Catnapp is political, and wants you to know it. When she’s not in Berlin becoming an essential voice at Modeselektor’s Monkeytown Records, she’s back home in Argentina, fighting against the country’s injustices. “In Argentina, there are repressions and huge fights to make abortion legal,” she explains. “It’s really sad to see so many in the community fighting or still struggling against the rest of the world; being discriminated against, segregated, insulted or hurt.”
Fury at those injustices has fed into the 31-year-old’s debut album on Monkeytown, ‘Break’. Released this month, it sees the producer and singer pioneer a raw hybrid of metal-influenced rave on fiercely direct tracks like ‘Fight For A Fight’ (sample lyric: “You think you’re tearing up these bitches/you don’t know who we are”).
Growing up in Buenos Aires, high school saw the young Amparo Battaglia feast on formative influences that would still have a bearing on her music nearly 20 years later. The Prodigy, No Doubt, Placebo, N.E.R.D. and Limp Bizkit were all favourites, before an older friend introduced her to The Chemical Brothers, Fatboy Slim and the world of breakbeat.
But after delving into music production and beginning to make her own music a few years later, she struggled to get labels to stand up and take notice at home. “It’s not a very rich country,” she says of her South American birthplace, before explaining that the people who could invest in music were not willing to risk money on something or someone as different as her. This prompted her move to Berlin four years ago.
“I was signed by another label in Berlin originally which was a really bad experience,” she tells us. “But then I ended up working at a club where Modeselektor threw parties and got chatting to their tour manager.” This chance meeting led to them swapping music before the label snapped up her ‘Fear’ EP in early 2018. Since then she’s played a constellation of live shows and streams including MELT, ADE, Sónar and Berghain.
The essence of ‘Break’ can’t easily be summed up – that’s its beauty. Opener ‘Down In The Basement’ has shrill synths that could soundtrack dystopian horror franchise The Purge as she delivers whispery, sluggish rap, projecting frustration and angst against electroclash motifs and weighty beats.
“I want the listener to be refuelled with strength,” she explains. “Stand up, put on your make-up, pick yourself up and get going. This album is meant to be a fuel.” As she says on ‘I Don’t Care’, “I’m not staying quiet this time, I’m smashing the door cos it’s mine!”
‘Break’ by CATNAPP is out now
Leah Jade Connolly is a freelance writer, follow her on Twitter
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