by Alex Mansfield
How are you guys doing? Michael: I just had an IPA and drank it as fast as I could before sound check with Wenzl. At first it was great but now we are feeling very drowsy. In terms of the tour, we are just travelling all around the UK and this is now our fourth last date of the 20 places we are doing.
As a quick introduction to people who haven’t heard of you before: Michael and Wenzl you play a plethora of instruments such as saxophone variants, clarinet and synths and then James you are on percussion and you call your genre: Cave Music. Do you quickly want to explain what Cave Music is? Wenzl: We call it “Cave Music” as one day a friend of ours called James left a voicemail saying “I have invented a new genre, it’s called Cave Music. It’s like house music but its more raw, more jagged and better to live in”. We were thinking that it was the perfect description to describe what we were playing as we were taking the concepts of Electronic Dance Music and House music in particular and translating it to acoustic instruments.
Your music is one of the most unique and craziest things I have personally heard for a long while. What was it that inspired you to play this “Woodwind Dubstep” alternative music over conventional jazz? Wenzl: For all of us it was a different thought process. For me, I got sick of playing jazz and shows where nobody was listening and I wanted to connect to people with more popular music. Actually, it was very difficult at the beginning because I had so many walls of judgement created by my jazz education, so I had to get over my preconceptions of pop music’s simplicity and it took me a long time before I could enjoy pop music. Michael: I don’t like most pop music either. I prefer to listen to very raw organic music or really well thought out conceptual classic music. I got into electronic music early on but very experimental stuff like early Stockhausen and Frank Zappa. Then, when I became friends with Wenzl, he showed me Siriusmo. I was listening to Aphex Twin before too.
When you are writing songs, does it come about from jamming and experimenting in a session or do you take time off to think about a riff and then revolve a song around it? Or both? Wenzl: Definitely both. Michael: It depends on what the song is going for. I would say with a lot of our music the mode is the most important in terms of memorability like Number 9 I feel that people because there are no lyrics. The melody is what people remember.
One of the most interesting things about you guys is that you seldom use vocals. I found you guys on a Wreckroom sessions video on YouTube where you played Contra with Alena Spanger. Does successful projects like that make it likely that you will collaborate with more singers in the future? Michael: We really want to collaborate more but we are just lazy about reaching out to people. Recently, we reached out to other horn groups like BadBadNotGood and Wolf Pack. They are down to collab and we just need to get down and do it.
Who would your ideal singer be? Michael: Hopefully I’ll be the ideal singer eventually, but I’m still working on it [laughs]. Wenzl: I would love to do a song with Mandy Lee which we probably could, but we haven’t yet shouted out to her. Michael: James Blake would be great. James: I’m pretty happy with Mike’s capabilities. It’s pretty awesome.
You were in the UK earlier in summer and I was flicking through the TV channels and there you were on Jools Holland alongside Jamie T and Tame Impala! All the bands I interview keep repeating their dream to play on it. Having done it, how was the experience? Michael: It was amazing man, I couldn’t believe we were on it and sharing the stage with those guys. It’s interesting being around famous people. They are just normal but it’s crazy and cool. Wenzl: I thought it was a mistake. I wasn’t sure about why or how they would want us on.
After the recent success from the new album Red Sky and your tours around Europe, Russia and the UK, you are starting to get more notoriety, What are your goals following your return to America? Wenzl: Well we have just rented out a place in the desert so we will be spending 12 days in the desert playing music. Just the three of us. Hopefully we can start writing again and make even more good music that people can enjoy.
When you come back to the UK after this tour, is it more likely you will be coming back for festival season and when it comes to festivals, are you likely to target Jazz festivals or EDM festivals? James: In spring we have some dates in Norway and so we will try and work some dates around the UK near then. It terms of festivals, we take what we can get. The electronic raver scene is probably our main audience. Michael: The electronic festivals normally suck, with just a whole bunch of zombies. Jazz festivals can be sweet though. It doesn’t really matter, depends on the people. Wenzl: Yeah, we like playing for conscious people who are aware rather than drowning in drugs and consumerism. There are some festivals which are just about debauchery and then there are places where people listen to music and dance and that’s what we prefer.
Last three questions and I want all of you to respond: I’ve got a party on Friday - Noah’s ark theme. What animal should I go as? Michael: I think you should go as a ferret. James: Seagull. Wenzl: Rhino.
When is the album Dudes With Tubes coming out? Michael: Where did you hear about that?!
Online in a few interviews here and there. All your fans seem to want it to happen but Wenzl, you seem to be the only one to have an issue with it! Michael: I want it within a year! Wenzl: Are you serious?! James: Anywhere between 6 months and a year. [Michael laughs hysterically] Wenzl: Are we now committing to this? Who is talking about this? Its come up in a few interviews and people seem to like it but to me it just sounds fallic! [Everyone laughs]
Finally, where can people find you if they want to listen more to you? Michael: You know if you close your eyes at night and pray to us and you really mean it, then we will come to you. Wenzl: We will leave our bodies and come to you at night. At night we leave our bodies we go into other dimensions, other realms and perform special requests Michael: That’s how we tour. We do physical reality tour and then astro-projection tour on top of that.
I think I have had those a few times but it turns out it was you the whole time! Wenzl: The thing is that if you are not in your body, music is way crazier, better and easier. You don’t have to set up, you just manifest. Physical reality is tough and so we like playing in the non-physical much more.
Post interview we all went for dinner together as the Thai Jasmine on Fore Street. One of the most surreal and weirdest interviews / encounters with an artist of my life but a lot of fun. Thank you Moon Hooch for your hospitality in addition to your incredible and equally as crazy show afterwards.