Captiva is an alternative rock band hailing from Kansas City, Missouri. The band is comprised of JJ Ries (vocals, guitar), Pat McQuaid (guitar, vocals), Nick Riffle (bass), and Hank Wiedel (drums). Captiva formed in October 2013, during a high school detention sentence.
Captiva first started gaining attention on college campuses around the Midwest, while they were still students themselves.
For the last two years, the band has been circuiting small clubs across the region and opening for other national touring acts. Captiva has played on numerous festival stages such as Backwoods Music Festival, Fashion Meets Music Festival, SXSW, Boulevardia, Audiofeed Festival and Middle of the Map Fest.
In 2015, the began gaining strong momentum, securing college radio-play across the country, and opening for major acts such as Twenty One Pilots (Starlight Theatre), The Expendables (2016 Winter Tour), and The Lonely Biscuits (recordBar).
After entering college in 2014, Captiva partnered with Tim Gutschenritter (National Fire Theory) and producer Jeremy Wilson (Temple Sounds) to record and release their debut self-titled EP which includes their singles “Road to Ruin” and “Chemicals”. The self-titled EP has a more mature and honest sound, while still staying true to their playful and inviting personalities. With high remarks from national/international press, including Consequence of Sound and Live For Live Music, the EP lifted the group to new heights, earning them major attention in the US and overseas. The band has plans to tour extensively around the release of the EP during 2016, including a number of dates on The Expendables’ Winter Blackout Tour, and will return to the studio in the spring to begin recording their first full-length debut album.
Learn more about Captiva in the following All Access interview:
Thanks for your time! Now that we are entering the fall of 2016, what are some words you would use to describe this year? What have been some of the highlights for the band?
Jackson: A few words to describe the year we’ve had so far would definitely be busy, exciting, and educational. Of course, we’ve been making moves and it’s taken a lot of growing up, but in doing so, we’ve been learning so much while having the time of our life throughout the whole process.
Some highlights of this year definitely include our travels to Iowa State Fair and Fashion Meets Music Festival in Columbus, OH. During our set in Iowa, the most violent storm I’ve ever seen struck a lightning bolt a mile or two away from the stage right as we ended our set. It was so loud and very punk rock to end our set with a freaking lightning bolt.
Pat: Words to describe this year: anxious, exciting, busy.
One highlight would have to be opening for one of our favorite bands, The Magic City Hippies, at the Granada Theatre in our hometown of Lawrence, KS. Another would be our weekend tour to Backwoods Fest in Stroud, OK and FMMF in Columbus, OH.
Nick: Snodaze, SXSW, Backwoods, FMMF. Words to describe this year: creative but politically fucked.
Hank: Pretty nuts. We’ve been given a lot, and this next record is our way of giving back.
Growing up, did you all always want to be musicians? Can you recall your earliest musical memories?
Nick: Yeah for sure. When I was little, watching the ACDC live at Donnington video got me hooked on playing guitar.
Jackson: I actually didn’t even start playing music when I was a Sophomore in high school, but being a musician had been a dream for quite sometime dating back to maybe 8th grade. My earliest musical memory would have to be simply singing Bare Naked Ladies’ songs with my dad in the car on the way to school when I was in Kindergarten.
Hank: I remember begging my parents to let me play on their pots and pans on the 4th of July every year. I fell in love with the idea of making music when I saw Detroit Rock City on television and immediately joined the KISS Army. The guys still don’t like my idea of leather chaps and spiked boots.
Pat: I’ve been taking music lessons since I can remember so music was always on my mind. My Dad always had music playing so I grew up with that. My first musical memory was screwing up the last chord of a song at my first piano recital. I smacked my forehead with frustration in front of the whole audience. Pretty funny to look back at now.
How did Captiva first come together? I’ve read that it was during a high school detention sentence! How did you come up with your band name?
Jackson: Yep! We all had detention together, and that’s where Pat and I got to meet Hank. Pat and I lived down the street from each other and were already friends. We met Nick through Hank meeting him while they were both enrolled in the Grammy Camp Program. Patrick actually came up with the name randomly one night in high school and Jackson really liked it. The name, being an island, fit us perfectly because we have more of a “vacation” vibe that resonates throughout most of our music.
Pat: We went to an all boys high school and met each other in detention one day. Jackson and I wanted the chance to play with a real drummer so we invited Hank to jam the next day, now we’re here doing this interview. My family used to travel to Captiva Island when I was a child. That place has always symbolized rest and relaxation to me, and I find that same sensation very similar to the sensation I get from music.
Nick: Detention etc. I joined a year later to bring in that muthafunkin FUNK.
Hank: Yeah, that was some bulls***. Pretty sure Pat was late to class, and I had an untucked shirt.
You will be releasing your debut album, “Pay No Mind” this winter. Can you talk about putting this collection together? How long have you been working on it? What does it feel like to finally be releasing an album soon?
Hank: Listening back to our first demos a few years ago, and how we’ve evolved since, a lot of our influences have been implemented, which has allowed us to go back and forth between indie pop/rock to alternative to folk.
Jackson: We do have an “Island” vibe, but our music is simply positive energy at its finest.
Nick: Working on it for the past few years, It will be a combinations of many different styles to create a listening experience only comparable to Dark Side of the Moon. (Laughter) Feels great!
Pat: The record will be compiled of songs that have been in our arsenal for years, and some songs are still in the final stages of being written. We just have so much unheard material and it’s exciting to finally get this stuff out to the people.
The album’s single, “Check Your System” has already been released. What can this song tell people about your album? How different or similar will it be? Who are some of your favorite artists and what bands continue to inspire you and your music? Who would you still love to work with in the future?
We hope that this single will tell people that basically, with this whole music thing, we aren’t messing around. We hope it gets fans really excited for what’s to come on the project while also understanding that we are going to be giving it our all; whether we are on the stage performing or off the stage recording content. “Check Your System” is one of the more intense songs on the record, but still fits the overall theme of the album for sure.
Jackson: For this song in particular, I was heavily inspired by Magic City Hippies for the vocals and Tame Impala for the guitar riffs. I would definitely love to work with Twenty One Pilots, John Mayer, or Mark Ronson.
Hank: This song was a fun one to write. I drew a lot of influence from Dave Grohl on Nevermind and Rage Against The Machine. Our producer Max Griffith helped me find that ‘punch’. We also recorded the track live in a room together, to capture that raw energy.
Nick: That it’s STRAIGHT FIRE! It’ll be a new look at the same good ol’ Captiva. GRATEFUL DEAD, PHISH, P-FUNK, and Rock’n’Roll MAN.
Pat: Big love for Fleet Foxes and Young the Giant. I’d love to just meet Mac Demarco and pick his brain. I don’t know if I’ll ever get the chance to work with him however…would be sweet tho!
When you aren’t performing, working in the studio, what do you like to do for fun? How do you unwind from it all?
Jackson: I really enjoy playing frisbee and disc golfing. I just recently got really into pool. I think my new favorite hobby is having a beer and a smoke with some homies and playing a couple rounds of pool!
Hank: Wild women, wild women. Rippin’ and the tearin’.
Nick: I relax by taking naps and playing guitar for fun. I just live, man.
Pat: Arts and crafts and a few beers never hurt the recording process. It’s easy to get stressed out and fed up with each other in the studio sometimes, so a little buzz always helps the tension.
At the end of the day, what do you hope is the message of your music? What do you hope listeners take away from your songs?
Jackson:I hope that they can just feel like we hugged them really firm yet soft like getting a hug from Winnie the Pooh. Cause in like real life you’d be like holy shit that a bear get a way from me but then he hugs you and your like oh he’s only made of love. Basically we might be intense but we love you , love you long time (wink wink).
Pat: I hope our music influences our listeners to let their guards down and be whoever they want to be. That’s what our lives have become at this point, doing what we want to do and disregarding those who say otherwise.