‘There’s so much energy when we’re in a room together, it helps tell the story in a different way’
by Sara Seddon at The Bucket Playlist
London-based rock band Cavalcade is gearing up to release their debut EP next spring, which will feature one of their favourite unreleased tracks to date, ‘Sunshine Child’.
The band comprises Connor Duggan (lead vocals/rhythm guitar), Tom Nunn (bass), Jack Campbell (lead guitar/vocals) and Steve Norris (drums/vocals), who have been together since 2017. ‘Jack and I have know each other since reception, since we were five years old,’ Duggan said. ‘My mum said to me “Don’t hang out with him, he’ll get you into trouble” (laughs), he has got me into trouble sometimes, haha! Amazing, that was 20 years ago.’ Campbell interjects: ‘I met Tom randomly over the park drinking when we were 15. After uni – me and Connor went to the same uni – we got together, I wrote one song and thought it had legs and got a band together. I called Tom in to play bass and another Jack to play drums. We wrote two other songs, one the day before we first recorded anything and another one on the day of recording. Jack then left to go travelling and we got Steve in, ‘cos he’s got a degree in drums, he’s really good!’ Duggan agrees: ‘When Steve joined, he really levelled up our songwriting,’ he said. Campbell explains where their name comes from: ‘I was sitting with Connor listening to music whilst thinking of a band name, and the album ‘Cavalcade’ by Slow Readers Club came on and I randomly said “Good evening London, we are Cavalcade!” and we thought it sounded right!’
They are particularly proud of ‘Sunshine Child’, which will close the upcoming EP: ‘I had these nice, ambient chords, I plugged it in with reverb but we couldn’t quite get it,’ Campbell said. ‘This one, we knew it could become this great thing, it’s become a beauty. It sounds like Red Hot Chili Peppers at the start and goes into the Foos but by the end it sounds like us. It’s got great harmonies in it, ferocious guitars, keys and haunting vocals. We threw everything into it. It’s a beautiful way to capture Connor’s relationship.’
The relationship in question is a former relationship of Duggan’s, which has provided inspiration for three songs on the EP, including previous single, ‘Dreaming About’, a reflective track about the end of a relationship and the lessons learned along the way. It is pulled along from the start by Norris’ ferocious drumming: ‘I love The Who and their drummer Keith Moon is my favourite drummer of all time, I love drum-led songs and Steve’s always saying he likes more fills!,’ Campbell said.
‘It was a thank you for all they’d given me’
For Duggan, it is an extremely personal song: ‘I wrote it at the end of 2019,’ he said. ‘I’d just been through a massive break-up, that person went abroad. You feel upset, you’re almost grieving. It was a thank you for all they’d given me, me asking myself what I’d taught that person. It’s about being in love with somebody and thinking about it after an expansive time.’
Their debut EP will feature two new tracks, including ‘Sunshine Girl’,and previous single ‘Feels Like Home’. I say that their trademark is quickly becoming intensely energetic songs with big singalong choruses and they agree: ‘Perhaps it’s the style,’ Duggan said, clearly thinking about it. ‘Jack writes the guitars, Steve writes the drums. There’s so much energy when we’re in a room together, it helps tell the story in a different way.’ Campbell laughs: ‘I keep asking to be turned up the whole time at gigs,’ he grinned.
Typically, Duggan writes the lyrics and has shown himself to be adept at re-jigging lyrics on the spot: ‘Normally, we start jamming something out and I have a bank of lyrics,’ he said. ‘I’ll have something I’ve been writing and I’ll try to fit it around what we’re jamming. We’ve found a bit of a rhythm with it. Serendipitously, someone will come up with something that’s exactly what I’ve been playing around with in my head.’ Norris laughs: ‘We’re that in sync,’ he said.
‘Connor has a great way of lyricising something’
‘Midnight Comes’ from their ‘Lockdown Archives’ EP – an EP put together of their old demos that they released last year – is another drum-led track with some seriously hooky riffs and licks and tells the tale of a wild night out they had: ‘The lyrics are the coolest part,’ Campbell said excitedly. ‘Me and Connor went on a long night out (laughs). Connor has a great way of lyricising something.’ Or, as Duggan puts it: ‘The song is a moment by moment retelling of that night out, the song really encapsulates that. It’s our punk track – that feeling of swaying (laughs). It’s sexy and angry.’ I say that Nunn’s intro riff grabs you from the off and Duggan nods: ‘Tom played that riff and the whole track was written in two hours. It’s my favourite of ours.’ The track also features some hooky, distorted, growly riffs, courtesy of Campbell’s SD1 BOSS overdrive pedal.
As a band, they say they have been as influenced as much by London’s music scene as industry heavyweights: ‘When people ask about our influences, we always say we’re influenced by the scene itself,’ Duggan said. ‘We pick bits and pieces from other bands we like, such as False Heads, SHEAFS and Sisteray to name a few.’ Norris, for his part, has been influenced by Swiss drummer ‘Jojo’ Mayer, who has played with Keith Richards and John Mayer, amongst others. ‘The Foos are also up there for me,’ he said. Campbell cites London-based rock band Bombay Bicycle Club: ‘They hit me at the right time, I wanted us to steal bits from them,’ he laughed. ‘Catfish and the Bottlemen were a big influence, as were Kurt Cobain and Nirvana.’
If they could hear one of their songs on a TV show, Duggan asks if they can hear one of their songs as a replacement for BBC One’s Match of the Day theme music. ‘Or on the jukebox in the Queen Vic in Eastenders,’ he quipped. Norris plumps for Jools Holland’s Hootenanny on New Year’s Eve.
‘We’ve fallen over a few times!’
They’ve had some hilarious moments as a band: ‘I fell off the stage once,’ Duggan said proudly. ‘I put the guitar down, there were only five or six people there (laughs) and I landed funny and fell off the stage. We’ve fallen over a few times! One time, I got on the floor behind Jack when he was playing…’ Campbell is laughing: ‘I’m on the floor, I tripped over Connor, I’ll send you the photo, I look really happy! I knew we’d smashed the gig because nobody even mentioned us falling over afterwards, haha! It was at The Water Rats in King’s Cross.’
Their dream line-up would be brilliantly eclectic: ‘I’d have to have Gorillaz on there,’ Duggan said, later adding Arctic Monkeys into the mix. Campbell picks The Beatles and Nirvana. ‘It’s so hard!,’ Norris said. ‘I think I’ll go with Bombay Bicycle Club.’ Campbell looks surprised. ‘Why?’, he said to Norris. ‘Well,’ Norris said. ‘Are you after a good show or an energetic show? I’m thinking of all of these things, Jack!’ I ask who they definitely wouldn’t want to have on the line-up and Campbell cites Machine Gun Kelly, Norris says Rebecca Black and Duggan says Coldplay: ‘I like their older stuff,’ he said. ‘I love Oasis but a lot of people are stuck listening to 90’s Britpop when there’s so much good new music out there. There’s a whole Britpop revival thing, I haven’t got time for it at all!’
This story first appeared at inthebucketplaylist.com at December 9th 2021.