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BOTW Interview: Caged Animals

Our interview with lead man Vincet Cacchione from BOTW, Caged Animals, is not only insightful about his own musical process, but also about music in general as he gives you a few bands that are a must listen to! (Beside his own, naturally.)

PlanetNotion: A lot of people are talking about the rather creative rhymes on Eat Their Own, especially  ‘Teflon Heart’. Did those lyrics/rhymes come naturally?

Vincent Cacchione: A lot of the lyrics on the album were written directly into the microphone as I was printing master vocal takes. In other words, they’re off the top of my head. The lyrics to ‘Teflon Heart’ are actually the oldest thing on Eat Their Own.  I was at my mom’s house in NJ for the week and trolling through some old notebooks I had stored there.  I saw the lyrics and the melody started playing in my head; about 2 hours later I had the whole song done. I wouldn’t say I was trying for the rhymes on ‘Teflon Heart’, I work quickly, and don’t like to puzzle over things.

PN: In what ways has your time with Soft Black shaped Caged Animals? Do you feel to really understand your music people should listen to both projects?

VC: I spent about five years focused on the Soft Black project so in terms of musical preparation a lot of my style developed there.  The thing that differentiates the two project has more to do with the manner of creation. Soft Black songs start as lyrics or melodies and the composition occurs either on the page or into a tape recorder.  Caged Animals songs begin with sound and rhythm so the song sort of grows out of messing with different tones and different combinations of harmony and, of course, electronic percussion.  With Caged I’m almost never writing a song and then attempting to record it, the process of recording is the composition. I kind of feel that the two projects are meant to be taken together in a sort of yin-yang way. Soft Black is where you’re getting some far-out lyrical concepts and Caged Animals is where the music starts to get really layered and psychedelic.

PN: How different was it working with family rather than a band? Did you have to make rules to leave work at work?

VC: It’s totally different to play with family. So far it’s been incident free and if anything I feel it’s deepened my connection with everyone involved. It is really cool to share something so precious with people you love. I’m really lucky to have Pat, Magali, and Talya because they’re all insanely creative and talented.  Our friend Cole has also been performing with us lately adding a bit of his surfy/psychedelic guitar sound to the Caged mix.  Everyone should listen to his new band DIVE that he is the frontman of, one of the most exciting bands doing psychedelia.

PN: The first release from Caged Animal was a cassette. Did you do that as a collector’s item type thing, or do you like the sound a cassette gives? What is your favourite way to release music-CD, cassette, or vinyl?

VC: My favorite way to release music is on vinyl, I love the sound and stature.  The cassette was never intended to be something exclusive or collectible.  Our friends Ben and Mike who run the excellent label Healing Light approached us with the idea of pressing the first set of recordings to tape and it seemed like a fun thing to do.We were really happy with the way the cassettes looked and sounded.  The tape seemed to draw a lot of life out of the recordings and make us hear the songs in a new and interesting manner. My friend Davey Jones of the band Lost Boy is a tape enthusiast and I was happy to be able to hand him something to listen to.  Please be advised that Lost Boy is the shit, go listen to them.

PN: I read you wrote Teflon Heart as a mega jam! Are you happy with the reception it’s received in the blogs?

VC: I am definitely happy that people are into the song. I was especially happy with the remix that Star Slinger did.

PN: You mentioned that for this album you were drawn a lot to home devices, giving Caged Animals their unique, more stripped sound. Do you think you’ll continue with more home-based recording for Caged Animals in the future?

VC: It’s a little early to decide.  All the Caged Animals releases, so far have been me at home working on the computer.  But since finishing the album we’ve really been working a lot as a band.  I imagine that the next recordings will be a combination of the old and the new.

PN: Are you still drawn to home-based equipment, or are you ready to get back in a studio?

VC: I’m pretty sure we’ll roll with the home recording for a while longer.  I feel like it’s an essential part of why the records sound the way they do but I’m not adverse to using studios.  If I were to use a studio I’d go to Strange Weather and record with Daniel Schlett, he’s got the golden ears.

PN: What are your future plans with Caged Animals?

VC: We want to put NJ on the map.  Except instead of it being that smelly elf cowering next to New York, we’re gonna move it some place closer to the cosmos.

We think Caged Animals might have what it takes to do that! For more on the band go to their site.

-Stevie Pearce



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