For the past few years, Thee Rain Cats have been a relative fixture in the OC music scene. Known for their energetic rock, the band built a steady, devoted following. But something funny happened on the way to the summit: Between the revolving door of band members and a sound that didn't quite fit what they wanted, Thee Rain Cats realized they needed to reboot. After listening to the recording of a yet-to-be titled album, Caleb Palomo, Miguel Gomez and company knew that what they once were didn't exist anymore. They then took the bold step toward becoming Channel.
"No one really agreed on changing the name and starting fresh or whatever," Gomez recalls. "We had a good reputation, but after we recorded, we realized we didn't sound like how we used to sound. After a while, no one could come up with a name, and one of our friends said we should call ourselves Channel, which we all hated at first, then we eventually came to dig it."
The band are now honing and polishing their recordings. Focusing primarily on the improvisational nature of their free-flowing songwriting sessions in their new studio in an industrial part of Fullerton, the band come up with a core idea that serves as a foundation before building up from the rhythm section. "It's a different process for us," Gomez explains. "We don't really commit to a full idea or do little ideas and piece them together as we go. It's a little difficult, but it also gets our brains going."
Channel describe their new sound as Technicolor rock, blending vintage garage rock of the '60s with more drawn-out synth pop in the same vein as Echo and the Bunnymen, New Order and Gary Numan. It's something different than Thee Rain Cats' material.
"They were topsy-turvy songs that we were sometimes able to pull off live; other times, it was a little too much for people," Gomez says. "That's why we wanted to go in a different pop direction, and hopefully, people will stick around and not be confused."
Since the change, the band, now a fully functioning quintet, have performed a handful of shows. Though they haven't played anything from Thee Rain Cats' catalog, according to Gomez, the response has been positive. Channel have completed nearly two albums, and they're shopping around the first one with the hopes of landing a label deal. They've been concentrating on recording, continuously cranking out new material (though the band members sometimes get distracted by the nearby 601 Gentlemen's Club).
"We're more of a band that can play on a good stage now," Gomez says. "Playing parties now seems kind of crazy. We're trying to focus on playing the good stuff."
For more info on Channel, visit www.facebook.com/thebandchannel. And to purchase their self-titled EP under their previous moniker, Thee Rain Cats, visit theeraincats.bandcamp.com.