UK born and bred trio CAEZAR are spreading their infectious crossover of pop, indie and rock all over the UK and European music scenes. Playing alongside giant names such as Hozier, James Bay and Jack Garrett, CAEZAR can really hold their own and have had the pleasure of playing at the award-winning independent Barn on the Farm Festival as well as being featured on the acclaimed radio platform BBC Music Introducing.
The band released a brand new single at the beginning of this month, a bittersweet pop-rock anthem called ‘Hold On’; a track that gets you up and dancing but has a level of thoughtfulness and emotionality that shows CAEZAR’s maturity as a band. The trio will be releasing their debut EP ‘HAIL!’ next month and have many more exciting things lined up for the rest of the year.
Listen to CAEZAR’s new track ‘Hold On’ below while you read the interview.
We caught up with CAEZAR and got to know the three brains behind the bass-lines.
Set the tone for us. Why the arts?
We’re a group of extroverted introverts. We’re definitely guilty of spending too much time thinking, and we’re insecure enough that we need to perform and express that emotion. When you consider that writing & performing is something we’ve always been drawn to, then the stage was always going to be the natural place for us. We’re friends first and a band second – whenever we go out to do something, we would always end up singing or creating new melodies.
Which comes first when you’re producing – the sound or the idea?
Usually the sound – we spend a lot of time just experimenting with new ideas and sounds. Chris will often come to the studio with the start of a hook or a melody, and then Rich will put his guitar to it or try some new arrangements – by the end of the session the song is something completely new & unique. Usually for the best!
What’s on your current playlist?
We love anything by Sigrid, we love her energy and just the size of her choruses. They’re infectious. Other than that, Raleigh Ritchie, Everything Everything, Amber Run, OUTLYA, Will Heard, James Vincent McMorrow, Nick Mulvey, Sundara Karma – the list goes on. As long as it’s something that has been written with care and feeling, we love it. If it makes you dance, that’s a bonus.
Tell us about the chemistry you have with your fans on stage.
We started life as a function band, so we are pretty used to audiences responding and dancing. We don’t do static crowds. As a result we’ve developed a pretty unique performance style – if the crowd isn’t responding then something is wrong. Chris will always get out into the crowd and bring that spark. We all have memories of gigs that turned into life experiences, we try to make that happen every time we perform.
What techniques do you experiment with to get your original sound?
There’s a pretty fiery dynamic between Rich and Chris. Chris has a background in big pop influences and draws from songwriters like Ryan Tedder and vocalists like Adam Levine. Having grown up on a diet of Dave Gilmore and John Frusciante, Rich is drawn to sweeping melodies and inventive riffs. Between the two we seem to make it work.
Take us through a day in the recording studio.
We owe so much to our producer, Justin. He’s an incredible talent. He’s worked with acts like Raleigh Ritchie, Izzy Bizu and even Jessie J, and we draw from that experience. We will usually turn to him with a new idea or concept and throughout the process he will twist and transform each riff into something new and exciting. He has a real ambition for adventure and empowers us to push our ideas as far as they can go. We’ve worked with producers in the past who take a back seat and don’t challenge us, either as a band or as individual musicians. Justin pushes us to reach beyond our comfort zone and into uncharted waters. It can be intense at the time but the results speak for themselves.
Was there a specific moment in your life where you thought, “this is what I want to do”?
In 2014 Chris and Rich performed at Barn on the Farm festival. We were picked as the opening act and it was only the 2nd or 3rd gig that we’d ever done. We bumped into James Bay on our way in, and then had to clear the green room to make way for Hozier. When we performed the crowd hung onto every note we played, and then afterwards we went into a field with another band, the Tin Pigeons, and performed for all the people in the campsite. We had about 40 or 50 people around us, singing our own songs back at us. It was at that moment we knew this is what we wanted to do.
What do you keep close by while you’re playing a set?
Any emerging artists on your radar?
We’re biased because they’re good friends, but the Tin Pigeons, OUTLYA, and Hunter & the Bear are another great group of guys who happen to be insane musicians.
What gets your creative juices flowing?
Travelling and reading. We’re all deep thinkers and highly emotional – it can make for a confrontational studio, but at the same time it means every song we write comes from a place of actual meaning and significance. Even though we’ve played it 100 times, ‘Hold On’ still makes me choke as it brings back the memories of what inspired it.
Take us through your collection of gear, tech or software that accompanies your creative expression.
We’re quite proud to be a band first and a jukebox second. More and more bands seem to be relying on backing tracks and samples, but we endeavour to create as much of our music Live with our vocals, guitars, synths and drums. Chris and Zoe are insane singers, we want our audience to experience that. Of course there is still an element of programming in our set but we try to keep that to a minimum.
How have you refined your craft since you entered the industry?
We spent the first 2 years just performing. We travelled all across the UK, and even throughout Europe, performing to crowds. One of our musical highlights was performing at Alternative Fest. It was the first time we performed outside of the UK, and to see the crowds still going crazy for our songs was an unforgettable experience. Since then we’ve spent time writing and performing with other artists and producers who have pushed us to grow and mature as songwriters and as artists
Breakdown the news for us: what can we expect from you this year?
We’re releasing our debut ‘HAIL!’ EP this year. It’s been 18 months in the making and we’re incredibly proud of what we’ve produced.