Caustic Wicked Spins Radio Interview
Caustic Wicked Spins Radio Interview
There are many talented musicians out there but to me Caustic are a band that combine talent plus a bit of humour too. There is no doubt that Matt the man behind Caustic is talented, but he also puts a lot of vibrant energy into his music and I must admit he does have a superb sense of humour. Wicked Spins Radio got a chance to chat to Matt about all things music and also Jizzcore, here is how it went.
WSR – Thank you so much for giving Wicked Spins Radio this interview, can you tell our readers a little bit about yourself?
Matt – Caustic has been around since 2002 and I’ve been releasing music since 2004—I’ve put out six full lengths, a few EPs, and a bunch of remix albums under the name and the sound jumps styles a lot. Basically it’s a punk industrial project, regardless of where the sound goes.
WSR – Your music isn’t the norm which in some cases may not appeal to some people, but you actually have a rather large loyal fan base. What do you feel it is about your music then when people hear it if they like it they REALLY like it?
Matt – Most of the people that seem to dig what I do just like variety and aren’t always into cookie cutter music that fits easily into one category. I’ve been very fortunate in that I’ve really been able to connect with people who listen to my music through all sorts of methods—I write blogs on different aspects of the music business, I used to do a podcast interviewing other artists, and I’m pretty damn all over the place on Facebook and Twitter. It’s given people a chance to get to know a lot of things about me and how I feel about stuff.
To answer the question more directly, I think people appreciate the energy a lot. I put myself into my music 110% and think, ideally, that the passion shows. And this is for my chaotic live shows as much as my albums. I’m driven like a motherfucker to create and to push myself as hard as I can. You hear so much mundane “off the rack” music that can fit any playlist. I’m trying to tailor my shit to a different audience that appreciates diversity and a bit of a challenge. Nothing I do is revolutionary, but I try to put something special into any song I do to make it stand out as an “Official Caustic Track”.
WSR – What do you feel is the importance of the healthy balance of seriousness and mirth which is very prevalent in your music?
Matt –I’ve always felt that you can make a better point using humor at times than by just pummeling people with the same insincere, trite bullshit. Industrial as a genre has always had a sense of humor—usually a really dark one—but my music comes as much from punk as it does industrial, and part of punk is giving the finger to all the insincerity and bullshit in this world.
Frankly, I really don’t believe most artists making industrial/EBM these days believe what they write about. They just think it’s the easiest path to success. They don’t realize that the artists they’re ripping off became popular because they did something with a unique twist and had an original voice, not because they towed the line and tried to blatantly sound like their inspirations.
WSR – Your new EP has a very different title, why did you choose that title?
Matt – Last year Metropolis released a weird, massive concept-y album I did called The Man Who Couldn’t Stop. Each of the 18 tracks was inspired in some way by the 18 chapters of Ulysses by James Joyce. To complicate things further I had two storylines in there as well, but I couldn’t finish those two storylines in the 18 tracks so this EP essentially completes The Man Who Couldn’t Stop.
And the title Coprophagia/Consummatia sounds pretentious but it loosely (very loosely) translates to “Eat Shit/Fuck You” in Latin, which is a sample I use on the track Bury You Alive on the main album. I thought it would be funny to sound as “educated” as possible with as stupid a title as possible.
WSR – What would you like to say to all those people who have helped create your music via Kickstarter and how do you feel crowd funding is affecting the music industry as a whole?
Matt – Outside of a massively grateful “thank you” (which I’ve already said a ton of times), I’d say that because of Kickstarter a lot of interesting project that may not have been able to afford to be created got a chance. That’s really cool for art in general in my mind and allows artists to not put themselves into major debt to do what they love.
I think crowdfunding overall is an equalizing force of sorts for musicians and artists in general. It can take labels or companies out of the picture to give smaller artists the chance to produce the truest vision of what they do. I think Zach Braff and other millionaires using it as free publicity to fund projects they could easily fund themselves is detrimental to what I think Kickstarter was made for—to help unknowns become more known. Zach Braff is just using it in a lazy way for free publicity and so he doesn’t need to go begging Hollywood for the money…that he already has in his bank account.
There’s a backlash of sorts against crowdfunding due to it becoming the main way a LOT of not-so-great artists are using it. I’ve used it solely to put out the best music I can by hiring producers and artists. Others use it for bullshit or ask for a ridiculous amount of money when it can be done more cheaply. I also set up my fundraisers to benefit everyone with bonus level gifts if I hit certain levels of funding, so everyone gets more out of it if they spread the word. I want it fun and not just pandering. I want it to be FUN pandering!
I read artists who have been around a long time whining that it’s begging. It’s not begging when you’re getting something out of it. Bicyclists probably bitched when the first car was made too—shit doesn’t always need to happen the same way to get the same results. Crowdfunding is technically easier to finance something instead of touring your ass off or scraping together pennies delivering pizzas—it doesn’t mean anyone will hear or see the results though.
WSR – Some say the industrial music scene is dying, some say it’s seeing a new revival and some say that 2012 was a very bad year for the scene as a whole. What are your views on the current scene and did you have any bad experience in 2012?
Matt – The moment the term “industrial” was coined someone complained the scene was dead. It’s not dead, but I think a majority of it is stagnant. It’s not 1999 anymore. We should move on from that sound. Luckily a lot of bands are and that’s who I listen to. I’m liking that some bands seem to be getting back to the roots of industrial a bit more. As a fan you can be lazy and whine or you can try a little harder and dig up the cool stuff. It’s out there. You just can’t find it on DJ playlists most of the time.
WSR – If someone tells you not to do something that is directly linked to your music, how do you feel and what do you do?
Matt – I laugh. If you don’t like what I do there are a few other options out there. Sometimes I get a good suggestion, but if it’s just some random person on the internet saying I should make this or that track again there are a few issues there—1) I probably couldn’t if I wanted to, as I both don’t like and have trouble replicating what I do, and 2) it’s boring as hell to me to repeat myself. I’ve performed improv comedy for a few decades so doing something in the moment and using that as your inspiration is much more creatively satisfying than making conveyer belt beats. A lot of artists have done very well for themselves doing that, but I’d strangle myself if that’s what I turned into. I try and be an alternative to that, and honestly I don’t think much of any artist too afraid (or not creative enough) to push themselves, or refuse to because they don’t want to lose fans by evolving.
WSR – You write a few blogs and do podcasts too, what content usually appears in said blogs and does blog writing help you in any way as a person or have you been able to reach out and help others through your blog/podcast?
Matt – I write about everything from booking festivals to smart ways to promote yourself to how to ask someone for a remix. I’ve done everything from book and promote shows (and a festival for several years) to run a label and make my own music, so I just try and offer practical advice on my blog (http://failingbetter.tumblr.com) to help out people who are starting out. I’m not one of those people who think too many people are putting out music—maybe there are too many putting out BAD music, but I think being creative is important so I try and show people how they can do things to both not lose their butts and hopefully avoid some common pitfalls in the music industry because they don’t know any better.
My podcast (Caustic’s Detox) was just a great opportunity for me to talk with friends and people I admire about what they do. I wish I had the time to keep doing it but unfortunately with my schedule it’s just not a possibility at the moment.
WSR – Jizzcore was a genre that you made up yourself to poke fun at other bands that were trying to define themselves before others do. Have there been any other bands who may have entered the Jizzcore genre?
Matt – None that would want to admit it.:)
WSR – Most people who know of Caustic will be aware of you as a unicorn, for our readers who are unaware of this can you tell them about your antics dressing up?
Matt – Most of my antics include drunk fans Photoshopping my head onto other people’s bodies. The last time I “dressed up” was for Resistanz in Sheffield where I got covered head to toe in fake blood to be as “scary” as all the other bands that do it. The shower afterwards looked like a murder scene.
WSR – You quit drinking some time ago, what has the experience been like and for anyone who is trying to give up anything be it drink, smoking, etc then what is the best advice you can give to them as they try to give something up?
Matt – It’s been amazing. It was one of the hardest things I ever had to do but my life is 100% better. I don’t judge anyone for what they do to themselves. Hell, I wish I could still drink, but I realized after years of destroying myself that I really suck at it so I can’t do it anymore. More power to you if you can, but if you can’t you can get help. You just have to be strong enough to admit you need it.
People don’t realize that the biggest obstacle in terms of quitting a substance isn’t as much the physical addiction, but figuring out and working through WHY you had to get screwed up. And you can’t do it alone, but luckily there are a lot of good programs and therapists out there you can go to that can help you. I’m the happiest I’ve ever been, and have used the my “drinking time” to be creative and make more music. The experience has only made me want to create more too, so don’t believe that getting fucked up is the only way you can get “inspired”. It can be one way, but there are a zillion other ones that don’t end you up in rehab.
Never give up. Even if you relapse. You’re not hopeless. It just takes some people longer than others for things to kick in.
WSR – Thank you so much for giving Wicked Spins Radio this interview, is there anything you would like to add?
Matt – I’ve got a bunch of free albums up on my Bandcamp site (http://caustic.bandcamp.com) and if you like my Facebook page there are a bunch of other albums there as well (http://www.facebook.com/causticmusic). Otherwise thanks for reading, and thanks to Wicked Spins Radio for the opportunity.