THE OCTAVE MUSEUM: After struggling with a solo project, Brodsky realized he needed help.
Last year, after surviving a deal with RCA and returning to indie Hydra Head, Cave In were voted Best Local Metal Band in the Phoenix/WFNX Best Music Poll. Now the band are on hiatus, and various members have gone off to pursue new projects. Singer/guitarist Stephen Brodsky’s Octave Museum have a new album on Hydra Head, which also has releases by guitarist Adam McGrath’s Clouds and bassist Caleb Scofield’s Zozobra forthcoming. Drummers J.R. Conners and Ben Koller have been playing with Doomriders and Converge, respectively. And though Scofield has moved to New Mexico, Brodsky remains optimistic: “It’s very positive and inspiring to see your friends presenting sides of their musical atmosphere and inner workings that you never really saw happening.”
Brodsky had been Cave In’s primary songwriter, and he’d also released a series of solo albums. After struggling with a bunch of songs that he’d been recording at home, he realized that the support of a band might help. At the end of a Scissorfight tour, drummer Kevin Shurtleff sent him an e-mail. “I was joking that we were going to start a band. He hit me back and said, ‘Well, actually, I’ve got these songs and I want to make a record.’ We just got together and started plowing through them one after another.”
Soon Thee Electric Bastards’ Johnny Northrup was drafted to play bass. “Steve had given me the demos of ‘The Voice Electric,’ ‘Kid Defender,’ and ‘Prove Myself, and I liked them a lot and called him up and told him so. Then Steve saw me at a show and said, ‘Dude, I want you to be in my band.’ ”
After recording their first album, Octave Museum realized they were on to something more substantial than a one-off. Shurtleff: “The initial idea was that he was doing a solo album. Then we thought we could do a little bit more with this and play it out.” Northrup: “It became less like me playing Steve’s songs and more like the Octave Museum the band playing the songs.”
Brodsky is glad he has a trusty trio to take on the road, and he’s also happy to be bringing Clouds along for a February Octave Museum UK tour: “It’s really about the whole camaraderie and representing the place that you come from and seeing your friends play every night and being inspired by that.” Of course, the Octave Museum will need more than an album’s worth of Brodsky originals to play every night. Shurtleff: “We spent time working up some cool covers and picked some choice gems that we all liked.” So far they’ve got tunes by the Kinks and Todd Rundgren as well as the Pretty Things’ “She Said Good Morning.”
Brodsky is already at work on a new solo album, but he’s been writing songs that fit with both projects. “I’m throwing stuff at them and seeing what sticks, and some songs do and some songs don’t and we go with what everybody is feeling. Certain songs could work better with different people, so it’s just a matter of who gravitates toward what.”