Cascades perform some of the most full-sounding sludge metal coming out of Australia at the moment - their soon-to-be-released self-titled debut LP offers a remarkable level of clean production and riffwork that you might expect out of an older band. Fluctuating between heavy and haunting, they’re an act that interestingly enough put environmental issues to the forefront of their music which makes for a nice change of pace against a scene that typically flirts with nihilistic introspection.
Guitarist/vocalist Liam White shared a few word with LIFE IS NOISE ahead of their support slot next to Bog for Pallbearer’s Thursday July 7 show at the Northcote Social Club.
What’s been going on in the world of Cascades?
We’re getting ready to release our debut LP, CASCADES, on 4 July, which is pretty exciting. Sydney label Art As Catharsis is helping us out with the digital release and we’re doing the LPs on our own. We’re waiting on test pressings at the moment which is pretty exciting.
We took a year or so to write for this record, which is different to the way we’ve done things in other bands. So, that’s been an interesting and at times challenging process, but we’re really happy with how it sounds and we’re really excited about being able to point people to the record once it’s out.
Aside from that we’re starting to write for LP2, so that’s a relief, after spending so long refining this first batch of songs. It’s nice to call them ‘done’ and move on to new ideas. New songs are sounding cold and hard but spacious and pretty in parts, too. I think we’re going to be turning the lens inwards with these songs and I’m excited to see where they end up.
What drives Cascades to make music?
In many ways we’re just working on trying to play the music that we want to hear. We all listen to a lot of varied music and I hope this comes out in our songwriting.
The songs on this record are mostly about trying to see the positive and the human side of a world that often feels hopeless. The lyrics are generally about self-interest, bloat and the flaws that make us human and fallible.
What’s the weirdest thing that’s happened at one of your shows?
A venue that will remain unnamed closed the doors after a show and the bar manager immediately whipped out a bong, and started doing bong hits at the bar. It was a little surreal. At one stage we looked around and the band we were playing with was instagramming one of their members sucking one down. It was a little bit rural and a little bit genius.
Quickly tell us about an album that’s shaped the band in one way or another.
Let’s be honest, any chance I get to bang on about FUGAZI I’ll bang on about FUGAZI. End Hits is a perfect intersection between ‘old’ FUGAZI and ‘new’ FUGAZI and I reckon the interplay between the guitars on that record is perfect. There’s the call and response and there’s the bantamweight angularity of Guy’s guitar and the heavyweight woody thunk of Ian’s guitar. The songs vary between two-minute bangers and rambling experiments. Lyrically the band got a little more obscure as it went along I think but there are some still very direct lyrics on this record, and it sounds fucking bang on still. Highly recommended.
Other stuff we listen to regularly and find inspiration from includes Gillian Welch, Aaron Turner’s various projects, Converge, Earth, Midnight Oil, Krallice, Jonny Greenwood / Radiohead, Nick Cave, The Spectacle, Brian Eno, Cocteau Twins, The Cure, Neurosis, Tortoise, Bowie, and Portishead.
What can people expect at one of your gigs?
I hope that people can expect to see a band that is interested in trying to convey something; we’re not so interested in being a kind of ‘experience’ but rather we try to focus on intensity and weight in our music. We try to give the songs some space to breathe while trying to make them feel claustrophobic at times. Also, lots of delay pedals.
If you could open for any Australian or New Zealand based artist, who would it be and why? Feel free to choose acts that no longer exist.
Personally I’d say 1980s MIDNIGHT OIL, but it’d be a hellish support slot; the Oils were / are known for having extremely loyal and one-eyed fans and I reckon we could reasonably expect to get heckled mercilessly throughout. But, what a band. Power, politics, masculinity but femininity too, and amongst the sledgehammers were delicate moments, too. The band wasn’t afraid to reinvent and experiment while still being an absolute force. Huge amount of admiration for that band.
What’s the best compliment you’ve received at a show? What’s the weirdest?
Sam Filmer overheard someone talking about the band after we’d just played a set. I think it was after Nicefest at the Bendigo. From memory the person was saying ‘they were OK but they had too much technology’. It’s become a running joke in the band, especially if someone has a new bit of gear they’re trying out or a new addition to someone’s pedal board.
A friend said our music reminded them of landscapes and big open spaces and that was a real compliment. We try to reference place in our music, and with four of us growing up in Tasmania and one of us growing up in Gippsland, mountains and rolling hills play a big part in our psyche.
What kind of material would be prominent on the upcoming album? Who would you encourage to listen to it?
The LP is five songs, ranging between three and a half and ten-ish minutes long. There’s quite a wide range of sounds and ideas on the LP so we hope people will give the entire record a spin from start to finish and try to get a sense of where we’re coming from.
We cut a sixth song from the record, which we’ll hope to release as a split or a single release sometime soon. It’s about 14 minutes long though. Ideally we’d do a split with a grind band. The can fit an LP on one side and we’ll put our single on the other.
You’re supporting Pallbearer on their upcoming tour. Has the band had an effect on you in one way or another?
We’re really excited about this show because it will be our first opportunity to support an international band, so that’s pretty neat. I caught Pallbearer at Dark Mofo last time they toured and I’m really looking forward to seeing them again.