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Caskets’ Sophomore Album Is A Reflection On The Band’s Synergy

Caskets Summer 2023

Leading up to the release of their sophomore album Reflections, idobi had the opportunity to sit down with Caskets’ frontman Matt Flood to delve into the band’s creative journey. Their debut album, Lost Souls, came to life during the pandemic, a time of uncertainty and innovation. Flood reflects on this period, discussing how the unexpected lockdown found the band in a shed recording everything on the debut collection. This experience, although unconventional, taught them valuable lessons in resilience and adaptability before venturing into their sophomore LP.

Across Reflections, it’s evident that Caskets forged unity amongst themselves, allowing for a more collaborative process. Their growth as a unit facilitated open dialogue during the writing and recording process, resulting in an album that is truly reflective of each member’s personal experiences.

Watch more: Roe Kapara Performs “Everything’s Fine (Nuke’s Song)” Live At idobi Studio

Reflections embodies this collective spirit, with each song serving as a reflection on past moments or personal experiences. By channeling their diverse influences, the band created a well-balanced album that captures their evolving identity.

As the album comes to life on streaming platforms today, Caskets emphasizes the genuine energy they infused into every track, aiming for a connection with their audience on a more profound level. With themes that resonate deeply and a commitment to delivering their best, Reflections is a poignant journey through Caskets‘ growth and transformation as artists and individuals. Dive into the full interview with Matt Flood of Caskets below.

I want to talk to you about the journey from your debut album to know your forthcoming sophomore album. Do you at all think that, in the long run, the pandemic was a blessing in disguise? 

It was a blessing in disguise. But it was weird, because of the lockdown, we weren’t able to go into a studio and record it. We actually recorded everything apart from the drums was recorded in a shed in Chris’ [McIntosh] back garden, so it was quite small. 

The difference between going through that experience and then being able with this album, being able to actually sit in a proper studio and have everything around you that you need right there and to be able to go through that experience, was one that I’ve learned a lot from. Obviously, I’d never been able to do that before because we’d been in the shed the first time. But from the first album to the second album, obviously, we did a lot with it. We did a lot of touring, which meant we spent a lot of time together, and we basically know each other in the band, in and out. I mean, we know what everyone likes, what everyone does, how to wind everyone up, how to chill everyone out. And that’s made us create a more open dialogue with each other when it comes to writing music now. 

So as with the first album, it was more about me and what I’ve been through in my past. With Reflections, I wanted it to be about all of us. I wanted everyone to have a say in everything. So we were a lot more open and vocal about what we wanted and what we wanted the album to be. Basically, what we wanted to add to it and what type of direction we wanted to go in. So the journey so far has been a wild one. And we’ve been through a lot with the name change and stuff like that, but it has helped us all grow as people and as a band.

Jumping off of everything that you guys went through: getting the debut album out, the name change. How did those personal experiences and interpersonal differences within the band shape the overall songwriting and direction of Reflections

Everything we’ve gone through over the past year and a half or so since the first album has helped us grow as people and as a band. We know each other so much better now through all the touring and stuff like that. It’s made us more comfortable to be able to talk to each other in a more open manner when it comes to music. Because people are sometimes scared to voice their opinion against something that the rest of the band might think is a really good thing, you know? It’s given us that openness to that dialogue that I think a band really needs to be able to write to be a successful band — nevermind write a successful album.

But I wanted to make sure that everybody had their say on this album. So like James [Lazenby], our drummer, can have his say on a song lyrically while he’s behind the drum kit. So they’ve come forward a lot more in this album with lyrics. I’ll think of guitar ideas, and Chris will think of drum beats. So it’s helped. It’s helped us grow, and I feel like we’re only just starting to flourish. I feel like we’ve got a lot more. We’ve got a lot more in the tank.

Oh, I agree. I agree. Given that you guys really opened up to each other in terms of ‘Let’s make this together, let’s make this about collective experiences’ and not solely on just one individual. Is there a song on Reflections that you personally think is almost a mantra of the band, something that really expresses who you guys are as a unit? 

Yeah, I’d definitely say the last song that we actually released as a single [earlier this year], “Better Way Out.” We want our music to change people’s lives. We do this because we want to be the ideal model for a kid growing up wanting to be a musician.

I know that you’ve already shared a little bit about the writing and recording processes in terms of being really collaborative with the group. But how did you guys ultimately end up being able to refine the album to what we’ll experience on Reflections

It was a grind this time around, I’m not going to lie. But we also had two other songwriters helping us on the album. We had Philip [Strand] from Normandie, and we had Tom [Prendergast] from Bury Tomorrow. I feel like if you have more brains working on a project, you’re going to come up with three times the awesomeness rather than just one brain working on it. So collaborating with other people is also a massive reason why I do this kind of thing. 

And you’ve also got Telle Smith from The Word Alive on the album. How did that happen? 

So I’ve been talking to him for quite a while on social media. We had [the track] “More Than Misery,” and we knew that we wanted to get a feature on it. I used to listen to a lot of The Word Alive when I was a bit younger when Telle did a lot more screaming. So the idea just floated out there like, ‘We could get Telle to try and do some screaming on it,’ because he doesn’t really do that much nowadays. So I thought it’d be a nice surprise for everyone. We just put it out there, and he agreed. We got it done, and I think it took the song to another level.

Watch more: Telle Smith Shares Why The Word Alive Needed A ‘Hard Reset’

So you’ve mentioned that the first album was very personal for you, just based on the circumstances you were in and how you approached the album. But with your sophomore album, it is very reflective of all of your lives as a unit and as individuals. You know, the relationships that you guys have with each other and externally as well. How did these personal experiences and reflections shape the themes and the lyrics across the album? 

So we called the album Reflections because we all wanted each song to reflect on a previous moment in one of our lives or a moment that one of us has gone through. And so that meant that we needed to be a lot more open with each other and honest with each other about things. I think that that helped bring a more positive attitude towards the writing process. On the first album, I’d sit there, and I’d really worry about having to sing in front of people, even in the studio, even with my own bandmates.

Was it hard for you guys, given how personal the first album was, to open up to each other more and to shed any type of ego that might be in place? Obviously, the experience definitely got you brought you guys all a lot closer. But were there any difficult moments that you can recall while you were working on the sophomore album? 

Not for me personally, because I feel like when I went through all that in the first album, I knew going into it, even going into the EP, as a frontman, you’ve got to put everything out there. If you want to make sure that your music is genuine and people believe what you’re singing and what you’re saying, you’ve got to give whoever’s listening or watching everything of you. So for me, it wasn’t that difficult. 

I can’t really speak on behalf of the other boys, but I can imagine it. I can imagine it would have been difficult for them. It was very difficult for me, but that’s something you’ve got to take on the chin. It’s a part of the art if you want to take this career seriously and have a long-term objective in it. You’ve got to be able to give your fans everything of you basically. It’s the same for in the writing process and in the music. The fact that we’ve worked the album around that way of writing, I feel like if we wrote the same way as we did on the first album, I don’t think we’d have got half the songs out on this album. 

When listeners get to hear this amazing collection, what message do you hope that they take from that? Obviously, it may be different from what all of you as a collective group have taken from it. 

All I care about is, is that people understand the message that we’re trying to portray and that they know that we mean it. We don’t write songs just for the sake of writing songs. We want every song to have taken everything out of us to write; emotionally, physically, everything. That’s what I want everyone to take away from the album, if you work the hardest you can possibly work, the end result will be way better than the result if you’d have half-assed it, let’s say. I just want people to feel the genuine energy in it and to love it like we love it. 

You guys have injected a lot of really unique elements into the album. There are very obvious influences from hardcore and metalcore, but there are these soft moments as well. How did you guys go about striking a balance between very juxtaposing elements across the tracklist? 

Well, I think that’s one of the main things that Craig [Robinson] and I were doing while going through the album process from start to finish. From picking which demos you want to use to the end process, you always want to get that balance right. I’m a sucker for a ballad and an acoustic track, so I always want at least one on an album. The balance is all about where to place it.

On the first album, we just put “Hopes & Dreams” right in the middle. We felt like it complemented the second half of the album. Whereas with this album, I worried about it a lot because there’s “Silhouettes,” which is a softer song, but there’s also the ending track, “Better Way Out.” We decided to use that as the ending track because of the fade out at the end and the message. And we wanted the listener to have the freshest message from a song off the album. We spent days putting it in different places on the album. It started as second, and we played the album. Then we put it to third, and then we all decided that it should go where it is now. I feel like you’ve just got to make the decision, and once you’ve made it, you trust it.

What do you personally think are the goals of the band in the future? And how do you envision the band’s future growth and exploration into deeper waters with your music? 

My philosophy is to stay in your own lane and not think about what anyone else is doing around you. We had a five-year plan when we started the band, and we did it in two and a half years. It was absolutely insane. It’s still crazy now. So the long-term goal is to keep grinding and trying to perfect our art as much as we can. We want to give the fans what they want, and we try our very best to do that. I mean, we’re still learning every day. I’m still learning my craft every day, and I will never stop learning. So to me personally, to be as good of a frontman for this band as I can possibly be. 

You mentioned you had a five-year plan and you were able to accomplish it in two and a half years. With that being said, what would your advice be to other artists who are in the stages of emerging? What advice would you give them? 

Believe in what you’re doing and make sure you know exactly which path musically you want to take. You need people around you that see your vision and see you making that vision become a reality. Again, stay in your own lane, and believe in your art, just go all out for it, man. Dreams are there to be made realities.

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