Timezones and weekends are two things that tend to mess with you – Timezones because what’s an afternoon to you is probably the morning to someone else, and weekends, because, well, when you’re not working at whatever bullshit waste of time you call a job, you’re trying to balance not wasting YOUR free time with the rest of lifes crap. Like looking through a myriad of TV channels trying to find stuff that ISN’T a Star Trek re-run, or a Simpsons re-run, or endlessly cycling 24 hours news blasting how we’re all going to die because of war, terrorists, Australian hackers or a new supervirus threatening the global barley crop…..
Where was I… Oh yeah, Sunday morning, talking to Cauldron. Part of me wants to go off on a rant that would end up with ‘DEATH TO FALSE METAL – HERE’S CAULDRON!’, but the former just doesn’t seem to hang quite right, and the latter, well, I better just explain WHO they are.
Cauldron are a metal band from Canada.
And that’s really all you need to know. And all I can really say – they don’t really do thrash, power or speed metal, and they hark back to a time when Venom were both the only black or death metal band.
Metal for the sheer joy of Metal.
Metal that makes bullet belts seem like a sound investment; metal to drink hundreds of tiny cans of beer to.
Freed from ties to any scene of the minute, they’re honest and free from that annoying, unearned arrogance some young bands with oversized wife-beaters and too many terrible tattoos get.
(Actually, that could be because of the Canadian thing.)
Oh, and first thing on a Sunday Morning? Lead singer/Bass player, Jason Decay, was more than happy to put up with the likes of me messing him about.
THAT’S how I want my rock stars GOD DAMMIT!
Ok, maybe it’ll work after all – ‘DEATH TO FALSE METAL – HERE’S CAULDRON!’
Sonic Abuse – How would you describe the Cauldron sound, and what makes you sound that way?
Jason Decay – Well, we just try to sound like ourselves. I guess we take songwriting influences from a wide variety of music, but we put it through the Cauldron filter. I guess we really concentrate on songwriting, but we also know how we sound, how I sing – I can’t change my voice, I know how I like my amp to sound, Ian knows how he wants his guitar to sound so we just capture that when we record, and mix that with a big drum sound. I guess that’s the ‘Cauldron Sound’.
SA- How well does that transfer to your live show then?
JD – I think if maybe we drank less, and really concentrated while we were up there on stage!
SA –Do you feel that being the singing bass-player in a power trio frees up Ian (guitars) to riff and solo more?
JD – Yes and no – I think it puts more pressure on both of us to sort of fill out the rhythm guitar section, we think sometimes it would be nice to have two guitar players, so he can then do more on his own, rather than concentrate on the riffs AND the rhythm and the leads all at the same time. But, it makes whatever he plays much more noticeable than if there were two guitar players – that’s for sure, although it puts more pressure on me to hold down the rhythm section.
SA – Your vocals are a bit unusual, since you actually seem to be singing, as opposed to grunting or shrieking…
JD – I’m trying to sing!..
SA – I hear singing! Is there anyone that’s been an influence in that?
JD – I tend to like more raspy singers, like Kai Hansen, or Dave Mustaine, I’ve always been a big fan of their voices. I don’t consider myself a great singer at all, but I can relate to the way they sing, although they have a lot more experience, and are more polished at doing it.
SA – Cauldron just seem to be a celebration of HEAVY METAL… Fair statement?
JD – Well, we’re always celebrating! We’re just playing the kind of music that we like to hear, that we’re fans of, so we’re creating more of that for ourselves, and for others who have similar tastes in music.
SA- You say it’s music YOU want to hear, I hear a strong 80’s NWOBHM sound, stuff like Samson or Angelwitch, would it be fair to say that’s what you’ve been listening to?
JD – Well, yeah, you’re putting a date on it, but for me it’s timeless – I guess it’s music that was invented then, but for me it’s timeless. Call it whatever you want – to me it’s just heavy metal – if you’re not playing the same kind of music as that, then you could call it something else, to us it’s just heavy metal.
SA – Are there any bands that have influenced the way you sound, or view the world?
JD – Oh shit – all kinds of stuff, I could list bands forever, but, for the style and the sound, it’d mainly be US power metal from the Metal Blade Metal Massacre era, bands like Savage Grace, or Obsession, as well as a lot of German metal stuff: Gravestone, Stormwitch. I think Ian brings in more of the British influence to the band, he grew up listening to a lot of Angelwitch and Diamond Head. Stuff like Megadeth too, but that’s more for the style, as far as songwriting, we pull from everywhere and we Cauldronize it!
SA – Lyrically, what do you tend to focus on, and is it you that writes the lyrics?
JD – I guess, with ‘Burning Fortune’, it mainly has to deal with an unstable future in pursuit of the rock’n’roll dream; just the financial uncertainty and possible health issues, like death (!) surrounding this lifestyle…
SA – You just finished recording a new album ‘Burning Fortune’ – last time around (on ‘Chained to the Nite’) you worked with Ian Blurton, who did you work with this time around?
JD – His name’s Jameson Elliott, he’s a guy I’ve known for about 10 years and he did two records for my previous band, Goathorn. After working with a bunch of different people over the years, he was pretty much the best guy that I knew, so WE knew that HE knew how to get the job that we wanted done. The last record had overdubs, double vocals, harmonised guitars… and there’s none of that on the new one, it really is just us playing in a room and recorded to tape. I think we should be able to pull it off live, you know? And now, we also have all three guys in the band singing, whereas before, it was just me.
SA – Was that something you consciously changed after ‘Chained to the Night’, or is this Jameson’s style?
JD – Both – we wanted to go in and make it simple, it was both our decision, and we chose a producer that we knew was into recording that way.
SA – The album cover – there’s a lot going on there – could you talk me through where the idea came from?
JD – The idea for that came from Phil, from Chromium Dioxide magazine, we actually were struggling to come up with a cover concept that everyone agreed on, and liked and actually wanted to go forward with, so Phil came up with something, and sure enough, everyone liked it, cuz we already had the album title, but didn’t really know how to tie in an album cover with it. If you see the back of the album it makes a lot of sense, because we’re sitting in the back of the limo that the chicks getting out of…. Basically, it just sums up some kids heavy metal wet dream!
SA – I was going to ask about Chromium Dioxide, because the Special edition copies of the album are packaged with a free copy. Who are they and how did that idea come about?
JD – They’re a Canadian fanzine done in the style of a comic book I guess.. and it just deals with Heavy metal culture and stuff like that. The guy who runs the magazine’s actually a good friend of ours, and the people at Earache really liked it too, so they suggested a limited edition Cauldron special magazine, for the limited edition pressing of the album.
SA – Being a Canadian fanzine, can I take it they focus mainly on the Canadian metal scene?
JD – Not really – some of the humour and some of the jokes are based in Canadian stuff, but it encompasses heavy metal from all around the world, not just a local thing.
SA – You’ve given horror movies as influence – is there any one you’d say ‘You have to go out and watch this, it’s an absolute classic’?
JD –I grew up watching slasher flick’s, and er.. ‘Sleep Away Camp 2’. But there’s actually gonna be quite a few recommended viewings in the limited Chromium mag, but that’s probably one of my all time favourites. ‘2’ and ‘3’ actually. You can’t go wrong with part 3.
SA – You’d give part 1 a miss then? It’s not integral to the story?
JD – It’s a different type of movie I think. It’s not bad, but it’s not the same.
SA – Videogames seem to come up a lot too – there’s an old old old school Gameboy in the video for ‘Chained up in Chains’…
JD – That’s what Ian does to pass the time on tour.. I think it’s a guitar player thing – all guitar players need to be constantly doing something with their fingers! I wouldn’t say videogames are an influence on Cauldron at all though!
SA – You’ve been to the UK a couple of times now – Firstly to help promote ‘ANVIL! The Story of ANVIL!”, but you all ended up with food poisoning, and then you came over with Enforcer but you had a couple of bad spells then too – any plans to come back over this way, or do you reckon the UK might be cursed for you?
JD – We actually did have a good run early in 2009, in the Spring we came over with Bonded by Blood, that one went off well, but next time we come back, and I don’t know quite what our plans are gonna be, but maybe we should focus on just doing a festival or just a few key shows, because yeah, of the three times we’ve been over, two weren’t so hot… Oh – and we were there a year ago with Wolf, THAT one was good! That makes four….
SA – With the tour you did with Enforcer, you seemed to always be scheduled against Slayer, or stuck in traffic before early closing shows…
JD – You know what? We did a similar tour with Enforcer in the US, it was a much longer tour, 5 or 6 weeks, we also called it the nightmare tour, and sure enough, tons of shit went wrong; and then, when they called the UK tour the ‘Nightmare over the UK’ we vowed never to use the word ‘Nightmare’ in naming a tour ever again, as we think it cursed the tours! I ain’t superstitious, but…. Twice in a row ‘Nightmare’ struck us down!
SA – The album comes out in February, what are you up to between now and then?
JD – We have some shows in the States at the end of January, and we’re playing some shows in Canada, for when the record comes out, and then it look like we’ll have a full Canadian/US tour starting in April. Other than that? Just waiting for the record to come out!
‘Burning Fortune’ is out 14th February 2011, on Earache Records.
Thanks to Talita at Earache UK and Anthony at Earache US for arranging the interview.
And of course, BIG thanks to Jason himself for putting up with all my crap first thing on a Sunday morning.