SPECTRUM: Interview with Strange Cages
18 Apr 2018
Brighton's Strange Cages are one of the country's most vivid live acts, a band that have made strides in their short existence gaining support from the likes of Clash, Fred Perry and Q Magazine.
We caught up with Drummer Ellis ahead of their performance at the Spectrum all day Festival this weekend.
When did you start writing music?
Hello! We were taught to write music before we learnt how to write at all, so probably about 5 or 6 years ago.
How did you meet?
I was introduced to Charlie at the Darlington International Cheese Festival of 2005. We both went for the Gouda and knocked each other over in the process. Joe was milling around the grapes as I recall.
What track are you most proud of?
Our latest offering Hypothalamus Blues is probably my favourite of the lot. If you avert your gaze 10cm south you might see where to find it...
How would you describe your music?
A plethora of psych, punk, garage and reptilian sleaze topped off with a slither of smooth jazz. A sumptuous musical cocktail for a muggy afternoon in the garden.
What are the main influences on your sound?
For me, personally, I would be stuck in the percussive dark ages had I never discovered the drumming prowess of Mitch Mitchell. I have a poster of him in my bedroom that I whisper to every night before going to bed. For the band as a whole, we are all huge fans of Thee Oh Sees, The Stooges and Gang of Four, not to mention a soft spot for Nancy Sinatra.
Have you released any albums yet?
We have released two EP’s, Egokiller and The Cracks over the past two years, with another forthcoming this summer. So if your ears aren’t already peeled, you should bloody well peel them. Right?!
Are you signed to a label?
We are under the current supervision of Vallance Records who’ve taken excellent care of us despite our significant height differences
What are you listening to at the moment?
I have had Snapped Ankles album Come Play the Trees playing on repeat for a good few weeks and it shows no sign of slowing down. We had the pleasure of playing with them in Belgium last week and I can honestly say they are the finest trees we have ever shared a stage with since the infamous Birch Boys concert of 2015.
Also local Brighton bands Heirloom, Frank & Beans and Dr Brians Magic Gong Salad have been penetrating my earlobes recently to great effect. But not in a weird way.
What are your plans for the near-future?
For the Great Escape Festival this year we’re going to be running around like ants in the sun playing anywhere and everywhere we can, as well as putting on an all-day show at The Richmond with other fantastic local and non-local bands.
What does it mean to you to perform at Brighton Dome?
I haven’t stepped foot onstage at the Dome since I was 10 years old performing in a city-wide school dance competition so it will be great to lay the demons to rest on a personal level. I’ve also grown about 40 feet since those days so it will be nice to walk onto a stage without smacking my head. At least I hope.