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 havenâ€™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 weâ€™ve been doing mostly festivals and spot gigs is because weâ€™re about to work on a new record and we toured likeâ€¦for 5 years off our second (laughs). So weâ€™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 itâ€™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. Youâ€™re winning over new people, itâ€™s not like youâ€™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 youâ€™ll be curating Starry Nights in Bowling Green, do you want to talk about that a bit?
Matt: Yeah! Weâ€™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 weâ€™d end up like after the bands finished playing, weâ€™d end up upstairs and just start playing records into the wee hours of the morning. And then weâ€™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 itâ€™d be cool to make a massive version of that into a festival and make it weird.
Brad: Weâ€™re gonna get like mostly all bands that weâ€™ve met along the way, toured with and just became friends with and bands that weâ€™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. Itâ€™s definitely something that we want to do with Starry Nights.
Q: I think itâ€™s awesome the way you guys are giving back to the community of Bowling Green, and itâ€™s also interesting to note just how big their music scene is getting with bands like you guys, and Sleeper Agent, and Morning Teleportationâ€¦
Matt: Well itâ€™s strange, I donâ€™t knowâ€¦I think with like the industrial era coming to an end and everything moving to uhm the what do they call it nowâ€¦the data era?
Brad: I donâ€™t know
Matt: Information era! With everything moving, I think that thereâ€™s been a huge art community shift towards the South. Itâ€™s not just isolated to the South, but there is definitely something happening there. Like Asheville, Knoxville, Nashville, Bowling Green, Lexington, thereâ€™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: Itâ€™s a huge honor
Brad: Yeah I mean, I think Metallica hand chose the bands-
Matt: -Yeah they did-
Brad: -Similar to what weâ€™re trying to do with Starry Nights so-
Matt: -Except for on a lot bigger scale with a lot more money, itâ€™s not as ghetto as our festival is gonna be (laughs)
Q: No, Iâ€™m sure itâ€™ll be great
Matt: Nah itâ€™s gonna be cool
Brad: Yeah weâ€™re actually doing our festival with C3, the same people that are doing this festival and Lollapalooza too
Matt: Yeah itâ€™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 whatâ€™s her name, Adam Saceyâ€™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 werenâ€™t expecting. A lot of people seemed to be expecting all metal bands.
Brad: Yeah, weâ€™re super excited to see Best Coast, Fucked Up, obviously Metallica
Matt: Artic Monkeys, Modest Mouse
Brad: Modest Mouse, yeah, I mean thereâ€™s a lot of awesome, awesome bands and itâ€™s a very good variety
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 youâ€™ve toured with Foo Fighters, and youâ€™re playing at Metallicaâ€™s festival, are there any other bands youâ€™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: Thatâ€™s the top of my list
Brad: That would probably rank up there at the top. Iâ€™d like to tour with The Butthole Surfers one time
Matt: The Flaming Lips would be cool to tour with too
Q: You mentioned youâ€™re going to start working on a new record soon; do you have any sort of timeframe for that?
Matt: Weâ€™re shooting for 2016 (laughs)
Q: Keeping it safe, huh?
Brad: Nah weâ€™re going into the studio in probably early fall
Brad: Yeah September
Matt: We donâ€™t know when weâ€™ll finish it, weâ€™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 weâ€™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 Mattâ€™s stage antics, crowd surfing, diving off of giant speaker stacks and balconiesâ€¦
Matt: Really? I didnâ€™t know about that (grins and laughs). I, I have a lot of fun. Like seriously, Iâ€™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 heâ€™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
Brad: Pujol, Jeff the Brotherhood, uhm
Matt: Wild Belle. Yeah a lot of the stuff that weâ€™re putting on Starry Nights are really-
Brad: Yeah you put us on the spot; Fly Golden Eagle is one of the best bands Iâ€™ve seen in years
Matt: Absofacto, uhm, Soap&Skin is great, uhm there was another band that Iâ€™ve been blown away by recently
Brad: Oh uhm, Cloud Nothings
Matt: Oh yeah, Cloud Nothings too
Q: Ok cool-
Brad: Best Coast, but theyâ€™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, weâ€™ll just like keep going
Q: I would, but Iâ€™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)