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Blackhole, Cave Of Roses



The past couple weeks have been filled with shows from the City Weekly Music Awards, to which you can find me and others taking photos and giving show reviews over at the City Weekly Music blog. And at the very end, I decided to cover one for my own blog.

--- This past Saturday I popped in over at Club Vegas to catch one of the final shows for the entire event, with grand lightshows and cameras all around to catch the action. From this show we have the double-bass rock tornado that is Blackhole, and the high pitched metal group Cave Of Roses. I got to chat with both bands and got plenty of pictuires of the show.

Blackhole (Paul Butterfield, Dave Styer, Dave Bogart and Chopper)

Gavin: Hey guys, first off, tell us who you are and a little about yourselves.

Paul: My name isn't Dave, but that's not because I dislike the name.

Dave S: Nice one Paul... two Daves do make a right.  My name is Dave Styer and all I can think about is that Faith No More song "Introduce Yourself".

Dave B: I have a long beard. It keeps me warm.  Look good in reds, but tend to wear mostly browns.

Chopper: My name is Chopper I sing in Blackhole.  I am a civilian and a taxpayer.  No I didn't vote this year, and I'm not a vegetarian.  I enjoy being outside and like to dance.

Gavin: What got you interested in music, and who were some of your favorite acts and musical influences growing up?

Paul: I'm not sure if there was a magical moment. But perhaps it was listening to my fathers records collection. Or maybe it was hearing "Everybody Wants You" by Billy Squire on the radio when I was a kid. Or maybe it was latter on when I first heard "Kind Of Blue" by Miles Davis. I just love music, and always have—playing it, and listening to it. Sometimes music is the most frustrating thing in the world, and other times it's the most magical.

Dave S: WOW!  I'd have to honestly say that David Lee Roth in all his magical glory was the cat that truly got me started down the path towards playing music.  I also shared a bedroom with Chopper and as he grew and cut his hair into a glorious mohawk, I realized as well what direction I wanted to take with music.  But, it wasn't until I was 22 that I actually even picked up and instrument.

Dave B: It all started with the theme song from "Zoom"  Come on and Zoom, zoom, zoomza zoom... that plays in a constant loop in my head, and I find myself resorting to Xanax to make it go away.

Chopper: Hell, I don't know what first interested me in music.  There was always a song to sing in my head.  I remember singing along with Twisted Sister "We're Not Gonna Take It" on the school bus radio with everybody else.  I liked all music from the Chipmunks to the Stray Cats.  When I was real little and later on it was Grand Funk and Suicidal Tendencies.  In our house our mom was from Hawaii, so there was a lot of Aloha Oe and the Lovely Hula Hands, but she also like the Carpenters and the Beach Boys, and I don't forget LDS Church music.  I remember on year from Christmas I got Smurf Headphones and radio set.  I used to run off the bus to listen to the last of America's Top 40 to hear Thriller by Michael Jackson.  It was number one all winter long.  At least that's what I remember...

Gavin: How did you get together and decide to form Blackhole?

Paul: DS and I decided we wanted to start a two bass band and wanted Chopper to sing. We've been in bands together before, so we immediately had a sense of what we wanted to do musically. We knew Boog wasn't playing at the time, so we asked him. The rest...

Dave S: Paul hit the nail on the head with his answer... that's exactly how the band came together. Thank God Chopper was on board too... Blackhole just wouldn't be very holy without him, now would it?

Dave B: The wizard died, that ended out weekly Dungeons & Dragons game at the public library.  We were sad, it was a dark time for us.  At first we tried L.A.R.P. ing but then decided to form a musical tribute to the great wizard, and that's how Blackhole came to be.

Chopper: There was an idea of a band being done with the four of us guys, by on of, or more than one of us.  Of course it was going to happen.  All the other guys are like the best and nicest dudes around, not forgetting that they also rock!  Who wouldn't want to make music with them.

Gavin: Was it difficult leaving already established bands to start this project, or were you looking to do something new after your time spent there?

Paul: At the time we started this band, I had been playing with Red Bennies for ten years and also was playing in Ether Orchestra. I love both of those bands and miss playing and hanging out with those guys (I miss every band I've ever been in). Unfortunately, there are limited hours in the day, so I am constantly faced with make tough decisions. Blackhole is our baby and I couldn't imagine sacrificing that, so in the end I had to say goodbye to my other projects.

Dave S: I've always been in bands that just kinda self imploded... six months a year is the longest we'd ever make it before that shit just fell apart.  I wasn't active at the time Blackhole was formed.

Dave B: Separation is never easy.  I consulted the I-Ching and Rob Bresney.  My future looked promising.

Gavin: In 2007 you put out the self-titled album. What was the process like in recording it?

Paul: Really, we just had this initial batch of songs, and wanted to document them. In the end I think it turned out that the process was as much about discovering who we are as a band, as documenting songs. It was great working with Eli Morrison and Andy Patterson. We also had some friends come in and lay down some amazing performance, that in my opinion make the album. Mike Sasitch, Josh Dickson and many others. add these beautiful textures. Eli was just full of ideas, and laid down inspired guitar on No Entiendo, which still gives me a boner every time I hear it. Andy is just a master of his craft and that really allowed us to focus on the music rather than his process.

Dave S: This was the first album that I've actually been able to record.  Truthfully it seemed like easy street.  We were well rehearsed, Eli brought his ears, and AP provided his know how, Chop and the additional players were the icing on the cake... and John Golden really made that bitch boom!  It was fun as shit!  I can't wait to get started with the next album.

Dave B: I didn't realize it was finished.

Chopper: I told ya I'm the singer.  I have to wait a long time for things to happen.  This time however everything was smooth and quick.  At least from my point of view it was over and done with before I knew it.  We did a lot of cool stuff, like, guest musicians and tambourine and shakers, I even play a cordless drill on one song.

Gavin: What was the public reaction to it when it first came out?

Paul: A few people have said some really very flattering things, and I am extremely grateful that I have the opportunity to make and share music with others!

Dave S: I think Blackhole is one of those bands you like or you hate... public reaction has been good, the reviews seemed to be glowing... but we still have 500 albums... want one?

Chopper: We still get praise from that album. People love it.  The first night we sold more than Pseudo Recordings ever sold at a record release.  I don't know how many that is.

Gavin: Where did you get the idea to do the split EP with Madraso?

Paul: I think it was Ryan Workman's idea. He met Madraso and wanted to work with them. After hearing them live, I was all for it. Those guys are fantastic to work with, and I hope we can do more with them in the future. Also, just the concept of putting out splits with bands from other cities is such a great idea... I hope we can do more of it in the future.

Dave S: R to the dub.  Ryan Workman


Chopper: Ryan from Pseudo wanted to make a bridge to a musical town.  I think it's a good idea to have an up and comer heavy hitter from Seattle.  We played a gig with them one night.  I think Ryan was there...

Gavin: I've read there was work being done on a second album. What's the progress with the new one, and when do you think you'll release it?

Paul: We have been working very hard on new material and experimenting with all kinds of new sounds, textures and musical ideas. My hope is to have a new release within the next six months. But other than making good music, that we're all proud of and going at a natural pace, I have no expectations. I think a new release is certainly on the near horizon.

Dave S: I agree with Paul.  We've been striving to become better at our craft and creating new music that we as listeners like to let flood our ears.  Six months tops!

Dave B: Song one is finished

Chopper: Yes, we are in the process of writing one.  You don't think about it but, those things don't just happen.  They take time and money.  Nothing starts going till we are good and ready.  It will happen soon but no one should force it.  We all want it to happen and are working on it every day weather we know it or not.

Gavin: A little state-wide, what are your thoughts on the local music scene, both good and bad?

Paul: Really, I've been so focused on my own musical growth and goals, that I've missed a lot of what has gone on in the past year or so. The one thing that has struck me about this scene is this: Throughout the years, although trends come and go, originality seems to prevail. And I have some great long time friends who are continually pushing the envelope and making beautiful original music. And when I go to see bands I've never heard of, I'm amazed with the frequency at which I see something inspiring or heartfelt.

Dave S: Statewide there is a bounty of awesome things going on.  The thing that amazes me the most are the young'ns the up and comers... the kids, their skills are mind boggling and I can't wait to see what they become! 

Dave B: Huh?  Good and bad thoughts mostly.

Chopper: We all like our scenes.  I would like to be more adventuresome and check out more people, places, and bands.

Gavin: Is there anything you believe could be done to make it better?

Paul: I'd like to see more underground shows. I love the efforts made by those in the 'noise' scene. Much of this is out of necessity, since 'noise' right now is kind of like rock's ass child. But I think that most of my favorite memories either playing, or watching live music has been on that underground level. Everything seems very legit and safe in the rock scene right now. Maybe the potential of have the cops show up somehow makes music better, or maybe taking music out of the bar changes the focus of the event.

Dave S: I miss the old days... where there was just a common ground between musicians and audience... everyone intermingled and hung out like they were family.  Nowadays there is an awful lot of stink eye being thrown around betwixt bands and genres... I personally don't care what you do, how good you do it, or how successful you are at it.  I just wanna know your name.  So I say to make the scene better, we need to stop hatin!!

Dave B: More cowbell in the monitor

Chopper: Better!?  It's alive and kicking with teeth and a feather boa!  Can't beat that.

Gavin: Who would you say are the best acts in our scene now?

Paul: There are so many bands and artists that I enjoy, or that inspire me. In general I am really enjoying what is going on with noise, but I couldn't possibly narrow it down.

Dave S: Well you can't judge that on success... I mean look at Coldplay... they are successful but suck donkey nards.  You can't base your top 5 around genre, well at least I can't... I like too much different shit.  I could go on and on.... I guess I just can't narrow it down.

Dave B: Donnie & Marie, David Archelleta and the Mormon Tabernacle Choir.

Chopper: Commonplace, Sadhana, Insight, Dinasaur Bones, and Victims Willing.

Gavin: Moving to the music industry, tell us what your thoughts are on it in general and the current state it's in?

Paul: DIY!!!! Fuck traditions and industry standards. Make art for art's sake, and if it's any good, people will hear it. Right now we have the means to self produce music, and share it on a global level. The record industry is dying and trying to take music with it. AVOID AT ALL COSTS!

Dave S: What music industry?  It's all about viral video! Our new album will be available for your viewing pleasure only on YouTube.

Dave B: "By now all rock bands are wise enough to be suspicious of music industry scum" --Steve Albini from "The Problem With Music"

Gavin: What do you think of the current trends in music that are getting radio play today?

Paul: Radio? Do they still have that? I haven't listened to the radio since 1989. Sorry.

Dave S: The only radio I need is KRCL 90.9, and you just can't say they follow the current trends can ya?

Dave B: KRCL 90.9  All the radio you need.

Chopper: Radio for the most part is boring.  I'm not interested so much in what is on commercial driven radio.

Gavin: What's your take on file sharing and how it affects you as a musician?

Paul: Digitally compressed music gives me a splitting headache. I can't enjoy listening to digitally compressed music like I do with vinyl. Having said that, I do a lot of taste testing with file sharing, stuff that I never would have heard otherwise. And if I really like something I'll go buy it on vinyl. I bet if you asked any music connoisseur, they'd say the same thing. And those who exclusively listen to crappy digital music on their iPod shuffle, they probably wouldn't buy our music to begin with. So all-in-all I think file sharing doesn't affect me in any negative way whatsoever, if anything it can be a positive.

Dave S: I'll admit it... I've downloaded the shit outta music... but I use it as a test kitchen so to speak.  If I like the way it tastes I'll go buy that shit with real money.

Dave B: My filing cabinet is locked, and I think it's some kind of bullet proof steel.  I even have a secret password to open my rolodex.

Chopper: What "is" this file sharing?

Gavin: What can we expect from you guys over the rest of the year?

Paul: All the new music and fresh ideas we've been working so hard on over the past year. Less of the stuff that doesn't matter and more of the stuff that does.

Dave S: Well, we really took that last year off from playing live... I feel as if the interest in live music has gone. In an effort to prove myself wrong I wanna play a few more shows this year. But, I think we'll be taking it on the road.  There has been far more interest in Blackhole outside the SLC!  We are gonna go GLOBAL!

Dave B: My beard will probably get longer, and I may start wearing more reds.

Chopper: I bet we get a new album out, and tour, but you're looking at four guys who all got to do their own things.  We will be about.

Gavin: Is there anything you'd like to promote or plug?

Paul: I'd like to promote and plug wet and juicy Blackhole.

Dave S: I'd like to plug Paul's face!

Dave B: Plug... that sounds dirty.  I'd like to promote shameless self promotion.

Chopper: If you haven't heard our band, go check out our "MySpace" page.  Start your own band, play your own songs.  Do your own thing!  Live and love life!

Cave Of Roses (Rhett, Skyler, Driscoll and Nash)

Gavin: Hey guys, first off, tell us who you are and a little about yourselves.

Band: We are Cave Of Roses. Rhett plays guitar through particular brand amps and instruments, Driscoll plays drums on a certain drum kit using several brass acoustic oscillators, Cam Nash plays bass on stringed bass guitars through bass amplifiers and cabinets, and Skyler plays eighty eight key psuedo-ivory weighted piano boards commanding other sampled instruments to play.

Gavin: What got you interested in music, and who were some of your favorite acts and musical influences growing up?

Rhett:  Playing around with instruments and listening to every available genre of music, deciding that metal gets the best reaction out of me from youth.

Skyler: Interest implanted itself unpersuadedly in youth in person and vicariously through the entirety of my maternal, and certain individuals from my paternal bloodlines. Various instruments in a variety of quality from poor but awesome percussion to amazing brass and wooden instruments littered my grandparents inspiring homes.

Driscoll: When I was in 7th grade, my best friend from 4th grade who introduced me to metal shortly after becoming friends, decided it would be a good idea for our circle of friends to start a band. I was the only one who took it seriously and bought an instrument. A bass got me into punk bands, I bought a guitar to start a metal band and played with people above my level which made me good enough that I could audition as lead guitarist for Cave Of Roses. The only thing Rhett said after deeming my skills were shred-worthy was "If he doesn't drink, he's not in the band...", good thing early Metallica was around to influence the youth.

Gavin: How did you get together and decide to form Cave Of Roses?

Skyler: Two cousins, bassist Cam Nash and guitarist vocalist, Rhett, formed an early and alternately named incarnation of the band, lost a drummer, and to remedy the situation one of the guitarists, Driscoll, assimilated into the drummer. this reduced the size of the group to three members. This version lasted from 2003 to 2007 when a fourth dimension was desired by the band, and was fulfilled through the addition of the keyboards, played by Skyler.

Driscoll: An elaboration on '07's addition... Skuller was out smoking, I was hanging out, and he mentions "I think I'm going to quit my band." I reply "Dude, just join ours.", then I ran into the practice space and asked Rhett and Cam "Remember when we talked about adding a keyboardist?"

Gavin: How does it feel being one of a few thrash bands in Utah, and how does the mostly metal/hardcore audience respond to it?

Rhett:  We don't really consider ourselves thrash, or any other specific genre for that matter.  We individually incorporate many different influences.  You can hear these multiple influences in our music and, as a result, we get some positive feedback from most audience members, even if they are into a certain metal genre. 

Skyler: We imply a reaction in our listeners that we enjoy reacting ourselves.

Driscoll: We started as a thrash band, Rhett, Cam and I had been getting farther into the extreme spectrums of metal and wanted to expand the circle we occupy but our old drummer didn't want to play blast-beats, so we booted him and started on the path that's brought us to the present.

Gavin: Last year you put out "The Description" demo. What was the process like in recording that?

Skyler: Cringeon Audio began the experiments on February 17th, 2008. Time restraints during the process required Cave Of Roses take the unpreferred route of recording each instrument separately. Drum tracks recited from memory sans guitar, and each instrument added as the times allowed. Cringeon Audio also mastered the tracks and it was released on July 2nd, 2008. We recorded four songs and ended up releasing only three, saving the fourth, "Drawn To Darkness" for the debut full length.

Driscoll: We recorded in the practice space. While I was laying down tracks we had a punk-band next door practicing, Cringeon did an amazing job of filtering that crap out of the drum-mix!

Gavin: What's the reaction to it been like since you put it out?

Rhett:  We're privileged to play shows with great line ups, with much support from prominent supporters of music, and particularly metal. the turnouts dictate to us that people must like what we do.

Skyler: Our friends running maximum distortion, a KRCL broadcasting entity debuted the demo for us on their awesome Wednesday night show. They are kind enough to run it frequently on the program. We've also been seeing play on the Colorado broadcaster Raven Eggs & Kegs.

Driscoll: He means heard... I've noticed a lot more unfamiliar faces at shows since we put the music on the net, so they must like it.

Gavin: You were featured on SLUG's "Localized" concert series back in November. What was that experience like for you?

Rhett:  Very positive. The people at SLUG whom with we interfaced, owner Angela, coordinator Adam, photographer Rubee, and writer Bryer, were very pleasant to work with.

Skyler: The show was very successful and extremely fun to play.

Driscoll: It worked out really well, I liked playing at a place where the stage is just the floor of the club, it's much easier for crazy drunks to run up and commandeer Rhett's mic.

Gavin: I understand you're in the process of doing a full length album. Can you give us any details behind that and how far along you are?

Rhett:  We are finishing up the last couple songs, doing some prepro, rehearsing the album and recording in early April with Andy Patterson.  We are stoked to release the newest material... very brutal.

Gavin: A little state-wide, what are your thoughts on the local music scene, both good and bad?

Rhett:  The truth is, the size and culture of a particular city will dictate how big a 'scene' is.  This is Salt Lake City, not the largest of cities to begin with, but also a city rooted in a religious and traditional culture that doesn't relate to our particular sound or 'scene'.  On the other hand, the people involved in particular subculture will tend to be more passionate about it.

Skyler: I think the population of any and all existing, and potentially existing massively supportive scenes for metal already exist. I believe nostalgia indirectly and adversely dictates what individuals do, and who if any bands they decide to support. Being too particular with events during time away from work, or worrying about other entities noticing their focused energy and letting down any false pretenses implied via lack of communication, is a conscious choice. Choose to support and it will exist, choose not to and it will not.

Driscoll: The scene as with society as a whole harbors few genuinely interested/interesting individuals. I'm glad when said individuals congregate around common passions, tolerating the sheep is a part of it.

Gavin: Is there anything you believe could be done to make it better?

Skyler: Ignore inclinations to gravitate toward nostalgia based decisions. be willing to give, and expect to receive gratitude for these concentrated musical energies, and any other medium. Intentionally neglect the reaction of creating opinions for other entities and energies in creation. Choose to support what you love and share your own appreciations. React, don't convict. Let people know what you think if you like something. don't keep quiet!

Driscoll: Write music for yourself, play music for others. I'm not a fan of people who think it's the other way around.

Gavin: Who would you say are the best acts in our scene now?

Skyler: Is that a request to compromise our social desirability?

Rhett:  Interest in our opinions isn't necessary.

Driscoll: The personal politics involved in the 'scene' requires silence.

Gavin: ...Okay. Moving to the music industry, tell us what your thoughts are on it in general and the current state it's in?

Skyler: It is, along with the rest of the democratically based societies, in disrepair because of a lack of willingness to appreciate and voice assents. That in tandem with the desire to acquire everything you appreciate regardless of method of obtainment, has a very reverse outcome of what your intent may be. Consider the observer.

Driscoll: This subject pisses me off, it's a practical demonstration of all the aspects of people I despise.

Gavin: What do you think of the current trends in music that are getting radio play today?

Skyler: A lot of it, for metal, in the seemingly more popular and coveted youth market is an easy to groove to rhythm that require little to no attention be paid. the four letter word of music. Don't get me wrong though, there is some amazing metal getting airplay in the airwaves. Simply apply your focus to finding a station which warrants your attention. Most people simply listen to their MP3 player anyway.

Gavin: What's your take on file sharing and how it affects you as a musician?

Skyler: It's perfect for discovering new music. I believe, as a listener of music, that the listener deserves the right to evaluate material before purchasing it. If I find myself gravitating to listen to an album I'm previewing twice, or more times, I buy it. Simple as that. Buying stuff online is awesome because you get the album, free stickers, demo discs, packaging from various countries where extreme metal thrives, and the satisfaction of owning the artwork and energy that was focused into the production. If you allow yourself to listen to and appreciate an album that you don't pay for, it's a shame! energy shouldn't be a cheap commodity.

Driscoll: If you respect the music you'll pay for it. if music is just back-ground noise to you then you probably have 10,000 free (and crappy) songs on your MP3 player.

Gavin: What can we expect from you guys over the rest of the year?

Skyler: We're looking forward to playing for the readers of City Weekly in the near future, and are very excited to record and release our full length in the fall.  playing with great bands, and appreciating the appreciation you the listener provide for us.

Gavin: Is there anything you'd like to plug or promote?

Skyler: Maximum Distortion on KRCL 90.9 FM, SLC. Or stream live at their website, Dusty and the family at Club Vegas, Cringeon Audio, Kirk Sample Photography, and every band on our MySpace friends list with particular attention being paid to our top friends list and banner support ring!

Driscoll: Cafe Marmalade.