I talked with Matt from Caveman talked about a few interesting things, including the story behind the name of their latest album ‘Coco Beware’ and a bit about one completely loyal and obsessed fan.
Matthew Iwanusa: I was one of the biggest wrestling fans ever as a kid, and one of our next videos coming out is actually all based on wrestling, but we didn’t direct it, so that’s just kind of a coincidence, I would like to say. but we always grew up wrestling. To me, the title doesn’t all have to do with wrestling, it has to do with this mysterious name, there’s a long story about this Coco character; it was a nickname that also has to do with a few other things. But obviously there’s a huge
connection to wrestling, and I’m a huge fan. My friend Nick and I, one of my best buddies growing up, there are many many videos of us of us wrestling… So many broken teeth and bruised ribs when we were kids. I was obsessed with it back in the day, I would watch all the behind the scenes documentaries. It’s just the best, I feel like. It’s such a weird world, but it’s all coming back. I think everybody’s really getting back into wrestling.
I think a lot of us in this band have been in different bands and played different instruments coming from different places. I mean I grew up doing a lot of singing, but then I got really… I played drums, that was my instrument in my last band, and I got really into that. Now coming around to writing the songs, and everything that I’ve ever had in my entire life that I’ve been extremely serious about singing, but then also extremely serious about drums so then it felt like that all wanted to come out in one certain way. Same thing with Stefan, in the last band he was the singer and now he’s the drummer. So it comes out a lot with him too.
The sounds on the album come from a lot of different places, I was listening to a ton of Brian Eno, like his old records when we first started, and I knew that I wanted to write in the moment, be in the studio and write an instrumental thing that would then turn into a full song, but was based off these specific rhythms, before you starting thinking about the actual song; I guess it’s all influenced by previous instruments that we were excited about.
Northern Transmissions: Fat Possum, which is a great label, were interested in signing you guys. How did that relationship come about?
MI: You know, we had been going back and forth and just meeting with them and making sure of the right thing. They seemed like they got us the most and it was definitely like from day one we were like “Oh, if we were gonna work with people, who would be someone we’re interested in?” And they were definitely on the list, like high up, like number one on that list and it worked out perfectly. What was nice about it was they were not coming in to try and shake anything up; it seemed like they got the vibe, and we weren’t gonna do anything until somebody got the vibe. We didn’t want anyone to come in and put their twist on it.
NT: They have so many good bands on that label with Dinosaur Jr, the Walkmen, and Spiritualized. Have you played with any of those bands yet?
MI: Well, Jimmy, the guitar player in this band and I have been friends with the Walkmen forever – between them and the French Kicks, those guys got Jimmy and I got started when we were like 17 and giddy about playing and we shared a practice space with the Walkmen, they hooked us up; they’ve been really cool dudes. I think we’re playing with some of those other bands at South by Southwest coming up. I do like a lot of the bands on that label.
NT: [Video for “Easy Water”]
MI: Yeah our friend Bianca did that, I really like that video. She had this vision of these nice looking paintings. It started out as one thing and turned into that and I think she did a great job of capturing really nice images all the time. That song really flows to me in a way that doesn’t necessarily need a real narrative to it, and I like how she captured that.
When I was a kid, for the first year it came out my mom blocked it, but then she realized that was dumb so she unblocked it.It was because I would watch like Ozzy Osbourne and Marylin Manson videos and I’d be all freaked out, I couldn’t sleep at night, and she was like “Well I don’t want to have to deal with that.” So I understood that. But yeah I was definitely into music videos and I think they make songs stand out. You’re able to see this image that goes with it that you didn’t necessarily think about the first time. I think that’s pretty cool.
Oh yeah he’s this crazy guy, we’re all friends with him, he’s kind of a wild fan. When we first met him we just kind of rang with him a lot. He ended up getting ahold of it, we played the Forum, but one of us left it at his house when we stayed over with him one night. It was something like that, we were partying, one of us slept on his couch and and left the CD. So he started playing it all the time, but it worked out good because people were going in and then they would start showing up at the shows and were like “Oh I love the record, I listened to it at the bar.” And you know it’s 35 minutes long, and his style of playing it was that he would just put it on repeat, so literally in two hours you could hear it four times! But he would play it four times and not care.