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Jim Grey Caligulas Horse - Interview
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JIM GREY

CALIGULA'S HORSE


Caligulas Horse

Queensland rockers Caligula's Horse have been streamrolling through in recent times, having toured with some of the greats like Opeth and Tesseract and now just coming back from a European tour which the band saw first hand the aftermath of the tragedy in Paris. Their latest album "Bloom" was released last year and fans latched onto it straight away, their latest single is "Turntail" which the band are embarking on a national Australia tour for so we had a chat with vocalist Jim Grey to discuss the tour and much more.

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Andrew: I guess we should talk about the tour that you've got coming up first, we only just saw you not long ago in Perth around October when you opened for Tesseract.

Jim: Yeah that was a hoot of a show man, I really enjoyed that one. It was very cool to play with Tesseract, first of all because they are fucking awesome [laughs] but also they are good dudes and we got on quite well. And we had this audience all around the country that translated well with our music, it was a really nice fit and so by the time we got to Perth, you guys went crazy! The foor was shaking, it was good stuff.

Andrew: Yeah I have to admit, the tour was about Tesseract obviously but I got the feeling that a lot of people were there to see you guys as well. Had you been to Perth before that time?

Jim: Yeah we've had a couple of tours to Perth, I think the first time we were over there was with your mates in Voyager who are just amazing and some of our good mates now as well, we've played with them a couple of times. And also on our last headline tour we came across and played in Perth too so it's always a good thing for us, I really enjoy my time there.

Andrew: Yeah absolutely and it's good to see you coming back again. It's later on this year, April 9th at Amplifier Bar.

Jim: Yeah I think it's the third show on the proper headline tour.

Andrew: So what can we expect this time? Obviously it's a headlining set so it's going to be different from the supporting role I guess?

Jim: Yeah it's cool for us as we're sort of let off the leash a little bit when we get to headline our own shows. I mean we had a great year last year, we played with Opeth, Mastodon, Dillinger Escape Plan, The Ocean. Just a huge run of support shows which are great in their own right but then we don't get to run our set the way we normally would or we don't get to play for as long as we normally would. So the headlining tour is the perfect chance for us to dig into the back catalogue a little bit, maybe take out some of the longer songs and really mix it up so that fans that have seen us before get a different flavour of C-Horse.

Andrew: You just mentioned some of the bands that you have toured with, amazing bands that you have toured with. What were some of the highlights from those shows?

Jim: I think the one that I have to mention is Opeth in Brisbane. I can't even remember the name of the venue now, that's not great. My memory is fading and I'll tell you why! [laughs]. That happened to be the night that my daughter was born.

Andrew: Oh right, congratulations!

Jim: Thanks! So getting up on stage and I was still reeling from the whole experience, I hadn't slept and then getting up on stage and playing to 2500 people supporting one of my favorite bands ever and getting to meet them and stuff. It was a real treat and a hell of an experience.

Andrew: Yeah absolutely! How do you deal with that kind of situation where you have these two contrasting situations where you are dealing with your newborn and then having to play with some of your heroes like that?

Jim: It's kind of one thing at a time and also the acceptance that you're a nerd and that you're always going to be a nerd. We have no illusions about rock stardom or what we are so getting up on stage and performing, to me is the easiest thing ever because I'm not pretending to be anything I'm not. So coming from taking care of my daughter or studying or doing whatever else that I'm doing and to the other guys working, I know Sam (Vallen, lead guitar) is doing his PhD right now and so we get up on stage and we don't have to go through the effort of switching that off and become something else. We are just ourselves on stage so it's pretty easy actually.

Andrew: Just on the other side of that, what do you think is the most difficult thing about being on tour, especially when you go overseas?

Jim: Well I think for us, really it's hard to say, particularly overseas because we were just there at a really tumultuous time in Europe so it's kind of hard to say. But you definitely miss home and you start getting into a routine so it almost ends up like a stockholm syndrome in a way because you start struggling maybe in the first week and you're sleeping in this little coffin on a tour bus and then after a week, you start looking forward to spending time in that coffin and having some private time. You just sort of fall into the routine and when it's done, it's done but definitely any other time, being away from home is the hardest part for the first couple of days and the last day. They always feel like the longest really.




Andrew: And how was the tour in Europe by the way?

Jim: It was really exciting in almost every way. For us it was really cool and eye opening and it's definitely a strange time to be in Europe, that's for sure. But we saw all sides of it really, we saw huge bulk disparity, we saw some of the beautiful sites that Europe has to offer. We met a whole lot of fans and a whole bunch of new people who were really amazing and we were met face to face with the violence that was spreading around as a result of the poorer responses to the refuge crisis or terrorism or whatever else, we were right in the thick of it. So definitely an eye opening one for us and we'll be back for sure and hopefully everyone stays alive this time.

Andrew: Did you get any thoughts from other people there, some of the locals that gave their feeling on the whole situation that was going on over there?

Jim: A lot of people in Paris actually, I met one woman named Gail who was amazing and she was talking about the positivity that the people of Paris feel. I think she put it this way, she said people walking around with their heads high not because they're ignoring what happened but because they can't be stopped and the power of that is incredible. I was talking to someone about this the other day, I was saying that at the Paris show, people weren't there with a spirit of anger. Vengeance wasn't what they were there for, they were there to celebrate and to prove that they can't be stopped and to walk the path of love, it was freakin' amazing. It was a really life changing experience!

Andrew: Yeah absolutely and now coincidentally the Eagles Of Death Metal are coming to Australia sometime soon so it's going to be interesting to see how they play off of that.

Jim: Yeah whether that's still a factor in their live performance, I think it would be. For me I feel for them hugely because I can't imagine getting back up on stage after that to be honest, it's very brave of them to do anything.

Andrew: I had read recently that you guys will be on the Legion Music Festival coming up next year. Are you definitely confirmed for the postponed version of it?

Jim: We are indeed. That's something that I have high hopes for, I think it's a very exciting thing for Australian music. A lot of people are very jaded and probably rightly, so about the festival scene in Australia, having being burned a few times. But really I see it as an opportunity and this isn't spin [laughs] but genuinely the way I see it is that if people want security for their ticket price, for the money that they pay for their ticket and they want to ensure that they got a good lineup and bands want security for the money that they should be getting paid but weren't before and the promoter wants to make sure they got an established system for putting on a show this way, then really crowdfunding seems to be the perfect platform for that. It's just really convincing people that crowdfunding works, that's really the one thing that's missing from this because people are still not really trusting that the money that they're putting in - which they're not until it's concerned - is going to come back to them. We'll see how it goes, I really hope it does because I think it will be great for Australian music.

Andrew: Yeah absolutely! I had the opportunity to talk to John Sankey (Legion Music Fest organizer) about a month or so ago and we were talking about the whole idea of trying to - and you're right - trying to convince people to put their money into this which is probably the hardest thing about this whole thing. It's kind of weird how the whole festival thing in Australia has become all about this now, I mean do you think music festivals (rock and metal) in Australia will come back again?

Jim: Honestly I think in a smaller fashion, yes. But the trouble is the average festival goer isn't necessarily going to go see smaller bands, without the pull of a strong headliner or two, you're not going to get the majority of the populous. Because think of you're average metal or alternative music fan, you put Metallica at the top of a list and they're there. They might get drunk and smoke some cones through out the day and catch some smaller bands but the rest of the time, they are just hanging out for Metallica at the end of the day so it's kind of a hard thing. But we're playing El Grande festival in Gladstone next week and it's small festivals, like mini-festivals which I think they are referring to as 'pubstivals', which is a cool thing. It's local bands, it's homegrown talent. We're headlining the thing, we've got an established name for ourselves in the country but some of these bands are coming up and they are doing great things and writing great music and you might not be able to see them in any other context. So a small show like this where it's going to fill the venue in a place like Gladstone where they don't get bands as often as capital cities so things like that are going to go really strong. But not necessarily a re-building or replacement for Soundwave, I have no idea what's going to happen with that.




Andrew: Yeah it's going to be very interesting I think but hopefully Legion will happen and it will be great to see you guys on there as well. Now you are still touring on the back of your latest album that came out last year so in that time since it's release, how have you been dealing with the reception and has it been positive since the release?

Jim: Yeah it's been really positive actually! The thing about "Bloom" for us is that we've got this kind of approach to music now where we don't want to repeat ourselves, we want to be able to take what we've done and learn from it and grow as musicians and go in a different direction. And that's not to say we're taking right angle turns and going, 'Alright this is going to be completely different now', but it's more saying that we want to adapt our sound and we want to have a mission statement for each album and try to play to that. And "Bloom" had a very specific approach that we had, we wanted it to be different. We wanted it to be brighter in colour, we wanted it to be a little bitter sweet and we wanted it to sort of match this positivity that we were feeling at the time. And I feel it definitely captured that because people have responded in kind to that, particularly with the song "Firelight" the first single from the album, people have really attached that to themselves if they have experienced any loss or pain or anything like that and trying to look at it in a positive light and I've heard a lot of fans talk about that so that's been very exciting for us. The new single we are releasing is a song called "Turntail" which is a little bit heavier but really for me, it really captures what C-Horse are all about and everything about our sound so I'm really excited about touring on this particular single.

Andrew: As far as the process is concerned, how do you go about picking out singles off the album?

Jim: Really it's more about what's our favorite [laughs], but some of the tracks are a little bit longer of course so they are sort of 'That's never going to get played on the radio, that's silly so let's not release a 10 minute song as a single', and that's a shame because those are sometimes my favorite's. But it made sense for us because before the release of the album, we released "Marigold" about a week ahead of time and people really attached to that because it's kind of a heavier song but still melodic. "Firelight" was an obvious single for us as it's a very catchy tune and people like to sing along with that one and I think "Turntail" I think is everybody's favorite at the moment so that's definitely the next one.

Andrew: Yeah "Turntail" is a cool song, I definitely like that one and obviously you will be playing that one but how many songs off the new album will you be playing on this tour you reckon?

Jim: There will be a handful, some that aren't played as regularly as others and there's definitely going to be a nice mix of all 3 albums for this particular one. We gt a nice setlist going on and a nice set time so we have time to sort of come off the leash a bit.

Andrew: Awesome! We are looking forward to seeing you in Perth again, it's a pleasure to see you coming back. Have fun on the tour and we will see you in April.

Jim: Yeah man make sure to come say hi in Perth, that would be great.

Andrew: Yeah absolutely! Thanks again man.

Jim: No worries, thanks for having me.


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CALIGULA'S HORSE AUSTRALIAN TOUR 2016:
w/ Chaos Divine

Saturday, March 12: El Grande Festival, Gladstone *
Thursday, April 7: Jive, Adelaide
Friday, April 8: Ding Dong Lounge, Melbourne
Saturday, April 9: Amplifier, Perth
Thursday, April 14: The Pier, Port Macquarie *
Friday, April 15: Oxford Art Factory, Sydney
Saturday, April 16: The Basement, Canberra
Sunday, April 17: The Small Ballroom, Newcastle
Saturday, April 23: The Zoo, Brisbane

* Chaos Divine Not Appearing

Tickets and tour details can be found at Wild Things Presents.


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Interview by Andrew "Schizodeluxe" Massie on March 4th 2016