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SPM Acoustics: The Hourglass Cats (THC)

SPM Acoustics: The Hourglass Cats from The State Press on Vimeo.


Self-proclaimed as a “funky fresh Latin Reggae and Rock n’ Roll” band on its Facebook Fanpage, local Tempe band The Hourglass Cats belongs in a category all its own.

The band offers a variety of cultures to their audience by incorporating a jazzy tone through Chaz Fertal’s smooth and calming saxophone notes. He also incorporates vocals, while the only female member Julia Damerow plays the dirty saxophone, integrating a rougher sound.

Aside from Damerow being the only female in the band, she also brings an international flair to the band as she’s from Germany and goes back every summer. She is currently an ASU student working to get her doctorate in biophysics, something the boys in the band esteem.

“She’s a lot smarter than the rest of us,” says Karl Maier, drummer and percussionist. Simultaneously, Cori Rios, front man and guitarist, finishes Maier’s thought, saying that Damerow is smarter than all of them combined.

Having formed two years ago, The Hourglass Cats makes up a mixture of ska punk and reggae music. Considering that Rios’ vocal chords sometimes resemble the voice of Bradley Nowell’s, this makes sense.

Before the band formed, Rios, Maier and bassist Bryan Holland were a part of a different band called Celebrate Ne’bra’ska’s. After this band “dissolved,” as Maier puts it, Rios and he became a two-man act.

The two began playing out of Maier’s garage, dealing with scorching Arizona summer heat, but they continued playing their blues and reggae despite the temperature. During this period, Damerow would sometimes join them.

They later brought Holland onboard as their bassist and began The Hourglass Cats.

Fertal joined the band last summer and was brought on tour with the guys.

“He was crazy enough for us, so we kept him,” says Rios.

In response to the kind jab from Rios and Maier, Fertal sweetens his voice and says, “Thanks guys, that means a lot to me.”

During the SPM Acoustics interview, the band cracks jokes about the noise interruptions whenever a semi-truck, bus or the Light Rail zooms by carrying with it the downtown city noise and creating a laid back atmosphere.

Despite the heat, Rios, Maiers and Fertal played three songs, one titled “Rich Girls,” a song that comes with a little history to it.

Maiers’ in a Southern drawl begins the story with, “Back in ’75…” getting the guys laughing again.

The song was inspired when the band was on tour back in August at Newport Beach. As they were walking, a group of teenage girls in a Mercedes drove by with their pop music blasting, as someone yelled, “Rich girls! Going to the beach, girl! Beach girl, looking for a beach boy!”

It took the band three days to make something out of what the person had shouted to the girls, developing a song that gets you tapping your foot and wanting to sway to the drumbeats.

The band formulates a soothing sound perfect to party to, to dance to, and to light up a workday.

The Hourglass Cats will be playing at The Sail Inn Oct. 11 along with SYNRGY, a reggae band.


Reach the writer at or via Twitter @NoemiPossible

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