The clandestine thoughts of Cold Cave’s Wesley Eisold pulse over alluring, darkwave dance tapestries that encourage you to move through the decay. After spending the early 2000s recording and touring with hardcore group American Nightmare/Give Up the Ghost, 2007 saw Wesley step into the poetic death dance that is Cold Cave. The project has seen two studio releases, several EPs (one of which was a collaboration with Genesis P-Orridge), and a UK/EU tour with Nine Inch Nails. Their latest single, ‘The Idea of Love’, paints a deliciously distorted, feedback filled portrait of life after sacrificing yourself for another, and in this case, for love. Wes’ storytelling ability is highlighted by the juxtaposition and tension of the deep, enthralling, but movement inspiring sounds that accompany his lyrics. Performing with a revolving lineup (which currently features wife Amy Lee on keys), the group recently completed a two month tour in the states, and are preparing to release a new record and head to Europe in 2017.
Cold Cave performed with Drab Majesty in Austin, Texas in early February. While sharing a beer with a fan, she articulated exactly why the band mean so much to her. “I started listening to Cold Cave right after Love Comes Close came out. What sparked my interest was not only poetic lyrics, but the fact that Wes wrote a book (Deathbeds, 2011). I was going through a hard time, and it opened my eyes to knowing someone out there has gone through it, survived, and made something really beautiful. The lyrics are very telling, it’s one of those bands and you can sit down and think to.”
DiS sat down after with Wesley to nerd out about synths, chat about beautiful revolutions, and to imagine the future.
DiS: You began this winter U.S. tour during a time of massive social and political shifts. What were some of the beautiful moments that stood out despite all the nastiness in the environment right now?
Wesley Eisold: I’m looking and clinging to control in times of chaos. My immediate world is most important at all times but especially in turbulence. I’m not very social and don’t keep a lot of company. I like the few people in my life and I like playing music to the people who come to see me play. This was the definition of [2011’s] Cherish The Light Years. Learn to be a rock in the ocean when the tides come crashing in. My family is beautiful. This last tour we just finished in the US was beautiful. The crowd was beautiful. Revolution can be beautiful.
Drab Majesty had a great opening set. How did this tour combo come about?
I liked the record and thought it’d be a great tour. Dais, who released the first Cold Cave single, releases their records.
You have a lot of experience in the music industry as a touring musician with American Nightmare and other groups before you introduced the idea of Cold Cave. You recently stated that the cyclical nature of releasing full lengths and touring behind it is "uninteresting and tired". This seems to be the sentiment with a lot of modern musicians. In this ever changing community, what are some of the things you see in the possible future for musicians having greater control over their output?
I think only the strong willed will possibly have a future. I’m hoping for clearer vision. I like individuals, artists, bands who have that clarity. And to be clear, I’m not saying making and touring on an album is a bad idea... I think only doing that is tired, predictable, and in someone else’s best interest. People will be able to have their work heard and appreciated and find an audience without the built-in industry.
Are you still planning to release the album Sunflower as a full length?
The record that I know as Sunflower is very near complete, but I really grew to love the sporadic isolated releases. I’m sure the songs will see the light of day, one day.
You also have a publishing company, Heartworm Press, where you recently released a poetry book, Thieves Of Youth. At what point does a poem inspire you to use it as a song? What influences your decision?
Sometimes poems sound musical and sometimes not. It depends on how sexy they are. If it moves. Music can emphasize words and vice versa, and other times silence and imagination best suits us.
The only synth I'm aware of you using is the EDP Wasp. What are some of your favorites and what do you look for in choosing synths?
The Arp Solina and Korg MS20 for all intents and purposes will always be my favorites synths. I suppose the Casio SK1 too. I started Cold Cave on a SK1 and still use it live, although we’ve gone through almost 20 of them now.
Congrats to you and your wife, Amy Lee on the recent birth of your son. I know Amy Lee did the video for ‘The Idea of Love’. I love that the cigarette imagery is almost like looking down the barrel of a gun. What type of visuals inspire you all?
Minimalism. We are fans of no budget or an extremely high budget. I feel embarrassment for the middle.
What does the remainder of 2017 hold for Cold Cave? Do you have any plans to tour Europe?
We are headed overseas in March and then more tours throughout the year. New records. New ideas. New love.
For more information about cold Cave, including upcoming tour dates, please visit their official website.
Photo credit: Alex Freeman