His band, who recently rejoined Hydra Head Records, also put out their new album, Perfect Pitch Black, the band's followup to 2003's Antenna.
Hey Stephen, thanks for agreeing to the interview.
So the band just released Perfect Pitch Black. How many different sessions / time periods are the tracks culled from, exactly?
Three. One was in between tours just before Antenna was released, and the other two were from the beginning of 2004 -- the original demo sessions for what was to be RCA record #2.
That had something to do with us rekindling a love for playing some of our older songs live. We really had fun with the dynamic that it brought to our set. A lot of our fans dig it, and it's nice for me not to sing at all times; I like to stand near my amp and just riff away as much as the next guy does.It's fairly obvious the record is Cave In's heaviest, vocally-speaking, in about six years. Was it a conscious decision, where the band sat down and said something to the effect of "you know, it'd be interesting to write a bit closer to the earlier stuff" or did it just gradually seep into the songwriting? Did Caleb initially volunteer to bring his abilities into the songs or did the band suddenly say, "Hey, Caleb, you know...?"
That had something to do with us rekindling a love for playing some of our older songs live. We really had fun with the dynamic that it brought to our set. A lot of our fans dig it, and it's nice for me not to sing at all times; I like to stand near my amp and just riff away as much as the next guy does.
Word is RCA was continously rejecting the demos you were handing into them when you were still in their fold. Is this true?
They weren't convinced that we were ready to make another album. We submitted those songs to them, and their response was "Well...why don't you keep writing?" And we didn't fall for it this time. There was no way in hell that we were gonna sit on our asses and write, write, write until the spark was gone again, you know?
Did they say what their primary reasons were? Was it the usual "we need a hit" lament or something about the songs overall?
I'm not sure what they wanted from us, and they probably weren't very sure of it, either. That place was in such limbo from all the weird internal changes, from our A&R guy of 14 years at the company leaving to a merger to a new president...and it really affected the way their business was being run at the time we were submitting those demos.
Do you overall regret signing to RCA?
No. There were a lot of positives that came out of it. We toured almost effortlessly all over the world for three years. The tour support we were given was amazing. They even bought us a video recorder, to tape ourselves being bored on all these tours they funded.
While I do believe your voice is rather strong through Perfect Pitch's course, there's really little-to-none of that eerily beautiful, soprano-like crooning that stood out so well on Jupiter. What happened?
Well, I did get a little lazy, now didn't I? But it had a lot to do with our situation -- we were trying to put our hearts into creating something that we weren't even sure was gonna ever see the light of day. It's also a big reason why we didn't print the lyrics this time around, either. They're certainly not my strongest.
How much do you believe the songwriting will be shaped with the recent change in drummers? [Ed.'s Note: Converge drummer Ben Koller recently joined the band.]
Well, Ben has a whole new bag of tricks for us to play with. His feel for playing at fast tempos is unbelievable! So we want to take advantage of this and make a...fast record? Write it fast, play it fast, record it fast -- that's the vision.
Were there any specific artists or albums that affected Perfect Pitch's writing that hadn't otherwise been such an influence on the past records?
Well, there's a couple songs with a boogie feel. We can credit heavy doses of ZZ Top for that. Tejas was always in constant rotation in the van -- this one cassette copy we bought at a rest stop. The old cassette copies aren't tainted with the terrible 80's mixes they did after Eliminator. Adam says "Tension in the Ranks" reminds him of earlier King Crimson. Some of the dueling guitar work is a tip of the hat to the Allman Brothers -- another heavy rotator in the van.
As some of these songs are a bit old all things considered, are plans in the works yet for the next album? Does the band have anything in mind yet, stylistically-speaking?
Yeah, we've already talked about doing another one soon. After finally putting Perfect Pitch Black to rest, we've been talking about nothing but the future -- and taking some new chances. Like I said, Ben is a motherfucker with those fast tempos...but it's still too early for me to dress up the frame of our works to come.
Any updates on your solo work? Or Calico Ghost Town?
We submitted those songs to them, and their response was "Well...why don't you keep writing?" And we didn't fall for it this time. There was no way in hell that we were gonna sit on our asses and write, write, write until the spark was gone again, you know?I'll have a few new songs on a split disc with this fellow Ramona Cordova. He's an outstanding songwriter and performer, so when the opportunity arose to be on a release of some kind with him, I took it without even thinking twice. That'll be available as early as December this year. The Calico Ghost Town stuff is coming out excellent as well. What an eclectic album that one is gonna be! You'll be able to hear myself and my younger brother Matt Brodsky's first recorded collaboration. He plays drums on a fantastic song that Tracy wrote called "Pin Me Down", and my friends call it the Van Brodsky explosion.
What kind of a set list should we expect for the upcoming tour with Doomriders?
We've got two brand new tunes that we wrote with Ben to play. And we'll also be selling Cave In cassingles, with recorded versions of these tunes for people to buy. A Cave In cassingle! It's always fun to explore new formats -- no matter how obsolete they might be. The real treat will be for people to hear what Ben does to some of the older tunes -- he's not afraid to inject a bit of his own style into them, which we have welcomed.
What are the plans for 2006?
A Japan tour, an extensive European tour, another new album -- released only on 8-track and 78 rpm vinyl -- and an instructional video for making savage riffs while spreading peanut butter onto your morning toast, and zen-like happiness all along.
Again, thanks you for your time Stephen.
[Photo credits: Cave In website, media section.]
Stream the new album here.