Introducing Doctor Caligari

Doctor Caligari are a Psychobilly band based in Wales, with songs inspired by a lifelong love of all things horror, lust and good old rock and roll.

From live performances and their self funded releases, Doctor Caligari has gained a cult like status in the UK and across Europe and North & South America, appealing to fans of a wide range of alternative tastes including Psychobilly, Horror Punk, Steampunk & Goth.

We spoke to band mastermind Johnny to find out all about them.

Who are you and what do you do?  I’m Jon, I play guitar in the Psychobilly band Doctor Caligari.

Where did the bands name come from?  The name is taken from the 1920’s silent Horror movie “The Cabinet of Dr. Caligari”

How did you get started?  It actually began as my solo project, I was writing songs mainly for my own amusement, as things progressed, I looked for a vocalist and met Mr. E.  Feedback of the rough mixes was good, so we decided to make it a band.

What have you got going on at the moment?  Having played at Bedlam Breakout 15 the other week, we’re currently booking gigs, while also demoing trackings for our follow up EP.

Favourite music and why?  50’s Rock N Roll & Doowop. My Dad would always have that playing in the house when I was growing up, it’s probably the only form of music I knew for quite some time.

Favourite book and why?  I don’t think I have a favourite, I recently read Max Brooks’ World War Z and really enjoyed it.

Favourite film and why?  Nightmare on Elm Street. I watched it at a very young age, it’s had quite the impact on my life as I’ve pretty much only watched Horror Films since then.

Best experience in the business?  Playing at Bedlam Breakout, having people in the crowd that I’ve never met sing the lyrics back at me was quite a surreal, yet amazing experience!

Why should Soundscape readers care?  They don’t have to, but it would be great if they would spare some of their time to have a listen to our songs.

Tell our readers an interesting fact about the band?  Our first radio play was in Nashville by Eerie Von (Samhain, Danzig) & Candy Gunn.

Most embarrassing thing to happen to you while in the band?  On our debut gig last year, I left all of the copies of the EP by my front door, so I had to drive back home to get them, resulting in me getting stuck in traffic and being very late for soundcheck.

What’s your writing and recording process like?  As I wrote all the songs for the EP, the process was a bit unusual.  I played various riffs and progressions until something stuck. Many of the finished songs are various pieces of different songs fused together.  Other songs ended up in a place far from when they started.  Lyrics came at different stages, last minute on some, others before any real feel to the song had been decided.  The drums were recorded by an online session drummer who e-mailed the stems to me. The rest was recorded in Newport with Jeff Rose.

What inspires you?  Horror Movies, Girls who like Horror Movies & Girls In Horror Movies.

Best thing about coming from Wales?  Welsh cakes being so accessible.

Who are your role models or idols?  I’ve got quite a few: J-Sin Trioxin (Mister Monster, Wednesday 13), Michale Graves (Misfits, Graves, Gotham Road) & Alun Pughe (Johnny Narcissist)

Whats the hardest thing about the current business?  There are so many bands and projects now that it’s incredibly difficult to get people to notice you, let alone have their attention long enough to generate some interest in you. The amount of venues that are closing doesn’t help the prospects of playing out too much either.

What are your future plans?  We’re currently working on new tracks for a follow up EP which will be released on Halloween.  Before that’s released though we want to make another video and we’ve had a few offers for gigs, which we just need to finalise.

Who is your favourite Batman actor?  Lee Meriwether.

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