Exclusive: Interview With Caesars Rome

CR-1I’m a huge fan of Bridgend based rockers Caesars Rome, I loved the bands first album, and they have always put on an intense live show.

The band been very quiet for some time, but the good news is they are back! With a new album in the offing I thought it was time we had a long overdue exclusive catch up with singer/guitarist Jon.

You have been off the scene for quite for some time, a couple of one off gigs and a short name change excepted, why so long?  The period from the release of our debut album ‘The Company We Keep’ up until we decided to start work on the follow up, was a very difficult one. Breakdown of communication with our previous label, and a loss of sight of what we set out to achieve with them put a great deal of pressure on us. We didn’t know what was going on with anything. Promises were broken, which drove our morale down. We had opportunities taken from us, and those of which we did get to achieve were done by ourselves. It’s a very long story, basically we needed the time to prepare a record which truly projected everything we’ve been dealt with as a band, as people. We were angry and disappointed, it brought out a darker energy. We would have been active and playing a lot sooner but we had to make sure we had the things in place this time, to not repeat the same path as before.

You have the new album ‘Believers’, due to be released on Feb 24th, tell us a bit about it, Who with, and where did you record it?  Believers is a record that are we so very proud of. We can’t wait for people to hear it. On a very fresh morning of November 2012, we all sat around the breakfast table in this little cottage in West Wales which we rent for writing and rehearsing. It was then that we made the decision to be 100% behind making this album happen. The ‘darker’ energy and feel we have achieved on this record was briefly introduced with the release of Earth From Space, we were inviting people into our more mature sound.

Working with Romesh Dodangoda again was a no brainer. We’ve always worked incredibly well together, and it was the perfect fit. We recorded the album in two different studios. The majority of the drums were done at Monnow Valley Studio, in Monmouth. The studio was perfect, and it was nice to get away for a couple of days and focus on the album. The guitars and vocals were done at Romesh’s studio, LongWave, Cardiff.

How long did it take?  The album was recorded over two sessions – we were initially going to do an EP. Finances were tough at the time, and we had to go with what we could afford. Once the first collection of songs were done, we knew that it wasn’t finished. We had the tracks written, and we just knew it had to be an album. We spent just under a month doing the second session.

Where were the bulk of the songs written? A lot of the ideas for this record were born out of our little country retreat. It’s an old cottage, in the middle of nowhere, in a place called Llanboidy, West Wales. The most tranquil and relaxing place you could imagine. It’s situated on a small little farm, with plenty of live stock and open fields. With the bare bones of the tracks formed we then started to finalise them at our local home, Musicbox Studios in Cardiff.

What’s your song writing progress like?  For us, I guess we always have a core idea. What that stems from changes every time. Sometimes, I have a melody in my head that I work a chord structure around, or sometimes just a riff. We don’t have a way of writing that has to be adhered to, we’ve always just gone with the flow. If what we add works for the track then thats how we like it to go. I don’t really like adding too much. We’ve always had the notion that if it can’t be done live, it doesn’t belong in the song.

Who are your main songwriting and musical inspirations?  I think the biggest influence has always been Thrice. I love how that band has evolved, they’ve never re-visited an album because it was more successful, and because more people liked that. They’ve always written music that they enjoy to play, and listen to. Thats always been something very important to us. We wanted to evolve, we’ve grown up a lot.

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You’re releasing the album in a very limited, pretty awesome wooden box set, tell us about that, who’s idea was it?  Yeah, it’s pretty cool isn’t it! We’ve always been big fans of having something special to offer people who like our band, and we wanted something that looked visually awesome, and had a very authentic look. Well the idea was a pretty mutual one. We wanted a ‘box’ but didn’t want it to be one of those cardboard ones. Lloyd (bass) is a carpenter, so we thought why not use his skills and expertise and create something special and unique. Each box is different, too. There are 12 tracks on the album, and each box will represent one track. We will add trinkets and other things that correspond to the title, lyrics, and general theme of the song. They also sold out very quickly too. We couldn’t be happier.

Will you be having a releasing party or gig?  We sure are! It’s going to be at Hobo’s Bridgend on Saturday February 22nd. We will be adding some other shows either side of this, in other towns/cities in Wales, too.

Will you be touring the album?  Yes. Everywhere we possibly can.

Will their be any singles or videos?  Yes, for sure. This is an album that, as a band, have found very difficult to pick our favourites. It’s been a great experience doing this album as all of the songs have had a great deal of effort put into them. I’m pretty sure we got the singles sorted. We start filming our first video in January. It’s going to be a banger.

What will 2014 hold for Caesars Rome?  Playing shows, and being able to give people as much opportunity to hear the material. It’s very important to always be able to connect properly with people who are interested in our music, and we really are striving to achieve that this time around. The decisions are ours to make, and we want to fulfil them all.

What are your views on the music business at the moment?  Ha! Love this question. The music business is the toughest. Opportunities are few and far between. There’s always the outlook to go on to achieve things, but unfortunately money is a huge factor. It plays a part in too many aspects. It dictates everything, and we feel that talent is a second to that in most scenarios. The famous phrase being ‘money talks’. It sure does.

There are people out there who still buy music, who love and have an understanding of what their favourite musicians go through to make records and be able to play shows. But the guys who sit behind desks sending emails don’t respect the musicians enough. There’s always another band they can sink their teeth into, where money isn’t an issue.

What do you think of the Welsh music scene right now?  I think the Welsh music scene has always thrived. So good to see a lot of younger bands coming through, the bar is always getting pushed higher with the quality of the music these guys are writing. It’s great to see bands really getting a grasp of things and obtaining their own sounds. There’s certainly a variety of styles to listen to here now, it’s refreshing that bands don’t sound similar and there doesn’t seem to be a particular genre dominating shows.

What bands/albums are favourites on the bands ipod?  Always a tough question, as our listening tastes are all very individual. But we’ve been spinning a lot of Constructor songs, who also happen to be good friends of ours. They have some new songs coming out soon, they’re amazing. I always have Thrice on too.

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