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Caged Animals
with a free spirit
by: Dean Van Nguyen - May 18, 2012

 



Originally the solo project of Vincent Cacchione, Caged Animals evolved from a handful of rough, acoustic recordings to the beautiful, synthetic soundscape so lushly laid out on their recent album “Eat Their Own”. This man-made dreamland is delicately built on exquisitely arranged synths that pull from the gentler end of the 80s new wave canon, but Cacchione seems less like a new wave revivalist and more like a 21st century successor. The pulsating beat of ‘Teflon Heart’, for example, scores the tale of a modern romance, while ‘Piles of $$$’, draws on what made Kanye West’s 808s and Heartbreak such a daring pop record. It also goes some of the way to explaining why The New Yorker so excellently described the band as sounding “something like a hip-hop-influenced Velvet Underground.”

How did Caged Animals move from a solo project to the band it is today?

Vincent Cacchione: The project evolved naturally into a band once I completed the album and people started asking us to play shows. I wanted to keep the home-spun nature of the recordings so I got my girlfriend and my sister, who were total novices, to play the synth and bass guitar at that time. I really dig the resulting tension that our band has musically, but it's also really fun to play with people who are new to live performance, it makes the entire aura of our band feel vital to me.

Would you say you’re firmly the creative centre or does each member bring something to the table?

Apart from a couple stray harmonies that Magali provided, I'm the only member of the band featured on Eat Their Own. Since we started playing live about a year ago, our recordings have become a bit more collaborative, and moving forward I imagine everyone's voice shining through. It stopped feeling like a solo project about a year ago.

Tell me about the recording of Eat Their Own. What did you try to achieve with the record?

I got a decent amount of money after my car was destroyed in an accident and instead of replacing it, I bought a laptop. Prior to the computer, I had done most of my writing on acoustic instruments and paper, so working in a DAW really opened up a new style for me as a writer. I started to experiment a lot more with sound and structure and became a lot less formal about my lyrical approach. A lot of Caged Animals songs were written live into the microphone, so one of the big things I was hoping to achieve with our records was the feeling that this music was coming from an unscripted and free-associative space. It's the sound of a songwriter who took himself very seriously, letting his guard down.

Thinking about the development of Eat Their Own as a follow up to your self-titled first record, how do you feel you’ve evolved in between?

The self-titled record and Eat Their Own come from the same two-year period of time, so I almost think of them as one piece. We leaned a little heavier on including the weirder, pitch-shifted tracks on self-titled and Eat Their Own seems to have more of the psych/hip-hop tracks, but for all intents and purposes they are companion pieces. It's a lot more interesting to look at these works against the writing I was doing contemporaneously as Soft Black. Though it's yet to be released, the Soft Black album The Witching Hour really exhibits the tension between what I was doing as a bedroom producer versus live-performer/songwriter during that period. It's funny to me that most people haven't really interacted with that body of work, because I think it tells a much more thorough story about what I do musically.

‘Teflon Heart’ is a striking track. Can you describe the process behind it? Is it based on a true story?

I composed the music in about an hour at my mom's house in December 2010. I didn't have any idea of what to say lyrically, so I started thumbing through a piles of notebooks I had left there from around 2005. I opened up to a page and the lyrics were right in front of me. I tried one-single vocal take, singing the words off the page, and that's what you hear on the LP. Emotionally, I would definitely say it's based on a true story, but there wasn't a single girl who “made me watch Magnolia,” and “bought me a tarantula” or anything.



 
 
" I wanted to keep the home-spun nature of the recordings so I got my girlfriend and my sister, who were total novices, to play the synth and bass guitar... [it's] really fun to play with people who are new to live performance, it makes the entire aura of our band feel vital to me. "




Caged Animals
""Eat Their Own""




what it is

Chilled, somewhat quirky electro-pop for those who like Beta Band, Grandaddy and early Beck.



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