It has been a far time coming with US metallers Caustic Method first emerging in 2003, but debut album The Virus is an infectious scourge of sound and invention which more than lives up to its title. For many it has been the first taster of the band and its virulent of tapestry raw and contagious animosity bred from a fusion of flavours and diversity, an introduction breeding, certainly for us here, a hungry appetite for the Syracuse roar. With big thanks to vocalist and band founder Matt Caustic we dig into the heart of Caustic Method, The Virus, and the passion fuelling all…
Hi Matt and many thanks for sparing time to talk with us.
Can we start with looking at the beginnings of the band; what was the spark to its creation and how did you all come together to be Caustic Method?
Thank you for this opportunity. I think the real spark to the band’s inception was mostly an opportunity to put our message out there and to lyrically speak my mind, and work out some demons and issues I might not have normally addressed otherwise. Eventually I found myself writing about several life issues that a lot of our fans seemed to really relate to. As we grew they grew with us and the walls really began to fall where I found myself less worried about opening myself up lyrically and it became my means of therapy. We were all in very established bands in New York State and at one point I was revamping the line-up and an opportunity presented itself to be able to play with some amazingly talented people who I always had a great amount of respect and admiration for. From that point on the planets aligned and we really began to get a head of steam rolling to propel the EP to get us to where we are today. Everything happens for a reason they say and I am very honored to be amongst the best people I now call family
Was there any specific intent for the band and sound as it escaped your imaginations and does that prime idea still drive the band twelve or so years on or has it evolved?
Our real intent was to just stay true to ourselves and make the art that just naturally creates itself. Through time we have kept that mentality of just letting things happen and even more so now, as on the new record half the songs were written from intuitively responding to the music and improvising my vocal lines and lyrics on the spot to the point I actually kept 90 percent of what was written in the session. That gave me the best possible snapshot of what inspired me at that moment in time.
Is there a specific story behind the band name?
Originally called Caustic from a past co-worker with a very “caustic” sarcastic and biting attitude, with an alternate definition of something that can eat through flesh, it seemed perfect for the music we were creating. As we branched out and began travelling we found other Caustics out there and made a decision to separate and define ourselves with no confusion or mistaken identity. The Caustic Method is the means of applying stress on something to effectively find its breaking point, so to speak. Combined with the previous definition it was a very fitting change. Keeping the familiarity with fans and separating ourselves at the same time. The change also helped us shed our skin a bit for the next level we were trying to reach.
You have just released your album The Virus, a thrilling incitement whose qualities and addictive potency certainly lives up to its title. For fans it has felt a long timing coming so how is it for you guys on the inside. A relief to finally have your first album out or is it more that this is the exact right time to unleash its?
I think timing and chemistry are behind all great achievements and for us and the style of music we create, the timing couldn’t be any better. There is a void in modern metal today we are trying to fill by keeping the attitude and message as the defining attribute of what we create. We have also for years lovingly referred to our fan-base as The Virus because word of mouth has been this band’s best friend over the years. After hearing about us and then finally seeing a live show we hope that’s the point where we win people over and they continue the whole process for us by spreading the word about the band. We pride ourselves on our live performances whether for one hundred or ten thousand fans and we always strive to go above and beyond anything on the album. In an effort to thank our fans for putting us where we are today, the album was given the title The Virus. We love and value the fact that we are fortunate enough to have such a broad fan-base. Fans of Caustic Method are exceptionally supportive and really are the fifth member of the band when it comes to promoting and spreading the Virus. They are one of our greatest sources of pride and confidence knowing they are always behind us.
How long was the album in the making?
The sessions for this record were incredible and unique to any other sessions I’ve been involved with. We were literally chomping at the bit to get these songs down. We just went in and hammered every song with confidence and attitude from beginning to end, we are super proud of what we have created on The Virus. It retains the energy and live vibe of our shows with the precision we were looking to capture. We recorded the sessions at an incredible studio in Syracuse called Subcat. It’s world class all the way and just being really prepared made the process a memory I will cherish my whole career.
Alongside its adventurous exploits and gripping imagination there is a live energy and feel to the album which you touched on there. We described it as stirring “up the blood and putting a fire in the belly.” Give us some more insight into its recording.
We took each song as its own entity and tried to really focus on the subject matter at hand to enhance the message and passion of each performance. I feel we really accomplished this well and for the first time I am really proud of all of us. I wrote a lot of the lyrics for this album during one of the darkest periods of my life. I didn’t think twice about what I was writing or how i was saying it. I just let it out knowing that it was necessary to go through the dark to get to the light. Coming out the other side I can’t say I have any regrets or would have done anything differently. It was all part of the process; a healing process and a growing process, some of which is hard to listen to, but I can and will stand behind it forever because it is honest and real.
Did you approach its creation with any particular intent and set idea or was it more an exploration of its emerging depths and boundaries in the studio environment?
I think we came at it from a very open minded perspective. We were prepared on the playing side but knew we wanted to convey all the attitude you’d find at one of our shows. Combined with some healthy exploration I’d have to say it was the combo that made it extra special for us.
Can you give us an idea of how the songwriting process works within the band?
It differs a lot, which I love. Some days I will just have a vocal hook like The Virus. I presented it as just a dry acapella vocal line and the band just painted with me instead of after me and boom it’s done before it began. Other songs are conceived from just instrumental experimentation with an improvised vocal line written in real time as they play. My gut reaction to what I hear is usually my best guide in writing vocal lines and melodies. It’s like opening up a channel and letting the energy flow. Decoding my lyrics can be frightening at times but it’s a new way of writing I have really embraced as well as the band. These guys are exceptional players and it is like the possibilities for this band are endless. They know how to use the gas pedal and the brake very well. Knowing when to play and when not to play can be just as important for the message to be heard effectively. Being the heaviest or fastest band on earth doesn’t ensure the listener can relate to your message. We really tried and found the balance we were most comfortable with.
Were there any major surprises or unexpected moments which merged whilst recording the album which either enhanced or provided an unexpected obstacle in its emergence?
Actually the song Bottle of Scotch only existed as a voice recording on my phone from one of my acapella vocal lines we worked on briefly one night at rehearsal. As we were finishing up our session, our friend Ron Keck and owner of Subcat was like before we break down the drums is there anything else we can get on tape. Angel remembered the shell of the song on my phone and we ran through it twice in ten minutes and then hit record. The band nailed it immediately and I literally improvised the verses as he hit record and the tune has become one of our favorites. To me THAT is the Caustic Method!
The Virus has been released through Pavement Entertainment how did that link-up come about?
A friend of ours Michael Trumble was helping us with some PR work and sending the video of The Virus around to some mutual industry friends when Mark Nawara from Pavement saw the video and thought we would be a good candidate for the label. I was a huge fan of a lot of the bands on Pavements roster and I knew in my heart instantly that this would be a great fit and a good home for us. After talking with Tim King our A&R rep and bassist of Soil for a couple weeks we worked out the scope of what we were trying to accomplish and we signed our deal right around New Years. I knew then that 2015 was going to be an epic year in the growth of this band. With distribution through Sony RED it’s available all over the world. The main objective was never to be famous or a rock star but to get our music out to a larger audience because if it works in the Northeast we were confident it would work elsewhere. With Pavement’s amazing network and support we have definitely reached a much larger audience and the response has been overwhelming.
With their stable and history of potent releases, the environment they offer for your music must give you an extra spring in the step to match those sparked by the album itself and the acclaim it is earning?
Without a doubt! After years in the trenches we are no strangers to hard work and not much has changed. We knew coming into this we would have to work harder than ever but knowing we are in good hands gives us the confidence to meet all challenges as they come. And of course we are also looking forward to hopefully touring with some of our label mates soon! We are all still huge music fans first and foremost and there is so much talent on the Pavement roster it is just amazing…Such huge fans of all of them.
Looking at your history as a live presence, it is fair to say since forming you have ignited stages with a Who’s Who of modern metal including Hatebreed, American Head Charge, Ten Years, Candlelight Red, Otep , Korn, Mushroomhead, (Hed) P.E., Cypress Hill, Threat Signal, Skindred, Toxic Holocaust, Nashville Pussy… well the list goes on. Noticeable is the diversity of bands and sounds you guys fit in with. Fair to say your fan base is impressively eclectic?
We have been really blessed in our region to have played with many of our heroes and literally dozens of amazing bands we were able to learn from and grow with. Growing our fan-base through the diversity of these bands has given us a uniquely eclectic fan-base for sure. I do feel we crossover well from hardcore to metal to old school punk and commercial hard rock audiences and that has only reinforced our main objective of just doing what WE do and never emulating anyone.
It is easy to assume that Caustic Method are in their element on stage, tearing up audiences and venues?
The stage is where it really all comes together for us. We can roar like a lion or purr like a kitten. Mostly though we roar like a tornado and sweep you up and drop you on your head,
Fair to say your music on the album take no prisoners, the band has to be the same on stage?
Confidence and attitude are what we emit most onstage. We not only take no prisoners we take no shit! It’s what we all live for and everything else in life is on hold for the next hour because our show is what it’s all about. I relive every inspiration good or bad every time I deliver my lyrics. I flashback in my head to the very minute the words came to me and like a tidal wave all those emotions and attitude that created that song just pour out of me like the wound is still brand new; like ripping open your stitches just to see your beating heart. Not a great idea but you will see a noticeable and real reaction. We transform right in front of you. Forget the people you may have spoken to before the show. We leave them on the stairs to the stage.
Any hope we will see you across Europe and the UK in the near future?
We would love nothing more than to tour Europe immediately. I am fascinated by how different the music fans are there. They seem to have way more diverse tastes and a lot more tolerance of stuff that is different from each other. In America we compartmentalize our music and god forbid you cross compartments. Not true of everyone but we have these boxes and categories of metal everyone lives within where it seems over there people are just fans of any metal that is credible and simply put just GOOD. We all can really respect that and hope to be able to have the honor to tour there in the very near future. Definitely on the high priority list!
So what is next for Caustic Method?
The response to the album has been amazing and for us the real next step is to get out and tour to support this record, see the world and spread the Virus as far and wide as possible!
Once again thanks for chatting with us, any last words for the readers?
Thank you so much for giving me the opportunity to tell our story and If you truly like what you hear….YOU ARE THE VIRUS! Spread the word about Caustic Method! You are our fifth member and we thank you all! SEE YOU AT A SHOW NEAR YOU!
Read our review of The Virus @ https://ringmasterreviewintroduces.wordpress.com/2015/06/05/caustic-method-the-virus/
The RingMaster Review 12/08/2015