Playful Magazine hangs out with Ampi Battaglia, AKA Catnapp to talk about her new album, her connection to Berlin and to stay true to yourself.
By: Filip Sandström Beijer
Photo: Daniel Iglesias
With a one way ticket to Europe from South America, Catnapp fell in love with Berlin the moment she arrived for the first time. Playful meets with Ampi Battaglia when she’s in the middle of preparing for the new album which according to the artist herself is the best so far.
Born and raised in Buenos Aires, Ampi Battaglia, AKA Catnapp moved to Europe to invest wholeheartedly in music. With a Spanish passport, she avoided the visa process and was able to quickly settle in London, which was the first stop when she left South America in 2015.
"I wanted to leave Argentina so I bought a one way ticket to London. Then I created a small tour by myself in different European countries to check it out and see what felt best. But after I stayed in London for a couple of days, I did not really feel the vibe. So when I started to travel, I arrived in Berlin and when I did I felt completely at home. It was a mix of the general environment, the amount of things that was happening all the time and how open it was, and is, to everyone in general. "
The difference from Buenos Aires was noticeable when she started to get to know her new hometown.
"I changed from living in one country with one type of cultural mindset, to a city where a lot of people come from different places. But another change was the nature in Berlin, I like it very much. There is actually a lot of green here. The lakes, huge parks in the middle of the city. That is very rare in Buenos Aires. So for me the people and nature were a perfect combination. And then I liked the fact that you did not have to work 9 hours a day, and you would still be able to pay the rent."
It has now been seven years since Ampi moved to the city and even though she still feels at home, it happens that she gets bored when being in the same environment all the time. Maybe we also have the pandemic to blame.
I love parties but when you have a party every day, it's just a party, like Miley Cyrus very wisely said.”
"When I get used to something, I get a little bit bored. I am easily getting comfortable in the place I am, but I feel now that there is something missing, like my driving force. I love parties but when you have a party every day, it's just a party, like Miley Cyrus very wisely said.”
As a remedy for restlessness, Catnapp is highly relevant with a new album that has just seen the light of day when this issue is published. At the end of May, TRUST was released and now a summer full of gigs and festivals awaits.
"I'm going back to what I did in the beginning, it's all about energizing people and making them dance. "
The album is Catnapp’s second via the record label Monkeytown Records and for Playful she tells about the creation.
"What I want to convey with this album is that I was tired of depression and the darkness that covid brought. I wanted to make something more energetic with an inspiring message. Something that makes people dance again. I'm going back to what I did in the beginning, it's all about energizing people and making them dance. "
On the latest album, the lyrics and expression are largely about fears from childhood. We look in the rearview mirror and talk about what made the album Damage unique, to then compare with TRUST.
"With Damage I was bringing a mood into the show and the visuals that could resemble a childhood nightmare, the monsters you fear as a child. When you're waking up in the night, thinking that something’s under the bed. Then I also had one experience when I was a child, in the 90's; we went to Disneyland with my mum and I went to one ride that was about the movie Alien. I don’t know how they could let children take that ride. They make you sit, and then you start to hear and feel how aliens are running around you, the lights are off. You can feel their breaths on your face and how they spit alien saliva on you, which at the time made me super afraid. But instead of rejecting it, I went out and I really wanted to do it again", Ampi says and continues;
"It was an exciting fear, and this is something that I tried to remake from my childhood when we did the Damage experience.”
But it’s not only the childhood fears that function as reminders from the past in Ampis life. When we ask her if there is something that rarely nobody knows about her, she tells us about her toothbrushing procedure that has been following her since she was a kid.
“This is a really weird thing I noticed about myself. Every time ‘m about to brush my teeth, I hold the toothbrush under the water and I hit the toothbrush five times against the sink. I don’t know why I do it and it’s something I’ve been doing since I was a kid. But now that I realise that I’m doing it, I don’t dare stop doing it because… What if something happens?” She says ands laughs.
With TRUST, Catnapp has worked in a completely new way and tried to create a story that leads the listener throughout the album. The lyrics are personal and balance between love and anger.
"There are a lot of different topics, and I'm mixing different types of things. We have love songs but also angry songs. I'm always touched more by a similar subject, but this is technically my favourite album of all that I made. "
During the creative process, she has worked with Modeselektor, which is also part of Monkeytown Records.
"I tried a new technique, which the guys from Modeselektor have helped me with. It's about combining old songs that I had which boiled down ten demos into four. We've been putting the tracks together and we manage to find that they all matched in a crazy way. This brought the album to a next level. Shari and Gernot from Modeselektor have also helped me with feedback, and they have been very involved in the production process. Their help was actually a big one this time. "
In addition to love and anger, authenticity is a topic that Catnapp addresses. Something that has always been important during her career as an artist.
"It's also about staying true to yourself and not accepting the easy way out to succeed. An example is when I as an artist get a chance to work with someone that is super famous, but to do this I have to break something from who I am. I have a song on the new album that is all about this. It talks about not doing that and instead staying true to yourself. This song is called Stay Unsaved. "
Now Ampi is looking forward to touring again and in between spending sunny days in the city she has come to love Berlin.
“When the pandemic began, I started roller skating. I was living close to Tempelhof, doing it all day long.
"Or I just love to hang around the canal with a beer. The first day of a little bit of heat, when people are going down to the canals is always special. Berlin is very beautiful in the summer. I always tell people who come here and feel depressed during the winter, that please stay until May and you will see the truth of Berlin. "