Another interview originally intended for the mag that ended up on the blog over at Viceland.com.
Preface: We know everyone loves Cold Cave now but we actually wrote this approximately one million years ago – well, back in May when they played The Luminaire with Ariel Pink. (What happened to that guy, by the way? I thought he was some kooky off-the-wall sound collager. He just sounded like Flower Travellin' Band that night.) Anyway, we were listening to the Cold Cave record in the office and I remembered we had this sitting on my desktop gathering dust. The album is great so read this, then go listen to them.
Wes Eisold may be known to many of you as the singer guy from American Nightmare and Some Girls. Well you can forget about those bands for now. They are done. Over.
While he spent time releasing novels on his Heartworm Press imprint by the likes of Genesis P. Orridge and Boyd Rice and running a gallery-cum-library-cum-performance space called Juan and Juanita’s in his adopted home town of Philadelphia, Wes found himself band-less and noodling around on a keyboard. The results were about a million miles from the sweat and bluster of any previous hardcore incarnations Wes had been involved with. In amongst swathes of distortion lay nuggets of synth pop beauty that saw the light of day across early releases on Hospital Records and What’s Your Rupture? A sonic u-turn of sorts that makes for one of the best new things to come out of speakers this year.
Vice: How did you go from making screamy hardcore to fiddling about with key boards and making spooky synth-pop?
Wes Eisold: I wasn’t in a band at the time. I was just trying to make music by myself. I guess electronics seemed appropriate. It’s easy for a person to do by themselves, as you don’t need to rely on anyone. At first all of it was just done on old Casios, but now I have some fancier shit.
You’ve always sung before, did you even know how to play the keyboard?
No, I didn’t really know how to play any instruments. The synth is just easy – anyone can pick it up and figure out something on it. If I did know how to play, it might sound different, but I don’t.
How did the early Cold Cave stuff end up coming out on Hospital? They usually put out terrifying noise stuff that melts your ears.
Me and Dominic [Fernow, Hospital Records owner] did this hardcore band together so I’ve known him a while and when I was starting out he offered to release whatever it was I came up with. It was no big master plan.
Is it weird playing live and suddenly not being able to run around and shout a bunch?
It’s stressful, I’m not used to the responsibility. Before I could just turn up and pick up the microphone. Now I have all this equipment and we’ve only played about ten shows so we’re still figuring out how to do it. Stuff is always going wrong, but it’s nice not being drenched in sweat when you come off stage every night. You have to concentrate too, which is strange.
Is this you trying to say that now you’re sober when you play?
What is that track "Sex Ads" all about?
I’m totally obsessed with people’s ads on Craigslist, all the male-seeking-male ads are the best. They take these photos of their dicks next to the keyboard. It’s pretty raw, like, "This is what you’re getting," which is kinda refreshing in a way.
The album, Love Comes Close, is forthcoming on What’s Your Rupture?
Cold Cave – "The Trees Grew Emotions and Died"