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By: Dan Salter
Photos By: Magda Wrzeszcz
Caspian absolutely slayed at ArcTangent, despite a technical hicup that saw the stage lose all power just as they were about to let rip, and were widely regarded as one of the standout moments of this year’s festival. Literally 10 minutes before heading off to play they were kind enough to sit down with us for a chat. (Unfortunately we were unable to identify who was who on the tape so have just marked them as 1, 2, 3 etc!)
(((o))): You guys have just come in from another festival, Pukkelpop in Belgium. How was that?
It was great! We’re a little jetlagged – it’s usually frantic on the first leg of European tour – but we were treated really well, we played a massive stage, so a good start!
We’re playing ATG today, then tomorrow we’re off to Amplifest in Portugal.
(((o))): Wow, how do you handle that kind of sequence?
We’re not spring chickens – we’ve done it before. We’re older now – but we can still do it…I think!
Oh yeah definitely! Every day of tour – literally every day!
(((o))): It must be hard to wake up in a new city for a new stage every day. Why do you do it?
1: For atmospheres like this – I love taking it all in, even when we’re just sat here hanging out.
2: We do it for the hour and a half we play for.
3: We all play music to get girls right? We’re all rich, millionaires… [ironic laughter]
(((o))): You have to do it because you love it I guess, especially for this sort of music?
Playing live is why we do this. Being on stage – that’s our happy place, there’s nowhere like it. There’s nothing we enjoy more than playing live.
Writing music, on the other hand, is challenging for us, especially the longer you do it, but it has its benefits. Recording is becoming increasingly fun.
1: Well, you start doing it to try to capture the essence of the band and how we sound live, and make it powerful. But the more you do it, the more you get into little sonic nuances and recording techniques, and that’s where the real art form of it comes in.
Live music is really ephemeral – it only exists in the moment it’s happening. But a recording lasts forever, so you really have to embed it with different sounds and that takes different acumen and skillsets, which makes it more enjoyable.
2: And you also get to sleep in your bed! [Laughter]
(((o))): So Dust and Disquiet came out almost a year ago – the consensus has been it’s your best work to date. Do you think that’s because of this ‘more fun’ recording process?
I think that’s played a part. We’ve stayed focused, and we’ve never made the same record twice. When we go to write and record a Caspian record, we’re extremely determined so it’s great that the record was received that way.
(((o))): Absolutely – especially within our crowd, everyone believes this is a strong work for a fifth release.
That means a great deal to us – thank you!
(((o))): So what are you doing now? Are you already thinking about a new record or is it still too early?
I think it’s down the road – we’ve got a new song coming out next month that we recorded in those sessions, but didn’t fit the record, sort of a standalone thing. We’re not playing it tonight at ATG but we’re playing it on this tour. With new material – you’ve just got to find something to say.
(((o))): I guess you go through the process when you’re recording of trying to play the song the same way in order to get it nailed, so when you take it out on the road, do you want to do something different with some of it?
We’d love to! But everything is lockstep and we run everything to a click track. We really compose our songs. I don’t know how this is going to sound – I guess I don’t care! – but, when someone performs a classical Baroque piece, they wouldn’t improvise that. The composition took so long and was very specific, so it doesn’t really work for us.
(((o))): How do you write as a band? Do you all bring ideas, or start jamming?
It snowballs, it could start with a small idea anyone could bring to rehearsal, or a loop, or a short demo, and then we all kind of bounce stuff off each other – we just get together and play. A lot of it is jamming still.
(((o))): And are you still able to get together quite a lot or does life get in the way?
We rehearsed en route for three days a week when we were in the thick of it, so that was three days a week for four months. Three months prior to that we were working on ideas, sending MP3s to everybody, and people could feed back on whether they like stuff or don’t.
(((o))): Ah – the benefits of modern technology!
Yes – it’s a lot of listening, a lot!
(((o))): So what can we expect from the set today?
We’ll be playing six songs – three from the new record, one from Waking Season and two from Tertia.
That’s the second interview that’s asked about it!
(((o))): You tend to go on tour with bands or musicians that are not from the same kind of pigeonhole. Is that inspiring?
It is certainly inspiring for us, we think of our audience every night. You should come in one way and you leave different. I still think the best way to have an impact on an audience is to have a more diverse evening of music so that we get to curate people’s experience, so you’re not just pummeled with the same thing for 3 hours. We want our audience to leave a little bit more enriched.
(((o))): I bet a lot of people have discovered you through you supporting other bands too!
Yeah, we’ve just toured with Under Oath, and played for 3,000 people who had never heard of us, so it works both ways!
And with that they were off to backstage to get ready for their spectacular set.