track she said yes! I sent her the track and she took the next two weeks writing and composing the vocals. We were exchanging notes back and forth during this time and meeting in the Terrace Room.
In December she came to my studio, and we recorded all the vocals in less than two hours due to a time crunch, and recording only when the snow blower outside stopped blowing snow. It was all fun!
Cat: When Fuzzy approached me about writing for “YDY,” he had a rough recording of the backtrack that needed lyrics and voice. He gave me complete artistic freedom with the rhythm, lyrics, and vocals—a songwriter's dream come true. He told me that the song came from a hard breakup and it was his outlet during that time. I related a lot to his story and drew a lot of the lyrical inspiration from the time after a breakup when you give up trying to still be friends and be there for that person because they’ve pushed you away and hurt you more in the process.
When I first listened to the track, I was inspired by the peaceful yet eerie quality of the synth mixed with the dissonant chords. I saw the title and thought it stood for “you do you,” so I took that and rolled with it. The rest of the lyrics came from a lot of emotions I’d felt during my past breakups, and the coolest part was the song helped those feelings surface so I could easily pull from them for the lyrics. Writing for me is therapeutic so it was a complete joy.
I love how the song takes shape around a phone call, and I think a lot of listeners can relate to loving, losing, and not having the courage to reach out and get closure and in this case, leave that message. What was your inspiration, either as writer or producer, for this effect?
Fuzzy: This is going to be very sappy…I wrote this when I was heartbroken and I made an effort to get my emotions down into audio. I thought putting my emotions into music would help, and it did. Making this piece really helped me reach acceptance with myself, and to let go. I named this song “YDY” in September with no intention of it meaning “you do you.” Catherine wrote “you do you” in December which fit right into the title and I found this extremely fascinating!
Cat: I had no idea the song was going to include any phone call aspect. Fuzzy added it in after I recorded the vocals and I was so pleasantly surprised by it. I listened to the first version of the song while at the gym and the ringing phone in the beginning made me stop my workout to listen. The final version included a lot more phone call aspects that really brought the whole piece together and made it more relatable.
What meaning do you want people to take from the song?
Fuzzy: Whatever meaning they would like to take away, if they choose to take a meaning away from it.
Cat: My hope is that when people listen to the song that they find some sort of peace. For me, I was able to make peace with parts of my past relationships that had always left a sour taste in my mouth. In the process of engaging with the song, I was able to let those parts go.
If a music video were to be produced for this song, what do you think it would look like?
Fuzzy: Sunset. Waves. Clouds.
Cat: If a music video were to be produced my initial reaction is that I’d want to be in it. I picture it being very minimalistic, and telling real stories of all kinds of couples that have experienced loss and rejection from by their partners.
Who are your biggest musical influences?
Fuzzy: Mother Nature. Too many to list!
Cat: Some of my biggest musical influences are Allen Stone, Vampire Weekend, Hippo Campus, Ben Howard, Etta James, Bon Iver, Iron & Wine, and Alabama Shakes.
Who – or what – are you listening to right now?
Fuzzy: Max Richter and Bonobo.
Cat: Right now I am living through my Discover Weekly playlist on Spotify. Some of my favorite new “discoveries” include “The Greatest Impression” by Sparkadia, “Grows Old” by Thirdstory, and “Nobody Loves Me Like You” by Low Roar.
How do you hope to grow as a creative person?
Fuzzy: I am constantly working on becoming a better median for creativity to flow through and to continue to let go.
Cat: I hope to grow as a creative person by exploring all perspectives (whether I agree with them or not) through music, education, theatre, and more. I believe exposure is the greatest creative fortifier.
Can we expect any more exciting collaborations or projects from you in the future?
Fuzzy: Only time will tell, but I am currently working on a multipart project, which will debut in November 2017, so keep your ears open!
Cat: I hope to collaborate with Fuzzy again in the future! YDY was definitely a benchmark accomplishment for me and it was truly so much fun so I would love to collaborate again.