INTERVIEW: Oakland’s Cave Clove

Can you talk to us more about your latest single “Edge of Emergency”?

Yes! This song came about because the past couple years have felt so insane on both a personal and global level. Things seem to spiraling, reaching a rock bottom or tipping point so to speak. We need a total paradigm change. The tools we’ve been using are no longer working. It’s scary and overwhelming, and if we want to swim instead of sink it will involve tremendous amounts of experimentation and risk taking. It’s painful to realize that your world is rapidly self-destructing, but there is also a glimmer of hope that we’re being forced into meaningful change. I started writing Edge of Emergency in a moment of desperate readiness for this change.

Did any event in particular inspire you to write this song?

Well, I believe it was in a moment of realization that I’d once again replaced one unhealthy coping mechanism for another instead of facing the actual challenges at hand.

The single comes off your new album Dollars To Tokens – what’s the story behind the title?

The title Dollars to Tokens was inspired by a trip to Reno with the band. We were there playing a festival and another musician playing the festival asked me if I liked gambling. I said “not really” because I’ve genuinely never been compelled or interested. He said “yeah I feel like most musicians I know don’t like gambling. Maybe it’s because our whole lives are already a big gamble.” That really struck me and I had fun exploring this theme. As artists we pour everything we’ve got into this work that may or may not mean anything to anyone else, and the chances of making a decent living from it are slim. The sacrifices we make to follow our dreams are both frightening and breathtakingly beautiful. The title also speaks to the courage it takes to show up in the world and move through challenges instead of numbing out from them. Either way it’s a gamble… We have no guarantees that the things we want will come into fruition, but we might as well try. Also on the flip side, when my fears of those things not panning out have overpowered the courage to try for them, the tools I use to cope with that pain are risky themselves in terms of their effects on my health.

How was the recording process?

We had best time recording with Chris Daddio at Donut Time. He’s a friend of mine, and I have been a fan of his band Everyone is Dirty for years. I decided to approach him about recording Cave Clove quite spontaneously but confidently, after being so moved and impressed by Everyone is Dirty’s most recent album at the time My Neon’s Dead, which Daddio recorded.

What was it like to work with Chris Daddio and how did that relationship develop? How much did he get to influence the album?

Chris Daddio is special guy. He’s definitely a genius, and his personality is the best combination of salty and supportive. He pushed us. He believed in the power of the songs and in us as musicians and knew when we could do better and wasn’t afraid to make us redo takes. His recording studio, Donut Time, is in his house. He’s got great gear but it’s still amazing that he gets such good sounds out of a home studio.

What role does Oakland play in your music?

Both Everyone is Dirty and Cave Clove have been holding it down in the Oakland rock scene for years and it felt really special to keep it in the family. Us musicians and artists that are left here in the Bay Area gotta support each other! I think that having lived in Oakland for that past 10+ years as it’s changed so tremendously has played a bigger role in my music than I realize. It’s hard to survive here, and it’s easy to forget that when you’re in the thick of it. When we tour I’m constantly reminded that it’s actually easier for artists to survive in cities aren’t the most expensive city in the world. If it weren’t for my band and the strong community I’ve built here over the years I probably would have left by now.

Would you call this a departure from your previous musical work?

I would call it a refinement of our sound more than a departure. Our musical influences as a group are really all over the place, so it’s taken time to sort how that plays out in our work, and I feel like we were finally able to embrace and harness the soul meets prog meets folk meets rock thing we have going on on the Dollars to Tokens EP.

What were some of the emotions you got to dig up on this record?

Oh man, so many. My biggest musical value is that I want songs to make me feel. Where my musical technique may be lacking I definitely fill that in with a healthy dose of emotion 🙂 I worked a lot with the roller-coaster of panick and disgust to gratitude and determination in these songs. There is a thread of calm and content throughout the album as well, because as I went into the emotional roller-coaster I also realized that everything is fine and that I’m in exactly the right place at the right time.

How did you get to balance both the dark aspect of the topics with the much bright conclusions?

I can’t help but do this. It feels too bad to stay stuck in the darkness. I am so lucky that I have the ability (after much practice) to see the beauty in everything, even in the things that challenge me the most.

Where else did you find the inspiration for the songs and lyrics?

I have been studying practices and principles of shamanism and indigenous wisdom for some years now. Insights and attitudes I’ve developed through those studies play a huge role in my songs and lyrics. Shamanism is basically the oldest form of spirituality, and there are common threads across cultures. It’s been really fun to create and subscribe to meaning in my life, after years of grappling with the fear of meaninglessness.

Any plans to hit the road?

The band will be doing some west coast dates this summer. We’ll be hitting the Pacific Northwest and Southern California, as well as Reno and Boise. Hoping for a southern US tour in the fall.

What else is happening next in Katie Colver’s world?

I just moved out of a house I’d lived in for 5+ years and put all my stuff in storage and now I’m in a temporary living situation through most of the summer. After that I have no idea where I’ll go or what I’ll do. It’s exciting! Hopefully more touring. Not having home is a great excuse to get on the road.

For a comprehensive list of Cave Clove’s forthcoming tour dates, please visit:

About RJ Frometa

Head Honcho, Editor in Chief and writer here on VENTS. I don't like walking on the beach, but I love playing the guitar and geeking out about music. I am also a movie maniac and 6 hours sleeper.

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