In the late afternoon on June 9th at Orion Music + More I had another excellent opportunity to interview 2 of the members of Cauldron, a real stripped-down, pure and classic sounding metal band out of Toronto, Ontario, Canada. I was excited to find out a little more about these guys who are making metal music the good old-fashioned way that it used to be. I spoke with guitarist Ian Chains and drummer Myles Deck. Here's how the interview went...
HappyHeadbanger: Joel Beverley here. I write Heavy Metal 107: Home of the Happy Headbanger. It can be found at www.happyheadbanger.com. I'm speaking today with two guys from Cauldron. You want to introduce yourselves?
Ian Chains: Yeah. I'm Ian. I play guitar.
Myles Deck: And I'm Myles. I play the drums.
IC: And that's it. Just the two of us.
MD: I sing, sometimes.
HH: Yeah, backing vocals on both you guys I saw in your set this morning. So, just in a few words tell me what it means to have been picked, you know I assume Metallica picked you guys to be here at Orion Fest, to be part of the line up. And what does it mean to you to play this show.
IC: Well, Just the fact that Metallica knows who we are is enough for me. I think that's pretty cool.
MD: My 15-year-old self is giving me a pat on the back right now.
MD: I'm pretty proud of myself as a 30-year-old as well, but that's kinda when I discovered Metallica.
HH : Okay.
IC: My 65-year-old self is blowing a load in his pants... I don't know. You can take that out.
HH: Okay. I'll copy to your....
IC: Nah, keep that in. Nah it was alright.
HH: You can approve it at the end. Anyway, what other bands here on the bill are you interested in seeing, interested in meeting? Catching up with or catching their music?
MD: I was really psyched to see FLAG. And we caught them. We got here just as they were playing.
HH: OK, cool.
MD: And I met Keith Morris. He seemed... polite.
MD: For the most part.
IC: We're gonna check out DEATH.
IC: We heard 'em sound check. Sounded pretty awesome.
MD: I wanted to see The Dirtbombs, but they were playing the same time we were, so...
HH: Yeah, schedules like that can't be helped.
IC: And there's this... some band called 'Metallica' too, so.
HH: Oh, yeah. Everybody...
IC: Probably, we might check them out.
HH: They might be a pretty popular set.
MD: Pretty underrated band, from what I hear.
HH: Alright, you played in your set today you played 'All or Nothing' is one of the songs of yours that I really like. I Particularly love your music video for it. It's got a lot of humor in it. You kinda like portray all the cliches of heavy metal and everything, and I couldn't help but wonder, is any of that from the video autobiographical?
IC: It is, but those weren't our real jobs, but that's how we feel about life in general, I guess. So, it is based on loathing going back to work after tour, and just hating our bosses.
MD: Yeah it seems like you can't have a job that you like and also be in a band and tour heavily, because if they... you know, you have a job that you like, then you're expected to commit to it. And then the only jobs that are available to you are shitty jobs that you don't care about, that you don't mind quitting when you go on tour.
MD: But they kinda tear at you.
HH: Any accidents with gas cans in your garages? Like at the end of the video?
IC: Nah, we stopped doing that since we died in the video.
HH: (Laughs) Okay, okay, awesome. So, researching your guys' music a little bit, and the internet directs me to 'The New Wave of Traditional Heavy Metal', and I just have to ask, when you started out Cauldron, was that your intent, or did the label kinda come after you guys were doing what you did?
IC: No, when we started, that term was unheard of. That term started getting tossed around by magazines like Terrorizer and Metal Hammer around 2009.
IC: And that is not a fan-created term, or a band-created term. That is a press-created term to sell magazines, and we don't care about it at all. It's a joke, really.
IC: We were playing...
HH: It's like the 'New Wave' of everything. The 'New Wave of This' the 'New Wave of That'.
IC: We were playing this exact kind of music before that term came around, and so were other bands like Enforcer, who are also labeled with that. But, you know, that was never the intent, and that's... When there's you know, a handful of bands doing the same style, kind of, then you're doomed to be labeled something. But we don't endorse that.
HH: Okay. How about you guys personally. What were your influences, when you were young, to start learning to play music, to have a passion to perform music, to be in a band?
MD: Well I don't know, it'd probably damage my credibility, but I don't know. I guess like for heavy metal, the first band I heard was pretty classic. I think pretty traditional for a lot of people was Black Sabbath.
HH: Yeah Sabbath.
MD: I heard it when I was 11, and I played 'Iron Man' on tape. And I was like, "Uhhh this is heavy!"
MD: "I wanna play this."
IC: Well, my story's a bit different. I wanted to play guitar after watching Back to the Future.
IC: Seeing Marty McFly ripping a solo behind his head, and tapping. And then I got really into Huey Lewis and The News, because they were like, prominently featured in that movie.
IC: And that's what really got me into thinking guitar was cool. And the first Huey Lewis and The News album, the guy's got a double-neck guitar, and he's making some stupid face. I just made my parents buy it for me. I thought it was the coolest thing ever. And I still like that album.
MD: Okay, well I just had like a recent, like a recent memory come to me.
HH: Go ahead...
MD: And uh, it was 'Money for Nothing' by Dire Straits. How in the beginning there's this huge drum solo. 'Do-do-do-do Da-du-du-du-duu-kish!' You got Sting in the background going,...
All Three: (singing in high pitched falsettos) "I want my MTV..."
MD: And there's just like this big build-up of 'A-du-du-du-d-d-d-du-du-du-du-Kish!' 'A-du-du-du-d-d-d-du-du-du-du-Kish!' And then I like, remember my parents had that cassette, and we listened to it in the car a lot. And all of a sudden it was like, when you couldn't take any more, the guitar lick comes in, 'Wrrr, nah-nah-naar, naar nana narrrr...' and that's when I knew I had to be in a band.
HH: Oh, cool cool stuff.
IC: I actually had that cassette-single, with that song on both sides.
HH: (laughs) Cool.
IC: And it came for free with a cassette player that I bought. It was like a promo-pack. So I listened to that song over and over again.
MD: So you got your music for nothing and your tapes for free!
HH: Yeah. Wow, those were the days. How about a first concert you guys ever saw, as fans. Who did you see?
MD: As music fans? Or just like the first concert ever?
HH: Uh, either one.
IC: Mine's pretty... I don't know. I'm kinda surprised, but my first concert I saw, I was 14, and it was Sonic Youth.
IC: Yeah, I was really into Nirvana and Mudhoney and Sonic Youth, and that was the first concert I saw. And I thought they were amazing.
MD: First show I ever saw, I was 12. I saw this punk band from Vancouver called DBS.
HH: Oh, cool.
MD: And they had this song called 'Snow Ball'. It was on much music, or what. It was cool. It was a lot of energy, like probably 200 kids in this small-ass club and moshing. And I got trampled. It was amazing.
HH: Okay. So, I'm just going to admit that I discovered you guys recently. I had heard of your first album a couple years back, but I haven't really checked it out until recently, though. And like, your style of music and all the 'sound-alikes' that social media and all the internet stuff leads me to, it's like you guys have lead me to a new gold-mine of this classic, real pure style of metal. Who would you recommend to me as other bands to check out with high priority. Either new or old, like classic obscure stuff and newer guys.
IC: There's a lot of really good new bands. I would recommend checking out Vulture from Richmond, VA.
MD: Midnight, from Cleveland.
IC: One of my favorite bands right now, and they're really new, and they really only have like 4 or 5 songs demoed, but Witch Hazel, from England.
IC: They're up-and-coming, but they're songs are amazing. It's like Thin Lizzy meets...
MD: You don't know. You've never heard before. ... Meets Mega Man.
IC: ...some pagan ritual in the woods. Yeah, it's really good. Enforcer from Sweeden. Those guys rule. You know, that's it. There's three good bands there.
HH: Okay. You want to talk a little bit about your latest album, the Tomorrow's Lost, and what your approach was for recording that, and how you wrote the music for it.
IC: Well, the approach for recording it was the same as the album before, Burning Fortune. Same studio, same producer. Everything. We're just trying to improve upon, you know, building upon our sound, you know. Really simple, recorded live off the floor. Guitars doubled. That's it. And that's what we're all about. Keeping it really simple.
HH: Simple and pure.
HH: Pure metal.
IC: Just trying to sound real and organic. We're not into clickity-klack bass drums, and you know, shitty processed guitar sounds. We're into real, real sounds.
IC: And the songs... I don't know. We actually didn't have a drummer when we wrote these. It was me and Jason. Jason on drums and me on guitar for writing the album. So that's kinda how it came about.
HH: Okay, cool. And the last question- just what's on your near-horizon? What's coming up for Cauldron? Any plans? Any...
MD: We have some shows on the east coast of the States. So, we're playing Baltimore, we're playing Raleigh, North Carolina.
MD: ...Richmond, Virginia. Wilmington, North Caroliona. We're also playing in Providence, Rhode Island at the end of July. Just like some shows like that. We're looking into going to South America in the fall.
IC: October, yeah.
MD: Seeing how that comes together. Just we want to make sure we don't get ripped off, too hard.
HH: Yeah, yeah, I bet...
IC: ...Or stabbed in the face...
HH: I know South America's a lot of metal-heads if you can coordinate it, yeah.
MD: Yeah, well, I personally get messages from people occasionally. Asking me, pleading with me, begging me or also like...
HH: Blackmailing you? (laughs)
MD: Well, not like blackmail, but like stuttering death-threats...
IC: Come play...
MD: Or like, just something in broken English. Saying, 'Come, play Brazil'. 'Come, play Columbia.'
IC: 'Come, play Brazil. You play my back yard. I feed you.'
IC: Okay. Well, let's book some $10,000 flights down to South America to play in some guy's backyard, and he'll make us some corn dogs, some pogos.
HH: Well, for now you're playing in James Hetfield's backyard, his barbecue here at Orion Fest. I want to thank you guys for having this interview with me. It's been fun, and keep playing that pure metal, you guys. You rock!
MD: You bet.
IC: Thanks, Joel
MD: Thanks, Joel
HH: Thank you!