Liverpool based quintet, Cavalry, are making waves with their wonderfully ambient and melodic alt-folk songs, with only two tracks online to their name as it stands. They have managed to not only attract the attention of BBC Introducing but they have since been played by Huw Stephens on his Radio 1 show and Tom Robinson’s BBC 6 Music show. The good times keep rolling in for this band, as they are playing Liverpool’s Sound City next week, Thursday 1st May at the legendary Cavern Club.
I caught up with them to discuss the early beginnings of the band, the support they’ve received from BBC Introducing, their songwriting process and much, much more.
Can you give us a brief history of how you came together as a band?
The band has come together in the last 6 months, but we all actually met with perfect timing about 18 months ago. Alan (lead vocals) had moved back to Liverpool after living in Canada for a year, and Austin and Steven (both guitars/vocals) were finishing University together. We moved in and started writing music together in early/mid 2013, bringing the rest of the band together – Paul (bass/vocals) & Gareth (drums) – towards the end of the year, as the material and vision for the band developed.
Can you give us an insight into your songwriting process. Where do you start and how do you put a song together?
We’re all individual songwriters in our own right, so as a band we’ve got a huge cache of finished or unfinished material constantly blooming. Living together, we naturally write as a group or help each other finish/develop ideas that one of us will bring to the table individually. We’ll take them raw materials and then flesh them out fully in the rehearsal room. We have a collective fondness for harmonies, dynamics, and compelling structures, so we try to envelop our music as much as we can with these.
Where does the inspiration come from when you’re writing songs?
We could go on forever. We all have really broad and eclectic tastes, but within those we have a shared admiration for contemporary bands/artists including The National, Bon Iver, Local Natives, Ryan Adams, etc.
Ultimately, we love artists who take great songs – in raw form – and elevate them to jaw-dropping arrangements that you didn’t expect when you first pressed ‘PLAY’.
When listening to your music, you can’t help but be transported to another place; it paints a picture in your mind, its calming, warm and ambient atmosphere really is something powerful. It’s amazing knowing that it’s still the very early stages of this band but you wouldn’t guess this from listening to your music. When hearing such a fully developed sound from your debut material, it only seems right to point out that there must have been a lot of thought put into these tracks, how was the recording process when working on Lament and Leaves?
We’ve been blown away by the response since we recorded those demos in late-January. They came out of really intense but hugely enjoyable sessions with Darren Jones, who has worked with some incredible artists over the years. It was the first chance we’d had to explore our material on record, so as well as crystallising what we do live as a band, it was an opportunity to focus minutely on our interaction as five individual musicians.
You’ve played a lot of gigs around Liverpool with some of the most prominent artists on the scene right now, what do you feel you have learned from those gigs and live performances?
We’ve actually only played a handful of gigs since the end of last year! But it’s been great to go in a short space of time from playing small, self-promoted shows in front of friends, to being invited to play Liverpool Sound City and to support touring bands coming through Liverpool, like British Sea Power recently.
Any idea when you’ll start to branch out beyond Liverpool and play in cities like Sheffield, Stoke, Manchester and even Birmingham?
Our aim is to get around the UK, including all those cities, as soon as possible. We’re currently in discussion over forthcoming gigs in London, which we’re really excited about.
Dave Monks and BBC Radio Merseyside have been big supporters of your band, knowing that your music is being broadcast on the radio must be very humbling. How important has it been to gain support so early on from the likes of such an influential platform as BBC Introducing?
The support we’ve had from the BBC Introducing network has been truly humbling and unexpected. Since being played by Dave Monks on Radio Merseyside, we’ve had airplay across the UK and reached the playlists of even Huw Stephens on Radio 1 and Tom Robinson on BBC 6 Music. It’s an incredible platform for artists under-the-radar and has given us some invaluable exposure.
The music scene in Liverpool is thriving at the moment, partly maybe to its diversity but most importantly it’s down to the strength of its talent. What are your thoughts on the music scene in Liverpool right now, any bands that you’d recommend checking out?
There are too many vital bands/artists to list in a short answer! There’s definitely an incredible vein of music coursing through the city at the moment, and the eyes, ears of the industry are really starting to take notice. It’s almost surreal to be in a moment where peers of many years from the scene are all making a real impact at the same time.
To say that you’ve only been together since last summer, it’s amazing how much you’ve already done and already achieved. What are your goals for this year with the band?
We’re playing a few inner-city festivals this summer which we’re really excited about, including Liverpool Sound City, and we’re hoping to finalise some UK-wide dates in the very near future. Our main aim though is to get back in the studio as soon as possible to record some more material, with a view towards a release in the summer.
We’re delighted with the reception ‘Lament’ and ‘Leaves’ gained and we can’t wait for people to hear what’s coming next.
A special thanks to Cavalry for this interview and for more info on the band, check out the following links below.