The vocalists Tom of Casey had a moment to share some insights and reflections about their album “Love Is Not Enough” which is out now and about his thoughts on life and music.
Toney: The song “Bloom” began your album perfectly – what were the concept and imaginings behind this song?
Tom: Bloom was the first real departure, lyrically at least, from the typical idea of “love” that I’d written about heavily prior to Love Is Not Enough. Thematically, it’s geared towards an appreciation of self, or I suppose more broadly the idea of “self-care”, but describes a perpetual cycle of blame and isolation, that can be so confining to people with depression and other similar mental health issues.
The “you” mentioned in the lyrics of Bloom refer to depression specifically, rather than a person. I like the chorus of Bloom a lot, I think “too busy pulling out my teeth to bite the hand that made me weak” is a good summary of the overarching concept of that song. I suppose my own interpretation of that line would be “too pre-occupied with removing my own autonomy and confidence to attempt to resolve the roots of my depression”
Toney: Who are you listening to non-stop right now?
Tom: Right now I’m listening to Safe To Say’s album “Down In The Dark” and Julien Baker’s debut “Sprained Ankle” pretty much on repeat, however, a lot my favourite artists have released new music lately so I’m bumping that occasionally too. Ocean Grove released their debut record The Rhapsody Tapes just recently and that’s packed full of bangers, I was lucky enough to get slightly early access to that so I’ve been jamming it for a while, and one of my favourite rappers, P.O.S., released a new album in January called “Chill, Dummy”, so my commute to work never seems too boring.
Toney: Being from Wales, are you finding it easy to co-exist with many of the other mainstream artists?
To be honest there’s very little intersection or direct comparison with what’s going on in the world of mainstream music and what’s happening on the alternative side. Occasionally people will hark out for the “golden era” of Welsh alternative music, but for the most part everyone gets on really well; we’re always super proud to see so many of our friends doing exceptionally well for themselves, and we’d like to believe they feel the same way.
Toney: Can you tell me a bit about your creative process and what that might include on a daily basis?
You’ll have to forgive me if I’m using this quote out of context, as I’m pretty sure he was talking about how religion plays a role in his music, but Rautavaara, the Finnish composer, once said “When a work comes out right, and I’m pleased with it, I feel as if it could not possibly have been myself who made it. I am the midwife, not the mother.” – I think that’s a fascinating way to think about creativity. I’ll be honest and say that songwriting, and more broadly than that creative writing in general, is not something I do routinely. Creativity for me is a compulsion, as I’m sure the swathes of half-finished paragraphs I’ve scrawled on disused notepads would testify to. To keep myself ticking over creatively I would much sooner indulge in the work of others than pen something for the sake of saying I’d been writing. Lately I’ve been in and out of a few Albert Camus books, I think The Outsider was the last one I finished, and also The Unbearable Lightness of Being by Milan Kundera, which was recommended by a friend.
Toney: Who as a band has influenced you from a young age? (Did you start in church, random drumset, or could you always sing)
Tom: Could I always sing? I can’t sing now! Haha. As a matter of fact, I was part of the youth choir in my Primary school, although I wasn’t there for long (s/o to Crumlin High Level, class of 1999). I have a few musical relatives, but my real interest in music didn’t manifest until my early teens when I started broadening my taste in music.
I’ve got a pretty vivid memory of a new kid called Carl starting at my secondary school sometime in my second year there, and he gave me a copy of The Used’s self-titled record. That was my first real exposure to alternative music, and although I don’t think I truly appreciate it then for what I do now, that was what set my creative outlets for the next 12 years into motion.
Toney: Could you describe your bands energy – how does it help when writing and performing your music?
Tom: I’d like to think that we present ourselves as a very intense band live, particularly if we’re playing in an intimate environment. Our music comes from a very sincere place within us, which lends itself well to the performance we try to give. I think it’s easier to invest yourself into a performance if you’re authentic about it. We’re not a jump-all-over-the-place kinda band, we don’t really go that wild when we play save for possibly Max, but the authenticity of the show is something that we’ve received a lot of very nice comments for.
Toney:What would you say were your influences that have helped shape and mold you into the band Casey today?
Tom: I know it’s cliché to say this but everyone in Casey really has introduced their own personal elements to the band, which is why I think we’re able to traverse such a broad spectrum of sounds without it sounding forced or disingenuous. Personally, I come from a background of very lyrically focused music, Toby and Max are both academically accomplished musicians and have learned to appreciate and play a vast array of styles and genres, Liam is a huge fan of traditional emo and shoegaze, and our bassist at the time of forming the band and writing LINE loved more abrasive genres and bands like Converge. So when writing and bringing ideas together it was a big thing to try and incorporate a diverse range of sounds and styles, but maintain a balance that we were all comfortable with.
Toney: What would you like to leave your fans with? – any words of positivity or wisdom?
Tom: I’ve never been great at goodbyes; thank you very much for your continued love and support, and thank you for giving Casey your time and attention, it’s all we could ever ask of anyone. As for wisdom; if you’re going through hell, keep going.
You can order “Love Is Not Enough” here
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Official video for “Darling”
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