“We’re The Real Deal” an Interview With Cauldron
Cauldron have always impressed me with their genuine dedication to 80s metal, their powerful sound, and exciting vibes. Long story short, I’ve wanted to interview this band for years. Sitting down with them, we took time to discuss record collecting, classic lyrics, and of course, the new record In Ruin.
Conducted in the offices of The End Records, not only was I impressed by their layout, but also the fact that the label offered me donuts and coffee before I conducted the interview. This was a first. Dear record labels, please do that more.
So how does it feel to work for a label that gives you free donuts?
Jason Decay (JD): It’s all new to us!
Ian Chains (IC): We’re in it for the perks! Donuts and coffee are a nice bonus. We didn’t expect anything!
How have you guys been? It’s been a long ride from Canada?
JD: We left yesterday at 10 AM, we had a little issue with the electrical on the trailer. That set us back a couple of hours, then we were a couple hours at the border and wintery conditions forced us to drive slower but somehow we got here.
It’s been four years since your last record, have you been concerned about how it’s going to be received after all this time?
JD: Yes but we prepared for that. We were really proud of our last record so we made a concerted effort to be better. The record was actually recorded in 2014, so it’s pretty consistent with previous stuff.
Why was it delayed?
JD: Switching labels and handling the behind the scenes legalities.
IC: There was a lot of necessary paperwork involved too.
JD: We normally record and mix in a two month period but, because we self-financed this one, we took eight months to do this one. It gave us time to take it home and make sure we did it right.
Obviously it’s early to talk about this but does this mean that the next Cauldron record will be out relatively soon?
JD: That probably all depends how much touring we behind this one but we already have song ideas.
One thing that I found interesting was the production on the new record. It felt different in terms of sound compared to earlier releases. Did you change anything?
JD: We actually changed producers and mixers. We were really happy with the sound on Tomorrow’s Lost and the production we achieved on that one. That was actually a reference point for our producer and mixer but they took it one step further.
Myles Deck (MD): They put their own spin on it.
JD: We are always striving for that perfect production. I think with each record we get a little closer to it.
What defines a perfect production?
MD: Depends on what you like.
JD: Big drums that sound real and raw, and gritty guitar sounds and a warm bass sound that compliments the guitar.
IC: AC/DC Who Made Who!
I can’t help but admire the bangs JD…
JD: To me it’s what I think looks the coolest! That probably comes from most of the musicians that I look up to had hair like this during their peak eras. I like to look how I think is cool regardless.
MD: When Goathorn, their band before Cauldron came to my town year ago one thing on the poster that attracted my attention was the fact that those guys looked like they were living it. My thought was “I haven’t seen anyone who looks like that in a long time!” I thought it was really cool.
JD: To us it means a lot to be the real deal and not play it safe, regardless of what’s acceptable.
Do you fear being labeled derivative?
JD: No whatever. Everyone has their own opinion. They’re welcome to it. It doesn’t change my opinion.
What is Cauldron building towards then?
JD: For me it’s just creating the music that I’m personally a fan of, the kind of stuff that I would want to listen to.
IC: I don’t think there’s any grand scheme. I think it’s just to keep trying to better ourselves.
JD: We don’t consider ourselves inventors or scientists. I don’t even consider myself a musician sometimes, I just consider myself more of a fan. I’m a fan of this music and I want to be a part of it, so that’s why I do it.
MD: I think it’s important just to write songs that mean something to you as opposed to trying to be something else. I think that’s what we do in this band.
To what extent does vinyl obsession impact the sound?
IC: That’s a huge part of it. We are all big record collectors. On every tour we try to hit up record stores. We are all obsessed with finding shit that we don’t have. Jason will tell you that there’s only three records left that he needs and then he’s done! (Laughter)
What are they?
JD: Buster Brown, Hammer, and a third one… there’s a notepad on my film.
IC: I’m looking for the Universe LP stuff, that Swedish band. It will be a hard one to find.
What rarities do you currently have?
IC: The stuff I have that’s rare isn’t necessarily my favorite. I have the original Savatage Sirens. That’s one of my all time favorite albums. I have a few other rare ones.
JD: I have the pre-Anvil Lips LP. That’s pretty rare. I don’t think it’s the most valuable one though. I’m often pretty shocked when I look on the internet at the price of some of the records I own. Oftentimes I will find an album online for $300 that I got for $5.
One thing that I’ve noticed with Cauldron is that you’ve stayed over the top but gotten a little less silly… You’ve moved from “Chained Up In Chains” on to some more serious stuff… why is that?
JD: With “Chained Up In Chains” there was supposed to be a comma in the title. That’s what threw everybody off. With a comma it makes more sense.
IC: That song is why we always get the tongue in cheek thing. Almost every review people say It’s a good time but it’s tongue in chee”‘ but it’s not! That song kind of started that
JD: That song is not about that though, it’s about being a stalker with some dark thoughts. It’s the kind of thing that you don’t act upon but that might cross your mind. It’s about stalking a woman and taking her out to the woods and raping her.
IC: The title is easy to make fun of. We should have known better.
JD: Back then we didn’t think about how others would perceive it.
IC: He just said it one night when we were drunk, and it just stuck in my brain.
MD: It sounds cool!
JD: If you sing it in two separate lines it’s not funny.
IC: All the chain references on the first record also made us seem like a joke.
JD: That also was a coincidence though. We weren’t like, “Oh we have to have chains mentioned in every song and the album title!” It was just once the record was put together that we realized that here was a lot of chain shit going on that we didn’t think about.
Do you feel like you are in that song’s shadow?
JD: No! That’s who we are.
IC: We don’t even care about it.
JD: It was perceived differently by others than it was to us.
MD: We don’t think we are a comedy band like Steel Panther or Skull Fist.
JD: We’re dead serious. We live the life. We’re the real deal.
How does that manifest itself in your non-tour lives?
JD: We’re all alcoholics! (Laughter)
MD: We have shitty day jobs so it’s inevitable that some of that crushing despair find its way into our music.
JD: We make a lot of sacrifices for this lifestyle. Without this band we wouldn’t have much else. We would have to start from scratch if we didn’t have the band.
Do you ever feel robbed of a normal life because of the band?
JD: No we chose this. Not everyone can tour around the world with a band. In a way we have something that other people don’t. We chose this over a normal life at home.
Do you feel like this tour shows that it’s all coming together?
IC: We’ve toured with Enforcer before, and they’re good friends of ours, so it should be a good time.
JD: We definitely feel like things are moving forward. Tomorrow’s Lost had an okay push in Europe but was ignored here, by and large. That was discouraging so it’s cool to see our label is really pushing our album now.
Is America where you are going to set your sights now?
JD: Not necessarily. Europe and North America have been our main stomping grounds I guess. We will probably continue to do that and hopefully branch out if the opportunities arise.
What do you love so much about the NWOBHM, and what inspired you to make that your thing?
JD: Well I like the US power metal bands it influenced. That’s where I really take influence from. Ian is more of the NWOBHM guy.
IC: I guess early on I was more inspired by direct NWOBHM stuff.
JD: A lot of German metal got me, like Scorpions, Stormwitch, and stuff like that. And of course Savatage.
Final words of wisdom for me?
IC: Drink responsibly! Take a nap after every five drinks! (Laughter)
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