Updated: Jul 6
This London based neo-psychedelic group is ready to surface with their new single, "Imperial Echo Vault". Prepare to be submerged in their tides of textural groove.
Inspired by the revolutionary power of rock and roll, founder Ken started the project in his bedroom. Another artist following the steps of modern icons like Ariel Pink or John Dwyer, seeming collaging together his own soundscape. After months of recording and fine tuning, Caspian's Island is ready to let their freak flags fly while carving a space into the world of experimental music.
With the release of their first EP, "No One Else", the group created a name for themselves among their local DIY community allowing them to play with the likes of Mystery Jets and The Horrors. Their new single is their next step toward revealing their overall aesthetic.
We had the opportunity to catch up with lead guitarist, Ken, last week.
Here's what he had to say:
Q: How did Caspian's Island come together? What was the local scene like where you originated?
A: I spent a lot of time in my teenage years mesmerised by great bands and artists of the past like Jimi Hendrix, Led Zeppelin, The Libertines, The White Stripes, The Who, Radiohead, Nirvana when I should have been doing homework. I was so hooked by how they performed in a godly manner and created sounds that were defining history. The natural progression was onto more obscure, lesser-known artists that were doing the same despite not having the financial backing or incentive but pushing the envelope yet further; Late of the Pier, Tom Vek, Phoenix, Friendly Fires, Jai Paul, Toro Y Moi to name a few.
I started making music imitating styles of my favourites, I felt like a kid in a candy store picking and choosing this part of this artist and mixing it with another aspect of another. I was a scientist in a lab mixing up concoctions to my own taste which grew on to become the sounds you hear today. I never used to like singing on tracks but there was always a final touch that the songs needed to get across verbally how I was feeling at the time, the cherry on top of the vibe even if the words are sometimes few.
Watching all the many hours of footage from live shows of my idols and when I was standing in the crowd of the first gig I ever went to it was then that I thought: "I want to be up there, not down here" and so I went about trying to look for a way to build my very own band. Myself (Kenzo), James Hogg (drummer), Luca Torrens (guitarist) were all close friends before the band. He had to find a new bass guitarist and ended up putting an advert out online: “Bassist wanted” We met Harry and the deal was done. Here we are, Caspian’s Island!
Q: Did you play many live shows before recording material? Were you involved in a sort of DIY culture?
Actually, it was the other war round, initially it started as a bedroom project of mine just seeing what I could come up with and where it would take me but eventually and naturally the music beckoned to be translated to a live environment which is when the band formed. Each member of the band brings something unique to the table resulting in the live versions sounding different to the recorded versions and giving the fans another reason to see their favourite songs live!
As for DIY culture, absolutely! The group of people we surround ourselves with here in London are all about making their own futures by trying and learning. All the tracks, music videos, promotional stuff are all made by Caspian's Island with the help of friends. We truly live in an age where it might be more possible than ever to do it by yourself. DIY is also always 100% more rewarding too.
Q: How did you go about recording or getting signed to a label?
A: I've tried recording in studios a number of times but the magic never seems to be able to flourish. I can never seem to get an authentic sound perhaps because of the anxiety that someone is listening in and will hear all the mistakes being made or judge it before it's in a state to be judged. So I record, compose and mix in my bedroom at home where I feel most honest and relaxed. When mastering I will go to a studio to see how it sounds on bigger and better monitors for the final stage.
We've been approached by a small-ish label before but I didn't have a very good feeling about them so we ended up not going to the interview actually. Not to say that we wouldn't want to be signed but it has to be the right label.
Q: Any aspirations for the band's future? As a psychedelic group, do you intend to incorporate art into your merch or live shows?
A: The next step would be trying to arrange some sort of tour, perhaps supporting a band we really dig. We've only played outside of London once which was at Truck Festival in Oxfordshire. We have been designing merch and have just got some samples! We're really excited as we've done the first draft of designs and will see when they'll drop sometime after quarantine is over.
Also yes to the art during live shows, we've just bought a projector so we will be projecting head-spinning visuals
that the audience can get lost in
while jamming to the groove of the music.
Q: How do you think this time of isolation will affect up and coming artists/musicians?
A: I think there will be different ways artists will be affected and it will totally depend on their situation before quarantine. A lot of creatives will have to adapt completely, as they are already, to combat the situation of not being able to perform concerts at venues which for many is a main source of income. It can be difficult to have the determination to be creative when you're stressed as to how you'll come out by the end of the pandemic.
On the other hand, it can be a time for some where you now have all the time in the world to finally get round to being more creative and trying new ways to be creative that you might have put off before. It might challenge people to break the mould of the traditional route and checkboxes of being an artist and start a new way of delivering music in a more intimate and heartfelt way, far from where music was headed before this, revolving around money, views and likes.
Q: Any plans for the rest of the year?
A: We have a lot more music lined up and almost ready following the release of Imperial Echo Vault as well as music videos, photoshoots that we have ideas for to be getting on with after lockdown. We're eager to get back on the live scene; perfecting and adding to the set.