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Ancient Cat Society

Interview takes place on June 11, 2024 in Houston, TX


Today, we have been invited into the colorful rehearsal space of Houston-based indie folk band, Ancient Cat Society. As the band approaches its fifteen-year anniversary, vocalists and co-writers Sergio Trevino and Haley Lynch walk us through what has kept the band together for so many years.


Sergio Trevino and Haley Lynch

The scene is 2010: Steve Jobs just announced the first iPad, Ramona Flowers became the quintessential "manic pixie dream girl," and Haley Lynch steps into a now-defunct venue on Westheimer to see Sergio's band Buxton perform for the first time. “I went and saw them at Mango’s,” Haley remembers, “and they had just released the 7” [vinyl] for Buxton. So I talked to them. This was during the time when MySpace was around, and I had put up some recordings I did of myself on my MySpace.”


“I listened to her music,” Sergio says, “and she had three or four-part harmonies and all this stuff. Buxton could not sing harmonies… So I reached out. This was essentially to a complete stranger,” he laughs. “I was like, ‘We’re going in to record this record. Do you wanna come in and sing some harmonies on it?’”


“She came over, we sang, she was super sweet.” He jokes with her, “You brought your friend because you weren’t sure that I was not a psycho.”


“We just got along really well,” he says. It wasn’t until Haley came back from college, though, that they decided, “Oh this is really fun!” and partnered up with Austin Sepulvado, who really brought the three-part harmony and instrumentation to the band. 


Sergio Trevino and Haley Lynch

“Haley and I aren’t really strong instrumentalists,” Sergio says, “and Austin can kinda play everything!”


Of course, since the days of the trio, Ancient Cat Society has gone through some major changes, including the addition of Tom Lynch (keyboard), Tank Lisenbe (drums) and Marshall Graves (bass). “We have a six-piece band now rather than a three-piece band–that’s the most obvious [change]. So it’s a bigger sound, a bigger vibe,” Sergio says.


The foundations of the band have remained the same, though. From the beginning, he says, “We were just doing three-part harmony and acoustic. We were all kind of in that zone, focusing on harmonies.”


And still, three new bandmates and fourteen years later, “Everyone can sing harmony in Ancient Cat Society. All six of us. Well except me,” Sergio jokes. “It’s funny, our drummer, Tank… He sings just about as high as Haley can sing. Whenever Haley’s not there, he does your harmonies,” Sergio tells her.


“Oh does he?” Haley laughs. “Harmony is really my favorite part of music. I just really wanted to be able to do that with people who, you know, I became really good friends with.”

Sergio Trevino and Haley Lynch

Although the band is planning to stick to their harmonic roots for their upcoming album, which should be released by the end of 2024, Sergio and Haley hint at some key differences between the then and now.


“There are still folk elements on the record, but they’re very much shared with other styles,” Sergio says. “I feel like there is some 50s doo-wop inspiration,” Haley adds. 


“I think of it as a half sad, half funky record,” Sergio says. “I try to be a pretty positive person in my daily life, and I feel like my music is where I don’t have to be positive. So unfortunately a lot of sad vibes go into the music…but there can be a fun drum beat and a funky bass!”


As Sergio and Haley pull songwriting inspiration from both their personal lives and the traditional themes of folk music, they also pull inspiration from working with their other bands, including Buxton, Vodi, and Dollie Barnes. “That in itself can spark inspiration,” Haley says. “The fact that you can ping pong between styles,” and work with other musicians.


The end goal of releasing their music is quite simple, though. “As cathartic as it is for me to write and perform the songs,” Haley says, “I hope it brings the same for whoever’s listening.”


“I want the listener typically to have some sort of emotional connection,” Sergio adds, “whether they think it’s funny or they think it’s sad. I just want them to feel something. That’s really my main goal.”


To be notified about Ancient Cat Society’s upcoming album release, follow them on Instagram @ancientcatsociety. Be sure to catch Haley and Austin at Anderson Fair on June 27th, and catch the whole band at Splice Records’ Ten Year Anniversary Show on July 6th. For booking information, please contact strev82@gmail.com.


Photos and Story by Shelby Mathews

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