Caligula's Horse: Interview (Jim Grey)

  • Caligula's Horse: Interview (Jim Grey)
    POSTED 21 May 2020

    Caligula's Horse

    Brisbane powerhouse Caligula's Horse have worked hard to make a name for themselves internationally since forming in 2011, with their meticulous brand of progressive metal becoming the talk within many metal communities around the world.

    With their new record Radiant Rise arriving tomorrow (May 22), we caught up with the band's vocalist Jim Grey to talk to us about why they're calling it their biggest achievement to date, how being based in Australia has affected their careers and more. Read on for the full chat:

    First of all, it really sucks about your first American tour falling victim to this virus - nobody could have foreseen it. Will you be aiming to head over there as soon as you're allowed to again?

    Absolutely. Yeah, it was really upsetting to have to cancel the tour, but there was no other choice really. We're aiming to get there in Jan/Feb 2021, but it's hard to tell where the world (and particularly the US) will be at that stage. It's tough to have what is essentially a practically impossible childhood dream get torn away from you at the last minute, but of course there was nothing else we could do.

    About the new record - Rise Radiant seems like a more textural and colourful album than your previous one, In Contact, which was a bit darker in tone. Was that a deliberate direction?

    There's always been a blending of colour and shadow in our music – we don't like for a single song to carry a singular mood or monochromatic tone throughout. The sound that came out on 'In Contact' was reflective of the album's concept and the tragedy or darkness within the stories of the album. On 'Rise Radiant', each of the songs has its own voice or something to say, and in that way there's a lot of variety in its tone. Thematically speaking, 'Rise Radiant' is full of positivity and messages of self-empowerment in times of struggle, and the importance of both that inner strength and that struggle itself is really present in the music.

    What was the decision behind sending Rise Radiant off for full mixing with someone else rather than Sam doing it this time?

    Working with Jens (Bogren) was something we'd been considering for some time – he's an absolute legend and has been a part of a huge number of albums that we all love, so when the opportunity presented itself this time around, we were very eager to work with him. Jens was able to capture the emotion of 'Rise Radiant' beautifully, and really bring out the dynamic subtleties in the music.
     

    What do you think has helped result in the band feeling tighter and more cohesive than ever before?

    Our current line-up, for sure. With the addition of Dale Prinsse on bass as our newest member, the band feels tighter as a unit than ever before even outside of a musical context. I'm truly in awe of the people around me in this band and I'm super grateful that we're able to make music together like this. Beyond that, we've all embarked on a number of long and hectic tours together, and that experience brings with it an emotional and musical closeness that is hard to describe!
     

    About the two covers of Split Enz and Peter Gabriel that appear as bonus tracks - how did you land on those two artists to cover?

    They're both some of our favourite songs! Personally, I grew up with Peter Gabriel as a part of my musical life, and 'Don't Give Up' was enormous for me. Getting the incredible Lynsey Ward from Exploring Birdsong to join us as a guest for that track performing Kate Bush's parts was an obvious choice too.

    As for Split Enz, both Sam and I absolutely adore 'Message to my Girl' – it has one of the world's best choruses, haha! Neil Finn is a genius.

    Taking it on a left turn here, but because you're involved with a genre that relies so much on meticulous detail and complexity, do you ever find it difficult to appreciate music on the other end of that spectrum?

    Not at all. If anything, my tastes in music tend to veer away from overt technicality, I'm not a fan of things being complex for the sake of complexity, especially if that forsakes the ability of the song to communicate emotion, mood, or story. I think that's part of what makes us who are musically, too. Our focus is on songwriting, emphasising the song's meaning, emotion, and musical journey ahead of our any desire for technicality. 

    Do you feel like you face more challenges being a prog band located in Australia compared to, say, the US or Europe?

    Usually, I would say absolutely yes (and in a way it's still very true), but because of the state of things globally right now, we're extremely lucky to be an Australian prog band. Things seem to be doing better here right now in terms of the pandemic – it would be a far scarier situation in terms of our future livelihood if we were located anywhere else.

    But as for the usual status quo, it is generally far more challenging to embark on longer international tours, since immediate costs of visas and travel are so significantly higher for us than for bands based in the US or Europe. It's really remarkable to be able to get out there and tour the world at all for Aussie bands, so I feel super lucky.

    It's obviously pretty hard to plan anything right now, but are there talks of taking this record on an Australian tour?

    You're absolutely right in that it's impossible to say, but rest assured that as soon as it's feasible to do so, we will be putting plans in place to tour on this record. It's something I'm looking forward to more than I can really express – putting everything on hold and having so much hanging in the air makes me feel like I don't really exist. So yeah, the minute it's possible, we'll be working to make it happen. 

    Thanks for chatting Jim, and congrats on such a huge album!

    Thank you!

     

    Rise Radiant album art

    Caligula's Horse - Rise Radiant Tracklisting:

    1 - "The Tempest"
    2 - "Slow Violence"
    3 - "Salt"
    4 - "Resonate"
    5 - "Oceanrise"
    6 - "Valkyrie"
    7 - "Autumn"
    8 "The Ascent"

    Listen to Caligula's Horse now.

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Caligula's Horse

Brisbane powerhouse Caligula's Horse have worked hard to make a name for themselves internationally since forming in 2011, with their meticulous brand of progressive metal becoming the talk within many metal communities around the world.

With their new record Radiant Rise arriving tomorrow (May 22), we caught up with the band's vocalist Jim Grey to talk to us about why they're calling it their biggest achievement to date, how being based in Australia has affected their careers and more. Read on for the full chat:

First of all, it really sucks about your first American tour falling victim to this virus - nobody could have foreseen it. Will you be aiming to head over there as soon as you're allowed to again?

Absolutely. Yeah, it was really upsetting to have to cancel the tour, but there was no other choice really. We're aiming to get there in Jan/Feb 2021, but it's hard to tell where the world (and particularly the US) will be at that stage. It's tough to have what is essentially a practically impossible childhood dream get torn away from you at the last minute, but of course there was nothing else we could do.

About the new record - Rise Radiant seems like a more textural and colourful album than your previous one, In Contact, which was a bit darker in tone. Was that a deliberate direction?

There's always been a blending of colour and shadow in our music – we don't like for a single song to carry a singular mood or monochromatic tone throughout. The sound that came out on 'In Contact' was reflective of the album's concept and the tragedy or darkness within the stories of the album. On 'Rise Radiant', each of the songs has its own voice or something to say, and in that way there's a lot of variety in its tone. Thematically speaking, 'Rise Radiant' is full of positivity and messages of self-empowerment in times of struggle, and the importance of both that inner strength and that struggle itself is really present in the music.

What was the decision behind sending Rise Radiant off for full mixing with someone else rather than Sam doing it this time?

Working with Jens (Bogren) was something we'd been considering for some time – he's an absolute legend and has been a part of a huge number of albums that we all love, so when the opportunity presented itself this time around, we were very eager to work with him. Jens was able to capture the emotion of 'Rise Radiant' beautifully, and really bring out the dynamic subtleties in the music.
 

What do you think has helped result in the band feeling tighter and more cohesive than ever before?

Our current line-up, for sure. With the addition of Dale Prinsse on bass as our newest member, the band feels tighter as a unit than ever before even outside of a musical context. I'm truly in awe of the people around me in this band and I'm super grateful that we're able to make music together like this. Beyond that, we've all embarked on a number of long and hectic tours together, and that experience brings with it an emotional and musical closeness that is hard to describe!
 

About the two covers of Split Enz and Peter Gabriel that appear as bonus tracks - how did you land on those two artists to cover?

They're both some of our favourite songs! Personally, I grew up with Peter Gabriel as a part of my musical life, and 'Don't Give Up' was enormous for me. Getting the incredible Lynsey Ward from Exploring Birdsong to join us as a guest for that track performing Kate Bush's parts was an obvious choice too.

As for Split Enz, both Sam and I absolutely adore 'Message to my Girl' – it has one of the world's best choruses, haha! Neil Finn is a genius.

Taking it on a left turn here, but because you're involved with a genre that relies so much on meticulous detail and complexity, do you ever find it difficult to appreciate music on the other end of that spectrum?

Not at all. If anything, my tastes in music tend to veer away from overt technicality, I'm not a fan of things being complex for the sake of complexity, especially if that forsakes the ability of the song to communicate emotion, mood, or story. I think that's part of what makes us who are musically, too. Our focus is on songwriting, emphasising the song's meaning, emotion, and musical journey ahead of our any desire for technicality. 

Do you feel like you face more challenges being a prog band located in Australia compared to, say, the US or Europe?

Usually, I would say absolutely yes (and in a way it's still very true), but because of the state of things globally right now, we're extremely lucky to be an Australian prog band. Things seem to be doing better here right now in terms of the pandemic – it would be a far scarier situation in terms of our future livelihood if we were located anywhere else.

But as for the usual status quo, it is generally far more challenging to embark on longer international tours, since immediate costs of visas and travel are so significantly higher for us than for bands based in the US or Europe. It's really remarkable to be able to get out there and tour the world at all for Aussie bands, so I feel super lucky.

It's obviously pretty hard to plan anything right now, but are there talks of taking this record on an Australian tour?

You're absolutely right in that it's impossible to say, but rest assured that as soon as it's feasible to do so, we will be putting plans in place to tour on this record. It's something I'm looking forward to more than I can really express – putting everything on hold and having so much hanging in the air makes me feel like I don't really exist. So yeah, the minute it's possible, we'll be working to make it happen. 

Thanks for chatting Jim, and congrats on such a huge album!

Thank you!

 

Rise Radiant album art

Caligula's Horse - Rise Radiant Tracklisting:

1 - "The Tempest"
2 - "Slow Violence"
3 - "Salt"
4 - "Resonate"
5 - "Oceanrise"
6 - "Valkyrie"
7 - "Autumn"
8 "The Ascent"

Listen to Caligula's Horse now.

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Caligula's Horse: Interview (Jim Grey)

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