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Thursday, January 28, 2010


Interview with 'Cauda Pavonis' 28 Jan 2010

Firstly please tell us, about how you formed, and what your original intentions were?

Cauda Pavonis was formed in 1998 by Su & Dave. We started as a duo because both of us had been in bands before and we wanted an opportunity to explore a different style of music making.There was nothing out there that was combining live drums with a synthesized backing track and it was a combination that appealed to us. Dave’s music writing is quirky and artistic and Su comes from a more structured classical background and this gave rise to an interesting combination of styles that was greater than the sum of the parts. The band was found in a spirit of creativity and experimentation… and it has continued in that way ever since.

On your site, is mention during your first ever show, an ankle was broken, what exactly happened?

Actually Su fell down the stairs at home and broke an ankle at the very start of the band’s career and we had to cancel a couple of early gigs. However we got back to it very quickly and were able to pick up where we left off from.

Do you find that the visual side of things, is much as important, as the music you create ?

It’s absolutely vital to us to produce a ‘whole package’. We believe that an audience needs to be entertained and that it is a band’s job to provide that entertainment. There is very little point for us in getting on stage without bringing a sense of excitement and theatre to what we do and we make a real effort with costumes and makeup to bring the music to life. That’s not to say that the music doesn’t stand up on its own – it most certainly does – but we like to give that added dimension. We’ve always made an effort with our artwork too. It is carefully crafted to reflect the mood of the music it represents.

It mentions in your BIO, that the album 'Sigil', caused quite a stir at the time, what ingredients do you think this LP had, that made it so potent ?

It’s difficult for a performer to evaluate their own work like this but Sigil was a fantastic album. We really put our hearts and souls into it and perhaps we felt we had something to prove and went all-out to try and show the world that we deserved to be recognised. The truth is that this album was the transition from being an experimental duo to embracing something much more mainstream whilst trying to maintain our experimental edge. It wasn’t easy to do and we had to make some very hard decisions but it proved to be very worth it. Sigil is the first album to really capture the passion that is an integral part of the band and the album on which the Cauda Pavonis sound is established and we’ve built on it steadily ever since.

What was your initial reaction when you were approached by ITV, and with this do you think you were give the appropriate treatment, do you feel you got the correct message across ?

We were initially quite cautious. It’s not uncommon for the media to want to present alternative people as a bit of a joke and we had to be reassured that this was not the intention before we went ahead. ITV did a series of half hour programs about witches, ghosts, dragons and the program about Goths was part of that series. As it turned out the producer was lovely as were the rest of the crew and they took the whole thing very seriously. We felt quite honoured when they decided to use Bloodkiss and Sinner’s Lullaby for the program’s soundtrack. We filmed at Woodchester Mansion – a gothic ruin near Stroud – and in St Nicholas Market in Bristol. It was fascinating to see the filming process and whilst being interviewed is a bit daunting they really made an effort to help us to appear as professional as possible. And it was a huge amount of fun. We all got together on the night it was first screened and although we were all quite nervous at first once the program was over we were delighted with the result. Someone told us that it was the most sensible and sympathetic representation of the gothic lifestyle they had ever seen so it looks as if we did a good job.

You bands name itself, does it have a particular meaning, or a specific person or figure?

Cauda Pavonis is Latin for ‘The Peacock’s Tail’. Su found a reference to it in an alchemical textbook and it seemed very suitable. Alchemy defines states by colour and the multiple colours of the Peacock’s Tail signify the moment of transformation from the mundane to the wondrous. The peacock was also appropriate as a symbol for the visual package with costumes and make-up and, given that we all have day jobs, there is a good deal of ‘transformation’ associated with the band. There is a definite idea of being a different person on stage.

You were described by 'Mick Mercer' in his book '21st Century Goth' as a "Dark duo from UK with a bright future" and by starvox as "The most old school sounding goth since Rozz Williams hung himself." , whats your feeling on this one ?

It’s a tremendous compliment when someone as closely associated with Goth as Mick Mercer or Starvox says something good about your work. It makes all the effort really worthwhile. Every band gets more than its fair share of bad reviews and with the increased popularity of the Internet it’s very easy to see some of the hurtful things people post about you as well as the compliments you get from people who genuinely like what you do. It’s important to hang on to and cherish the good ones – if you let the bad ones get to you you‘d never write anything again.

I love the artwork on all your releases, is this all by one particular artist, and is their any hidden themes, or messages your trying to convey within ?

Most of the band’s artwork has been done by Dave. He has designed all our album covers, poster and promo material. The cover of Wars & Masquerades was done by a local Bristol artist, Jason Heeley, to Dave’s specifications. Each album cover is created to say something about the music and is related to the theme of the album it is associated with. There are a one or two things that are very specific to the band hidden on a couple album sleeves – they are private in-jokes which cropped up during recording. No-one’s spotted them yet and we’re not going to tell!!

The Sigil itself, what can you tell me about it, was designed specifically for the band, or does it have a part in history ?

The Sigil was designed by Dave. He drew it on paper with a ruler and pair of compasses before it got anywhere near a computer. The thirteen feathers in the design are quite significant in that the number 13 is closely associated with the band. Including the space there are 13 characters in ‘Cauda Pavonis’ and all four members of the band have the number 13 somewhere in their date of birth.

Looking at your most recent promo photos, I notice a very strong 'Misfits', look, do you consider them to be a great influence, on your works ?

They’re not really a strong influence musically but we may have a certain amount of attitude in common.The new look was brought in specifically for the Halloween gig in Bremen where we wanted something that would look good and also tie the whole look together. We decided on embroidered shirts that could be modified for each member of the band. The photos have turned out really well.

Lastly your new LP, 'Wars And Masquerades', what can you tell me about it, the World right now seems to be one giant dance around. Is this aimed at out current climate ?

I don’t think we’ve ever aimed anything at ‘the current climate’. We’ve always tried to be original and there’s never been a time where we’ve been writing a song and thought ‘Oh it ought to go like this because that’s what people are listening to at the moment.’ We don’t do dance music and if we decided to wouldn’t be Cauda Pavonis any more. We’ve often been told that we’re not properly ‘gothicbecause we don’t that the right kind of guitar sound or because we don’t use a drum machine. The point of Cauda Pavonis is that we have a personal musical vision and we’ve stuck to that. Admittedly it has developed over the years but it’s still fundamentally the same vision as we had when we started. We primarily make music for ourselves. If we are lucky enough to have other people like it that’s a real bonus. There are people who really like what we do and increasingly we find that we are making music for them as well as ourselves. Wars and Masquerades is simply the best thing we’ve done so far. It was conceived and made with ourselves and our fans in mind and we made an effort to produce stuff that appeals to us and to them. It’s stronger and harder and more polished than what has gone before it but it shows that the combination of passion and originality that has carried us this far is still alive and well.


For more info, and purchase. Please contact this great humble band...


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