Artist Interview - Cassius at Best
Photo Credit: Shaley Bailes (@bailesofshay)
Through much technical difficulty, I was able to catch with my old friend Josh Adams, vocalist for Cassius At Best. Cassius At Best is a three-piece post-punk alternative rock band out of Parkersburg, West Virginia. The trio pulls inspiration from an array of references from their eclectic individual tastes in music. Josh leads with melodic guitar and thought invoking lyrics. He is backed by the smooth bass lines of Cody Engnes and the intricate and pulsing beats of Derrick Taylor at drums. CAB released their full-length album Nothing of the Sort in March and have plans to head back to the studio in October.
Can you give me a quick history of the band?
“We started in 2014, basically the whole idea was to create an outlet for my songwriting that wasn’t really ‘genre locked,’ I guess, ‘cause, you know, we played a lot of metal core and stuff back in the day. Yea, so the idea was to create our own, create my own outlet of song writing…” (Brief pause for major technological failures) “So, yea, I just wanted to begin writing my own songs and kind of explore what I had in my song writing department, and so we just started as a two piece. Derrick and I started most of the songs for the first EP, and then about 2015 we added a bass player, and we recorded the Dead Weight EP. And since then we’ve been just trying to gig regularly and get some recordings done. We released our first album in March this year, and we’re going back in October to record a new EP. That’s pretty much it.”
What’s a typical band practice like for you three hooligans?
“Oh god. So usually we meet after work, we kinda hang out and chain smoke as much as we can and then we’ll either run through our songs in our set which is usually about seven to eight songs, and then lately, because we’re trying to get ready to record again, we’re kind of just bouncing ideas off of each other. So I’ll come in with an idea, Cody has actually brought up a few actually pretty cool bass lines, we’ll bounce them off Derrick and off of each other and see what happens there.”
You’re the lyricist, and you have been accused of using “big words.” Where do you get some of your lyrical inspiration?
“I’ve always liked really wordy bands, I guess? You know, Manchester Orchestra, Say Anything, Coheed; to me, all those bands are, especially in their early days, kinda wordy and they throw out kind of curve balls in their vocabulary, kind of like that new Foxing stuff. So, you know, I just really do what fits the song, if a word comes to mind and it some how fits the tone or if it fits the meter, that’s usually a big thing too, I’ll just go for it.”
Tell me about your album Nothing of the Sort, what was the process like?
“So, this was our first attempt, my first attempt at recording a full length album of any kind. We had thrown together most of the album prior to going out to Neil Tuuri at Amish Electric Chair Studios, so we came with a lot of songs kind of planned out, but a lot of it were ideas that we were working on with our previous guitarist, Jay Maidens. So Jay and I kind of wrote a lot of the songs before Derrick had even heard them and we ended up composing about half the album in the studio. It was about, I want to say, a little over a week that we spent working on that with Neil. So the process was I just kinda threw down a lot of progressions, and song ideas that I had demoed for Derrick, and then he came in for a few days and laid out all the drums pretty much in one day, and he did an awesome job for his first album too, you know, I couldn’t be more proud of him for the work that he did. And then we just kind of worked with Neil, whom I kind of appointed as the producer on that. He has a really endless knowledge of music and it was really cool to have him participate and give us feedback and see what worked and didn’t work as well as we were putting everything together.”
What’s next for the band? Any tours or new music to look forward to?
“So, touring has been the one thing that has been difficult for us to do. We had set up a tour, I think it was back in 2016, we had it all planned out and took time off our jobs to make it happen and then it fell through for whatever reason with who was booking it for us. So, I’m trying to do something hopefully this fall or winter, even if it’s a short run, and we just kind of hit like a circuit in the Mid-Ohio Valley and surrounding areas. But besides that, we’ve got a show in October that will actually be in Columbus on the 19th , and we’re going to be playing with Paper Lung and LATU (Life And The Universe). And then we are going to try to do something in the fall right before we go record, and then late October, around my daughter’s birthday, we’ll be going back to Neil and we’ll probably record four or five songs. I’m thinking it will be four new ones and then we may revisit an old song that I’ve been wanting to re-record for quality reasons.”
You guys don’t have an official band website, you don’t even have a Wikipedia page, I checked. So what’s it like basically existing entirely on social media and via word of mouth in your scene?
“In a lot of ways, it’s been really good for us and it’s really helped us stay connected to everyone we’ve encountered just playing from [Parkersburg] to Athens and Columbus occasionally, and then southern West Virginia. It’s really helped us tie in with everyone. It can be difficult to get recognized on social media sometimes. Particularly Facebook, that’s one we’ve kind of strayed away from. We get a lot more feedback and interactions with our followers on Twitter and Instagram. But as a tool for getting our ideas out, its awesome. You’ll see a lot of bands do it now, they’ll post videos of practice, they’ll post song ideas and clips, and that’s kind of what we do, too. If I just write something acoustic, I may throw it up there and see how it’s received, before the band even hears it sometimes.”
What are you listening to right now? What would you recommend to people?
“Definitely that new Foxing, my fiancée and I have been listening to that a lot. I just checked out that new Alkaline Trio, and I actually like it, there are two songs out right now that I was definitely vibing on. Uh, Ghost City by Delta Sleep… I’ve been listening to a lot of singles, I’ve been listening to the new Foxing, and I’ve been running through that a few times, but I’ve needed some more peppy music too. So there’s a new Say Anything song I’ve been listening to, I’ve been kind of revisiting their music since they announced that they were calling it quits, too. I’ve been listening to a lot of The Cure, particularly Kiss Me Kiss Me Kiss Me. New Basement has been really good, and the new Coheed album is good, what we’ve heard of it so far. I gottastop somewhere or I’ll keep going.”
FMI on Cassius at Best, visit their Facebook Page here, Twitter, or Instagram. For their music check out their Spotify page or Apple Music!