TAP Interview: Cage The Elephant

Cage The Elephant is one of our favorite bands and we’re always excited to see them play live. They just played the House of Blues in Atlantic City (review) the night before their set at the Orion Music + More Festival. A little before their set time, our very own Michel Dussack had a chance to speak with lead singer Matt Shultz and his brother, guitarist Brad Shultz. Read on below to see how the Shultz bros feel about the Orion festival, when they’ll start work on a new album and their own Starry Nights festival in the fall.

Q: So you guys haven’t been doing many headlining shows lately, it seems to be a lot of festivals mainly. Any reason for that? Is there something about festivals that you guys really like?

Matt: Well uhm, I think the reason we’ve been doing mostly festivals and spot gigs is because we’re about to work on a new record and we toured like…for 5 years off our second (laughs). So we’ve been taking a little time off but I mean we love festivals. Aside from that, we do love playing festivals.

Q: Is there anything about the difference in the energy or the crowd that you like?

Brad: I think it’s more that people are just very open-minded at festivals to like experience new things and-
Matt: And the fact that a lot of them are discovering new music as well. You’re winning over new people, it’s not like you’re selling out a club and people have heard your record a million times or anything.

Q: Speaking of festivals, you guys just announced that you’ll be curating Starry Nights in Bowling Green, do you want to talk about that a bit?

Matt: Yeah! We’re freaking super stoked! Like, when we first started playing music, we would play at this house in Bowling Green called The Pirate House and they would just have these really cool house parties where like 4 or 5 bands would play and then we’d end up like after the bands finished playing, we’d end up upstairs and just start playing records into the wee hours of the morning. And then we’d watch a wholesome family movie around like 3 in the morning and then like ya know pancake breakfast or whatever. And so we thought it’d be cool to make a massive version of that into a festival and make it weird.
Brad: We’re gonna get like mostly all bands that we’ve met along the way, toured with and just became friends with and bands that we’re just really big fans of.
Matt: Yeah, one of our biggest loves is discovering music, like sharing music with people and learning about new bands and stuff like that. It’s definitely something that we want to do with Starry Nights.

Q: I think it’s awesome the way you guys are giving back to the community of Bowling Green, and it’s also interesting to note just how big their music scene is getting with bands like you guys, and Sleeper Agent, and Morning Teleportation…

Matt: Well it’s strange, I don’t know…I think with like the industrial era coming to an end and everything moving to uhm the what do they call it now…the data era?
Brad: I don’t know
Matt: Information era! With everything moving, I think that there’s been a huge art community shift towards the South. It’s not just isolated to the South, but there is definitely something happening there. Like Asheville, Knoxville, Nashville, Bowling Green, Lexington, there’s a lot of really great stuff going on.

Q: So what was it like for you guys to be asked to play the inaugural year of Orion Music and More?

Matt: It’s a huge honor
Brad: Yeah I mean, I think Metallica hand chose the bands-
Matt: -Yeah they did-
Brad: -Similar to what we’re trying to do with Starry Nights so-
Matt: -Except for on a lot bigger scale with a lot more money, it’s not as ghetto as our festival is gonna be (laughs)

Q: No, I’m sure it’ll be great

Matt: Nah it’s gonna be cool
Brad: Yeah we’re actually doing our festival with C3, the same people that are doing this festival and Lollapalooza too
Matt: Yeah it’s a huge honor, and I think I heard that Kirk from Metallica said that we were one of his top bands to watch which surprised the crap out of me
Brad: Yeah to even be on their radio, I mean radar, is an honor
Matt: I think they were one of the first cassette tapes that we, we like won it at some lemonade stand in our neighborhood when we were little kids at Colony Apartments
Brad: Yeah what’s her name, Adam Sacey’s sister gave it to us

Q: Yeah they definitely picked a diverse group of bands to play the festival, which is something I think that a lot of people weren’t expecting. A lot of people seemed to be expecting all metal bands.

Brad: Yeah, we’re super excited to see Best Coast, Fucked Up, obviously Metallica
Matt: Artic Monkeys, Modest Mouse
Brad: Modest Mouse, yeah, I mean there’s a lot of awesome, awesome bands and it’s a very good variety
Matt: Metallica
Brad: Yeah, I said Metallica already Matt, ok?
Matt: I just wanted to reconfirm. I concur
Brad: I concur
Matt: I concur to the thought of Metallica

Q: So now you’ve toured with Foo Fighters, and you’re playing at Metallica’s festival, are there any other bands you’d like to tour with as a dream tour?

Matt: Iggy Pop and the Stooges
Brad: I would have to say that would probably be-
Matt: That’s the top of my list
Brad: That would probably rank up there at the top. I’d like to tour with The Butthole Surfers one time
Matt: The Flaming Lips would be cool to tour with too

Q: You mentioned you’re going to start working on a new record soon; do you have any sort of timeframe for that?

Matt: We’re shooting for 2016 (laughs)

Q: Keeping it safe, huh?

Brad: Nah we’re going into the studio in probably early fall
Matt: September
Brad: Yeah September
Matt: We don’t know when we’ll finish it, we’re not putting too much pressure on ourselves to like make a quick follow up. We just want it to be really, like, something that we’re happy with. It could take a couple weeks; it could take a couple months.

Q: I think the one thing that has become a distinguishing feature of your live sets would be Matt’s stage antics, crowd surfing, diving off of giant speaker stacks and balconies…

Matt: Really? I didn’t know about that (grins and laughs). I, I have a lot of fun. Like seriously, I’m a professional clown.

Q: I remember reading that you thought you broke your ribs at a show once, have there been any mishaps like that since then?

Matt: Not recently. I had a bowling injury recently though (laughs)
Brad: Yeah he’s formed a bad case of carpal tunnel
Matt: Yeah through hours of painting

Q: One more question. You said that you guys are constantly discovering new music, so what are some of the bands on your radar right now?

Matt: Uhm, Diarrhea Planet
Brad: Schools, Bad Cop
Matt: Pujol
Brad: Pujol, Jeff the Brotherhood, uhm
Matt: Wild Belle. Yeah a lot of the stuff that we’re putting on Starry Nights are really-
Brad: Yeah you put us on the spot; Fly Golden Eagle is one of the best bands I’ve seen in years
Matt: Absofacto, uhm, Soap&Skin is great, uhm there was another band that I’ve been blown away by recently
Brad: Oh uhm, Cloud Nothings
Matt: Oh yeah, Cloud Nothings too

Q: Ok cool-

Matt: Fidlar
Brad: Best Coast, but they’re already big anyway
Matt: The list could go on and on

Q: Ok thanks a lot guys-

Matt: The Yeah Zoos, Shoe Stealers
Brad: If you want to stand here for another 45 minutes, we’ll just like keep going

Q: I would, but I’m pretty sure you guys have a busy schedule today

Matt: (continues to list increasingly ridiculous band names quietly)
Brad: The Sex Bombs, I forgot about The Sex Bombs
Matt: Switchblade Emporium

Q: (Laughs) Matt are you just making up band names now?

Matt: Yeah (laughs)

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