Captured Howls presents a journal of observations, a linguistic art piece… a blog on arts, music, and cinema

Carson Pace Of The Callous Daoboys Explains Their Ripping Mathcore Mania

Celebrity Therapist, the new, full-length album available now from Atlanta’s The Callous Daoboys on Modern Static Records and MNRK Heavy is like little else.

Down below, check out an interview. First, here’s an album review:

The band is broadly associated with mathcore. On Celebrity Therapist, The Callous Daoboys at various times — and on occasion at basically the same time — remind me of in fact punishing mathcore, math or art rock when they go gentler, straightforward alternative metal in the group’s less chaotic and more dramatically sweeping moments, and also somehow party music, whatever that means to you. The kick clearly evident at some points mirrors what some refer to as Southern rock or metal, although that’s kind of reductive (despite the many great bands from the U.S. South).

Anyway, Celebrity Therapist also sounds like opening the internet — either in some grand, metaphorical sense or literally by just looking at a social media app — and screaming, which is relatable! The music across this album doesn’t stop, but it’s not so much reveling in the chaos reflected in our increasingly digitized lives as it’s seemingly exploring our reactions to that psychological upheaval, as we break down, try and forge some kind of uneasy truce amid the war waged on our phones, and then collapse again.

The music aptly reflects the ache that might underlie even the most grandiose of moments. You could compare the experience of moving through this album to walking down a brightly lit Las Vegas street with plenty of otherwise appealing options for a night out broadcasting their offerings to the artificially bright sky — and finding nothing that catches your motivating attention. You might also notice scenes of decay, and while that’s obviously not new, getting swept up can prove distressing.

The album also gets more primal, as it’s very physical. A lot of the riffing evokes imagery of The Callous Daoboys slamming their instruments into the ground, although they’re obviously not actually doing that (I think…). The point is that it’s intense. Galloping around the room, ripping pieces from whatever’s accessible, and then just kind of staring off into oblivion as the group get more directly contemplative: it’s all reflected here. As with music of a similar variety, it’s also perceptibly empowering, in part because of how fun certain parts prove. The Callous Daoboys lend to that through their unpredictability, abruptly jumping from one smoothly incorporated style of performance to another, and the overall vivacious energy.

Celebrity Therapist lays claim to something powerful. The chaos is just inextricable from it.

On Celebrity Therapist, The Callous Daoboys include the talents of Carson Pace on vocals, Maddie Caffrey and Dan Hodsdon on guitar, Jack Buckalew on bass, Amber Christman on violin, and Sam Williamson on drums.

Featured image via Grant Butler

Listen to Celebrity Therapist below! You really should. It’s great!

And below, check out an interview with Carson Pace, the lead vocalist.

The New Record’s Personal Background

Captured Howls: On a broad level, the record has a lot to say. How would you describe some of the emotional themes or the arc of Celebrity Therapist?

Carson Pace: There’s a lot that goes into it, I guess. A lot of things that immediately come to mind, I suppose. I think a lot of the emotion that I’m conveying is guilt or shame, maybe. And I mean, a lot of shame regarding being egotistical or falling into sort of a groupthink mentality rather than listening to those around you. There’s a lot of that in there. When it comes to the introspective lyrics, I think there’s a lot of guilt and shame regarding those.

But ultimately I’d like to think it ends on a note of trying to forgive myself. I mean, there’s a lot of frustration in there too, frustration with a lot of the people around me, and worries that I’m just as bad, and hopefully forgiving those around me too.

 

Howls: So, I can imagine your answer here, but do you think Celebrity Therapist gave you an opportunity to really work towards some temporary relief with those issues?

Pace: Definitely, man. I feel like when I was writing it, I didn’t really know how bad I would need that catharsis. I had written it at a time where I was trying not to — where I was trying to stay sober. And that time period ended, I stopped trying to stay sober, before I had hit even like, I don’t know, eight or 10 months of sobriety. And then, I kind of spiraled out due to just some stuff happening in my life. And then some more stuff happened in my life that caused me to want to get sober again. And I’m almost at a year now and during this whole process, I’ve revisited — I know it sounds a little self-centered or maybe conceited to revisit your own album, but there are songs that I listen to where I’ve been like, wow, I really did write this to help me later.

I didn’t know how bad I would need that sort of self-reassurance. I’ve needed it now more than ever, really. And it’s really crazy to be playing these songs and it still be relevant. I think a lot of the time as musicians, we write something and then it takes forever for it to get released, so you kind of lose that emotional connection to it. But I kind of have a hard time getting through these songs live sometimes. They kind of hurt to sing still, so it’s a lot. It’s a lot. But I think the more and more we play these songs the more and more it helps for sure.

The Physical Intensity of Celebrity Therapist

Howls: On an instrumental level, was maintaining a level of physical intensity in Celebrity Therapist — of the particular sort you guys employ here — a priority during the writing process?

Pace: I mean, I think that the way that the music is perceived outward is very much how we’re feeling from an inward perspective, if that makes any sense. It’s very intense, and it’s very much meant to be. If you’re not doing it with feeling, it’s hard for me to believe you, you know what I mean? For me to believe that you give a shit. It might be time to hang it up if you’re just writing sleepy songs all the time. Not that there’s anything wrong with sleepy songs, but I have got to feel the emotion, I guess. And I definitely feel like we did that. I mean, I’m always trying to push us into zones where it’s like, holy fuck, can we play this shit? And the answer’s always yes. But I do like to question it occasionally.

 

Howls: I’m sure you guys get this question a lot, but how did and do you guys approach incorporating the violin?

Pace: I guess it was just, we loved Amber, and we kind of just wanted to be in a band with Amber, and the only instrument she plays is violin. Also, at the time we were very much just a conglomerate of or a collage of all of our influences. But none of our influences had a violin in it. So I guess, I don’t really know what the thought process was. I think it was just like, fuck it, let’s have a violin. We kind of just treat it like a third guitar player or so. We’ve been a band for a long time. We’ve been a band for six years, which I mean, it’s not that long. There are plenty of older bands than us. But after year three or four, it’s kind of like, oh yeah, we have a violin player.

[…] All of us kind of look like we play in church worship groups, so they’re definitely not expecting what comes out once we start playing.

 

Howls: As for other specifics on the album, what was the process like of getting into the headspace for recording these vocals? The intense expressiveness really shines through.

Pace: Like I said, these songs kind of hurt to sing a little bit, just hurt me emotionally to sing. I mean, the thought process was just to go as hard as I possibly could. And we knew it was going to be pretty intense, so we kind of spaced everything out. […] We did a song every [recording] day, but had a day off in between. So it took us over two weeks to track vocals. And by the end of each day we had a new song with vocals done. And it was really special.

[…] I had written that end singing part of “Star Baby” probably a year before. And just hearing it back, because I think we did that one first, and we heard it back, and I remember a couple of us like crying and just being like, holy shit, this song is real. Which was really crazy. So I mean, really it was just — I wanted it to sound believable. I wanted people to believe what I was going through and what I was expressing and understand it. And even if it’s not something that they relate to or something like that, I wanted them to feel it from me, you know?

Bringing Celebrity Therapist to Life with The Callous Daoboys

Howls: When The Callous Daoboys bring all of this to stage, I’d imagine it’s pretty intentional to deliver an energetic, intense performance?

Pace: Absolutely. I wish I could say it’s just something that we can turn on and off like that. I wish it was just like, nope, this is just what we do. But we really have to focus in on that, I guess. I usually just think about the kind of show I would want to see, and a lot of my favorite bands were doing crazy shit back in the day, and I think about, how are we going to either win this crowd over or make them never forget us?

[…] I think some of us can just turn the performance on and off, but I feel like a lot of bands just stand there and play their parts. And we’re not a band that does that. I mean, we play our parts as best as we can, but we’re more focused in on how to jump on you and crowd-surf and do all the crazy shit. So it definitely gets taken into consideration, but there’s truthfully only one of us who has to play all of his parts right, and that’s Matt [Hague], our drummer, because he can’t stage dive. So that’s really all that goes into it is, can you stage dive? Yes; okay, do it. Can you not? Okay, you don’t have to.

 

Howls: Do you see a lot going on in this corner of the heavy music community that feels inspiring? Not even in the sense of directly affecting your own music, but just things that make you excited to see.

Pace: Oh, absolutely man. I mean, that happens constantly, me seeing live footage of one of our contemporaries and just being like, ah damn, we have got to step it up. Most recently it was that band Pillar of Wasps. I saw a live video of them that was just so nuts the other day. It was like, we have got to step it up.

They’re a band from Dallas, Texas. They’re so sick. They’re really, really crazy. And I saw a live video of them that was just so intense that it stuck with me for the rest of the day, for sure. So, I mean, I guess that would be my first answer. A lot of it is just bands who are just making shit that I’ve never heard before, and I’m just listening to it. Of course it affects how we write our own music, because I’m always looking for who’s up next and that kind of deal. Not necessarily looking to steal their sound, but it definitely influences stuff. I think that that band fromjoy just had such a huge influence on my writing over the past year or so because I had never heard anything like them. I was like, this is the sickest shit I’ve ever heard in my life. I thought they were so cool.

 

Howls: Alongside the work you guys put into this, do you think having a good time is an important part of it all? It sometimes seems some folks miss that.

Pace: Oh, absolutely. I’ve said this before, like just on Twitter, but I don’t think I’ve said it in an interview before: If you aren’t playing in your favorite band, I think you should quit your band.

It’s just kind of the only way to be, you know? I mean, The Callous Daoboys is the music that I hear in my head, and it’s the sound I am constantly chasing. In that regard, I am in my favorite band, and it’s awesome. And I never want to stop being in my favorite band. Whatever we do, it’s just going to be whatever we want forever, because we want to have a good time with it. I think we have a great time. Of course, being on the road wears on us and stuff, and every now and then someone in the band will piss me off, but that doesn’t mean we don’t love each other throughout all that and are just having the best time with the best friends.

We’re a family truly. I’m very lucky. I count my blessings every single day to be in a band with such wonderful people and to be playing the exact type of music that I would wanna listen to. When we started as a band, there wasn’t a band that satisfied that craving in my brain of what I heard in my head. So I went and made it myself. And that goes for all the music that we write. It’s just the music that I would want to listen to. So I’m in my favorite band, I’m having a great time, and it rocks, man.