Behind the alter-ego of CAT TEMPER is the prolific Boston-based synth meowsician Mike Langlie.

With 13 full length albums since 2019 including the DURAN DURAN endorsed ‘Furio’, there is a new CAT TEMPER long player on the way entitled ‘Nineteen Eighty-Fur’. From it as the first single is the fast-paced catchy electronic pop instrumental ‘Happy Tails’ which owes more than a musical debt to early A-HA.

‘Happy Tails’ comes with a delightful video directed and animated by Jim Ether which takes a trip through the music video hiss-tory of classic MTV as Cat Temper scampers into pop promos including ‘Money for Nothing’, ‘Take On Me’, ‘Billie Jean’, ‘When Doves Cry’, ‘I Ran’, ‘Sweet Dreams’, ‘Faith’, ‘Once in a Lifetime’, ‘Lightning Strikes’ and ‘Whip It’.

Incidentally the ‘Sweet Dreams’ section even includes a computer modelled reproduction of the prototype Movement Mk1 Drum Computer used by EURYTHMICS with the iconic Felix The Cat making a cameo on the monitor while the end sees CAT TEMPER a-a-a-a-a-as-as-as Max Headroom! Among the humorous Easter eggs (and fuzzy mice) are a Furlitizer juke box and a Meowg synth based on the Micromoog.

From behind his Meowg, Mike Langlie chatted to ELECTRICITYCLUB.CO.UK with some ‘Happy Tails’.

This is a fabulous audio visual presentation paying tribute to the classic era of MTV when MTV actually played music… how much of a collaboration was it with animator Jim Ether regarding the storyboard etc?

Thank you! Jim Ether and I are both 80s kids and we jumped at the idea of doing an homage to classic MTV hits. I put together a video storyboard of clips and stills from the originals as a guide for my alter ego taking a trip through music video hiss-tory.

Each shot is different and presented unique challenges that Jim solved quite creatively. We wildly underestimated the amount of time and effort it would take and Jim went way beyond what I expected. I’m blown away by his attention to detail and ability to give so much purr-sonality to masked animated characters.

How did you choose the videos to pay homage to? Are these songs that have a special place in your heart or was it about choosing the most visually striking?

Both actually. Also ones with cool costumes and environments. It was fun compiling that list and then figuring out how scenes would flow together.

The Klaus Nomi ‘Lightning Strikes’ reference is a comparatively obscure one but welcome, was he an MTV discovery?

Most of the references are quite well-known but we couldn’t make it all too easy! People like Klaus Nomi and other innovative bands like THE RESIDENTS and DEVO focused on visual art as much as music and were already making experimental videos before there was a platform to distribute them. MTV gladly took them in to fill airtime as the channel got off the ground, providing them with a huge audience they may have never found otherwise. Many of my favorite musicians and albums are from that moment in time when the outsiders invaded the mainstream.

The ‘Happy Trails’ track itself is inspired by ‘Take On Me’, what synths / software were you using to construct it and how did it develop?

I started making music in the 1980s and my style hasn’t changed much through the years. Thankfully retro synthpop is back in fashion! I still use gear I’ve had since then and a lot of soft synths recreating classic hardware I sold or could never afford. Roland Juno basses and pads, Yamaha DX7 bells and leads, Jupiter-4 arpeggios, LinnDrum and Simmons drums among others. Also plenty of weird sounds from my first and favorite synth, the Casio CZ-101 which appears on almost all of my songs.

Your album ‘Furio’ with its ‘Rio’ inspired artwork got featured on the DURAN DURAN website, how was that for you and are you hoping for an endorsement from A-HA?

DURAN DURAN’s ‘Rio’ is my all-time favorite album and artwork so I couldn’t resist doing my own take on the sleeve design. I braced myself for backlash from Duran fans, but was thrilled to find it embraced by them as well as the band and their cover designer Malcolm Garrett. I can’t imagine A-HA will ever see the ‘Happy Tails’ video but if they do I hope they consider it a loving tribute!

‘Happy Trails’ is from the new CAT TEMPER album ‘Nineteen Eighty-Fur’, what’s the concept or is that blindingly obvious? Will there be more videos?

‘Nineteen Eighty-Fur’ is the third album in my trilogy of classic album art tributes, after ‘Furio’ and ‘Mystic Kitten’ which is based on Alice Cooper’s ‘Welcome To My Nightmare’. Jennifer Maher Coleman of the band ARCHITRAVE painted a great cover that I can’t wait to reveal in March. You can probably guess what album inspired it from the title. Several songs have musical nods to 80s staples that I hope listeners have fun picking out.

No plans for more videos yet but I hope to do at least one more. Jim Ether is still recovering from the work this one took!

ELECTRICITYCLUB.CO.UK gives its feline thanks to Mike Langlie

‘Happy Tails’ is available as a download along with other releases in the CAT TEMPER back catalogue from

Text and Interview by Chi Ming Lai
27 January 2024