I’ve been listening to Kentucky’s Cage the Elephant for years now. So when AMBY was given the opportunity and honour of speaking with the band, we simply couldn’t turn it down. Right before the release of their third studio record MELOPHOBIA, A Music Blog, Yea? spoke with Cage’s Lincoln Parish over the phone about craziest live moments, pre-show rituals, Cage the Elephant artwork, and more! Dig into our conversation below:
AMBY: What have you been up to lately?
Cage the Elephant: Well, we’re getting ready to put out the new record. It’s called Melophobia. And we just came off tour with Muse and aside from that, we’re gearing up to put out the album, really.
AMBY: That tour with Muse— what an incredible line-up. What were some of the highlights of those shows?
Cage the Elephant: Their live show is pretty amazing, so I would usually go out and watch the show every night, and that was pretty cool. They’re a great band to tour with.
AMBY: I had the opportunity of catching Cage live in Toronto which was with Stone Temple Pilots back in 2010, so quite a while ago!
Cage the Elephant: Yea, at the Air Canada Centre.
AMBY: Exactly. And the energy you were able to feed to the crowd was amazing. Before a show, what do you do to get yourselves riled up to play in front of thousands of people?
Cage the Elephant: We usually, probably about half hour before the show, we kind of all convene in the dressing room [laughs] and have a portable iPod dock thing that we carry around with us. And we usually just jam tunes that we really like and kind of hang out, really. Nothing too special.
AMBY: Are there any specific songs that get the band going?
Cage the Elephant: I like to listen to a lot of Queens of the Stone Age before we go on.
AMBY: Awesome! For that Toronto show, I was actually there with my whole family since we’re all big fans of the band.
Cage the Elephant: That’s awesome.
AMBY: And at that show, Matt dove right off the stage and my Dad actually caught him. And as a fan, that was such a surreal and cool moment.
Cage the Elephant: Woah.
AMBY: [laughs] Yea, it was crazy.
Cage the Elephant: Go Dad [laughs].
AMBY: Exactly. So this made us wonder, what’s the craziest thing to happen to you at a Cage the Elephant concert?
Cage the Elephant: Oh man, I don’t know. I’ve had several things thrown on stage; everything in between underwear to joints to I don’t know. Which is always pretty surreal… I think, “people actually do this?” I just play guitar [laughs]. I think one of the craziest experiences was at Lollapalooza in 2011, I think it was. We were playing Shake Me Down and rain started coming down and it was kind of like a very spiritual experience for the band.
AMBY: When we first spoke, you told me how the record is coming out soon for the band. You can practically see the finish line now! What do you have planned regarding the release of the record? I know that there’s a New York show date…
Cage the Elephant: We have a show at Webster Hall, but we’re not doing a whole lot the rest of the year because our other guitarist, Brad, just had a baby. Or his wife did, I should say [laughs].
AMBY: Wow, congrats Brad.
Cage the Elephant: Yea, and we’re just taking it easy the rest of the year through to the holidays and stuff. We’ll probably hit it hard early next year as far as touring and stuff goes.
AMBY: I believe I saw some European dates on your website as far as next year goes.
Cage the Elephant: Oh, yea. We’re doing a tour with Foals in the UK in February who are old friends of ours. We toured with them back on our first album in England so it should be a good time seeing old friends.
AMBY: Definitely. And regarding Melophobia, what were some of the best moments you had while recording the album?
Cage the Elephant: It wasn’t an easy album to make; there were moments of joy and excitement, we are all kind of different as people and as individuals when everybody is coming from their own place—which ultimately makes up this unique sound as a band—it’s always a struggle to get on the same page. But we spent a lot more time on the album than we have with the other albums. So it became stressful and hard, and there were days where you’d get up and just want to leave the studio, it could get ugly [laughs], but looking back now at the end product it’s just getting to that place.
AMBY: I’ve listened to the record a few times over now and it’s such a stellar album. And I’d have to say that Take It Or Leave It is probably my favourite track off the LP. On October first you asked fans “what’s your favourite song on our—”
Cage the Elephant That’s mine, too.
Cage the Elephant: You picked a good one, that’s my favourite too.
AMBY: Perfect. One thing that’s always stood out for me is the fact that all of your album artwork has this unique, colourful vibrancy to them. What inspired the Melophobia art?
Cage the Elephant: We actually used the same artist, a friend of ours named Clint Colburn, and he’s done all of the album artwork and he’s a genius, really. Every album, we give him a copy of the album or we play it for him and say, “do whatever you feel or are inspired to do.” And he knocks it out of the park every time [laughs]. It’s good, too, because even though every cover is different it feels pretty consistent. He’s amazing.
AMBY: Judging from your Facebook, Twitter, and SoundCloud comments, it seems that your fans are all over this new record. A reader of my website and a fellow Cage fan wanted us to ask you what’s the craziest fan interaction you’ve had so far?
Cage the Elephant: This one time in England, this girl asked me to sign her chest. Not her cleavage or anything, but her chest. And then we saw her at a show a few years later and she had it tattooed on her [laughs].
AMBY: Woah, that’s pretty—
Cage the Elephant: Pretty extreme.
AMBY: Yea! Wow [laughs] Well, I wanted to say that you’ve come a long way since releasing your debut self-titled album. So while on the topic of your loyal fans, is there anything you’d like to say to them?
Cage the Elephant: Thanks. I mean, we wouldn’t be where we are now without fans. Fans are everything, and without them you don’t have anything really. Much gratitude to the people who truly enjoy our music.
AMBY: And for our very last question of the interview, what’s something about Cage the Elephant that nobody knows yet?
Cage the Elephant: Uhm, I don’t know [laughs]. We’re pretty honest as a band and as people, and we try to be as honest as we can with our music as far as what we feel. We want to create music to enjoy, you know? I think that basically happiness is the key, and to write music that you love, and hopefully everything falls into place.
Thank you Cage the Elephant, for giving us your answers!
Alicia Atout | @AliciaAtout