If you didn’t pick up on Brooklyn band Caveman’s 2011 debut, CoCo Beware, then think fast, and catch it while you can. Their sound is a little bit primal in its beats (as the moniker would suggest), and yet seems to be cast in a soft focus that renders it as beautifully melodic and sweetly resonant as a summer breeze at sunset. Indeed, much of their music seems fitting of a New York sunset spent on rooftops with friends on balmy evenings. We took a moment on the phone with frontman Matt Iwanusa to talk touring, CoCo Beware, Brian Eno, and their delightful new video for “Thankful”…
Portable: So we wanted to talk to you about Caveman’s new album, your debut, which came out last year, and how the band formed. How did you get together?
Matt Iwanusa: Well you know we were all a lot of friends just hanging out in New York City. Cobra and I went to high school together; I’ve known him since I was 13. And then we just met two other bands hanging out at bars and playing random shows and then you know all of our bands just kind of broke up at the same time so it was time to join forces and make a band.
P: How long have you been making music as Caveman?
Matt Iwanusa: It’s been about two years.
P: Is this your first tour as a band?
Matt Iwanusa: This is our first tour doing the entire US at the same time. We did the West Coast back in November, and we’ve done the East side of the country a lot, but this is the first time doing it all at once.
P: Are you going anywhere you haven’t been before?
Matt Iwanusa: Um… I don’t think we’ve been to San Diego…
P: Are you excited about that?
Matt Iwanusa: Oh yeah! I want as much warm weather as possible.
P: You guys are from Brooklyn. Without going into distinctions about genre, which are pretty arbitrary to begin with, do you think there’s a stigma attached to being considered an “indie” or “alternative” band that comes from Brooklyn?
Matt Iwanusa: I don’t really know, for sure.
P: Well do you think people expect certain things of you and your music because of that?
Matt Iwanusa: I’m sure there are some people who do that, but you know, that’s cool. They just have to come out and hear us and make their own decisions.
P: We also wanted to ask you about the video for “Thankful,” which is great. What’s the idea behind that?
Matt Iwanusa: It was our friend Austin Peters who did it, and he basically came up to us with this one idea and then it kept changing into this other idea which turned into what he did. We’re all really happy about it, it looks really great.
P: Is it your first video?
Matt Iwanusa: No, we did another video with this girl named Bianca Butti for “Easy Water” [below] which is a really nice video as well.
P: Do you want to tell us a bit more about the record? What are you influences, musically?
Matt Iwanusa: I guess when we started recording I had been listening to early Brian Eno solo records and we were all getting into Fleetwood Mac’s Tusk together. But I think it was all — we were all — inspired a lot by just hanging out and playing music together.
P: And where did the name “Caveman” come from?
Matt Iwanusa: I don’t know exactly. I think it’s just describing this group of men.