I gushed all over today's interview subject a few weeks ago when his newest release was declared Album of the Week by yours truly. If you are interested in reliving the gush, you can check the review out here. Otherwise, let's get down to business.
Today we have a great Q&A with Cale Parks, solo artist and indie drummer par excellence. Cale's an interesting guy and his latest album, To Swift Mars, is well worth a listen. Plus, dude has some serious Cleveland roots and gives a lot of love to the city. Read on and you'll see why you ought to give him some love back. Which you can, as he's playing Cleveland soon. Like real soon. As in TONIGHT. See the blurb at the end of the post for more info.
1) What are your influences? In particular, I'm interested in sources of inspiration other than other bands/musicians? I mean, is there a certain type of art or artist, idea, spirit, etc.
I really love 80's and early 90's films that remind me of being a kid. I'm not sure why that era means so much to me. It's the eternal youth thing. I never wanna grow up, but I love the thought of being old. I adore the soundtrack technology of films back then. A lot of the synthesizers mixed into the score of films like The Goonies & The Neverending Story, I love that stuff. There's such a glassy quality to it all. Giorgio Moroder wrote a lot of The Neverending Story soundtrack. Then there's this eery minor 3rd theme that floats around that movie and Goonies. I love it so much. I think there are a lot of musicians who share this sentiment about the younger years. For example, M83's latest record, when that came out, I immediately identified.
2) What are the biggest differences (good and bad) between working on your own as a solo artist versus being a part of a team like in Aloha? Do you see yourself continuing to balance the individual-group dynamic over time or feel like you are likely to stick with one or another down the road?
It's much easier to write, organize, and plan a record by yourself. With Aloha, everything takes so long to finish, especially lately. We're also a long distance group, so that doesn't help at all. I will always make music as a solo artist, but who's to say what will happen. I love playing music, in all forms. I will always play with other people, as well solo. Sometimes I do miss the simplicity of playing only drums in a live situation. There's a lot less that could go wrong behind an acoustic drumset, compared to what I do as a solo act live.
3) If you were asked by a younger musician about to embark on his/her first tour or recording session, what advice would you give him/her?
Just be 100% confident and in love with what you do. Things will work themselves out either way. This is a crazy time to be playing music. Playing music is a crazy enough profession, and these times don't help at all. Just use your best judgement in every situation I guess.
4) Any pre- or post-show rituals you have found yourselves following over the years?
I don't like to eat an hour before I perform. I feel too weighed down. I do some drumming warm up exercises and since I've started singing in the last year, I've began doing some basic vocal warm ups that Michael from Passion Pit taught me. His voice is incredible. His warm ups are the strangest sounding thing I've ever heard. My post show rituals can include any combination of toweling off, sulking, cheering, putting on a dry shirt, and walking over to the merch table.
5) Any favorite artists/songs out there you'd love to cover, but just haven't done it yet?
I hear songs everyday that I always think I'd love to cover. For example, this morning I heard an Afghan Whigs song that I hadn't listened to since I was a kid. I thought, Cale, you can make a weird, new cover of this. An hour later, I realized, there's no way. You have to really hit the right one that's perfect for you. I've recorded an OMD cover, but I'm not sure what will happen to it. It's such an obscure song, it defeats the purpose of putting a new take on something people are familiar with, the way a cover should be. There's also a trend of indie rockers covering their contemporaries lately. Maybe I'll cover Bat For Lashes. You never know.
6) Last but not least, any memorable Cleveland experiences?
I have far too many Cleveland memories. When Aloha started, I was still in school in Bowling Green. Most of the Aloha guys lived in Cleveland for a minute, so I was always going back and for from BGSU to Clevo for rehearsals and shows. I remember one Sunday after an Aloha Cleveland show, I was pumping gas at a Sunoco on Lorain & W 44th I think, and drove off with the gas pump still attached to my car. I was halfway around the block when I realized there was a giant snake of a gas hose flopping on the side of my car. I drove back and gas was everywhere. I thought the station was gonna explode. I helped the attendant spread this kitty liter like stuff all over the parking lot, now covered in gas. No one batted an eye in this neighborhood. Ahh, Cleveland.
Be sure to catch Cale Parks TONIGHT at the B-Side Lounge (below the Grog Shop) on Coventry. Doors are at 9, with opening duties going to Cale's tourmates, Lemonade.