Interview: Cold Cave's Wesley Eisold Talks Unconventional Touring and his 'Realist' Sound Ahead of Bangkok Gig on May 15
Popscene pulled off a major coup announcing that brooding US synth-rock act Cold Cave would be stopping off at Bangkok on their current “Meaningful Life” tour of Asia taking in China, Japan, Korea and Nepal. BK caught up with frontman Wesley Eisold ahead of the gig at Cosmic Café on May 15.
What triggered your current tour of Asia?
A few years ago I tried to do a similar tour but it fell through. It’s exciting to play larger cities as well as less traditional ones, such as Kathmandu. Sometimes music similar to mine has never been performed in such cities. Of course it’s an opportunity to see places too. The reception has been incredible, humbling. Every show is a strong mix of locals and expats.
You’re currently performing in duo mode; what can we expect?
Electronics. Crude and digital. I’m able to accomplish more with a minimal set-up. I’ve performed with an other person often so this is pretty standard.
Why the regular changes to the live line-up?
I’ve wanted to hear the songs in different capacities. Maybe depending on the tour I’ve added a drummer but as of now I’m enjoying electronics.
While Cold Cave is still very much a solo project, does working with so many different musicians of different backgrounds influence your songwriting?
No, it doesn’t because I write alone.
After this tour you’re playing some high-profile reunion shows with your old hardcore band, American Nightmare. How does it feel to be revisiting that period of your career?
It comes with some perspective. I’ve come a long way. It’s a form of reconciliation. The band didn’t end well. It was sudden and many people never got to see it live.
You’re no longer under contract with a record label. How is that influencing your work?
I’m releasing music through my publishing company, Heartworm Press. I’m releasing music freely as I wish at the moment. Basically I don’t have to follow anyone’s rules but my own.
You’ve recently released a number of seven-inches; what do you find most appealing about this format?
It’s a brief statement as opposed to an album which can be more elaborate. I took Cold Cave back to where I began. This format makes sense to that ideology of home recording and limited edition releases.
You’re also an author and a publisher. Who are some of your biggest literary influences? Are your literary and musical influences one and the same?
I’ve always gravitated toward the French authors like Genet, Celine, Baudelaire, Rimbaud, Artaud etc. There is crossover from music to literary influences at times when there are special lyrics. Morrissey, Patti Smith, Lou Reed, Genesis P-Orridge and many more. I feel in line with them.
Critics tend to call your music dark or “goth,” but lyrically this isn’t always the case. At the threat of similarly pigeon-holing yourself, how would you describe the music of Cold Cave?
It’s very personal music. It’s dark, yes, but not without optimism. I guess it’s realist. The sound has varied a bit instrumentally but my heart has been the constant.
You moved around a lot as a kid; would you say that’s predisposed you to a life of touring or influenced your art in any way?
I’ve learned that not everything is transient but most things are.
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