Q&A with Casey Cavanagh

Last Friday, Casey Cavanagh and his band rocked the Wilson Hall stage when they opened for Cartel.  Afterwards, I had a Q&A with them to talk about their expereince, their band, and what it’s like to be both students and in a band:

UPB: How did you get involved with opening for Cartel?
Casey: It’s been a personal goal of the band to have the opportunity to open for a big UPB show. Ever since freshman year, it was something I have dreamed about doing. Everything just seemed to work out perfectly this time around. We were in the right place at the right time as a band and were honored to have an opportunity to open for a band like Cartel.

UPB: What was it like to open for them?
Casey: Speaking on behalf of the band, we had a BLAST opening for Cartel. Their genre of music really brings out some fun, energetic fans. We are a band that thrives off of audience interaction and energy and having people attentively listening and enjoying what we played was very humbling. We honestly were not expecting such a kind reaction, but when we stepped onstage, we got a round of applause and throughout the show, the crowd was so nice to us. I couldn’t stop smiling. We just had a great time up there. One of my favorite moments was when we covered the Band’s “The Weight.” It is a classic song that means a lot to the band but I was a little worried it would be the wrong type of show to play that song. I was wrong — by the end of the song, people were singing along with us. “Teenage Dream” was a last minute decision when we realized we had a few more minutes to play on stage. We figured since the crowd was so energetic throughout our own originals, they would react well to Teenage Dream. John sung the song while the rest of us hopped around stage. He is the next Katy Perry I think.
UPB: How do you like playing in Wilson?
Casey: I played an acoustic show without the rest of the band once in Wilson. It was a lot different because there wasn’t a pit. Having people right ON the stage made a huge difference in how we interacted with the crowd. Since they were looking straight up at us, it was easy to get people laughing and smiling and having fun with us. The acoustics in Wilson are fantastic as well. We owe the show’s success to the members of UPB and the wonderful crew that did our sound at Southerd Audio. They were so kind to us and really did an amazing job on the sound.

UPB: Did you listen to Cartel in the past?
Casey: I was the only member in the band that was a true fan of Cartel. In high school, I listened to Chroma on a regular basis. The whole experience was really surreal. When I first started writing music, that was a band that I looked to for inspiration. To open for them some years later was a big honor. They even started with my favorite song! –Lucky St.  After the show, we all stuck around to hear them and were blown away with how professional they were and how great everything sounded.

UPB: Is it difficult being a student and in a band?
Casey: We are all heavily involved with our majors, organizations as well as jobs and internships. Juggling all of that on top of a band is certainly a big challenge. It gets tiring and stressful at times, but once we step on stage, all of that goes away and we remember why we do what we do. Time management may be the greatest lessons that we have learned while being in a band during college.

UPB: Who are your music idols/ mentors?
Casey: Each one of us brings different influences to the table. That’s what makes us such a dynamic group. We all take from each of our influences and submerse them into our own sound that we’ve created. We each decided our top two influences. Keep in mind that these are just TWO of many for each of us. Casey: John Mayer and Tom Petty  John: Barenaked Ladies and Jimmy Eat World  Jeff: Elvis Costello and The Who  Sam: Ryan Adams and the Damnwells

UPB: What genre would you classify yourself in?
Casey: Rock and Roll with an Alt-Country flair and pop sensibilities.

UPB: What are your top hits/ favorite songs to play?
Casey: We are currently recording an EP that will debut this November. We are really excited about those tracks that we’ve recorded so far… “Coming Home” is currently on our Facebook and Myspace pages. “The Becoming” is another tune that will be on the new record. Sam, our drummer, wrote the song and sings it on the record as well. The EP is being recorded and produced by our own, John Giardinere. He is a jack of all trades. He not only plays great guitar in the band, he records, produces and engineers all of the songs on our new album. We’re lucky to have him in the band.

UPB:  Any upcoming shows?
Casey: After this weekend, we will have just played the Crozet Music Festival. This coming Thursday, we will be playing live at WXJM. That show can be streamed (starting at 8pm-10pm) at http://www.wxjmlive.com . We also have a gig at the Blue Nile on October 14. We will be playing two sets. One set will be original Casey Cavanagh Band material and the second will be all 90’s hits. It will be a very exciting show.


Casey Cavanagh Band
Casey Cavanagh: Vocals, Guitar
John Giardinere: Guitar, Backing Vocals
Sam Gillett: Drums, Vocals
Jeff Pober: Bass, Backing Vocals