Some believe that a few chords and a couple of effect pedals are sufficient to gain entry into the post-rock club. But to the faithful, it’s a uniquely expressive and pure form of emotive music, and Caspian have worked hard to set themselves apart.
“We love exploring textures and sounds and using pedals to make weird noises, but if the song isn’t moving through some narrative territory and trying to tell a story in a unique way, it’s not that interesting to us,” says the band’s founding member and guitarist Philip Jamieson, noting there’s a “pretty standard formula” for a lot of post-rock, and he “doesn’t feel like it gets expanded upon a lot”.
Caspian began in 2003, and back then they didn’t care about pushing boundaries. “We didn’t really have a whole ton of ambitions when we started playing, other than getting together, drinking some beers and jamming on whatever was in the air,” Jamieson admits.
They’ve made radical departures since, though. With new album Dust And Disquiet, there’s a grave sense of unease that permeates the tracks, and there’s also a darkness instilled in the songs, which is understandable as their bassist Chris Friedrich passed away tragically in 2013. “He was so obviously intimately enmeshed here, not just in the band and our music, but in our personal lives,” reflects Jamieson. “He was a close friend; he wasn’t just a hired gun. He was a buddy, he was family.”
I think music is capable of articulating things that nothing else really is.
The tragic event led to some of the band’s most heavy and vital material yet being penned, such as the punishing Arcs Of Command.
In terms of firsts for the band, the new album features a song that includes vocals and lyrics. For Jamieson, this is partly to help them express themselves further. “Maybe it’s the 10-year thing, or the history and backstory of the band,” he muses, “but we felt like we had something that could be clarified better with lyrics and vocals.”
And that’s not the only ground broken for them on this album, as he reveals: “For the first time we’ve got a completely improvised studio piece on record. It’s a brief, quiet piece of music without a lot of bombast, but it’s nice to have a permanent document of a nice moment that randomly happened in the studio. Then there’s a song that’s entirely classical guitar, and a song with a fast and flashy metal riff.”
Finally, when asked what he loves about music, and what has kept him motivated to pursue the band, Jamieson is emphatic: “I’ve always felt very intimately attached to music. Of course, like any other art form, the potential for self-expression is so huge; it can be a lifelong commitment for all the right reasons. I think music is capable of articulating things that nothing else really is.”
|Philip Jamieson (guitar/keyboards/synthesizers), **Calvin Joss **(guitar), **Erin Burke-Moran **(guitar), **Jonny Ashburn **(guitar), Jani Zubkovs (bass), Joe Vickers (drums)|
|A thrillingly perfect blend of Russian Circles and This Will Destroy You|
|Dust And Disquiet is out now|