Lights & Caves have undoubtedly put out one of the best indie debuts I've heard in while, especially from such young up-and-comers. After reviewing their EP, I was able to catch up with Evan Rudman (drums) and Jason Marr (guitar) to discuss In Satori, the band's writing/recording process, where they're headed, and even Led Zepplin. Check it out:
V: So the record, In Satori - it was self-released? Did you see any difficulties in that?
E: Yeah, I mean the process can be really difficult when no one is tell you what happens next, what direction to go in…on the other hand, without anyone funding you, it’s a lot easier because you don’t have any money to pay back. So it definitely has its ups and downs.
V: What is the band’s writing process like? Did you go in with any specific ideas or themes, or is that something that came out naturally during practice?
E: Well Dillon loves recurring themes, but as for writing, I know a lot of it came from just jamming. Most of the album was actually written before I joined the band.
J: I’ve been in the band since the beginning, and we would basically write these little diddies we liked and they would go on to form these six, seven minute songs …we’d look at them as a band and say, “Okay, I don’t really like this” until we trimmed them into these Frankenstein songs we liked.
V: What kind of musical influences are you guys usually under?
J: I’m a pretty big fan of The Beatles, and while we all have our own individual tastes, I know we dig a lot of the same bands, like Coldplay and Manchester Orchestra.
E: Yeah, definitely Manchester Orchestra, and I’m into Portugal. The Man and stuff like that. I know Jason here is a pretty big Tallhart fan, and we all dig stuff like Muse and a little Kings of Leon.
V: So if you had to throw together a dream tour, who would be on the bill?
J: The Beatles. [Laughs] Evan and I just looked directly at each other and knew what was up.
E: I said it once as a joke, but then I got to thinking about it, and I would want to play with Led Zepplin; not only would they kick ass to play with but it would be awesome to have Jon Bonham get us drunk under the table. [Laughs] But in a more realistic sense? Manchester Orchestra, The Dear Hunter, bands like that…I’ve always been a pretty big The Early November fan.
J: We almost had a show with Tallhart, but unfortunately, it didn’t quite pan out.
V: Did recording run smoothly?
E: Yeah, our producer, Mike, was great. A lot of our stuff ended up quite differently than we imagined it because we would bring it to him and he’d say “That’s great, but let’s see what happens when you try this,” which is a really good thing to be open to when you’re in a band. It’s gotta run like a democracy, and when it does, you’ll likely wind up happy with the results.
V: How long has Lights & Caves been active?
E: The oldest lyric we probably have for Lights (we’ve all played in different projects) was probably from when we got together the first time, about a year ago, and from there, these are the songs we’ve created.
V: Aside from demos, is this your first official release?
J: Yeah, I mean this is the first real release in general. [Laughs] I’m not sure if we even had a demo.
V: How has the reaction been thus far?
E: Well, we’re working on getting some more reviews, but really, Absolutepunk’s is the only one we have so far [Laughs] and thanks for the kind words, it means a lot to the band finally having been able to create something for ourselves and our friends and families.
V: As a fellow musician, along with many of our readers, what kind of advice would you give to other up-and-coming bands that may be growing impatient with the obstacles of playing in a band?
E: It’s important to keep a small head, a level head, and to focus on personal growth. I think a lot of the times, band politics can get in the way. You know, you start playing shows and then someone starts talking about how you need to make more money or something like that. It’s important to remember, as that 15-year-old freshman kid who’s in his first band, that your chances at that stage of going anywhere are very low. It sucks, but don’t get discouraged if you’re not signed after five or six shows. [Laughs] Just keep doing what you want to do and then when you reach college or graduate high school, you’ve grown as a musician to have a fairer chance at taking this somewhere.
V: Where does Lights & Caves want to go from here?
E: We’ve already got a few new songs that we’re pretty excited about, one of which we’ll definitely be playing at the In Satori release show tomorrow night, and we have another song that didn’t make the record (a somewhat more rockin’ B-side to “Carry Me Home”) that I think we’ll definitely bring back whenever we do our first proper full-length.
V: As a band, what is your goal with this record? What’s most important to you about making music together?
J: My goal was to put out a record I would enjoy listening to, but also our friends and family would enjoy, and I think with In Satori it’s already been pretty easy to see that we’ve succeeded in that aspect, which we’re all very proud of.
E: I like that answer; really, I just want to continue making music I’ll enjoy playing for others. I’m not one to worry much about sales, but as long as we sell enough to fund another release (or just keep playing shows), that’s what’ll keep me happy. [Laughs]
After reading this, make sure you check out the band's fantastic debut EP, In Satori.