Music Interview: The Cape May don’t fear Much

By Paul Jarvey

Like late night hitchhikers, The Cape May have a talent for telling stories that catch you off guard. With unshakable and well-placed optimism, the four member group has risen above it all after having their numbers split in half, suffering a slew of injuries days before the recording of their latest release Central City Will Rise Again and loosing some significant studio work thanks to the failures of modern technology.

“It’s amazing the space I got into,” says Clinton St. John, who plays guitar and sings with the group. “At that point it was just me and Jeff. It was a wild and convoluted way to make an album, but that’s not indicative of anything about it. It’s a great record that I’m proud of.”

“Clint is a very Zen-like human being,” adds Jeff Deringer, guitarist and spur-of-the moment drummer on the album. “And I was just frantic, frenzied. But we knew exactly what we wanted and recorded it start to finish despite the mess we were in. It was a trip.”

The album sounds better than the hashed and hurriedly assembled recording session the band describes. Instead, it’s a dizzy narrative rich with traditional folk rock and the kind of groove curling off a lit cigarette towards the ceiling. Each song shifts styles and influences without losing sight of what’s become their distinctive and well-recognized sound.

Having hit number six on Canadian campus radio, following the release of Central City May Rise Again, they plan on touring the country this summer. Not to mention an appearance this Saturday with Much Does Calgary alongside Falconhawk, Sitting Idol, Dragon Fli Empire and The Summerlad, The Cape May are ready to make their mark. Whiskey sours to cosmopolitans of their contemporaries, the sound of the band now is refreshing and dirty. They still hold their influences with much reverence.

“It sounds like we could have been recorded on a four track in the sixties,” says Clinton, referring to an album described by others as precise and lauded for having an exceptional production ethic. “Of course, I was listening to it through $9 headphones.”

“Will Olden has always been a major influence of mine, along with Califone and papa m,” recounts Jeff. “And somehow my uncle, this fifty year old guy with walls of records, described us as a cross between Will Oldham and Slint. I’m hoping it wasn’t just coincidence. [Will Oldham] is one cool motherfucker.”

An evident love of music resounds in each gracefully assembled and adventurous track, obviously it’s something these guys can’t escape. Landon Gianque joined the group after the lack of dedication in the group he was formerly playing for, which came at odds with his own ambitions.

“All four guys are in this band, and we’re dedicated to it,” says Jeff. “This is what we want to be doing and it’s all we do. We can’t help it. We are committed to this music and to each other.”

It’s clear there’s nothing keeping The Cape May from pouring themselves into their music. Not only do they have the drive, but they have the critical acclaim and fan base to cut a swath into the music scene. Through hell or Spinal Tap-esque drama they’re here to make a stand.

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