7 Minutes in Heaven with: Cassandras
Artist Website: http://cassandras.bandcamp.com/
BIO: Cassandras is Michael Jordan, Heather Buzzard, Bobby Theberge, Derek Schulz and Ryan Odom, all Georgia kids (except for Ryan who hails from New Hampshire). Based in Atlanta, they have been playing together since spring of 2011. Once upon a time, Mike and Ryan were in a band called Darling Trees. It dissolved, and after a nine month break they sat back down and began writing for what would soon become Cassandras. Heather was a vocalist/ flautist for Atlanta gypsy rock outfit the Back Pockets (where she and Mike met). She started rehearsing with Mike and Ryan when Back Pockets split up briefly. Soon after that, they were joined by Bobby and Derek, formerly of Moros Eros. Before the night of their first show, they had never played together all in the same room before, and since then they have recorded 2 EPs, played hella shows, and fallen madly head over heels in love with one another.
1) Where are you from and how long have you been making music?
Michael: I’m from Atlanta, and I have been playing music in bands since I was in high school. I’ve been writing songs for a couple years. I recently spent some time in Asheville, NC for 5 months. I lived in this really old house with a wood burning stove, and I recorded an EP under the name Sid Jordan. I did some open mics and busking up there, too. When I got back, I started Cassandras.
Ryan: I’m from Bow, New Hampshire, and I have been a bedroom guitar player since I was 13 or 14 years old. Cassandras is my first serious rock and roll endeavor, I have never really played in a band other than this except for Darling Trees, which was rather short-lived.
2) Describe your sound in 5 words:
Mike: Our first inclination would be to make a joke about this question, but lets get to the point: spatial, lightnoise, telescopic, explosive, polar.
Ry: Booyah, whales, Brautigan. Fuck you.
3) Who would you list as your top 3 musical influences?
Mike: Sonic Youth, because they really brought alternate tunings out in a way I never heard before. I use alternate tunings for all my songs now. ‘Pet Sounds’ I could listen to over and over again. I also like how Brian Wilson wrote lyrics, very straight to the point and personal. Lastly, My Bloody Valentine totally changed the way I think about guitar. The Album Loveless just takes you somewhere far away like no other album I’ve ever heard, all without electronics and computers.
Ry: Definitely the Pixies. Their songs are so ridiculous. Violent and blasphemous. I love how Joey Santiago’s guitars sound, churning and squirming and angular all at the same time. I’d love to not say Radiohead, but we listen to their records a lot as a band. I love them to pieces. It seems like it’s impossible to stay relevant in today’s multi-media circus shit storm, I wonder how they do it. It’s like they control the fucking weather or something. Definitely David Gilmour, too – he is hands down my favorite guitar player.
4) If you were to choose one song from your most recent release to share with out readers, what would it be and why?
Mike: I would have to say “Stars“. It’s a song I started to write out in the forest on Halloween, and it’s played in a tuning I invented on the spot. Our friend Andrew Short produced it as his final project for school, so there’s a lot of interesting things he added sonically that I really like. He pretty much co-wrote the tune once we were in the studio.
Ry: ‘Stars’ is my favorite off our first EP too, but there is a song on our next release called “Piano Song” for now, and maybe “Rise Up” for later. Bobby and Derek’s drums and bass are super rad on that track. They have this crazy blood brothers thing going on where they always lock in ultra tight and occupy the same space rhythmically. “Piano Song” hauls ass, and the guitars and keys are sweet, but Heather’s vocal melodies and the drum and bass totally make it what it is on the record.
5) What were your 5 favorite albums of 2010?
Deerhunter: Halcyon Digest
Beach House: Teen Dreams
Arcade Fire: The Suburbs
Wavves: King of the Beach
Ry: I guess I missed 2010. The last 3 records I really latched on to were;
Bright Eyes: The People’s Key
The Decemberists: The Hazards of Love
Air: Love 2
6) Name a band that we might not have heard of yet but we should definitely check out?
Mike: Check out Calm White Noise. They’re really good friends of ours and I’ve known the lead singer since I was a kid. We almost started a band before both our current bands got together. They are about to put out an LP, and are playing at Drunken Unicorn on Wednesday, September 28th. It’s gonna be dope as hell. They do lots of live electronics and write really cool chord progressions. And their drummer is killer, Mars Volta scary good. Also We the Lion is a new Atlanta brainchild that Heather sings and plays flute for, and they sound like a happy afternoon.
Ry: There is a band called Kiss Kiss that, when I was a little younger, totally changed the way I think about rock and roll forever. They’re a dark, violin driven prog-rock, sort of. Like if Tim Burton had a band. They are everything I think a band should be, and I love their records dearly. I’m actually not even sure if they are still together, they might have broken up.
7) What’s been the most exciting thing about 2011 for you so far and what do you have to look forward to?
Mike: 2011 has been really great to us so far. We have had some really amazing opportunities, like opening for Joan of Arc. And we got to play at the EARL twice in two months, which for me is totally amazing because we’ve only really been a band for a couple of months now. I’ve enjoyed playing with other really talented musicians in various projects, and I’ve made lots of new friends along the way. I’m just really glad people are digging our sound and having a good time. I’m looking forward to writing more songs as a band and recording. Also playing outside of Atlanta, which we haven’t done as a band yet.
Ry: I love electric guitars and experimenting with effects stompboxes, and playing with texture and melody. Being in Cassandras for the past few months has given me the opportunity to finally do all of that in a creatively collaborative environment. I’m truly, incredibly grateful today that I get to make art with my friends. I’m looking forward to finally playing a show with our good friend Dave Daniels. That’s gonna go down at 529 in East Atlanta on Thursday September 29th. With any luck, we will put out our new EP that night too, so if you are in the Atlanta area, come check it out!