How do you explain The House Kats? “We aren’t DJ’s but we do DJ,” Chad Cox said when describing the duos music. The name derived after a show when a fan approached the duo and said, “man you cats can play house.”
In one short year The House Kats comprised of Chad Cox, aka Chad Mello, and Paul Gunter, aka Super Paul, have taken the Omaha electronic music scene by storm.
The two grew up in vastly different atmospheres, which adds to their diverse style. Cox grew up in Hastings, Neb., and Gunter in San Diego. Their influences varied as well with Cox began playing the piano developing an interest for gospel during his childhood, and Gunter always had an interest in making beats, rapping and singing. The pursuit of music started for Gunter when his father pulled him out of football in high school.
Cox and Gunter met each other through local DJ legend Mista Soull, who encouraged them to work together. The duo quickly built chemistry after practicing every week. “I could walk into a club with my head down and know Paul is playing just by hearing it,” Cox said of Gunter.
The House Kats play a variety of electronic music on four decks. House and techno are the foundation, with influence from old-school hip-hop, disco and funk. Gunter said that these different interests play a part in connecting the listener with something they may not like at first. “If I can make someone who doesn’t like electronic music like it, then I’ve done something good,” he said.
The House Kats want to bring back the feeling of the old-school music they were inspired by, but then chop it up on stage and come back to it. This unique style strives to bring energy to every set, but it’s something that they carefully plan.
Cox said that every show has a theme, whether they play for one hour or four hours, it’s all about staying in sync and captivating the crowd. “We want people to walk out after the show and say, ‘what just happened?’ We want to take the audience on a journey they can’t hear anywhere else,” Cox said.
The two like to start out their live set a little slow, and then pick up the pace about 20 minutes in. “We don’t want the audience to be dead tired after 30 minutes,” Gunter said, “You definitely know when the energy gets turned up because you can feel it.”
Having recently played Evolution (Cubed) in Elkhorn, The Kats are returning to 415 this Saturday for their One-Year Anniversary Show. 415 is special to them because it’s where they got their first chance. “We kind of just went in there after a year of practicing because we had a friend that played there, and we wanted to play there because it’s the top spot.”
Although they hadn’t played anywhere else at that time, 415 let them play a Wednesday night. After that, they were immediately scheduled for the next Friday. “We wanted to keep it smooth and keep it right that first show,” Cox reflected. “If they want the volume up or different music, whatever they want, we try to take care of them because they treat us like family.” Since then, they have built a lasting relationship with 415, and have been playing there regularly over the last year.
When the House Kats describe their fans, they are truly grateful for the response they have received in such a short time as a band. “There are so many options for people to choose from when they go out, so it’s rewarding when they choose to come see us,” Cox said. For aspiring artists, Cox suggests to just be real and love the scene. “If you like it, show up,” Cox said. He said if you stick around like-minded people and take no shortcuts, the networking will come naturally.
After a successful year, The House Kats are aiming to make 2015 even better. The duo plan to release at least 12 tracks this year. Some will be for free, but they want to hold off on completely releasing until a label signs them.
Cox said the reason for this is to keep the hype up as opposed to putting everything on their soundcloud and having nothing else to show the label. “There’s an art to the business, and we want whoever can help us the most with distribution,” Cox said.
There’s no doubt a following has been built, not only in Omaha, but Lincoln as well. While others have moved from Omaha to bigger scenes, The House Kats would like to keep expanding locally, but are still open to all possibilities.
Make sure to get down to Club 415 (415 S. 13th Street) this Saturday, January 24 to celebrate an amazing first year with The House Kats. Music will start around 10 p.m.