|Label:||Triple Crown Records|
Having missed the opportunity to interview the full band whilst down in London at the gig (this had nothing to do with the excessive amount of overly priced cans of San Miguel I drank) I caught up with Philip and Erin via the wonders of the interwebs to ask them the few questions that I would have asked if I wasn’t to drunk to ask them when I should have asked them in the first place. To many asks?... Enjoy.
BR: Hey guys welcome back to England its good to see you all again, how you enjoying the tour so far?
Phil: Enjoying it a ton. Actually a little more than normal or expected to be perfectly honest. We always have a grand time here but some times tour - no matter where it is - can feel like work or going through the motions after a while. The positive reactions to the new record and new live show have made it feel fresh in a way we needed so it feels good right now. We feel ready to go.
Erin: The tour has just been really incredible so far. So many good friends that we haven't seen in awhile. The audiences have been wonderful. Lots of cool venues, places we've been and places we haven't.
BR: It’s what 3 years since the last album? How long has Waking Season taken to complete from the ideas stage to the physical sale, and what have you done differently (if anything) this time around?
Phil: Waking Season took a little over 2 years to complete. We made a conscious effort to do things as differently as possible across the board for this record - from the songwriting approach, to recording and production, to artwork, to sonic textures... We tried to sort of re-invent the familiar process we've been used to for the first 3 records this time around and infuse it with as much of a fresh approach as we could for the sake of keeping the band healthy.
Erin: Just about that long. We started writing new material shortly after we finished Tertia and now Waking Season is complete so it's about that time to go for it again. Differently, I think a lot of that was production. Our writing process stayed the same while we ourselves adapted individually. I know I did. We worked at a different studio with different people. We really wanted genuine sounds so we recorded more actual instruments or sampled instruments to manipulate them that way. We had Matt Bayles produce and mix the record. It was all quite fantastic and it felt like we were making something special.
BR: What was the most memorable part of the last few years, musically or otherwise?
Phil: There have been so, so many. Finally listening to the finished product of this record after we wrapped in May of 2012 was huge. After putting so much time and effort into it, it was surreal to just down and take in the final 60 min’ product from top to bottom in one fell swoop and realise that, for better or worse, the record was finally done and it was time to let it out of the womb and out into the world.
Erin: For me, it was meeting my girlfriend. She's really given me a solid foundation from which to build the rest of my life.
BR: What’s the next step for Caspian?
Phil: We have a lot of touring to do to promote the record. So I imagine we'll be spending most of this year on the road, in as many places as possible doing our best to campaign on this thing. In between we'll be developing ideas for the next album and figuring out where we want to take the band musically with the next effort.
Erin: Tour, tour, tour. It's time.
BR: We're sick to death of writing the word 'riff'. Can you think of something to replace it?
Phil: Ha! That's a great question. And uhhhhh.... no clue. ffir? Riff backwards. Or just... "wiff".
Erin: It's not quite as "rock" but Ostinato is a repeated figure, usually in the bass.
BR: I spent most of the day in London being inspired by Global Noise which is the Occupy 1 year anniversary march, what are your opinions on the Occupy movement?
Phil: I have mixed opinions. I was raised somewhere just outside of the "%1" in America and grew up feeling lots of un-necessary guilt from some people for the fact that my father was a smart, hard working guy who worked incredibly hard to achieve his ambitions and treated people fairly in the process. He also made decent money to reflect that. So my approach to the militant, one dimensional class warfare battle that the occupy movement seems aggressive on pushing always sits a little tough with me. I was raised to view people as human beings and not purely as reflections of their net worth (whether they are in poverty, or even more surprisingly as mega-millionaires). But that's just me approaching it subjectively from my own personal experience. There are, no doubt, a great many economic injustices happening globally that are in need of drastic attention and the occupy movement is generating awareness for those things. It would be optimum if they could get some solid legislative change going on and do a better job at drafting a set of concrete objectives and coalesce around some core ideas that go beyond simply positing the theory that "anybody making a lot money is a selfish person". From an outsiders perspective, it hasn't resonated with policy makers beyond that simplistic, hostile thesis and that is unfortunate I think since, obviously, the occupy movement goes deeper than that and is more nuanced than they are probably being presented by the media to the general public. Maybe? I don't know. I'm curious to know more and wish I had gone down and checked out the Boston occupy movement just to learn more about it. The bottom line, in my opinion, is that the occupy movement is a group of people exercising their right to speak freely on whatever they wish without being mowed down by government tanks and that is what makes all of us lucky to be living in the developed free world.
Erin: I honestly don't really have any. It was not a movement that very specifically moved me because it was something that didn't exactly seem to have a very true form. It just never grabbed me.
BR: What actions should we take to improve our lives?
Phil: Treat people the way you'd like to be treated. Spend more time by the ocean or open infinite spaces. Have a drink, calm down and relax. Watch more documentaries. Shun fear. Help people to follow their dreams in a realistic, supportive, attentive capacity even if they seem impossible like being in a rock band or whatever it may be.
Erin: Play a musical instrument. It can be the best therapy in the world. Plus, it's good for your brain.
BR: What was the last thing you read or watched that inspired you?
Phil: I watched a documentary about Frank Lloyd Wright that knocked me around pretty hard. I think it was directed by Ken Burns.
Erin: The last season of Breaking Bad. It's actually the first season I saw in its totality and the writers of that show really understand composition. Their use of pace and their ability to build an episode are quite, quite genius.
BR: What are you listening to at the moment?
Phil: As I type this it’s that The Pains of Being Pure at Heart record. Emotional white boy shit, as usual for me I guess.
BR: What are your thoughts on Hydrahead closing down? In light of this and other similar situations what do you think is going to happen to the alternative music scene in years to come?
Phil: Hydrahead did it right obviously during their tenure and broke tons of new ground that set the standard for a lot of heavier independent labels to come. Their commitment to putting out "challenging" records recently seemed to be both a blessing for them as purveyors and distributors of good art, and also a curse for them business-wise since most people weren't into what they were putting out and weren't buying the product I guess. Record labels want to establish credibility artistically with the music they release and introduce people to new things. Everyone always wants to be pushing their own envelope and that is commendable. Realistically though that doesn't mean the consumer is going to buy into it all of the time, so you're sort of playing with fire when you decide to start releasing albums that you know won't be commercially viable. Its give and take and I don't think anyone at the label had to be particularly shocked - especially in this climate of free downloading/stealing of records - that the label became impossible to sustain itself financially. They have to be closing up shop knowing they did their absolute best and left a hugely influential legacy so I'm not sure what else you could ask for these days. As for what is going to happen to alternative music scene.... That's a really though question and I don't know if I have a solid clue. There will always be kids out there being inspired by bands they get obsessed with and the wheel will keep on turning. That's all it takes to keep this shit moving forward in my opinion: inspired, passionate, committed people who want to push their music and work to promote it. As long as that exists - and it is going to exist for a long, long time - labels and indie music and such will always be around. As long as labels and musicians don't keep their heads in the sand and are working towards forward thinking, creative solutions to the roadblocks being thrown up all of the time, I actually think some really cool shit could happen with "indie rock" in the future. Flexibility and creativity is more important now than ever before.
Erin: It's too bad. That happens in any industry though. It's a part of life. I think people are going to keep making music and producing records and people are going to keep buying them, with or without record companies. At least in the early stages, its much easier these days to get something started yourself. I have some guitar students in a really great band, Of the Monarchs. They just made a record. One of the guys was asking me what label to sign to and what to do. I told him to shop the record around but not to get bummed if a label doesn't pick it up. The markets tough right now. And you can do a lot these days before you necessarily need a label. You still obviously need a label to really get anywhere at the same time. People are going to keep seeking out good music, stuff that's not completely above the waves.
BR: You manage to accost your most desirable female celebrity on a night out and get her back to your hotel room, you got down to business but she croaked mid sexy time, would you finish?
Phil: Single best interview question ever right there! Mila Kunis is a celestial being and thus not capable of physical human death, so the question cannot apply.
Erin: I dont think my girlfriend wants me to answer that question
Photo by Dan Curhan
Posted: Tue 30 October 2012