Interview: The Cape Race

With a blend of straight-up rock and powerful pop sensibilities, Manchester's The Cape Race have gradually been making a name for themselves in the past few months and it's likely to continue with the release of the band's free debut mini-album, 'Now, Voyager'.

Formed from the ashes of The Honeymoon Suite, The Cape Race is a more mature and focused band with, 'Now, Voyager' being a collection of vibrant and sensible songs.

Alter The Press! recently spoke to vocalist David Moloney about the new band's debut release, the decision to release it for free, working with producer Peter Miles and more.

Alter The Press: Several members of The Cape Race were originally part of The Honeymoon Suite. Could you tell us why that band ended and how has the transition to The Cape Race been?
David Moloney (vocals): Writing the music and performing the songs by the end of The Honeymoon Suite became such a chore. It wasn’t happening naturally to the point where we’d have to force ourselves to churn out the kinds of songs people would expect to hear from us. The whole of the last THS EP is the sound of a band not being themselves. It started to feel contrived, and we got tired of being part of that scene with those types of bands. The Cape Race was a natural progression of where our tastes had headed at that point. We made a conscious decision to write the way we wanted to write and not the way we felt we had to.

ATP: How does The Cape Race's sound differ to The Honeymoon Suite?
David: It’s a lot more honest. Musically we’re a lot more willing to play with formulas and dynamics but at the same time, it’s still very much melody driven music. Lyrically it’s a lot more personal and introverted than anything by The Honeymoon Suite. The vocals are a lot more emotive and real as opposed to the polished, saturated tones that were very much a part of the THS sound.

ATP: How has the reaction been to the changes?
David: At first it was kind of muted, which we pretty much expected. We arrived with a completely different sound and a handful of self –recorded demos in the hope that to some extent the same people who liked and followed THS would be into it. For the most part they weren’t, so it was very much like starting from scratch again. In the long run it was probably the best thing that could have happened because it came without the pressure of trying to please the same people with the same tastes. It gave us a lot of freedom when we started to write for our debut.

ATP: Soon you're releasing a mini album called 'Now, Voyager'. What's the story behind the title?
David: It’s from a short poem called ‘The Untold Want’ by Walt Whitman. It’s about people who don’t settle for what they are given and take it upon themselves to better their situation and create the life they want for themselves. I thought it was a good summation of The Cape Race and how it came to be.

ATP: You worked with acclaimed British producer Peter Miles on release. What was it like working with Peter and what did he contribute to the record?
David: Working with Pete was easily the most enjoyable recording experience I’ve been a part of. You work with some producers who seem jaded and detached from their job to the point where they’re phoning it in. Pete is in love with music and devoted to getting the best from the bands he works with. He also completely understands that different bands like to work in different ways and lets the whole process come about very organically. It doesn’t surprise me how in demand he is, I’m proud he decided to work with us and feel privileged to have been able to.

ATP: So far you've released two singles from the album, 'They're Young, They're In Love' and 'Little Whites'. Was there any reason why these two tracks were the first to be released?
David: 'They're Young, They're In Love' was a bit of a no brainer. It has a breezy, summery vibe and a huge, memorable chorus we wrote it around. It’s quite a dark song lyrically but is essentially proud to be a pop song. Although it doesn’t quite cover the spectrum of what we are as a band I think it’s a really good place to start so was an obvious choice to introduce ourselves. On the other hand ‘Little Whites’ is on the opposite side of the spectrum. It’s a very urgent, almost aggressive song that we felt better showed the overall sound The Cape Race strive for. We knew it might alienate people who got so into the first single so it was interesting to see how people reacted to it.

ATP: How has the feedback been to both songs?
David: 'They're Young, They're In Love' got exactly the reaction we hoped it would. The feedback we got from it was overwhelmingly positive and put us in a great position for everything we’ve followed it with. ‘Little Whites’ didn’t quite have the same impact but we knew it was a gamble when we decided it would be the follow up. It’s very much a fan’s song and a lot of people’s favourite on the record

ATP: You've already released videos for both singles. How did they come together?
David: We’ve been working with our good friend Duncan Howsley from Lab Exposure on all the visual aspects of Now, Voyager. The first video came about on a whim whilst we were recording in Hampshire. It was Duncan’s first music video and I think it stands up well and perfectly captures the vibe of the song. The video for ‘Little Whites’ was a lot less organic, Duncan had the idea of projecting timelapse footage of Manchester over the band in different locations around the city to give an idea of where we’re from and reflect the themes of the song. We got to film in a loft where 24 Hour Party People was filmed which was incredibly cool, and again on a freezing hilltop at 2am which was a lot less enjoyable!

ATP: I understand there will be videos for all six songs on the record?
David: That’s right. Duncan approached us with the idea before we’d filmed anything. We thought it would be a really interesting way of exploring the songs further and give ourselves and Duncan a great opportunity to be creative and innovative with the concepts. We have the next one finished and some really exciting ideas for what’s coming next.

ATP: 'Now, Voyager' is set to be released for free. What was the decision behind this?
David: We decided the most important thing was that people heard it. We spent a lot of money recording with the right producer, money that we never really planned on making back when we spent it! We’re proud of the record and the more people that hear it the better. I think in these times it’s important to be aware of how vital it is to be accessible to people. This gives us complete control of how and where it’s available. At shows we’ll have email capture banks set up as opposed to conventional mailing lists on a merch table. We can send people the record, for free, by the time they get home from the gig. The response has been fantastic and we’re excited for everyone to finally hear it.

ATP: What reaction are you hoping people will have after hearing 'Now, Voyager'?
David: We’ve had the finished versions of every song on the album for over 8 months now, so we’ve got to the point where it’s hard to be objective about it. We’re proud of every song on there and really hope people will respond to and enjoy each of them as opposed to just the singles or whatever. We worked hard to make it work as a whole and so I really hope people will enjoy it that way.

ATP: What are the band's current live plans?
David: When we feel like enough people want us to tour, we’ll do a tour! Until then we’re happy to take up the opportunities that come our way and try and give a good account of ourselves.

'Now, Voyager' by The Cape Race is released for free on July 4th and is now available for pre-order here.

Official Website
The Cape Race on MySpace, Facebook, Twitter, Tumblr, Youtube and Vimeo.

Sean Reid

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