Last time I spoke, I spoke on the up and coming artists out of the desert southwest, Cellar and Gustav. I got a chance to sit down with them this last week and speak a little about their plans. They were welcoming and very cool and calm during the whole interview process, like they had been doing this for years. Naturally comfortable I suppose so I dove right into the questions. Here they are in all honesty.
Ok first off just a little background, tell us a little about who you are and where you are from?
Well, we're both from Las Cruces, NM - born and raised. i guess in a lot of ways that's kind of shaped who we are musically and as people in general. James and I grew up together, and we've always been really tight - he's more of a brother to me than anything. We spent a lot of time in college partying and getting into trouble. I remember a time when it was just the two of us in a small apartment and we got tired of having to come out of our rooms so we moved our beds into the living room and set up shop there, kept the refrigerator full of beer and stumbled out of bed everyday, basically just being rowdy and drunk. Then we had a brief stint where we both quit school and drove off to Vegas and then Cali (Palmdale) just because we felt like getting away, California was nice but we didn't find what we needed there. Honestly, I have no idea what we were thinking, but in the end it turned out to be good for both of us. We learned some things and eventually I finished school and we did what we had to do. I guess when you're that young you're allowed to be a couple of stupid fucks.
(Laughs to himself throughout the Gustav's account of the past)
Yeah he has everything just about right. Late nights, partying and drinking way too much. Its amazing that we made it through half the stuff we did. However I took a little detour on my way back to finishing school. I enlisted in the Air Force, I spent some time in Guam, spent some time in South Korea at the DMZ, and lastly I was in Iraq for a little while. Getting to see all that I saw has definitely helped to shape who I am today. I served for a little under 6 years before I was medically retired. I am finishing up school now and working on music.
What made you get into the music business?
For me, I had always wanted to be a singer. I mean, I sing along to practically everything I own and I have always had fun playing with my voice. Besides that, I just love music, I mean really love it. Music just sets the tones and mood for everything in life. There are songs I listen to that take me back to specific times in my life and gives me the full experience of where I was, what I was doing, who was with me, and just how I felt. Its incredibly important to me and so I have always wanted to be part of the creative process and music and singing were just such good outlets for me. I write all my lyrics, and a lot of it was really taken and inspired from a lot of my earlier blogs and poems from when I first moved out to L.A. When i had first gotten out there, it was a really hard time for me, mentally, emotionally, spiritually, and I had so much to say. I mean the experiences you have in L.A. stick with you, its not some place where you go and forget the things you did, and saw. It isn't one of those places where you sit idly by and let your life play out before you and when you look back and reminisce you can't really remember what exactly it is that you did. So a lot of my lyrics reflect that and kind of hearken back to this time that is really such a huge part of me.
I have always been involved in music in one form or another. In high school I was the drummer in a few bands. Playing punk shows at houses and out all over Las Cruces, just trying to find some real music to hold onto and have fun with. When I was stationed overseas I was constantly getting together with other musicians and jamming. I didn't start writing my own music until i was stationed in Ohio. It was my foray into what music you hear today. I bought my first music program and midi controller and that was the start of J Cellar. From there I started working on more and more music. I had one of my songs played at a show here in Las Cruces while I was still in Ohio. It turns out my cousin who was producing some music for a few people here really thought people should hear my song so he took it to this crazy live show where a bunch of experimental electronica, trip-hop, down-tempo, and hip-hop groups were playing and played it live there. According to him people really took to it.
How would you best describe the style of music you play/sing?
I think we've been saying that it's post-modern/down-tempo/trip-hop. whatever that means (laughs). Honestly I don't know, it's really just a mixture of styles and influences. Portishead, Mazzy Star, CocoRosie, David Sylvian, Flunk, Halou - those are big influences for us and so i guess it's really this amalgamation of craziness. I think its best to describe us as something different and something that people haven't heard before.
I like chill out down-tempo. I try a lot of things, some of them work, some don't.
Why do people need to hear your music?
Gustav- I think people should hear our music because it's a unique style, and we've definitely got something to say. not just with our lyrics, but with the music that Cellar writes. He really puts a lot of thought and emotion behind it, so the music by itself really has a lot behind it on its own. That, and we need to get paid, son!
Cellar- I think people need to hear our music to open their minds to everything that is out there. I like to write music that hits you emotionally and mentally. It might not hit everyone the same, but some might feel what we are trying to say musically, and lyrically Gustav's lyrics have a lot of passion and soul behind them.
What inspires you?
Hmm......honestly, and this is going to sound EXTREMELY trite and cliche, but pain and heartache are HUGE inspirations for me. Besides that, life in general, you know? The paths that we all choose to take. You never know where you might end up, and although that's scary, it's exciting too.
Cellar- Everything inspires me.
When can we expect the first full length album to come out?
Jesus..............we're hoping to get it out by February. I mean, that's the plan, but we've been saying that for a while now. Seriously though - soon!
Hopefully February, if not February then later 2010.
When can fans expect to see you play live?
We're planning on throwing album release parties at a couple venues in the Albuquerque, Las Cruces, and El Paso when we finally do release the album, so that's when.
It wont be until after the full length is released.
Would you rather do house shows or bars/clubs?
I don't know. i think i would personally rather do clubs because you can get really creative with lighting and things, but house shows would be great to for the intimacy.
Anything and everything. For our style of music it is important that we have the right type of atmosphere and vibe.
What kind of music are you listening to right now?
Right now, I have Paloma Faith, Lady GaGa, David Bowie, and Blonde Redhead on constant rotation.
Cellar-M83, Explosions in the sky, Jesu,Enigma, Sleepercar, Son Volt.
Where can regular folks expect to find you on a Friday night at midnight?
Right now.......at home probably. I don't get out much lately, and i guess that's a good thing. But seriously, i love hanging at home. It always changing, I can be out and all over town for a month and then nothing but hiding out working on music for a few months.
Same, I am home most of the time. Once in a while I can be found at the few bars around town enjoying a nice cold beer.
If a fan sees you out what kind of drink should they buy you?
Club soda please.
Anything but piss beer. Unless its the wood.(Coors light)
Last question, what would be the perfect show experience?
Thousands of paying, adoring fans (laughs).
Cellar- He would love that. I would like a dimly light place, with people enjoying a few drinks, and getting inspired by our music. Small enough for people to make requests.
Hey well I would like to thank you guys for taking some time out of your busy schedule to sit down and talk with me. I appreciate your time and best of luck. We will be looking forward to the full length and the first live show.
Cellar and Gustav-
Once again that was Cellar and Gustav. Right now we are awaiting with baited breath the release of their first full length album. They do have some music all over the internet for you to hear and enjoy. Please show your support by visiting them at one of many pages that you can find them below. You can also find their music at amazon.com and in the Itunes store, search for Cellar and Gustav.