Interview: Pam and Mark Schaff
Photos: Pam and Mark Schaff
MGM : So how did Castle come about, how did you guys form?
Mat Davis : It started basically myself just writing songs, and over the years I started to get the material together for a record. And that was back in 2006 when that started. I met Liz in 2009, and I guess over the years I had a couple different guys that joined on, but nothing ever came of it other than a solo project until Liz joined. At that point it came pretty quick. She started working on the vocals with me, and we got a guy I grew up in Canada with to play drums on the record, we sent him all the music, he learned it and flew down and we started to record. So we did that for most of 2010. And that, from 2009-2010 was the start of the band Castle.
MGM : Your new album came out on July 15th, how’s the reception been?
Mat : It’s been really cool, I mean, The tours been going really well, we kinda judge it on that more than anything I guess. So we’ve had good turn outs at the shows. We’re selling some records, you know you see some reviews, and most of those a really good too.
MGM : The legendary Billy Anderson, produced the new album, along with the ‘Blacklands’ and ‘Under Siege’ albums, What’s it like working with him? Obviously you guys like working with him.
Mat : Yeah, working with Billy is really cool, this is our third record together, so it works well, we work pretty quick. This record took a lot longer, we were a little more meticulous with sound and stuff. So it was a bit of a different approach, that we wanted to get the sound a little bit different as well, I think it sounds different. For the record we thought it should sound a little bit more like, I guess a bit bigger sound I’m trying to say, so we worked on stuff like that. You know Billy’s great, had a great year and we were able to get the sounds.
MGM : In 2013, you guys were nominated for a JUNO award for ‘Blacklands’. being from Toronto Canada that must have been pretty cool.
Mat : Yeah, it was a surprise, you know, and it felt good. It was maybe a justification for the record itself, but it was kinda like a nice addition to the way it was already being received. We felt like we were really happy with it, so it’s cool to really get the recognition. Especially being Canadian.
MGM : JUNO’s are so much better than the Grammy’s anyways, less BS. It’s more about the music in Canada than opposed to here.
Mat : Yeah I mean just the fact that they have a metal category is pretty awesome.
MGM : Yeah it’s not Jethro Tull stealing it away from Metallica (laughs)
Mat : Yeah, I’ll always remember that too, Nobody could believe that.(laughs)
MGM : So what are some of the influences for you guys?
Mat : It’s pretty all over the place, I guess the first thing that popped in my mind is Thin Lizzy, I like a lot of guitar rock stuff, Black Sabbath of course. Judas Priest is maybe overall the main influence musically in the band. I mean i could go on and on, like eighties metal stuff like Merciful Fate, like we pretty much wear it on our sleeve. Motorhead is another band, but then even kinda like the more late eighties metal stuff like Celtic Frost or VoiVod are another couple bands that we really love. Maybe not a lot of people pick up on all those things, but that’s not the point I guess. To us personally being influenced by that, and by the time we filter it with the song writing and changing it all around, it becomes Castle somewhere along the way. But we still listen to all those bands, it’s kind of the original source of how the style I’m playing or the riffs I’m playing, come from when I was still a teenager playing that kind of music.
MGM : You guys have a lot of dates on this tour, do you like being out for long stretches like this?
Mat : Yeah, it’s how we prefer to do it. For the last record ‘Under Siege’, we toured off and on for about a year and a half. Then we took six months to write and record the new record. And then kinda had to wait another few months for the record to come out. So we were itching to get back out. I think when your used to touring and traveling, you have a lot of friends scattered all over, so it becomes something that you look forward to. You know the first few tours we did we kinda roughed it. It gets a little easier as you go on, with connections and things. So with this record we were really looking forward to it, so we wanted to try and do some tours back to back. So it’s cool, we try to put a little bit of space in between the tours. But definitely we’re excited to get back out with the new songs.
MGM : When your out on tour, do you write while your on tour, when you get ideas, or do you basically do most of that when your at home?
Mat : It’s really hard, there is so much distraction when your touring. But we have, ‘Down In The Cauldron Bog’, was written while we were in Europe. And on the last record ‘Labyrinth Of Death’ was written on the road. It’s weird because each of those songs were the first one written on their respective records, and they were both written while we were touring the record before. It was cool, they were kind of a template in a way, or a catalyst of what came after. Especially ‘Cauldron Bog’, it kinda just set the mood for the new record. It’s like something we were trying to envision, this overall sound, and stripping things back a little bit. And getting back a little bit more to the source of what our inspirations are. You know, trying to take all the different things we’ve done over the years, and hard boil it down in a way, that were the ideas that we were getting while we were on the road finishing up that last tour cycle. But to actually sit there and write on the road is tough, I mean I was writing it in my head, just was writing down ideas or humming into like a microphone, and then just trying to hold on to all those ideas, that’s the hard part. You know at home I have a little studio, and every idea gets put down. But you can’t really do that on the road so much. Not me, I’m sure some people do.
MGM : So what do you guys envision for Castle in the next five years?
Mat : It’s hard to say, we kinda envisioned five years ago, where we are now. We’ve tried to plan to tour as much as we could. And try to be really consistent in writing and recording, which is what we did. But I think it would be cool to get in a spot, where we continue to write, and maybe take a little bit more time to do some of those things. Maybe to do a record in a slightly different way. But we already have plans to do a few different kinds of records right now. So I don’t know if it’s five years in advance, but I can definitely see the next year or two. We’ve talked about doing a live record, so we’re really excited about that. We’ve heard it for a few years, people that have seen us a bunch of times are like you gotta do a live record. because it’s so different. I see that too, I like what we do on the records, but it’s hard to reproduce live, because we’re a three piece, but we re-write the songs for a live approach, and I really like that too. It’s a little more raw, it has some punk rock energy. It would be really cool to capture that and just put it out, but a little bit of planning, with the sound and that. So we’re working on that now. We’re also just trying to enjoy where we’re at right now, being able to tour as much as we are.
Castle is currently on the Welcome to the Graveyard Tour. They play North American through September then head over to Europe in October. They just announced they will be playing throughout Japan in December.
7/17/2016 Fullerton, CA – Slidebar
7/19/2016 Riverside, CA – Mission Tobacco
7/20/2016 San Francisco, CA – The Elbo Room
7/21/2016 Portland, OR – High Water Mark
7/22/2016 Seattle, WA – Funhouse
7/23/2016 Missoula, MT – The Palace Lounge
7/24/2016 Billings, MT – Railyard
7/25/2016 Minneapolis, MN – TheReverie
7/26/2016 Chicago, IL – Reggies
7/27/2016 Madison, WI – High Noon Saloon
7/28/2016 Milwaukee, WI – Franks Power Plant
7/29/2016 Kalamazoo, MI – Shakespeare Pub
7/30/2016 Detroit, MI – The Corktown
7/31/2016 Pittsburgh, PA – Howlers
8/1/2016 Cleveland, OH – The Maple Tavern
8/2/2016 Buffalo, NY – Rockin Buffalo Saloon
8/3/2016 Portland, ME – Geno’s
8/4/2016 Worcester, MA – Ralph’s
8/5/2016 Brooklyn, NY – Trans Pecos
8/6/2016 Philadelphia, PA – The Fire
8/7/2016 Wilmington, DE – 1984
8/8/2016 Chesapeake, VA – Riffhouse
8/9/2016 Knoxville, TN – Pilot Light
8/10/2016 Nashville, TN – The End
8/11/2016 Little Rock, AR – Vino’s
8/12/2016 Ft. Worth, TX – The Grotto
8/13/2016 Austin, TX – The Lost Well
8/14/2016 Wichita, KS – Elbow Room
8/16/2016 Santa Fe, NM – The Underground
8/17/2016 Albuquerque, NM – Launchpad
8/18/2016 Tucson, AZ – Flycatcher
8/19/2016 San Diego, CA – The Merrow
8/20/2016 Los Angeles, CA – The Complex
8/27/2016 Toronto, ON – Doom Over TO Fest
9/7/2016 Montreal, PQ – Katacombes
9/8/2016 Quebec City, PQ – Envol et Macadam Fest
9/9/2016 St John, NB – Panic Room
9/10/2016 Halifax, NS – Gus Pub
9/11/2016 Charlottetown, PEI – Baba’s
9/12/2016 Fredericton, NB – Capitol Complex
9/13/2016 Trois-Rivieres, PQ – Ti-Petac
9/14/2016 Ottawa, ON – House of Targ
9/16/2016 Thunder Bay, ON – Black Pirates
9/17/2016 Winnipeg, MB – Kings Hotel
9/18/2016 Saskatoon, SK – TBA
9/19/2016 Edmonton, AB – Starlite Room
9/20/2016 Kewlona, BC – Fernando’s
9/21/2016 Kamloops, BC – The Office
9/22/2016 Vancouver, BC – Funky Winkerbeans
9/23/2016 Victoria, BC – Logan’s Pub
9/24/2016 Calgary, AB – Palomino
9/26/2016 Regina, SK – The Club
9/28/2016 Sault Ste. Marie – New American
9/29/2016 London, ON – Call the Office
10/5/2016 Prague, CZ – TBA
10/6/2016 Budapest, HG – Durer Kert
10/7/2016 Bucharest, RO – Old Grave Fest V
10/9/2016 Athens, GR – Death Disco
10/11/2016 Parma, IT – Titty Twister
10/12/2016 Milan, IT – Blue Rose
10/13/2016 Freiburg, DE – White Rabbit
10/15/2016 Tilburg, NL – Little Devil
10/16/2016 Antwerp, BE – Desertfest Belgium
10/17/2016 Aachen, DE – AZ
10/18/2016 Berlin, DE – TBA
10/19/2016 Olten, CH – Coq D’Or
10/20/2016 Leipzig, DE – UT Connewitz
10/22/2016 Gothenburg, SE – Truckstop Alaska
10/26/2016 Weimar, DE – Gerber3
12/8/2016 Yokohama, JP – El Puente
12/8/2016 Tokyo, JP – Earthdom
12/8/2016 Osaka, JP – Hokage
12/8/2016 Nagoya, JP – Huck Finn
12/8/2016 Tokyo, JP – Ruby Room