Artist: Caligula’s Horse

Origin: Brisbane, Australia

Genre: Progressive Rock, Alternative Rock, Djent

Label: Inside Out Music

Link: https://www.facebook.com/caligulashorseband und http://caligulashorse.com/

Band Members:

Vocals – Jim Grey
Lead Guitar – Sam Vallen
Guitar – Zac Greensill
Bass and Vocals – Dave Couper
Drums – Geoff Irish

 

Time For Metal / Heike L.:

First of all thank you very much for taking your time, answering our questions.

Caligula’s Horse / Jim Grey:

No worries mate! Happy to chat.

Time For Metal / Heike L.:

Can you first tell me a little bit about the history of Caligula’s Horse? How did you come together in 2011, and how did you agree upon playing that kind of music? Has this always been your favourite style? And why did you choose such a quite extraordinary band name? I have to admit that I had to search for the name Caligula, because history was not my favourite school subject 😉

Caligula’s Horse / Jim Grey:

Fortunately for both of us, history is literally my favourite school subject. I’m actually a student of Ancient History and Classical Languages at University in Australia right now, haha.

The sound of Caligula’s Horse came together fairly naturally. Sam had written and demoed almost an entire album’s worth of material for what he imagined as a one-off solo project, and asked me to guest on the album as a vocalist. We had a great time working together, and actually ended up adding an extra track that we collaborated on, The City Has No Empathy, which became the album’s first single.

After that, there was really no turning back, we had to put a band together. By the time we’d started working on our second album together, we’d definitely developed a more cohesive collaborative sound between the two of us.

Time For Metal / Heike L.:

I have written many reviews for bands that don’t have a record company. You are lucky enough to have one. How did that happen? Did they contact you? And did they ever have any influence on your musical work, or are you free to express yourself?

Caligula’s Horse / Jim Grey:

I’m fairly certain Inside Out Music have been aware of us since around our second album, The Tide, the Thief & River’s End. We’d been touring Australia very heavily on that record, and by that stage had garnered a fairly solid underground reputation around the world. So the whispers obviously reached their ears! Once they had heard the demos of Bloom, they were very keen to take us on, almost as excited as we were!

Inside Out have a sterling reputation for being a genuine progressive label, with an incredible roster – they would never interfere with the sound of an artist, otherwise the music would lose what makes it experimental and progressive.

Time For Metal / Heike L.:

I have to admit that Bloom is the first album I hear from you, but I will definitely also give a listen to your earlier albums. How did the works for the current album proceed? Do the single band members have specific tasks, like writing lyrics and/or music?

Caligula’s Horse / Jim Grey:

Awesome, you’ll definitely hear the difference between River’s End and Bloom, it’s been a long journey with a lot of changes! Sam Vallen and I write everything together. He’s the instrumental musical mastermind, and will flesh out ideas into something we can mould together. Generally, I write the vocals, but not always – we write the lyrics together too, something that is predominately my job, but always better when we work together. So we kind of complete and improve one another’s skill sets, in a way.

Time For Metal / Heike L.:

Is there any specific concept behind the album and/or can you tell me something about the meaning behind the songs?

Caligula’s Horse / Jim Grey:

Bloom isn’t a concept album – it’s actually something we did very deliberately. River’s End had this dark and emotional concept, a full story with characters on a journey. The music reflected that, which meant the album itself was quite moody and dark throughout. It’s a work that we’re all extremely proud of, but we didn’t want to repeat ourselves. So we made it a point at the very beginning of the writing process that we would strive for a bright, uplifting, and colourful album, which ended up as Bloom.

Time For Metal / Heike L.:

I also mentioned the amazing cover of the album. Unfortunately I could not find any information about the artist of this beautiful image. Was it one of the band members or an external artist? If it was an external artist, was he free in his work, or did you give some directions?

Caligula’s Horse / Jim Grey:

We worked with an amazing artist, absolutely peerless in Australia as far as I’m concerned, named Chris Stevenson-Mangos. We gave him some general directions and ideas at the beginning, nothing too specific because we know the quality of his work (he also designed the front cover of Known/Learned by my former project Arcane). We also gave him the lyrics, and the album demos, such as they were at the time. What he came back to us with was simultaneously something I never could’ve imagined, but also somehow exactly what we wanted. Brilliant – a perfect reflection of the music.

Time For Metal / Heike L.:

I didn’t read other reviews, but I mainly mentioned the British band TesseracT as reference to your music, and you also did the common tour through Australia. What do you think about these comparisons respectively categorisations? Are they both a blessing and a curse? To me especially the categorisations are quite helpful, because they allow me to arrange special playlists…

Caligula’s Horse / Jim Grey:

Of course as a listener, categorisations make sense! Helps to get your head around what you’re interested in, what suits what in a playlist and so on. For me, I feel like the world of progressive music would almost do better without genre labelling. A band playing progressive music should be striving for an original voice, something that is pushing a boundary or straying from the path, and therefore can’t be defined by anything but itself. To have rules that surround the genre of “Prog” seems a bit silly to me, and only leads to division and exclusivity rather than inclusiveness.

That said, the tour with TesseracT was amazing! We had a great time and they’re all lovely dudes. There are some things in common with our sound, but we’re mostly startlingly different bands, which is (as I said) something I relish in a progressive lineup.

Time For Metal / Heike L.:

You just did a tour through Australia and will then go on an extensive tour through Europe. What are your hopes and/or expectations? And do you think, there is any difference between the fans in the different countries, or are they all just metalheads?

Caligula’s Horse / Jim Grey:

Haha, well we’re not really a metal band, deep down. There’s something for everyone on Bloom, so I imagine our audience will be a widely varied group of people. Personally, I can’t wait for our time in Europe – it’s hard to put into words how exciting a time this is for us. Writing original and progressive music in Australia is a huge challenge, and touring the world is not really something you allow yourself to dream about in any real way. So the fact that we’re signed to one of my favourite labels, and about to go meet our amazing fans all across Europe is a fact that I still can’t quite get my head around, haha!

Time For Metal / Heike L.:

One more question for concerts, because you already shared the stage with some famous bands from different genres. First of all, how does it feel to meet all these other musicians, who already have so much experience? And what is the normal procedure for your concerts? Does your record company tell you, when to go on tour and with which other bands?

Caligula’s Horse / Jim Grey:

There’s always something I take away from playing with other bands. Things I should or could be doing, things that wouldn’t work for us, or even just a sense of “Well, shit, we’ve got some work to do!”. It’s a truly humbling thing, which is a sensation I’ve come to enjoy – we’re all striving to be constantly improving as a band and as individuals, so this last year of touring with incredible artists has been an awesome learning experience.

As far as bookings and the like go, our management and bookings are run by Wild Thing Presents based out of Melbourne, but we run our own ship. We’ve been very much in charge of Caligula’s Horse ever since the beginning, and we won’t be relinquishing that control any time soon. As far as I’m concerned, the best people to represent this band are ourselves.

Time For Metal / Heike L.:

Is any of you guys also engaged in some other bands or projects, maybe also with a completely different kind of music?

Caligula’s Horse / Jim Grey:

We’ve all been involved in different projects before, in a range of different styles, but none of them are currently active since we’re now looking at Caligula’s Horse full time. Busy times ahead!

Time For Metal / Heike L.:

The songs are not easy to play and are demanding a certain level of technical skills. Do you have some musical education, or are you self-educated?

Caligula’s Horse / Jim Grey:

One way or another – Sam is actually currently doing his PhD in music, Zac is just about to complete his Honours dissertation (also in music). I’ve studied Classical and Jazz voice at university too. But most importantly we’ve all been playing for most of our lives.

Time For Metal / Heike L.:

And that’s it for now. Thanks once again. Unfortunately I will not be able to attend any show of the upcoming tour through Europe, but I really hope to see you on stage one day, maybe after the release of your next album 😉 Is there anything you would like to tell to your fans and the readers of Time for Metal?

Caligula’s Horse / Jim Grey:

Thanks so much for taking the time to read this, and to support our music. Take care of each other. Celebrate life, in all its fragility, together. We love you, see you on tour!

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