Having a privilege to premiere the best screamo record of the year and one of the most captivating records in recent memory, and at the same time tell its insight story is a wonderful experience. I humbly present to you, TODOS CAERÁN‘s second full length “Town of Cats“! Intense compositions, the heart capturing structures, the very essence of music’s humanity and striving passion – you can expect this and a lot more, all packed up in a full colour printed inner sleeve, to be released a few weeks before Christmas!
After many years of playing various styles of music together, TODOS CAERÁN began writing post rock influenced screamo. It was 4 years ago and now, nearly 4 years later and after a host of releases including an EP, full length and 6 splits, as well as a line up change which brought in two new integral members, they return with their sophomore LP, available below. Their new work weaves between pounding, driving crescendos and soft eerie lulls for six tracks lyrically inspired by the works of Haruki Murakami. Play it, share it and scroll down to reveal more!
Hey guys! It’s great to have you here, especially at this exciting time in your history! The new LP is right here, finally available to everyone. How does it feel to have it out already?
Yeah this is exciting to us. We have been sitting on this material for a very long time and it’s always great to be able to show people what we have done. As far as content is concerned this is by far our best work. It’s great to find out what other people think too.
Tell me about the line-up changes you faced. How did you settle on the current one? Before being able to judge myself, please tell me, how do you think it affected your sound?
Matt: Knowing that Todos’ current drummer was leaving, and having an understanding that the marginal product of labour in training two new band members was more feasible, we decided it would be a good point for me to start writing with Todos. Since Joey and I were already working on a post-rock project that never saw the light of day, we were able to introduce some of the arrangements commonly found in post-rock, and it allowed the both Joey and I an opportunity to utilize a wide range of amplifiers and effects pedals to write fuller instrumental sections into the new songs. This was my introduction to the TC hive mind.
Unsurprisingly, finding a drummer was more difficult. Over the following months, we had the opportunity to jam with some incredible guys, who were either not the right fit musically, or did not have the time to dedicate to our jam schedule. My old band, Cope had toured with Hominid, a band Gary played drums in. Knowing that Gary is an incredibly talented, technically sound drummer, we asked him to come play with us and it worked very well. We have all had a long-lasting honeymoon phase with the guy. He’s great.
I bet he is. The ultimate evidence is playing loud as we speak :)
Have you played a lot of shows in this new setup?
James: Yes, we have been playing together in this form for over a year now. It has been great, we can feed off each other which often leads to us moving around a lot more. We also are quite fond of joking around between songs.
Speaking of live shows, what are your touring plans for the upcoming months? Any chance to see you touring Europe at last? You’ve been releasing splits and putting out your music with the help of many amazing European bands and labels. Isn’t it the right time to bring your axes here and show us some love? ;)
James: We have toured Europe! In the summer of 2012 we did a 21 day trek through a chunk of Eastern Europe and the UK. It was one of the most positive experiences we have ever had as a band (minus Gary who was sadly unable to attend). To this day I think of the kindness so many people showed us while on the road.
Our next tour is being planned for this summer. We want to dip down into the United States for the first time. Hopefully we will be able to make it back to Europe next year.
Can’t wait man!
What’s the idea behind “Town Of Cats”? Please tell me more about your tribute to Haruki Murakami.
James: Honestly the album never was intended to be a tribute to Murakami. It had been some time since our last LP After Dark (another LP named after Murakami books) and we were starting to collect enough material that we could put together into something new. All of our material after the BEARS split has been grouped and named after books by different authors we are into, regardless of lyrical content in some cases. I had just finished reading all of Murakami’s novels and decided it was time for a revisit. I attempted to condense every novel that we had not used in “After Dark” into a base theme and wrote my own personal take on them. *With the exception of Underground which was ghost written by the incredibly talented Kevin Stebner. His writing continues to inspire me to push myself. * Honestly, I have never been so proud of my own lyrics and now after the fact feel that they can attempt to live up to Murakami’s works.
IF I had to put one central lyrical theme to “Town of Cats” it would be potential for loss. The short story is about a man who literally loses himself in a town of cats which is obviously not what I write about, but all the themes I picked are things you can lose yourself in, be it the pursuit of perfection, love and friendship, or even memory.
So what do you find most appealing about his books?
James: I think our drummer Gary said it best. “Reading Murakami is like going for coffee with an old friend.”
What imagery or symbology inspired the amazing artwork for “Town Of Cats”? What was the procedure to create it?
James: The art of “Town of Cats” is quite unimaginative on paper. We were having trouble deciding what to do for this release and Matt suggested getting a drawing of a literal Town of Cats. Luckily Darren from Dog Knights referred us to the amazing Rodrigo Almanegra. He took what was a kind of vague idea and created something beautiful and outstanding. More people need to use Rodrigo, it has been an overwhelmingly pleasant process.
Musically, where does your inspiration dwells this time?
Matt: We all pull inspiration from a variety of sources. While there are some similarities between us that are immediately evident (ie. FUNERAL DINER, PORTRAITS OF PAST, CITY OF CATERPILLAR) we draw from vastly different pools. The majority of us have been into 80’s pop music and post-metal (the new CULT OF LUNA album is fantastic!) Gary has been listening to a lot of Miles Davis and I have been listening to a lot of drone and electronic music. James will forever be listening to Kanye West.
We are fortunate enough to have some of our best friends writing incredibly interesting, complex pieces of music. Simultaneously, I feel a great sense of fondness for the music they are writing, and daunted by the unavoidable fact that this high creative output is coming from people I care about.
How were the creative and writing processes behind the new record different from what you guys did before?
James: Our process has never really changed all that much. The big difference is we are much more comfortable with each others styles so it takes less time to work everything out. Usually Joey or Matt will bring a completed song to the table and it is quickly gutted and remade into something new. After spending so much time together it is much easier to be vocal about which parts of songs we think need to be reworked/forgotten. After a few months/half a year of playing a song at jam I am usually able to put words down and start figuring out where I want the song to go lyrically. I am a very slow writer (unlike the rest of the band) and am always trying to catch up.
Right now we are attempting to write a much heavier sounding record which has really thrown a wrench in the works. It is like having to relearn how to play together all over again, which is equal parts frustrating and exciting.
How many songs did you write for the new album? Are there more new pearls in your secret stash? How tough was the final selection process?
James: Going into the studio we had 9 songs written, but had already chosen which 6 would make it on the record. The drum tracks have been recorded for the other three and they are waiting to be finished (and for lyrics). We will hopefully have them out sometime next year in some form or another. I don’t remember the selection process being all that difficult, but to be honest I could be remembering this wrong. The six songs on the album all flow together so well that it is hard to imagine arranging it in any other way.
Matt: For me, after the inevitable growing pains that go along with working with new people had subsided, the record really started to take shape quickly. I think the last two songs on the album were written within a few weeks of recording.
That feeling of relief when you realize what the song should be – is that something you experience while composing?
Matt: I very seldom feel that way. When I bring a song to jam, it is a bare structure that the rest of the band works off of and adds complexities. Much to their frustration, I’m constantly working off their instruments and changing picking patterns and timings. For me, that realization the song has reached that point is after recording it. Then we have to play it that way!
Ok, let’s set things up and prepare to put our hands on your new album. Dog Knights Productions is running the whole promotion campaign for the new record. How else can we put our hands on the record? What other labels are you working with?
James: This release will be solely released by Dog Knights Productions. Darren will have 200 records to sell in Europe. We paid for 100 records which we plan on selling here in North America. Hopefully we will be able to push them out to different distros to make shipping easier on everyone who would like a physical copy. Digital copies will be free after the record is released.
I’d definitely like to taste this new work and see you guys performing it live. Once again, tell me about your touring plans.
James: Sadly touring will always be a difficult prospect for us. The most we all can manage is one good tour a year if we are lucky. That is the reality of having four full time workers and one forever student. This next year we are really gunning for a west coast tour of the states. After that our big plans are to return to Europe and an East Coast tour of the United States and Canada. Our writing is always ahead of our releases to seeing us usually means a mix of our last record and completely new material.
You’ve released 6 split recordings so far! 6 splits man! :) How are you guys feeling about planning another one? Are there already plans for such a release?
James: It always depends! We have so many splits now that we had to make a mental note saying we would only do another split if the other band fit really well with us. We do have three undedicated songs that need a forever home though so who knows what the future holds?
Speaking of other bands, what are some you guys have been listening to lately that we should be checking out?
Matt: Tons! As I had previously mentioned, our friends in Edmonton are constantly putting out really great stuff. If you haven’t already, you should definitely be checking out BOOK OF CAVERNS and MAHRIA; they slay. For Canada, you can look into TEMPEST, VENEERS, LA LUNA, Tim Heckner, and NADJA. Oh and certainly STARS OF THE LID.
Overall, 2013 has been incredible for music; CULT OF LUNA, NORTHLESS, LIGHT BEARER, DEAFHEAVEN, LORD SNOW, SED NON SATIATA, HEAVEN IN HER ARMS, and RORCAL have been on regular rotation for new stuff. For all of us, definitely CCR.
“Thank you internet for making music (more) accessible and for amplifying the presence of small scenes”, you stated in an interview about a year ago. Indeed, the online market is still showing real growth all around the world, transforming our lives more and more. Music-wise, what do you hate the most about the web?
James: Oh man do I have an answer for you. As I am sure you are aware a lot of woman are coming out about being assaulted at punk/hardcore shows/by band members as of late. This is clearly an extremely large and important issue that needs to be addressed, punk has attempted to portray itself as a safe place for woman/homosexuals/visible minorities for quite some time now but that reality is still not true. What the internet has done is allowed am entitled group of vocal straight white males to push and cower these women into silence. In the past week I have witnessed two distinct arguments and it is incredibly infuriating. We have one side where ignorant men are talking about how these issues don’t really exist and a group of woman saying, yes it does, we have been affected by it. These men then either call the women liars or ignore them by using childish “get me a sandwich” jokes. More men need to start speaking up during these arguments to denounce the ignorant few who seem to dominate the debates. Anonymity is making things too easy for people to be the monsters they wish they were all the time.
Browsing online can be good for getting ideas, brainstorming or just killing time. So when you guys are not busy writing, rehearsing or touring, what do you guys like to do for fun?
James: I think I am the worst at the internet between the five of us! I check like three sites and then stare at the screen wondering what to do next.
When we are not jamming or at work we are usually doing something together. We are all very close friends and enjoy each others company. We have 5 dedicated band potlucks a year where we dress up and make delicious food, Jordan missed the last one and is still paying for it; we marathon different movies, the last series we did was the fast and the furious franchise, Tokyo drift is the best one if you were wondering; we cook lavish meals at each others houses; go to our other friends’ shows to support and watch rad music. I count myself as extremely lucky to have found such an amazing scene where I have been able to make so many close friends. The fact that I get to play in a band with four of my favourite people and then hang out and watch die hard afterwards with them is just the icing on the delicious delicious cake.
Alright buddies. Thanks so much for your time and all those insights. Good luck for all your future adventures! Cheers!
Thank you! This was a lot of fun.
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