Have you ever been at a bar late at night and you drunkenly slur to a newly made friend “Let’s start a band”? Normally that dream ends when you sober up and realize it was probably a horrible idea. Not for Cantelope, they all met drunkenly at a bar and immediately started jamming and making some great music. We met up with Cantelope to talk about coming up with their name, traveling as a band, and keeping it simple.
How did you come up with the name Cantelope?
Matt: This band has gone through three member changes since I moved back from Ashville TN. I moved back to my home town and I wasn’t very happy about it so I needed to do something that I would like. I started a band with my friends but the band names came to be we were going to be Brewshemi, the La De Das and then one day we should just name ourselves something simple like a fruit.
I realized all of our songs were about this bad relationship that I had so we decided on Cantelope as in Can’t Elope. This band has to stay in this band and we can’t leave. It is about the fact that you have friends get into a relationship and then disappear. It is sad, I was like that too. I was hiding away in my girlfriend’s butthole for years and I lost all of these connections with the rest of the world because I was trying to make this one thing work. After it did not work I was able to feel the shit around me and be a part of the world again.
Hannah: It is also all about fruit.
So this is the third line up of the band since its conception?
Matt: It was originally me, this kid Collin who moved to Denver, and my friend Liam who was in a band called House on a Spring which was a reggae band from Oswego. He was done doing that; you can’t do reggae for six years and not be bored about it. We all got together and played some songs I had. Collin left and we picked up some kids from Cosmic Sea which was a metal band. That was really fun but then a bunch of us moved. I moved out here.
Within two or three weeks of moving out here I had met these wonderful people and we were in a band. I met Mike when I went to a Harmonica Lewinski show at a bar. I asked if he played music, he said he played guitar. I asked him if he wanted to be in a band, he said yes. I came over to his house, Mike and Chris lived together. We stared jamming drunk and Chris came out of his room. Instead of being mad he started to play. We met Hannah the same way, just drunk at the bar and we all started playing.
Chris: This all happened within two or three days. There is a picture of Hannah, Matt, and I at the Harmonica Lewinski Skylark show for Halloween and I think that’s when the band was a day or two old.
How do you guys write songs?
Matt: I brought the songs that I originally had and we started playing eventually that started getting filtered out as we wrote more songs. Since starting the band we would come up with something randomly, start playing it together, then come back next week and it would be done. It has been an awesome writing process we just tweak things as we go.
Hannah: I think we have about 15 songs we are that we are either working on or ready to play.
Matt: They all come together naturally and that’s why we have sloppy shows sometimes. I am more for the punk rock experience where I don’t care that much if it is perfect. I want it to be fucked up sometimes.
Heather: We all kind of write our own thing based on how we feel it out when we are at practice.
Matt: I would rather see Heather or Chris play what they like and what is comfortable for them to play. I hate bands where one person comes in and says no this is how you play; it is not natural. Just let the song be what it is. You don’t have to force every ace up your sleeve into every song. We don’t want to over complicate things.
Chris: You see a band and know they can do guitar solos but you don’t want them doing that in every song.
Hannah: A lot of that comes from the fact I haven’t played drums in six years. I have been doing guitar and my own projects recently so with drums its more ‘let’s figure it out’.
Matt: I like that though. I could have asked my friend who is a studio drummer and he could have done anything you could hope for with drums. But how available is that dude and how much does he want to invest into this band? I invest everything into this band, I’m 28 years old and I want to be in a band that travels.
Is your main goal with Cantelope to travel?
Matt: I want to able to play different cities. My understanding and experience with any band is that they work really hard and they book their own tours and something usually happens. Something big comes along because they have been working so hard and if not you just keep fucking doing it. Do it until something comes along or it is not fun anymore. Often people take their bands way to seriously. Music is fun, traveling is fun so combining those two things is my life goal.
I was in a band in a punk/hardcore band when I was younger. They got signed and toured Europe for a while and I missed out on it because I was 4 years younger than them, I had family issues going on, I couldn’t leave. I was a sophomore in high school and they were college kids. They could leave to tour or record when they did I had high school, I was a kid and they were in their 20’s in college and could really do whatever they wanted. My person goal is to play Milestones in Charlotte NC. It’s the oldest punk venue in the country; it still has Dead Kennedys and Bad Brains spray painted on the walls when they played there. The place is amazing and I have always wanted to go back and play there.
Do you guys have plans to record?
Chris: We are getting there, my goal is to record. We aren’t playing any shows. We actually cancelled a show. It seems like a lame move to drop a show as a local band but we are going to take February and March off to work on demoing and finalizing songs.