CAVE IN vocalist/guitarist STEVE BRODSKY just walked empty-handed out of a thrift store in the Allston section of Boston. “I was close to picking up a copy of Howard Stern’s Private Parts,” he says. “But I decided against it. I think I’ll be okay.” Brodsky may not have quite as much leisure time as he had even at this time last year. In July, he and other members of Cave In played together for the first time since going on hiatus in 2006, followed by a string of dates this past fall. Wedged in there, the band also managed to release the Planets Of Old EP–their first new material since their 2005 full-length, Perfect Pitch Black. Since the EP was originally only released on vinyl, it’s being re-released in CD form this month on Hydra Head. While Cave In 2.0 may not be planning much in the way of touring, that doesn’t mean they won’t be busy.



INTERVIEW: Tim Karan





When did the idea of you guys coming out of your hiatus first surface?

It probably happened around the time that Caleb [Scofield, bass] felt as though he was settled back into living in New England, which wasn’t actually that long after he moved back. It was only a couple months before we decided to just get together and play.



Was that a difficult process?

Well, ya know, we all have our own individual managers and lawyers, so Caleb’s people got in touch with my people and they battled it out… nah, I’m just kidding. [Laughs.] No, it was pretty simple, actually. All it took was finding a day when we could all get together-which was relatively easy. There’s a rehearsal space in Boston that Adam [McGrath, guitar] and I have been paying rent at consistently, but it was originally Cave In’s rehearsal space that we pretty much just moved all of our gear into around 2001. Since that time, we found other bands and friends to share the rent on the space with. Fast forward nine years later and we’re still occupying the same rehearsal space and using the same PA we used with [signing to] RCA money. [Laughs.] So it was pretty easy to figure out the logistics of where to actually get together and play.



Over your hiatus, did you guys all ever actually get together in the same room and play?

I don’t believe it ever happened. We were at a couple weddings, but that was about it. No one asked us to get up and play. [Laughs.]



The idea with the Planets Of Old EP was to record a few songs quickly so that you could release them right away, wasn’t it?

Yeah, in terms of the quickness that we recorded the songs, we knew we didn’t want to spend a lot our time and money–more specifically: Hydra Head’s money. That was one factor. The other factor is that we didn’t really wanna make a big deal out of it. In the past, we’ve had more than a couple instances of spending far too long into making a recording. What are recordings, really? They’re just little stamps in time, and I think some of the best ones are a little more fly-by-the-seat-of-your-pants and already looking into the future beyond that. It was a good exercise for us to give ourselves a very strict amount of time to record and then move on.



Was there any specific direction you wanted to take the new material?

The biggest difference this time around was recording a fewer amount of songs but we also sort of “passed the conch” as far as who takes the reigns of writing and composing and being the visionary for each particular piece. This batch of songs sort of fell under that creative democracy in a much smoother and easier and more fun way than I can remember working on anything in a long time. That kind of adds to the uniqueness at least within our own catalog.



Which songs on the EP are yours then?

Mine are “Retina Sees Rewind” and “Air Escapes.” I definitely have a tendency of changing arrangements and altering things sort of late in the game. One great thing about working with this band is that they’re very good at keeping you level and not really rearranging the picture to be far greater than the original inception of that picture. I think the songs that I brought to the table got a little bit more labor-involved than the others. I don’t know if it’s something you can hear in the end result. I also have sort of the least adventurous of the songs. Whereas some of my songwriting might lack adventure in that particular round of songwriting, the other guys definitely made up for it. “Cayman’s Tongue” has a three-minute-long noise bridge that spontaneously changes every time we play it-whether in the practice room or live and “The Red Trail” features more or less a Youth Crew-inspired hardcore beat, which has never been something we’ve done Cave In.



The CD re-release comes with a DVD of the band’s first performance back this past summer. How was that show?

It was a ball of nerves–but a fun one. Anytime Cave In have played in Boston during the past 10 years or so, it’s always been an occasion of our friends and families being rallied into one place, which is exciting and nerve-wracking. Then before you know it, the night’s over. But we had it documented [on video] and I’m happy with the performance. It was a nice bullshit-free show. We had it booked, we walked in there, set up, played and walked home. It was nice. It was almost like, “Man, we could’ve been doing this six or seven years ago.” That being said, I have no regrets. I think it just marks the beginning of a new time where there are families and children in the picture, and people’s priorities have changed. One of the positive changes in that is that we know how to eliminate things we don’t really need so much and keep the bullshit away. That show sort of made us realize certain things and helped us figure out how we should go forward.



How are you going forward?

We obviously can’t tour as much as we used to, but I think the touring and playing that we will do is going to be far more selective than it ever has been in the past. More or less, we’re hoping just to play on bills that make sense and if mouths can be fed, it’s worth the miles spent and time away from work. As far as creatively taking the next step, I think there are endless avenues to operate a band creatively with the internet. It’s all about quickness now and the internet’s quicker than newspapers, quicker than plastic for CDs, quicker than vinyl, quicker than the post office. For Cave In, there are endless possibilities to create music and put it out for who wants to hear it and then get wrapped up in a new project the following week. This something young bands will really start to take advantage of once the playing field with record labels is evened. Major labels obviously aren’t the giant creatures looming over the tiny, powerless musician anymore.



Is there a chance you guys would just start releasing songs on the internet instead of making full-length albums?

It’s an idea that we’ve tossed around. I think the game plan at this point is simply just to forego being in a live performance mode in favor of a hibernating/creating/recording mode and completing some pieces that we’re all very happy with and then deciding what we should do with them from there.



So you’ll be sticking around Boston?

For years, we were able to play in front of a lot of people, but there was a creative element that could’ve been explored that was ultimately lost. That’s not to discount the touring we did. But there were definitely many moments on certain tours with certain bands when each of us would look at each other in the midst of being in the middle of nowhere after we had just played the venue two months prior to audiences who were twice the size, thinking, “What the hell are we doing out here?” Those days are over. It’s a new dawn. I think Cave In are excited just to have a creative freak-out of some kind. The Black Keys just put out a record of them playing with various hip-hop artists doing rhymes over their music. Who knows? I’m not alluding to anything here. [Laughs.]



Have you noticed any increase in appreciation for the band after you went on hiatus?

It’s hard to say. People think all kinds of different things about us. When Planets Of Old came out, there were negative reviews and people very quick to pick it apart. It was like, “I guess some things haven’t changed. People are still perceiving our band kind of the same way.” But at this point, it’s all very entertaining to us. We’re not trying to build a new audience or get our name out there or anything like that. Again, those days are over. Now it’s more about finding your niche and wearing your crown, I guess. Inevitably, if you have a pretty strong niche, that alone will always generate its own energy. Maybe that means we’re destined to be a cult band. We’re definitely cool with that. Just being able to get into a room and play music together is the best thing. Any other rewards that sprout from that simple act is just a reward. alt