Cage9 includes members from all over the U.S. as well. Brian Sumwalt from San Diego on drums, Matt Borowski from Detroit on guitars, and Leslie Wyatt from Bowling Green, KY on bass. Having seen Cage9 hit the stage with 12 Stones in May, I can honestly tell you that the energy on stage that you read about is not fabricated by the press. The group has shared the stage with such notable acts as Sevendust, Ozzy Osbourne, In This Moment, Smile Empty Soul, Hellyeah, Filter and many more.
I was able to sit down with these guys at their show in May and talk a bit about their band and their music.
Brandy Brown: It looks like you guys have opened up for a lot of really cool bands. What was one of your favorites or most memorable?
Evan: Ozzy Osbourne. We went back to Panama and we’re one of the only rock bands that has left Panama so when a big show like that comes through they tend to bring us back to open.
BB: What are some of your musical and non-musical influences?
Evan: Well musically I like Smashing Pumpkins and Radiohead like a lot of the late 90s trippy rock. But I listen to everything. I actually don’t listen to much rock in my day to day life.
Matt: I actually think it’s important not to listen to a ton of rock so that when you go to write you have that wide dynamic range you get all those extra influences.
Leslie: I grew up listening to blues, and I like Every Time I Die.
Evan: We like to listen to a lot of the new bands that we come across as well.
BB: What inspires you to do what you do?
Evan: I’ve never really done anything else, which is probably a terrible answer, but I’ve been in bands since junior high. I actually went to college but I have no idea what I actually did there besides waste money. I’ve always played music, and I actually produce other bands and record their music and it pays the rent. I don’t do it professionally just in a small rehearsal spot. I’ve pretty much given up everything for music. My music is my children haha. A lot of our friends in bands we see that the life and the constant grind becomes a pain in the ass and it sucks, and they just give up, and it bums me out when friends stop music and go get lives and stuff, but I totally understand why. But I almost feel that the harder it gets, the more determined I get to not give up. Play what you enjoy and focus on what’s good about it.
Evan: They are crying for different reasons haha.
BB: Tell me a little about the song writing process that you go through?
Evan: It’s always different. It never happens the same way which is kind of a bitch about song writing and I’m beginning to wonder if that’s the way it usually is. I don’t think there can be a method because when you get into a method that stays the same you start writing the same song over and over again. You kind of have to go after it a different way. We put an album out about a year and a half ago. We’ve regrouped and we’re working on new stuff slowly. We could dive right in and crank out a bunch of songs but don’t want things to sound too much like the last album. I have a whole hard drive disk full of songs that just sound so much like the last album. That’s not exciting and I want to do something different. The trick is to do something that feels like you are hearing something completely new because otherwise it’s just not as fun.
Matt: It’s cool to have old recordings though because once you go back, you might hear something just a little different. Like hey I wrote this five or six years ago but I can make it a bit more modern today. That’s not to say that our new album is going to be like jazz space rock or something crazy so it’s not going to sound completely different from the last album but I do have certain goals to take songs and evolve and grow and get better than the last time. That’s the challenge.
Matt: We can all make fun of each other and laugh for the most part. We all get along really well. We’re learning how to evolve and this exact line up has never actually been on the road together. I’m sure we will accumulate stupid road trip stories.
BB: Then I will have to ask you again in August when you come back.
BB: When do you expect to start recording the new album and when do you think it might be out?
Evan: We’ve been recording songs here and there so I’m thinking hopefully towards the end of the year maybe it’ll be finished. If someone asked us to get them an album next week we could probably go in a room and get it done but we’ll probably drag it out for a year. We want to be happy with it and it’s just a matter of cleaning it up and making it work so I’d say by the end of the year.
BB: What places are you looking forward to touring?
Evan: Very excited to go back to Panama in June which will be amazing and we love going to Idaho. It’s the place we seem to draw the most for some reason. I used to play in Powerman 5000 for a while and I always made it a point to make friends with promoters and radio people and I became friends with them so I would take Cage 9 back there and build it. Idaho is actually one of the success stories. One of the festival promoters really liked us and now we can go back and play club dates. We’ll be back there in June with Queensryche. I love the upper mid-west and Michigan type stuff. I think those people are probably so bored they are looking for anything to do. People tend to be a little more uptight in the big cities and along the coast.
BB: How can people get ahold of you?
Evan: We are all on Facebook , Twitter, Instagram. Our last album “How to Shoot Lasers from Your Eyes” came out about a year ago and it’s available on iTunes. We just did a cover of the “Game of Thrones” theme song and it’s on iTunes also.
Cage9 returns to Houston in August, for a show with Straight Line Stitch at the BFE Rock Club on August 2, 2014.
Buy advance tickets to Cage9’s show with Straight Line Stitch, Deadvolt, Dead Horse Trauma, The Black 13 and The Hero Must Die here.
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