Posted On 22 Aug 2018
Compass & Cavern is a Rocky Mountain duo that delivers an intricate, engaging and unabashedly catchy sound on their new single “All We Have.”
This alt-rock band was formed in December 2014 and has since risen quickly in the Colorado music scene. C&C’s first release, Mother of Invention – EP, included the songs “MetaFor” and “Brainstorm” which helped the group establish a strong, loyal following. The band followed up with their 2017 Before It Begins album which includes singles such as “Good Enough” and “I Can’t Complain” that continue to gain popularity online and extend C&C’s following across the U.S. and overseas.
Connect With Compass & Cavern Here: http://www.compassandcavern.com/
Learn more about Compass & Cavern in the following All Access interview:
Thanks for your time! What is on tap for the rest of your day for you both?
Will Timbers: My last to-do list item for the day is to answer these questions, so I guess after this I’ll try to finally finish reading 1984 or play Pokemon Omega Ruby while I chill with my cat. Later tonight I’m seeing Sicario: Day of the Soldado.
All Access Music is currently compiling a list of our artists favorite songs this summer so what is YOUR song of the summer?
CF: twenty one pilots came out with another banger with their single, “Jumpsuit.” We were both pumped to hear heavy bass guitar and see those guys back at it again.
WT: I just recently became re-obsessed with “Everybody’s Lonely” by Jukebox the Ghost, so I dug into some more of their stuff the other day. You’ve got to love a band that’s so clearly influenced by Queen! And it’s always helpful to see how piano-centered three-piece bands manage to pull off full, exciting arrangements. That and Weezer’s cover of “Rosanna.”
How has 2018 been treating you guys? What is one musical goal that you have had for this year?
CF: 2018 has been a SUPER exciting year for C&C thus far. We went on our first tour, played our first headlining show in Denver, released a SWEET music video (check out “Before It Begins” ASAP), and are releasing a few singles that we really love. Later this year, we’re going to play a set of all Disney covers at a Halloween cover show and will perform at the 2018 West Region NACA showcase. This Fall, we are going to get back to writing and see if we can dive deeper into the guitar / synth, rock / rap fusion sound that we have been developing over the past several years.
Can you recall the moment when you thought you could be in this duo together? Has anything surprised you about this ride so far?
WT: Our journey to becoming a duo has been interesting and mainly unexpected. We were in a four-piece band for years before we broke up and started C&C as a three-piece. We had some drummer problems (typical…) which left us in a position to hire drummers for each show starting in early 2017. That’s when we first felt like a functioning duo. But since Chris and I have been good friends and band-mates for years, it wasn’t a tough transition. We actually both feel like we move much faster than before since we only have two people making big decisions. Even when we disagree, we reach compromises in short conversations rather than long discussions that would sometimes last weeks in our previous bands / lineups. It’s hard dealing with a lot of people’s opinions – especially musician’s opinions!
So I guess I knew immediately that we could be in this duo together, and that we might actually be at our best when it’s just the two of us. That was a bit of a surprise initially, but it makes sense when we stop to think about it.
How difficult was it to come up with your band name? What other names were you considering? What name was the runner up?
CF: I remember it taking a few weeks to find a name that we both liked, that we felt was meaningful, and had a nice ring to it. We really liked the imagery associated with the word “compass” but were stumped on what should go with it. There were a few iterations of Compass & [something] before we landed on “cavern” and felt really good about it.
We also toyed around with the word “island” in the beginning. Will had recently been crushed by the movie, “Life of Pi,” which features a “carnivorous island” that slowly swallows visitors who are unable to leave the comfort and security the island promises. We might spent a few days with the name “Paris Island” so that “Pi” could be an acronym for our band name but we ended up moving on from this option.
How do you think your hometown has influenced the sound and how you all carry yourselves in this band?
WT: I grew up in Denver, CO listening to alternative rock on KTCL 93.3. It was easily my favorite station, and I’d say it greatly influenced my taste in music! I was looking forward to the move back to Denver after college to get back to a scene that appreciated a loud, rock sound. Unfortunately, tastes change, and Denver isn’t quite the hub for alternative rock that it once was. But even that has influenced us. I think we were pushed to explore, or at least consider, electronic elements because of the poppier sounds we were hearing. That’s why C&C combines loud, electric guitar with cool synth leads and bass.
And I’d say we carry ourselves like most high-energy, alternative rock bands would. We care deeply about the quality of music we put out, but we try not to take ourselves too seriously. It’s incredibly fun to write, record, and play, and we show it! I’m not sure if that’s influenced by our hometown or by popular alt-rock bands in general.
Let’s talk about your newest single “All We Have.” What was the inspiration for this song? What other songs are you planning on releasing this summer?
WT: “All We Have” was inspired by Buddhist-type ideas I had been thinking about at the time. I had been listening to a lot of Alan Watts and thinking about how humans typically perceive the world. I had often heard phrases like “live in the present” being thrown around, but I usually dismissed them as vacuous, forced spirituality. For whatever reason, the significance behind ideas like that finally struck me.
I thought about how we live so much of our lives planning for and worrying about the future, and arguably even more of it hanging on to what we had experienced at some point in the past. But why are we fixated on the future / past? It seems that we think about the future so that we can improve it. Or, put another way, so we can improve our own situation by the time we reach “the future.” In that sense, we’re striving to create a better present, but it just takes some time to get to it. And when we think about the past, we’re often trying to learn how to avoid mistakes we’ve previously made. Again, we’re trying to create a better present. So it’s all ultimately directed to the present moment, because that’s all we ever actually experience!
The ability to think forwards or backwards in time is an amazing tool that humans have, but it can easily be abused. If we don’t stop and enjoy the present moment for what it is, we’re essentially wasting all of our hard work spent creating it.
We don’t have a release date yet, but we’re planning on releasing our single, “Play Your Cards Right,” in either late summer or early fall.
When do you hope to put out a full album or an EP of more new songs?
CF: We’re about to go into a writing phase where we hope to pull together at least a few demos of songs that could potentially come out, either as individual singles or as a collective EP. We don’t have a specific goal in mind aside from writing sweet new music and seeing what we have to work with after this fall.
How do you think this duo and your sound have grown since you first formed?
WT: When we first formed, using synthesizers was brand new to us. We honestly had no idea what we were doing. At this point, we’ve tried out so many different analog and virtual synths, as well as various MIDI controllers, that we have a grasp on what works for us both in the studio and at shows. It’s exciting! Now our songwriting process is smoother and we’re able to create the sounds we imagine much faster. In general, I’d say our sound is closer to what we’ve always wanted it to be. But, like Chris mentioned, we’re planning on exploring our rap / rock side more in the coming months, so who knows where our sound will go!
Where do you think you are both happiest- in the studio recording new music, on stage performing or elsewhere?
CF: This is a very cool question! I really love performing shows where there is an un-explainable energy in the room that connects the band to the audience. To me, these moments represent an alignment of expectation vs. reality which does not happen very often, at least not yet. As a DIY band, we are putting in so much work all of the time to manage every aspect of our existence which can be really exhausting and cause you to forget why you formed a band in the first place. Being on stage in front of an audience that is really engaged and appreciative of your music is a powerful experience that can pull you out of the “grind” and remind you of why you set out on the journey in the first place.
WT: I always imagine there are three distinct roles for a musician – songwriting, recording, and performing. I feel the most productive and fulfilled when I balance all three. Chris nailed the description of live performances, so I’ll leave that one alone. I love songwriting because of how raw and new everything is. Different ideas are thrown around with no expectations, and excitement is at all-time high when something sticks. Recording typically requires more focus and less creativity than songwriting for me, but it’s especially rewarding to see what was initially an exciting idea become an actual song with real emotional impact. It’s hard to choose just one of these areas! I will say that any one of the three makes me happier than having to maintain a strong social media presence.
Do you have any upcoming tour dates this summer that you would like to tell our readers about?
CF: We just finished the last show on our summer schedule and are starting to plan for the rest of the year and early 2019. Hopefully, we’ll have dates to announce soon! Stay on the lookout for our single, “Play Your Cards Right,” which will drop in the next few months.
How do you think being musicians and in this band gives you all the most joy in life today?
WT: I think being a musician in C&C is the most rewarding and challenging thing I’ve ever done. On one hand, we’re doing what we love all the time. We’re creating and performing music we enjoy, and we’re watching people react positively to it. It’s amazing. On the other, we’re working hard to spread our music as far as we can to create sustainable careers. There’s no obvious path for that! Even music industry advice is constantly becoming obsolete as everything surrounding music and the way we listen to / consume it changes. The combination of the reward and the challenge makes it all completely worthwhile.
We are currently living through a very trying and politically charged time right now so I am curious to know how your own music is reflecting this time period? If you don’t think it is, why is that? Would you say that other musicians are making music that has been influenced by this climate?
WT: That’s a good question. It’s very possible that we’re influenced subconsciously by the current climate, but we’re really not a political band. We typically write about personal experiences and philosophical / spiritual ideas. Since our personal lives are affected by politics, I guess we might reflect some of that unintentionally, but we don’t have a huge desire to make political commentary. Many musicians definitely do draw inspiration from the situation we’re in. To be fair, it is a pretty wild situation…
Who would you love to work with in the future? Who are some of your favorite artists right now? What do you think would be a dream collaboration for this duo?
WT: Oh man. We’d love to work with Mutemath, twenty one pilots, Young the Giant, Panic! at the Disco, The Dear Hunter, Sara Bareilles… the list goes one. I think a dream collaboration would be with twenty one pilots since they’ve been such a huge inspiration to us, particularly at the beginning of our band.
If you guys were all going to be stranded on a deserted island, what musical item would you want to take with you and why?
WT: I’d probably bring an acoustic guitar with many sets of backup strings so I could continue to write and play music as we struggle to survive. And it’d be easy to carry as we hike around hunting wild boar for dinner. I’m assuming this is the same island as the one in Lord of the Flies.
What do you hope is the message of your music? What do you hope people continue to take away from your songs?
WT: It’s hard to say we have one specific message as a band, but in general I hope we give off an optimistic vibe. Life can be extremely tough, and we know that, but we try to at least frame struggles in a positive light. In addition to that, we hope our songs make people think – about what they believe in, what they want their life to look like, how fortunate they already are, etc. We like to tackle big questions and do our best to figure them out, often through our music, and we hope to inspire others to do the same.
(Photography Provided By Carry The 4)