New Orleans nu metal revivalists Cane Hill came swaggering into view with their debut album Smile back in 2016, brimming with bounce and a longing for that early noughties no fucks given mentality. They followed it up this January with Too Far Gone, another slab of turn-of-the-millennium attitude with a 2018 slant, but have now decided to leave the nu behind in favour of a more acoustic, stripped-back sound with their Kill The Sun EP. But why? We catch up with frontman Elijah Witt to find out.
You guys only released Too Far Gone at the start of this year. What was behind the decision to do an EP now?
"We wanted to showcase what we were capable of doing as musicians – the diversity that we have as far as our skills and talents go. When we were done with Too Far Gone, there were a lot of residual feelings that we didn’t know how to express other than in a softer way. We didn’t want to do a full album – it was just us wanting to get what we had on our minds and expressing it via our own cathartic artform."
People know the band primarily for that quintessential nu metal sound. Why did you take the decision to go 'semi-acoustic’ with this material?
"We looked at of our idols and they’ve all done similar things. We were like 'If they can do it, so can we!' Alice In Chains had Jar Of Flies and that’s always been one of our favourites because it was a deviation from their regular sound. From our first EP, to Smile and TFG, we’ve always had a softer side to us. If we did an EP that was exclusively these types of songs, we could release singles that could get us the recognition we’ve never had."
What have reactions been like to the first single, Kill The Sun?
"People were shocked that I had the ability to sing and that we can play acoustic guitars, but generally they’ve been wildly more positive than any of us expected. We went into the release with loads of anxiety thinking that our core fanbase were just going to be confused or disgusted that we would even dream of doing something soft. Our Spotify numbers are stupidly good comparatively. I think we’ve lucked out in garnering this fanbase who enjoy the fact that we like to push our boundaries and do weird things that lots of other bands wouldn’t be able to because their capabilities are limited or they’re too afraid."
Do you think doing this kind of slowed-down record will change people's perceptions of you?
"We’re hoping that people can see that there’s this very definitive other side to us. I hope that people can latch on to it, and that what we’re singing about is something that they can put their emotions into and react to – what are very negative lyrics – in a very positive way."
What subjects are you writing about on the EP?
"It didn’t start out as a conceptual piece, but what it did turn into was this very precise story – about the past, all the drugs – who we were before, during and what we became after them. When you listen from the first song all the way to the last, it’s a very definitive timeline of the people we were, the people that we became and how it all happened. We’ve got songs about being this piece of shit that doesn’t care about anyone around us, about the relationships we had during that period – like the mentally abusive one I was in right before TFG. The desperation to leave that, the drugs that we found ourselves enveloped in because of that, where we were and running from it. The final track is very definitive as it discusses how that path brought us to this point – where we were terrified of what we could have become, but very satisfied with what we did become."
You've had support slots here but haven't done a headline tour of the UK yet. Do you feel like progress has been slower for you over here?
"We’ve talked about it – it’s just another one of those things where if we’re going to do it, we need to make sure we’re doing it right. And that opportunity just hasn’t presented itself yet. I feel like we’re still trying to make sure we’ve created the right air around us that makes us worthy as a headliner. We could do the shitty fucking clubs and bars, but we want to be able to bring the kind of production that makes it an actual show – an out and out experience rather than a simple gig."
What can we expect from you in 2019?
"We’re dropping the EP and then we’re going to be working on arranging shows to showcase the new material. We’ve already got festivals and shows booked for the UK next year. We’re just doing what we usually do – tour, tour, tour and write, write, write. We have no other function in life than the art that we create!"
Cane Hill's new EP Kill The Sun is out January 18 via Rise Records (opens in new tab).
They are supporting Bury Tomorrow and 36 Crazyfists in the UK at the following dates:
11 Dec: Bristol, SWX
12 Dec: Birmingham, O2 Institute
13 Dec: Glagow, Garage
14 Dec: Manchester, O2 Ritz
15 Dec: London, O2 Forum