Caspian might not be a name you’re overly familiar with, but with the release of their new album, Waking Season, and their inclusion in some diverse tours over the past few months, that’s likely to change in a big way. Hailing from Beverly, Massachusetts, Caspian brings a progressive, multi-faceted approach to their brand of Instrumental Post-Rock, and what promises to be heavy, lush sound to their live show. We recently caught up with guitarist Erin Burke-Moran while on the road with Indiana band Native, and talked about his experience in the band, and what the last few years have been like leading up to the release of Waking Season, as well as their last few tours.
Can we talk about when you joined the band... what it was like to come into something established and maybe how things changed once you joined?
It was definitely very cool for me at the time because I had been playing music for a quite a few years at that point and had been in different bands. I was just really excited about being out on tour and actually playing for people. It was definitely an exciting time in my life. The reason I came on tour was the original guitarist couldn’t do it anymore so I came on to originally fill in for that tour. But after we got out on the road we just settled into everything and it seemed like something I really wanted to do and everyone else wanted me to be a part of. They actually added me as a 5th member of the band. So we did that for a little while so basically we were a 5 piece but would tour as a 4 piece. And we did that until we started writing music for 3 guitars and we just couldn’t be a 4 piece anymore. Then we met Johnny and he ended up coming and touring with us. Now we actually have a bass player that can’t tour, so we have a touring bass player. Things are always kind of evolving that way.
Do you think that the inclusion of new members has helped the band evolve in different ways?
I think it certainly has, it has kind of changed the dynamic of us live versus back at home. I love the guys that we are out on the road playing with.
Were you involved in any post rock or metal bands before that?
I wasn't actually involved in any post rock bands, I was playing more like more like prog or alt rock kind of stuff but I played classical guitar in college so instrumental music was something that wasn’t foreign to me in any way. Even though I was playing in a band with a singer and really focused on melody and not instrumental music but it was a more or less easy transition. It definitely felt very much like home since I had come into my own as part of this group.
With instrumental bands and post rock bands there seems to be a growing awareness and a much broader acceptance of them in the realm of heavy music, and a lot like Caspian’s career it seems to be a slow burn, a gradual thing. From your perspective in the band, evolving with them, do you think that’s true and where do you see this particular style of music in the overall landscape of music right now?
Its definitely growing and people are growing more and more aware of it. There are more and more post rock bands everywhere. I think , you know it’s hard to say exactly the grand trajectory of everything in the long run, where it’s going to end up. The fact that there is more acceptance is making it easier for bands like us to be out and doing our thing. I don’t know if it necessarily going to blow up into this huge massive thing but it’s really great that people are taking more time to really listen to the music and just take it in and appreciate it. It’s not necessarily something that is laid out in front of you. It’s good that culturally people are being open to that kind of thing.
So you have toured with a lot of the genres well-known acts, as well as bands outside of the post rock and instrumental realm. Which tours or audiences have been the most challenging. Or were there any in particular that you enjoyed or got a little bit more out of than you would have anticipated?
I think some of the most challenging audiences were the ones that we played for on the Minus The Bear tour, just ,cause even though it was an indie thing, it was a different group of people that maybe would necessarily listen to us. That was challenging for us. Also, just being the opening band. It was a good challenge for us to push through that onstage. As far as audiences that have really blown us away, over in Europe and especially Eastern side of Europe. It’s a fresh energy, it’s just awesome. There is really just a fresh energy and it feels like those are some of our greatest audiences we like to play for. Wel...l we want to play for everybody obviously, but it’s funny ‘cause sometimes people go crazy and are dancing and diving and sometimes people just want to take it all in and it’s not like one group of people is a better audience or anything like that.
So you guys just came off of the short Triple Crown Records run with Moving Mountains and my friends in O’Brother. The headliners rotated every night, allowing every band to showcase. Can you talk a little bit about that experience and how that was set up?
That was awesome because after we had done the whole Minus The Bear thing and went to Europe and came back and it was kind of like us putting our feelers out after the record to see how everything was going. The whole tour went so well, just really great turnouts and great for us. We met Moving Mountains like 6 years ago or something and I still remember when Phil showed me their music one day was like, “Hey, I found this band”, and it’s just crazy. We met also the guys in O’Brother a few years back. So that was just a great time for us all, as friends. We were playing great shows and it felt like we had all come a long way.
I remember seeing the routing of that tour and the kinds of rooms you were playing and it made sense for everybody involved to be considered a headliner, so the set-up was really intriguing to me. Do you think that that kind of set-up, the rotating headliner aspect... Is that something that could be successful as a format?
I think that’s great and kind of takes away the pressure on any of the bands. One thing about that whole thing is that it made it feel like it was all of us together and not any one band taking the central role. In that sense it was a really nice set-up.
So you are currently out with Native, and they have been quiet - more or less dormant for a little while - but so far it seems like the response has been really positive. From your perspective how are you feeling about the experience so far?
It’s been wonderful. I really like those guys. When we first met them like a year, year and a half ago, it was like this breath of fresh air on the road cause they are kind of young dudes but they just have all this passion and they just are really set on being professionals. We have about 3 weeks with them and we’re just so pumped about it. Just watching them play every night. They really have been just awesome.
So have you come to Cincinnati before? I was out of state for a long time and in the 3 years I have been here I have not seen your name pop up anywhere... so have you guys been here before? If so, how long has it been?
Yeah, we have been. I’m pretty sure we have been there but it may have been about 6 or 7 years ago. It has been a very long time.
Can you talk a bit about what your current and new fans can expect from a Caspian live performance?
We are just gonna come out and do our thing like we do every night.
I was watching O’Brother’s reaction to you guys on stage, and it was this kind of “wall of sound” sort of descriptions I kept reading about, so I’m anxious to see it!
We do feel like we have been playing really well and this group of guys have been out for 2 and ½ months. So we are really settled in wel...l and I hope that there are some good lights at the venue. <laughs> It definitely adds a great dynamic.
Anything else you want to add or mention?
Honestly just excited to get out there and we look forward to seeing everybody and rocking out for them.
Sincere thanks to Erin for taking the time out to talk us! You can catch Caspian, Native, and local act Dessa Sons at The Southgate House Revival tonight. Hangovers free of charge.