This is a band that is both great and gracious, but they admit that they are just still getting there.
(That kind of honesty makes them even more punk rock and even more lovable, though, which is why if you’re reading this, you should go listen to their album out today.)
Caskets are a band budding in the industry and on the scene. They’re the kind of heavy that can capture and showcase everything great about rock music; the vocals have profound emotion, the riffs are massive, and the drums are frenzied. The highest compliment we can give the band is the they sound like they’d fit perfectly on a Danny Wimmer Presents festival. (If you know, you know.) They are metalcore done right. No gimmicks, nothing cheesy – just good, evocative rock and roll.
Their tour with Bless The Fall is coming to New York on August 18, just one week after their new LP comes out. We got the chance to speak with Matt Flood, the vocalist for Caskets, about the band’s new music and all that is still to come.
Your new album, Reflections, is out on August 11. How are you feeling?
I’m feeling very good, dude. I’m quite nervous about the release, I’m not going to lie.
Why is that?
I don’t know, man. I worry about everything to be fair, so until it’s out, I won’t feel ok. Especially when we’re writing new music, I need someone else to hear it to tell me whether it’s alright or not. Even if I think it’s good in my head, I’m still questioning it.
That is fair. It’s having the third party validation of a fan that’s on the outside.
Exactly. I think every band or every artist needs a few of those people to fall back on.
Of course! I don’t have to tell you, but a second rector is very important. The sophomore slump can be a real thing for artists. What’s going through your mind on that front?
You took the words out of my mouth. I totally agree. Quite a lot of bands have flopped on their sophomore album, haven’t they? We knew that if we could give the world a better body of work, we would. Also, we had half the amount of time to get the demos than we did with the first album. In the first album, we were in the pandemic and stuff like that. Then, obviously, just before this album we had been touring and doing a lot of shows. We had a lot less time to get it done. On that front, I was really really worried. As soon as we got into the process my brain started chilling out. Again, as before, you still need those people to tell you what’s good and what’s not. And to even have those people that are willing to tell you when something isn’t good; I think they’re the most important people to have around. It’s a weird one, dude. I’ve never been in this situation, so I really don’t know what’s to come with it yet.
You talk about having people that are on your side that can tell you ‘no.’ You produced this record with Dan Weller, an incredible producer! Was he the kind of producer that could tell you, “No, that’s a bad idea,” or “Yes, that’s a great idea, easily?
He was the perfect producer for it! Yeah, Dan takes no prisoners, dude. That’s what I love about him and that’s why we’re back with him on the second album. His ear is incredible. The things that he can just hear in his head and then – he won’t even say anything to you, he’ll just start playing it on the demos. You’re like “What is that? That’s amazing!” And he’ll be like “Oh, just off the top of my head!” We’re blessed to be working with Dan Weller. I mean he’s worked with so many other incredible artists like Holding Absence and Enter Shikari. We are extremely lucky to have done two albums with him, never mind just one.
Lost Souls was amazing, but I feel like you really refined your sound on this one. This is the Caskets sound.
I agree, man! It’s because in the first album a lot of the lyrics and stuff were mainly not about me, but the things I’ve been through in my past and stuff like that. We wanted to make sure this album was a story from all of us. That’s the reason we wanted to call the album Reflections. We wanted each track to represent something that each one of us has been through in life or in our past. It meant being able to open up a lot more with each other in a dialogue sense and sit down and go through why we want to portray this message in this song, which is not what really happened in the first album.
We’ve grown as a group and as brothers in a band. We’re not really afraid to voice our opinions on stuff with each other anymore, tell one of us when we’re not happy with something or when we don’t like something that one of us has written.
When you write songs, people put hours and hours into writing demos and stuff like that. Then when someone comes to me with a demo and says, “I’m not really fond of that bit,” and you can be really defensive because obviously you spent so long on it. You’ve got to have that in mind as well. It helped open up a dialogue and we were able to get this album out; I think it does the job. We took everything that was on Lost Souls and we brought it on to this album, but we also added so many extra layers and textures. I think you’re right, man – I think we’re finally coming out into our actual sound… but I still don’t think we’re quite there yet. I think we’ve still got some tricks up our sleeve.
I think that’s the beauty of being in a band; you’ll probably never get to a point where you’ve found it. Because at that point, you’ve plateaued. Part of the journey should be finding out what the sound of each record is going to be and who Caskets is on each one.
Exactly! Every band evolves. We’re not different. We don’t want to stay stagnant and do the same thing for another album. We’ve just got to keep working hard, keep our heads down, stay in our own lane, and hopefully we get to a third album! [Laughs]
We’re so excited to hear what is coming down the pipe! I want to ask about you, vocally. From a vocal standpoint, this is definitely your best work yet. How did you hone your craft on this particular record, on Reflections?
Dude, I’m still honing it! I’m still learning everyday as a frontman of a band. I feel like – especially with the first album – it was the first time I had ever been in a band that was so serious about trying to make it. I didn’t have my technique down or anything like that. A lot of it was trial and error. I blew my voice out a lot learning how to sing the big notes with the rasp and stuff like that. I realized I didn’t need to go absolutely crazy all the time doing all these big notes, bellowing choruses, and all that. I finally realized not every track needs that and I don’t need to do that all the time for me to feel like I’m doing a good job on the track.
The boys helped me [hone in] a lot. We also actually got a few of the songwriters in to help with melodies, as well. We got Phillip [Strand] from Normandie and Tom [Prendergast] from Buried Tomorrow, and just three brains doing vocal melodies is a lot better than one brain doing vocal melodies. I don’t feel like I’ve honed in my craft at all to be fair. I’m still learning. I still have loads of stuff I want to learn/need to learn. I need to work a bit more on my control. I want to learn how to scream properly. I’m slowly getting there. I appreciate the kind words, but I don’t think I’m there yet.
It’s almost like, as you’re saying, learning that less is more and that feeling of slowly picking it up day by day.
Exactly! To be able to play shows… I always go and watch all the other vocalists from all the bands we play with to see if I can pick anything up from them that I’m not doing myself. I’ll watch how they interact with the crowd, what they do with their bodies when they sing, how they move, how they interact with their colleagues on stage. You’re right, man, every day is a learning day and it’s not different from me.
Especially as the vocalist! Obviously the guitarist, bassist, and drummer are very talented and incredible instruments to nail down, but you can almost use those as a shield when playing live. When you’re performing at a frontman, what do you do with your hands? How do you move your legs?
When we first started doing gigs that was exactly what was in my head. I was concentrating more on what I should be doing with my body. In your head you’ve got to keep the crowd entertained, you’ve got to look like you’re entertained yourself, you’ve got to sing well, you’ve got to perform well. All of those things were going through my head at the same time. You’re right, what do I do with my hands? You know what I mean? Do I fall to my knees to make this bit look a little bit more epic? Yeah, man, like I said, I’m still learning, and thankfully I’ve got some awesome boys behind me on instruments that keep pushing me. They know when I’m being pushed too far and when I need to be pushed more. I can be a nuisance; I need looking after sometimes.
I feel you. Gaining a stage presence is tricky because a band can tell you, “Here’s what we do live,” but that stage presence might not work for you. Every artist has to find their signage presence on stage.
100%. You’ve got to know that it’s also a job. You’ve got a job to do: perform well and make sure the crowd has a good time. While doing that, you also have to find your personal style on stage and the things like what you do with your hands and the way you’re seen. It took me a while to stop thinking about all that stuff, just to clear my head and sing and let my body do whatever it wants to do. I don’t worry so much about, “Well, I’ve been on this side of the stage for half a song now I need to be on the other side of the stage for half of a song.” It’s not just my job to do that, it’s also the boys playing instruments. I’ve only just started learning that. I’ve slowly learned to rein in back a bit and let the boys take charge. That’s the other bit of advice I’d give to vocalists just starting out – just try and completely clear your head and be in that moment.
Exactly. Different crowds require different moments. You can’t do what you did in one part of the country the same thing you did in another part.
All crowds are different. We’ll assess a crowd in the first song to try and gauge how receptive a crowd is. That also dictates if we need to go even crazier on stage to get the crowd going even more. Every day is a learning day and you learn something new every day doing this job.
Beautifully said! Any final thoughts on the new album Reflections?
Just that I hope everyone loves it! We worked really hard on it and I hope everyone will hear that in the music. I want to thank you, Val, for having me – us – in The Aquarian! I appreciate it, dude!
CASKETS’ NEW LP, REFLECTIONS, IS OUT TODAY! GET YOUR ORDERS & LISTENS IN HERE!