Cold Cave are a band of contradictions, brimming with the type of positive conflict
that has always allured me to artists of their ilk. It’s a one-man bedroom project
that’s a four-piece band. It’s a mess of harsh noise that is sublimely melodic and
poppy. They are inspired by the obscure and the arcane, but anyone can dance
to it. They are a Philadelphian band who has only played their hometown once.
All of these clashing elements tugging against each other make for some truly
compelling sounds, as singer, songwriter and guiding force Wesley Eisold seems to
have found the musical outlet he’s always needed, a sophisticated synth-pop project
where happy accidents and unproven experiments yield some startling results.
I say synth-pop, but Cold Cave can easily veer into any other electronic direction,
from Broken Flag-style power-electronics to soaring ambient and possibly even
Italo. I doubt Kano and Ramleh ever really hung out with each other back in
the day, but Cold Cave makes that sort of union sound completely natural, like
it’s the only logical place those sounds could’ve headed. Wesley was kind enough
to provide some candid answers to my questions, although any clear explanation
is easily lost in the many layers and precise lyrics that come standard on any
Cold Cave track. Friends in the United Kingdom, please catch one of their shows
with Prurient starting May 20th, only a couple days after their No Fun Fest appearance.

Where did the name Cold Cave come from?
The name is from two Decembers ago, just in a frigid apartment. I was making
songs without a name for the project and one of them was about being holed
up and not leaving the house. Just the Winter ruts, nothing too spectacular.
It seemed fitting in psyche and physics and without too much reference.

What was the impetus for growing Cold Cave from a solo project into
a four-piece?

Wanting to play live. I had no intentions of anyone hearing Cold Cave or doing
a band. I just sent songs to a couple friends, and Hospital and Dais offered to
put it out which I was excited about. After those records Cold Cave was asked
to play shows and without other people it would just be me over a backing track
which I think for me would be morally and aesthetically displeasing.

Do you miss just doing things completely isolated from other people?
Will there be any more solo Cold Cave recordings?

So far they all start as solo recordings, some stay that way and then some
Caralee plays on and adds to. There’s a difference for me between this band
and band’s I’ve been a part of before, and that’s that this is mine, you know,
I made it without other people. When you do something yourself you define
what it will be. It represents you as you represent it, as opposed to being a
part of the whole. There’s reasons to quit bands, jobs, to break off relationships.
I think I want to do this for a while.

How has that changed the way you approach song-writing and the
creative process?

The early songs weren’t written for a ‘singer’ to perform them. They were more
about the music than vocals. Now that Cold Cave is a band there is definitely
a more conscious decision to write songs with equal room for vocals. And now
with other members who are more capable than me, we can play what we’d like
to play and write songs we’d like to write without worrying too much about
whether or not we can play them.

Was there an original intent to downplay the vocals, then? Since
you’ve primarily been a vocalist, I can see the desire to just step
away from that.

I don’t know if it was premeditated, just so minimal and I think the lack of
vocals on those songs kind of says more than had they’d been full of them.
They’re just kind of these obsessive mantras. I’m a fan of repetition for better
or for worse and never had a chance to let a song breathe before.

Credit : Francis Chung

Both records feature naked people on their covers. Is there an
intentional theme here?

The nudity represents the desire to extricate honesty, but is obscured by
the failure of owning up to it yourself. Just like how people put their hopes
and needs on to others when they’ve lost faith in themselves… and an
affinity for Roxy Music.

What instrument or piece of electronic equipment was most
crucial in the development of Cold Cave? Is there any particular
keyboard or drum machine that Cold Cave couldn’t exist without?

I’m not sure, but I started making the songs with an sk-1 and I still like to
use it for single-note melodies. It’s easy and I love the way it distorts itself
and sits patiently next to the Voyager.

Has the Voyager made it onto any recordings?
Guitar and the Moog Voyager are the primary instruments used on the Prurient
/ Cold Cave record.

What can you tell me about the Prurient collaboration? Am I right to
assume it’s going to be the noisiest Cold Cave yet?

I think the joint exists in a few variations. We are playing some shows in the
UK together next week and that is probably more textured and noisier than
the album will be. The songs were written together and vary a lot, from subtle
minimalism to trance to more guitar oriented pieces. Aside from that there is
another release that we’ll have at No Fun called Stars Explode which is more
ambient than anything, much different than all of the aforementioned.

Are there any sounds used on your records that were created
unintentionally or by accident? How much does that sort of experimental
process factor into your finished work?

Almost every song is a mistake that I decided to keep. They are kind of like
our children. You just have to nurture and mold your mistakes until you are
happy with them.

Are there any non-musical artists that have influenced Cold
Cave’s aesthetic?

The visual influences are from books. Like the first runs of Brautigan’s, or
Genet plays, Birds of Britain and Francis Warner’s Lying Figures.

How do you approach writing lyrics for Cold Cave? Is it different
than your other endeavors?

It is different because in the past I would write lyrics to the feeling of the
song but the song was created by someone else’s feeling. Now I know
exactly what the song is saying before having any words.

Cold Cave seems to be the best chance for the listener to actually
understand the lyrics as they are sung, rather than resorting to
reading along with the liner notes… has that had any effect on what
you are writing?

I guess that’s true. I hadn’t really thought about that. I’d have to say that
it hasn’t had any impact because all of the lyrics for Cold Cave wouldn’t
seem out of place to me contextually with anything that happened before.