Self-released album has The Cave Singers trying new things in the studio

After four albums, the Seattle band goes the 'organic' route

February 29, 2016

Pete Quirk drove around West Seattle in his car having just sat in front of his bathroom mirror where he applied his makeup and straightened up the powdered wig that rested on top of his head. His long blue coat and ascot might have looked out of place to the passing locals who whipped past Quirk along the busy streets, but he was on his way to work. He had a job to do.

“I had just watched the movie Amadeus so I wanted to dress up in a powdered wig and do the whole deal,” Quirk says. “I just thought it looked weird and cool.”

Quirk was on his way to meet up with his friends and bandmates at West Seattle’s Lincoln Park to shoot the music video for their new song titled “That’s Why.” Quirk, along with his buddies Derek Fudesco and Marty Lund make up The Cave Singers, a three-piece Seattle-based band that recently released its fifth studio album since 2007 and is 107.7 The End’s Locals Only Artist of the Month for March.

Despite having played music together for the better part of the last decade, Banshee, the trio’s newest album, has come together in a completely different and, as Quirk calls it, organic way.

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“It was really nice to do something on my own and I think for all of us, it was nice to do different projects to inform and bring a new experience to this fifth record which is a bit of a departure for us,” Quirk says. “Sometimes something bubbles to the top and you have to put some pressure on yourself to finish it,” Quirk says. “This felt more like we gave it space to present itself and that felt more relaxing.”

Having released their first four albums on two separate labels, The Cave Singers took stock on what their friends and peers were doing and decided to release Banshee all on their own.

Banshee itself was written, recorded and produced in the Northwest, using connections to get into Portland’s Flora Recording and Playback with Grammy-nominated Tucker Martine who helped put out records for both My Morning Jacket and another Northwest band, The Decemberists, among other artists.

“We recorded almost all the songs live,” Quirk says. “We stayed out at the Red Lion Airport Hotel in Portland and would go back and record each day. [Recording] happened really quick considering how long it took for everything to come together.”

Thinking back to 2007 when their debut album, Invitation Songs, came out, Quirk says they were always trying to be more minimal and have “more restraint” in terms of production. With Banshee, Quirk and the band branched out with their new producer, studio, and new outlook on what they were trying to achieve.

“With this one we were open to trying different things and trying a lot of different frequencies and sounds that would emulate emotions while trying to best represent our live show,” Quirk says. “Not to sound more how we do live, but adding stuff to elicit that response. It’s backwards in a way, but as much of a departure the process might be, when we come together we just do what we do, so it’s home.­”

Although originally from Philadelphia, Quirk found himself right at home in Seattle when he packed up and drove across the country at 26 years of age. It’s here that he met both Lund and Fudesco. From playing in abandoned buildings in an urban environment, the singer found more freedom in Seattle.

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Photo by Brian Bruchman // Flickr

“When I was a kid, there were a lot of cinematic things I remember about the Northwest like Twin Peaks and Northern Exposure,” Quirk recalls. I remember watching and those shows created this romantic idea of this whole area for me.”

Though more of a café and coffee shop guy now, as opposed to his bar-hopping days when he first settled in Seattle, Pete says the charm hasn’t worn off of the town. Though briefly considering a move to Los Angeles like many bands looking to make their break (including many of Quirk’s friends), he says that he hasn’t truly thought about leaving.

More than just bandmates, The Cave Singers spend plenty of time hanging out, exploring the Northwest in all its glory. Besides the ferry rides over to play in Port Townsend libraries, the crew likes to spend time out hiking the Cascades.

“We like to cruise around over there and in the summer we hike and go jump in the water. We aren’t survivalists but it’s so readily available to go be in nature,” says Quirk. “I like the view of the universe from being out there, being with all that green. It’s good for me, and it’s inspiring. We like to do activities that aren’t always music.”

After playing two shows in Seattle and making a stop in Portland, the trio is on tour, promoting Banshee first down the West Coast, then to the East. If you can’t catch them on the road, you can be sure to catch them back in Seattle eventually playing more music, chatting it up in local coffee shops or running around Seattle in powdered wigs.

Listen to 107.7 The End all month to hear The Cave Singers and tune in to Locals Only on Sunday nights to hear more up-and-coming local bands make waves in the Northwest.

You can stream The Cave Singers’ new album, Banshee, here