INTERVIEW: Cauls | NARC. | Reliably Informed | Music and Creative Arts News for Newcastle and the North East

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Newcastle alt. prog collective Cauls are an elusive bunch. Though they formed ten years ago, they’ve spent a lot of that time away from the public eye. They last re-emerged in 2017 with the release of their long-anticipated debut album Recherché, before retreating back into the shadows soon after. “We only played a handful of gigs after releasing Recherché before going into hibernation,” explains guitarist Graham Morris. “The funny thing with Cauls is, we disappear for two years, but during that time we still rehearse most weeks, though we did come close to throwing in the towel.

“It all started with our previous singer Marv (Michael Marwood) growing a mullet and moving to New Zealand. Doug, our second bass player, also left at this point, so we were down to three. We’d worked on quite a lot of new material, so it felt like it would be a waste to not release it in some form. We got Josh Ingledew) formerly of Future Horizons and currently recording as Spell Token) in on keys and our new bass player Michael Anderson (formerly a member of Mongeese) joined shortly afterwards. We really considered going instrumental but we just felt it lacked something that Cauls had built a reputation on. Marv had brought a really emotive, melancholic vibe to things and we struggled to conjure that instrumentally.”

A chance encounter at the Moth Box Sessions held at The Butterfly Cabinet in Heaton introduced the band to their new vocalist Katie Oswell. “I almost didn’t play that gig so it felt pretty ‘meant to be’,” says Oswell. “Stylistically there are definitely echoes of our previous incarnation,” says Morris. “Katie really captures a similar ethereal mood to Marv, but obviously brings her own creative stamp to the proceedings and I think as we progress that will become more prevalent.”

It feels a bit post-apocalyptic at times, both on a personal level, but also in a wider context. With current political and environmental realities, it’s hard not to drift in that direction

Reincarnated as a six-piece, Cauls have found a new drive to push things forward, and will launch their second album Epoché at Sage Gateshead on Sunday 10th November. In true Cauls fashion, it’s a complex, concept-heavy exercise in musical wizardry, exploring everything from prog rock and 80s synth soundtracks to jazz, evoking musical behemoths such as The Mars Volta or Tool.

“Epoché is a term from Greek philosophy meaning a suspension of judgment. It makes me think of open-mindedness, which is something that’s pretty important in these current political climes,” muses Oswell. “It feels a bit post-apocalyptic at times, both on a personal level, but also in a wider context. With current political and environmental realities, it’s hard not to drift in that direction, wondering what would happen if our lives as we know them uproot. Uncertainty has definitely fuelled this writing and the album title has been a fitting final decision; finding an openness amidst the chaos. It’s actually Part One of a two album record, with Part Two coming summer 2020. There are four tracks on Epoché, which I guess on paper could be an EP but in true Cauls style it’s lengthy and dense!”

Cauls are an ever-evolving entity with a compulsion to leave no business unfinished. “I think what keeps the band going is its identity,” says Morris. “There’s something about Cauls that just needs to be ‘played out’ – whenever we’ve thought about walking away it just feels incomplete. There’s a vibe we’re all constantly chasing but it’s also always open to new textures, any new chord or scale discovery can be thrown into the stew.”

Cauls launch Epoché at Sage Gateshead on Sunday 10th November



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