Interview by Tracey Moyle.
This week GC Live had the chance to have a chat to Caligula’s Horse guitarist Adrian Goleby about their upcoming shows with Melbourne progressive Metal bad Ne Obliviscaris.
From touring Europe to line up changes, fitness to finance, it was all on the table with Goleby giving a fantastic insight to the mechanics that make Brisbane’s beloved progressive rock masters moving and constantly producing quality music.
All of your Brisbane die hard fans are looking forward to seeing you guys when you tour with Ne Obliviscaris, you guys must be keen to hit the stage again?
“That is probably the thing I am looking forward to the most right now. We’ve got our new bass player Dale Prinsse. So we’ve had a line up change and we’re not really sure what the dynamic’s going to be like and in that kind of context, I think curious is the right word. You’re always excited when you’re about to go on tour, a tour’s such an adventure catching up with old friends and making new ones too.”
Caligula’s Horse have had a big eighteen months. From the release of ‘In Contact’ in 2017, you guys have hit the ground running with your ‘Love Conquers All’ tour here at home and then a massive tour of the UK and Europe last year which included playing some amazing prog festivals in Germany, the Netherlands and France. How did you find the response from the crowds compared to previous tours overseas?
“I did the one previous European tour and then the other guys, prior to me joining, have done one more so I haven’t seen the full evolution. What I have seen, and this is something that Australian bands probably do naturally, we sort of network in a slightly more grass rooted sort of way. When we travel around Australia especially you can’t help it, its kind of part of why you wanted to be in a band as well. So we kind of got to spread our little tendrils and we got to know some people over there last time and, it’s incredible, those people came back and in the most European fashion they were bringing us food to just welcomed us back to their community. So when we played at A Very Prog Festival, which was a remarkable success, that was such an amazing night. We were very lucky too, when you look at the billing, we were on with Sons of Apollo and when you see the image of that it’s like…….. of course we’re international over there but we will always be ‘these guys from Brisbane’ and that’s pretty big for us. So it’s always overwhelming when someone goes out of their way to do something. Can you imagine going to a show and it’s like, ‘We made you cake, thank you for coming’. And we were like, ‘Thank you for the cake, is it someone’s birthday?’ but over there they’re just celebrating this amazing culture. Then we did Euroblast which was a metal festival and we did look a little bit ‘not metal’ in comparison to some of the incredibly heavy bands that played before and after us, we played right before Monument. With that as well, we went over with a whole bunch of Australian bands, so it’s easy to connect and feel like you’re surrounded by a bit of a safety net culturally as well. The whole Aussie invasion aspect of it, we were really lucky to do that.”
Does that experience change you as a band?
“Yeah absolutely, I’d never done anything like that for that long, it was 5 weeks and it was on a bus. But maybe not even as a band, maybe changing as a band is the by-product. The real thing that changes you is on a personal level, you start to learn things about your boundaries, you know like, when you set up a business it’s an analysis thing like strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, threats sort of thing. You start to develop your personality through that and you start to realise parts of your personality that are a real weakness. You start to bring that back to the band environment and we do make a very conscious effort to make it a very supportive environment too. We could ‘not’ talk to each other in between rehearsals and stuff like that but we do make a concerted effort, we try to connect a little more emotionally and try to be supportive of each other. Personally, I definitely changed but the band……. When I look back, we got home and we lost our bass player at the end of that stress. It was like that was a bit much, time to move on so I guess so, short answer yes, long answer what you just heard.”
As well as headlining you’ve toured with some amazing bands Opeth, Tesseract, Sleepmakeswaves. Do you have any particular band that you would love to tour with in the future not just for exposure but for the experience?
“If you to ask this question to everyone in the band you would have such a happy variety of bands. Do they have to still be touring?”
Well, tell me, who would be your ideal, dream, touring partner?
“I would have to pick Queen obviously, because that would be unbelievable but the chances of that happening are next to none. (laughs) As a band we’re into fitness so I would love to tour with Pain Of Salvation or someone like that because I know those guys are right into their fitness. That’s something that on tour is a real priority. They’re a little bit older than us so you just try to leap frog some mistakes that we all make in our lives, so try to learn what they’ve learned. Even playing with them at Mid Summer Prog Festival two years ago, we just got chatting and the singer Daniel Gildenlöw. He had broken his foot doing free running and I was like ‘you just became the coolest person I’ve ever met’ first of all and second of all how did you get into that, you’re sort of an older guy what is going on here. It’s sort of like that attitude, I want to be around someone who can inspire me to be a happy version of what touring can take out of you, because it can (take it out of you) in that emotional way, especially if you’re a highly empathetic person, or you’re sensitive to stress and I’m definitely both of those. I can get quite fatigued, and I like being surrounded by really uplifting positive people so they would definitely be one. On pure Australian value I would love to see how Karnivool do their thing. They just seem like they’ve got it down. Ian Kenny the drummer, he’s right into callisthenics and gymnastics and stuff and I’d like to just pick his brains out. I run a podcast about touring and fitness and stuff like that and mostly I guess the drummers, I spoke to old mate from Devin Townsend, Ryan Van Poederooyen, and we spoke about that for ages.
Is there much difference between the home crowds and the European fans?
“Ok, I have a good story for you. So when we played in the Netherlands a kid on a vesper ran right into our van, which is a whole other story; this kid just came out of nowhere and just smashed into the side of our van, we were like, ‘were you on your phone?’ and he didn’t speak English so he said nothing. Anyway so we got to the venue and we’re outside and there are all these guys down the front and it didn’t matter that we were headlining or anything so we just walked around the crowd just seeing what the vibe was like, like Billabong hats, sort of like that, and they just kept screaming around, “have ya been busy?” which is of course a Twelve Foot Ninja reference. It was just amazing, only there would they take Australian-isms like that as a dress up joke. (laughs) So every now and then you’d hear this hilarious Australian, specifically Twelve Foot Ninja thing, short of them screaming ‘not here to fuck spiders’ you know, a King Parrot reference you sort of think you’re at home and someone was at a Twelve Foot Ninja Show. So I don’t think there’s a big difference. I think people are a little bit more open to being emotional, from a cultural perspective, overseas. We saw quite a few tears.”
Your 2017 release ‘In contact’ was a little heavier than previous albums. That would give a very dark and light variety to your live shows having so many songs to choose from. Is there a particular process to picking a set list for a tour? Do you think about what the audience might want or what you guys are feeling is right at the time?
“That’s kind of a cool question because we definitely pick set lists based on all of those considerations. What we’re sort of looking for is, ‘Is this our crowd?’ and if yeah then we should give them the best possible experience that they might like of our music. So then it becomes varied within that context of does this carry well as a show, does it have all the correct ebbs and flows, something that our demographic core fan base would get a kick out of? A good example would be like when we did the ‘In Contact’ in full tour last year on the ‘Love Conquers All’ Tour, everyone knew what was happening, we didn’t really pick the set list for that one, that was easy for us. But when it comes to things like what’s coming up next week, its like, we are absolutely not as heavy as these other guys. Lets just do our best but throw in something a little bit special because we try to make an impression, we can come from it from that perspective. It all goes through a variety of different stages but its all definitely context dependent.”
You’ve had a couple of line up changes, most recently Dale Prinsse replacing Dave Couper on bass. Does that change the dynamic of the band having new input with things like song writing or musical direction?
“It’s a really great topic to approach as far as who has been a part of C Horse and how. For example Dale coming in. Dale had gone to university with Sam (Vallen, lead guitar) way, way back so they’ve both got the Griffith and other things, degrees and Dale was always right in the same league as Dave with far as his ability as an academic, ability to be a producer, song writer, working with Opus of a Machine. So it means we’ve all been family, we’ve all gone away on shoots before, Dale helped me out on various shoots that I’ve been on, I’ve done Opus of a Machine video’s, so there’s just family components. So as far as song writing goes Dale has a different background, so approaching the process he’s able to use his background on a more production kind of basis. It’s definitely a bit easier for me on an age specific level because we’re closer in age than Dave and I were which sometimes meant I didn’t understand the context of some of his influences, like I just didn’t grow up in that same time with things happening so Dale being roughly the same age as me , we can chat about anything. I welcome any change I guess. Sam is such a filter of brilliant ideas and he sees the thing that is a right at the cusp of when it is legible to become sort of a C Horse idea.”
It’s interesting how things fall into place for different people. Margy from The Goldhearts said to me recently “you need to write 100 songs to get 10 good ones. “ But then Paul Galagher (MofoisDead) was quoted as saying about his new project, A World Away’s new EP “Musically they connected so well that the first five songs they wrote are the ones you will hear on ‘Chapters’. Does it fall either way with C Horse?
“We try to write a whole bunch and iron it out from there. It sort of reveals itself through that process of going through ideas coming together. There’s so much going through the filter but Sam’s ability to be able to be objective about what is the Caligula’s Horse sound makes it very easy. Like being able to go yes, no, yes, yes, no, maybe, yes… He’s got a very binary process that he knows will work for his mission statement that he started the whole band with. It’s hard to be able to do, to be objective.”
Will there be any new material for the fans at the upcoming show?
“No I don’t think we have the time for something like that. It would be fun every time something new comes to the board. It’s like ‘shall we do it this time?’ but I don’t think we could squeeze it in.”
What’s next for you guys? Getting new material down or has that process already begun? Anything coming out in the next 12 months?
“I think we have to. I think there’s some sort of arrangement or some sort or contract that I wasn’t around to sign way back in the day that says that schedule, but yeah I’m not close to that process. But I also don’t know what the process is from saying ‘there’s something, to there actually ‘being’ a something dependent on windows available for release, because it’s such a different world now, the way things are released. It’s not a lack of wanting to put out something every day. It’s like we’ve a great song here, then right away, that would be so cool. It’s always very exciting to say this song is done and it’s awesome, enjoy.”
I guess recording depends on finances as well?
“Finance is something we’re learning everyday. We’re learning to optimise what we do. We’re learning how to best be financial and how to take responsibility for what we do because that whole stereotype of how a band acts has been shattered. I don’t think it’s like that any more at all. We’re trying be our own marketing team, PR Team, Dale and I handle the advertising, handling the content putting it out there, promoting it. That’s part of something that controls our finances. We don’t pay for a firm to do that we do it our- selves. So it’s like, ‘what can we do as a band there’, as a result.”
Caligula’s Horse are supporting Ne Obliviscaris on ‘The Painted Progression Tour’ along with Beyond Creation, Allegaeon and Rivers of Nihil in May in Adelaide, Melbourne, Sydney and Brisbane. Presented by Welkin Entertainment, Evolution Touring and Wild Thing Presents. Tickets available HERE.