The Cadaver Club - An Interview With Mr. Crowe!
From the moment I heard Lunatic in Love, on the vocal track I was able to hear nuances of a familiar sounding accent – had I finally found a horror punk band hailing from the same emerald island that I do? It turned out I had, and not only that but one of the freshest sounding horror punk bands I’d come across, regardless of region. That band was called The Cadaver Club. Now, this group of funeral haunting cadavers have once again risen from their mausoleum and are about to unleash their second album. I got in touch with the head cadaver – the mysterious Mr.Crowe to find out more.
The Cadaver Club, comprised of the brothers Filth, Boom Chic Chic and Mr. Crowe formed on Halloween 2013 have thus far released their debut album ‘A Fate worse than Life’, last years single ‘Southern Cemetery’, and live album ‘Lunatics in London’ through Pirate Heart Records. Mr. Crowe describes the bands sound as a ‘heart-stopping, be-bopping, toe-tapping, finger-snapping, neck-cracking, earth-quaking, bone-shaking, blood-swigging, grave-digging Funeral Punk.
The club have brought a variety of influences to the table; while still remaining true to that horror punk sound we’ve all come to know and love. Throughout the bands output to date I can hear the punk rock influence of bands like The Ramones, The Misfits and snuff, but also sea-shanty, folk and rock n’roll. This seems to be a fair assessment, as when asked about their influences Mr Crowe said “I suppose the obvious influence is the Misfits but that’s just because we fall into the horror punk style. Mix that up with some Ramones, Wildhearts, Alice Cooper, Nick Cave and Tom Waits and you’re probably getting close. I love the innocence of upbeat punk rock n’roll with the underlying threat of really nasty darkly humorous lyrics and for the most part, that’s what we aim for but we like to mess around with different styles too. There’s a sea shanty on the first album which is always a live favourite and we have a really dark, twisted song written for the new album that will bring our creaky crawling Cave/Waits tendencies to the fore”. Sounds like us listeners are in for a treat! (Or a trick as the case may be?)
Crowe says he came up with the concept of the band when he ‘was painting a portrait of Jerry Only one day and started coming up with lyrics to what was undeniably turning into a horror punk type song. It was about a man who was working on an improved version of his wife, using bits and pieces of her friends and even the family dog’s brain so she’d be more obedient. That became “I’m Making A Monster, Baby” so there I was with this song that didn’t fit into my band. Setting off Sirens. I rang Dirge and Draggle, the brothers Filth (guitar and drums respectively, when they’re not digging graves or bothering villagers), and Boom Chic Chic ( or Dr. Jo, now my wife, holding down the low end with her bass-lines) and asked them if they wanted to start a horror band – within a heartbeat of decomposing corpse they all said yes”. That just leaves the head cadaver – the mysterious Mr. Crowe himself who “leads the dance macabre and relays the tales of terror.” But what about the guys (and gal) behind these personas, surely there's some semblance of humanity in there? “You know the old saying – behind the mask, or in our case make-up, you can truly be yourself. Even though we’re playing a role so to speak, I think more often than not we’re more ourselves in Cadaver Club than when we’re walking down the street.”
In true punk tradition, The Cadaver Club have a strong DIY ethic. The music is released through Pirate Heart Records, their own label, Mr. Crowe does the art and they orchestrate their own music videos to accompany each single. “A video, like and album is forever and should reflect the quality of the music, that’s why we put so much work into making them as great as we can. They’re also a good way for us to develop our characters within the band and have some fun. We all have a wicked sense of humour so we like to write about horrible things in a matter of fact way. We’ve hit most of the undead bases with the likes of ‘Lunatic in Love’ and ‘Vampires Ain’t What They Used To Be’ and have devils and bad men littered throughout our songs, drifting through graveyards, dark corners and misty streets”.
That being said, there is an extended club of helpers, as even otherworldly powers from beyond the grave won’t give you the ability to do everything – “We’re very lucky to have some really creative friends who share our vision for the band. Ronan McGrade and Olivia Johnson have been crucial in helping us develop our image for the videos and Ronan has been the one to shoot them. Once we decided which song we will release as a single, the four of us get our heads together and come up with a theme for the video. Once we settle on that we fairly loosely script it out and come up with maybe half a dozen little character quirks or stunts to perform in the video. Then the search for a location begins. The most recent on we did for ‘Southern Cemetery’ required an old country style house that we could have a wake in. We eventually found one and got the use of it for a day. A friend of ours is an undertaker (naturally) so we got all our props from him – coffin, candles etc. He even makes an appearance in the video, that’s him laying the coins on my eyes. We rope in anyone we can find, willing to play extras. The videos require an enormous amount of preparation but we think they’re worth the effort. Like I say they’re forever”
Of course the main creative force that drives the band are Mr. Crowes darkly comedic lyrics that at times conjure romantic depictions of the days of yore – “We also have a great love for the Irish folklore and there are little elements of old ghost stories and superstitions woven into the songs. The two most obvious being My Rictus Smile about an Irish wake and The Warning which covers everything from the Banshee and the Pooka to the Will o’ the Wisp. We have a new song too that is steeped in Irish fables which will appear on the new album”
On to the good stuff- new Cadaver Club tunes! “We have been in the studio recently and have a fair amount of the new album recorded. There are still some bits and pieces to go on and of course the mixing and mastering. The core ingredient in the music is still very much punk but we’ve deliberately branched out into other styles with some of the songs to keep it exciting for us. The songs’ protagonists inhabit dark country lanes and shadowy dead ends. Mist covered graveyards and rain soaked streets. We think we have the theme nailed down and I’m getting to work on sketching out the possible cover art which we’ll keep refining it until it’s written in stone. There’ll be a couple of singles lifted from the album so we’ll shoot videos for those. We have loads of great ideas for new merch so we’ll be releasing some cool stuff, to coincide with the album and of course we’ll be packing up the hearse and hitting the road again. For a band, there are a couple of different stages of rewards. The first reward is when you write and finish a new song and you know you have something special. The second is when you record, mix and master and finally say that’s done and it sounds amazing. The third and final reward is when you bring your show around the country and step onto a stage and hit that first chord. God, what a feeling, the culmination of everything you’ve worked for. Then you start the whole process all over again!”. 2016 will mark the return of Cadaver Club. Make-up will be applied, guitars will be tuned, shins will be digged and bats will be belfried. We’re not only raising the stakes this time round, we’re driving them into the hearts of all our beloved Gravediggers and sending them off to their plots humming a tune”
And finally a note on the current state of the horror punk scene: “There aren’t too many horror punk bands in Ireland, at least that we know of. Skeleton Crew from Dublin and Tragedy Vampires from Fermanagh are the only ones I can think of off the top of my head – both great bands. I’m sure there are more and I’d love to hear them”. (at this point I’d like to mention Belfast’s So Long Until the Seance – I wrote 5-Skull review of their glam-horror single ‘Dead Boys’ on Horror Punk New UK’s website earlier this year). “The UK seems to have a very good scene building up with the like of Headstone Horrors, Thirteen Shots, Lupen Tooth etc. and some great people keeping it alive with The Travelling Morgue Horrorfest. The Undead 13 and Savage Monster Presents as well as all the bands doing it for themselves. I’m a firm believer of everyone mucking in and helping each other out and creating something that’s more than the sum of its parts. (making a monster, baby) and broaden my music collection, I’m ALWAYS on the look-out for great music and I hope that we can contribute to that ourselves in the upcoming months”.
The Cadaver Clubs new album ‘It’s Always the Quiet Ones’ is slated for release on 28th of October 2016 and you can pre-order your copy (and some limited edition merch) at http://www.cadaverclub.com/ where you can also check out the video for the lead single ‘Southern Cemetery’ also linked below.
Article written & submitted by Aaron McGe