Criminal Caterpillar immersed in music

criminal

Sometimes it is hard to define the music, even when you are part of the band. Maybe it is because the most important thing is to enjoy the moment, when you do not think about anything else and just focus on the music.

Or at least that is what the members of Criminal Caterpillar think about. However, they consider that their music can be classified between art rock, progressive rock and indie.

They like working the albums and songs with a concept. For example “Thanatos and the Archangel” comes from Greek mythology as well as 20th century politics. And for the upcoming album they will work about relationships.

OrThe Canadian band talked to The Outsider Argentina about their beginnings, the audience reaction and the idea of releasing a new album.

How did the band start?

Criminal Caterpillar formed in 2007 and came to its current lineup in 2010. Kevan and Eric were friends in their first years of school in Winnipeg, but Eric moved to Vancouver when he was young. Kevan ended up moving to Vancouver as well, and by chance both had moved to the same suburb of Vancouver. They attended highschool together and became good friends again and started playing music throughout highschool. After highschool they recruited 3 more players on bass vocals and drums. The new bassist and vocalist didn’t work out, so Eric took over vocals and Kevan’s cousin Malcolm ended up taking over on bass. Later, Kevan, Malcolm, and Eric jammed at a party with Sean and when Criminal Caterpillar’s drummer left a week later, Sean was asked to join the band.

How would you define your music?

It’s hard to classify your own music into genres as it is a very personal thing, but we have been labeled as art rock, progressive rock, and indie and I think all of those are not incorrect. The things that characterize our music most for me are the high energy level of most of the songs and the interplay between all of the instruments. I think that cohesion is an important element of our sound.

Who are your biggest influences?

We all come from very different musical backgrounds so we all listen to a lot of different music. I think when we first started with our original lineup we had a very clear idea of the bands we were modeling ourselves after, The Mars Volta, Circa Survive, Coheed and Cambria, and Radiohead to name a few. After going through changes in the band members, we now worry less about what other groups sound like. You could say that we are our own biggest influences, each song is written with the tastes, abilities, and style of each member in mind.

Are you playing music for a living or do you have other jobs?

We all play music or teach to get part of our income; Eric and Sean get most of their income from teaching and playing while Kevan and Malcolm work other jobs as well as getting money from music. As far as Criminal Caterpillar goes, we are much more concerned with making music that is honest and getting to share it with people than we are with making money. That being said, it is an awesome feeling knowing that you get to make some money from doing something that you love.

How would you describe “Thanatos and the Archangel”?

Thanatos and the Archangel is a pretty diverse album, due in large part to the fact that we wrote most of the material over 3 years, with some of the material being written years before the band was formed. In this time we changed members 3 times before arriving at our current lineup. There is an overarching story in the lyrics however, which helped us keep cohesion conceptually while we were writing the material. The first five tracks are written as songs that can stand on their own but also work within the concept, whereas the last six tracks are part of a larger piece. Musically I think the tracks we wrote earlier have more of a prog-rock feel to them and the more recent ones deviate from that sound.

What is the audience’s repercussion?

The audience’s reaction is usually linked to how much we put into this music on stage. People can tell whether you are truly in the moment of playing music or not, so the challenge is to forget about anything else that is on your mind and allow yourself to become completely immersed in the moment. When we go to that headspace as band it allows the audience to forget about anything they are thinking about and focus on the music. That is when a show becomes more than just a band playing in front of people and when communication between the band and the audience begins.

What is your source of inspiration when you write your music?

We generally like to work with a concept and get direction from that. Thanatos had a very pointed concept as it has a linear story that runs through the album. The influence for the story of Thanatos comes from Greek mythology as well as 20th century politics. On the upcoming album we’ve taken a different approach and are working with a broader concept, relationships. This does not necessarily mean romantic relationships, but the content of each song revolves around how we as humans interact which is something that is very personal but at the same time applies to everyone.

Are you thinking about recording a new album? How would it be like?

We are in the works on a new album, all the songs have been written and we are in the process of preparing to record. We want to try and capture the energy of our live performances on this album and record as much as possible live off the floor, whereas Thanatos was recorded very methodically with each part being recorded separately. We also have more knowledge of recording and better equipment now which allows us to take this approach.

What do you enjoy most about being on stage?

As I mentioned earlier, getting to a place where we are completely emerged in the music is the best part of being on stage. Being able to vibe off of the audience is what makes performing different from rehearsing. It’s important to realize that everyone has their own way of enjoying music too though, there have been shows we’ve played where everyone is sitting and no one seems to be into the music but we have people come up to us after and tell us how much they enjoyed our set.

If you want to hear more about Criminal Caterpillar’s music you can enter at: criminalcaterpillar.bandcamp.com

Samantha Schuster

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