we caught up with casper skulls for an intimate interview
question: We are loving your new song “Monument.” Can you tell us a little about the backstory of that song? When was it written and recorded?
answer: (Mel) “Monument” was actually written at Monument Valley in Utah when we were on tour in 2018. We were staying at a cabin near by and I could see wild horses wandering the desert and the mountains surrounding us. I felt really inspired so I started writing “Monument” on the porch there. Aurora and I then woke up really early to catch the sunrise that was rising over the sandstone buttes and I remember feeling this melancholy feeling contrasted with just pure happiness of seeing this with my own eyes. I started thinking about legacy, death, history but more importantly what land I was on that day which was the Navajo Nation Reservation. As time passed the song “Monument” started to take on new meanings for me. It was initially written about what makes a monument and what would a monument for my own death be? I then began to reflect on religious rituals of monuments and thought about why some monuments out there even exist and what is their purpose? Some are just evil or are beacons of colonialism and murder. It’s hard not to think about it. Our newest record ‘Knows No Kindness’ is also inspired by Georgia O’Keefe and observing the small things that sometimes get left behind so having this experience in the desert made me feel a lot more connected to her since she would also take to the desert for inspiration.
question: What’s it like being in a four piece band with four different personalities? How long have you been playing music together?
answer: (Mel) Neil, Fraser and myself have been playing music together since 2015 but Aurora is the more recent addition since 2018. We are very fond of the collaborations we get to make with each other. Our personalities are all pretty varied so we all tend to bring different strengths to the band.
question: How long has the lead singer on “Monument” been singing? What’s your favorite song you have written together?
answer: (Mel) I’ve been singing since I was very young. It was one of my favourite things to do growing up. I started off by recording over cassette tapes from the radio of songs I wanted to sing along to. Then singing along to a lot of pop music CDs when I was a bit older. My favourite CD to sing along to was ‘C+C Music Factory’. I knew all the lyrics to the album “Gonna Make You Sweat” and I would use my dads microphone pretending I was in the band. Before I knew how XLR cables worked, I thought I had broken his mic because the cable came out. I hid the mic in complete horror thinking I had ruined his microphone. He found it days later and nothing was wrong with it to my surprise. I also took vocal lessons growing up but I found I got a lot more out of singing music I actually liked at home. I was always pretty shy about my voice so I’d sing loud and true when my family wasn’t home.
question: Who are some influences on the band? What’s the landscape and music scene like where you are located?
answer: (Mel) We have a lot of different musical influences but mainly at the moment it’s definitely Neko Case, Gillian Welch, Sonic Youth and Radiohead. These few always stay with us and are definitely on repeat. For landscape influences definitely northern Ontario is a big influence on our latest record. A lot of the songs are about growing up in small northern towns which is where Neil and I are from so it comes out pretty naturally.
question: What was the most fun and most difficult parts about creating your album ‘Knows No Kindness’? Do you have an ultimate goal for Casper Skulls?
answer: (Mel) I loved working on the arrangements for the record. It was so fun to watch any of us have a really neat idea that we’d want to try out, whether it would be Neil hearing a piano part and wanting to try it out on the fly in the studio or even as outlandish as me recording the sound of a chain smacking a piece of wood for a percussion effect on the song “Knows No Kindness.” I live for these crazy little moments and cherish them so much. They can push songs in really great production territories. In terms of goal I think as long as we’re able to make honest records and enjoy ourselves in the process; that’s the goal.
we are truly inspired to take a trip to monument valley and we want to say thank you for the interview