Australia, aside from being an island where Bill Bryson famously said is surrounded by teeth, is one of the hub’s for Prog. Currently nurturing their home grown talents of Ne Obliviscaris, Karnivool and one band that have been making some real noise Caligula’s Horse. Set to unveil their brand new record In Contact this week, Caligula’s Horse are paving the way for Progressive Metal bands. Taking on the theme of the lofty idea of art in itself, In Contact is a concept album not for the faint hearted yet easily accessible. One of their heaviest releases to date, perhaps the difference in sound is down to a recent changing of the guard with one Adrian Goleby. Originally a man behind the scenes, Goleby has now been welcomed into the C Horse (as the Aussies call it) family as their brand new guitarist.
A whole world away I’m patched through to hear a decidedly jovial Adrian and why shouldn’t he be! In Contact is not only a masterclass in the idea of concept but Goleby’s made his own mark in the imprint of Caligula’s Horse. With the future a very bright prospect, its ironic then that the band’s latest release could be their most vitriolic to date.
“If Sam got angrier because I joined the band I think that would be a bad thing hahaha! No I joke, I think maybe Sam had more genuine interest in returning to more heavier riffs. From what we talked about, just in meetings and things like that. We talked about Pantera for a long time once! That groove. I wouldn’t call it a main influence but we all have really fond memories from that Pantera groove. Bringing up “Walk’ in itself having the most well delivered grooving. Its all about finding that groove, in the first couple of seconds of the song finding out what its about.”
Introducing our new guitarist extraordinaire, Goleby hasn’t just come out of nowhere. Despite proving that he had more than his fair share of chops on the guitar, Goleby’s initial role was more of a backstage man. Responsible for some of the bands fantastic music videos, despite perhaps not being a performing member, Goleby has always been with Caligula’s Horse.
“I’ve actually been behind the scenes for a very long time! I did all their music videos. I’m actually working on one as we speak! It was peculiar! I worked with everyone in such a big capacity. Jim and I had been in a band called Arcane prior to this, I had worked with that band, I kind of knew everyone. The C Horse family is very small.”
Approaching with trepidation, enlisting a new member is no small feat. Ensuring that not only can the guitarist perform to Caligula’s Horse’s intimidating ability but was also able to simply hang with the band was an essential component too. When I first put on In Contact immediately the band had evolved to a far more heavy sound than that which was showcased on the likes of Bloom but what did having this new member bring to the table?
“As far as with the different tools, it sort of gives the guys something else to work with as far as dividing parts. Whether it be from recording to rehearsing, to delivery, you’re going to approach a guitarist in a different way. I think that what I really Brought is probably an undeniable sense of optimism and a shitload of video editing skills haha!”
Refraining from a rehashing of the positive hues of Bloom, this time round Caligula’s Horse opted for the more muted colour tones that can be seen in the records artwork. Working throughout varying levels the album cover not only tells a different tale with its colour but is a far more straightforward depiction of the universe that our story takes place in but how was it conceived?
“As far as the kind of interaction goes, there wasn’t really a set idea put forward. They just let him kind of run with it. Think of the word the Dreamers, I think the dream concept and the guys kind of flying around the moon. There will still be moments where we will look at it and see a single ray of light that none of us had seen before that. It wasn’t too meticulous, you just let the expert go with it and be happy to be around the artistry. I actually got to handle the original painting! I think the photo on the front might well be the photo that I took and edited it to make sure it was all there. Handling the oil painting itself was totally surreal. We set it all up to do photos, just smelling it was a highlight haha!”
Giving meaning throughout various different mediums, the albums title is somewhat of an enigma. Potentially symbolising the physical contact humans have with one another or perhaps the idea of being in contact with someone. Its interpretations are manifold, like the music itself, though Goleby’s interpretation is an interesting one.
“The concept of the album and the way that I have chosen to interpret it, the guys have written it in a few different avenues of how you can interpret it. One being more literal. An idea of everyone reaching for an idea that they had when they were together, reaching for the dream where all creativity and essence of artistry comes from.”
The more we spoke, I pointed out perhaps it could have to do with the idea of genesis of art. Running with the idea, Goleby shed some more light on the records conceptual arc. One of the many different interpretations that could be seen for the record, which works on an innumerable amounts of layers.
“Genesis is such a cool word for it. Its an interesting one. There’s four chapters of the album. Each chapter represents a different artist. For example a painter and a sculptor and various other artists, they tell their tales separately trying their best to try and reach for that original dream. What inspired them or what motivated them. Its a really human story, it doesn’t go down a literal narrative but it paints all the pained Jim Grey stories haha! He’s a sad, sad man haha! Sometimes you just want to pat him on the back and tell him everything is going to be ok! His demeanour is so open, I remember him talking to me about this. My old band used to rehearse next door to Caligula’s, Jim and I would go to the gym after rehearsals usually and he took me through the entire concept.”
A staple in the Prog make up, the concept is something that is embedded into the genre. A hard sell in the modern day, despite the resurgence peoples attention spans are changing and sadly shortening by the day. The likes of social media are all governing, as we slowly but surely become more and more absorbed by technology, we become more and more passive in our decision making. Scolling endlessly seeing the likes of click bait articles, that capture our fleeting glance.
“I don’t know how you can have an attention span sometimes. There’s so much information presented to you and there’s constant questions. Especially because the internet validates our opinion even if its terrible, it just takes one dickhead to agree with you. Have you seen this then you have to form an opinion before you can have one. Its like reading half a book and then giving a book review. I think people, myself included find it hard to stay on task. Music especially, it just blows my mind. I’ve learnt a lot just by listening to Sam about the production. What he listens for in the production, when he’s producing music. He’s a very experienced guy so its worth listening to him.”
With that in mind, we thought that it would it would be fun if we thought of something in the vein of what one might deem clickbait titles! Banding together we thought that it would be appropriate to find out just who Adrian’s top three Australian bands would be!
“Number one, In Contact by Caligula’s Horse hahahaha! No, no! I would have to say number one, would be Savage Garden! Just because of that Affirmation album. Its just disgusting Pop but when you hear it as a kid it just changes your formation of life. Number two this is for real, it would be probably Bloom. I do love that album as a fan too. It was sort of surreal coming to the band being such a big fan, as a guitarist you listen to Caligula’s Horse and you just think “Give me a go!”. I have to say as far as another band was He Danced Ivy! I did a clip for them ages ago. Its everything that you want to hear but its also really clever. There’s my top three Australian bands all the way.”
As mentioned previously though, aside from being a worthy successor in the canon of Caligula’s Horse, Goleby has been first and foremost a man behind the scenes. Having another passion for editing, unbeknownst to us we have been seeing Goleby’s handiwork for quite sometime. Handling every music video from their Bloom record, Goleby is an editing genius. Be it filming the band themselves or creating the vibrant backlighting and visual effects that accompany their incredibly professional videos, its not just been a past time of his. Here is a perfect example of another video all directed by the man himself!
“Thats pretty much been my work for the last three or four years, thats all I do! If I get corporate shows then I get paid but its rare! Well ironically I did the new Ne Obliviscaris video, I did the new Voyager one. The goal is to do Leprous and Agent Fresco! I absolutely love those bands. Agent Fresco, what they can get out of a guitar and bass tone is something far heavier than it should be! Its got a bit of a Rage Against The Machine vibe to it. Leprous and Agent Fresco was pretty much all that we listened to rolling around in vans.”
Embarking on their next chapter, it seems that the sky is the limit for Caligula’s Horse. Returning from their Bloom era, wiser, well oiled and most importantly hungry, Caligula’s Horse have only just begun their work in the world of Prog. Despite their geographical hinderance of being in Australia, the band will no doubt be right back out there soon enough touring the world over in support of this absolutely fantastic record. Speaking to Goleby I understood not only why the band had chosen him to be their new guitarist but just how much of a positive energy the man exudes. Hard to pigeonhole, the record is an entity that is ever evolving throughout the listen, ironically a perfect encapsulation of Caligula’s Horse and all that they embody. When asked what song would encapsulate the album, Goleby had to think for a while, well I don’t blame him, how can you sum up something so vast, expansive and downright ostentatious as In Contact? I think he did a pretty good job!
I love this question. That encapsulates the album “Graves”. That encapsulates where everyone is I would have to say “Capulet”, I just loved the vibe in the room when that one was being recorded. As a visual person I can just go on a little holiday listening to this song. It was just that total synesthesia that swarms into my head when I listen to that. There had been drama in the studio that day, not bad stuff, it was just a couple of things that had to be redone. “Graves” really encapsulates the album, its the least boring fifteen minutes you can have. I recommend to go for a jog!
Caligula’s Horse’s In Contact is out now via Inside Out.