Slow Caves, a Fort Collins-based band with pop-rock influences and a jangly vibe that’s suitable for a drive in a cherry red convertible, is fresh off its release of “Desert Minded” on March 10. The band, comprised of Jakob and Oliver Mueller, both vocals/guitar, David Dugan, guitar/bass, and Jackson Lamperes, drums, blends a 90s party attitude with early 2000s rock to produce one of the most exciting, energetic sounds to currently come out of Colorado. Ultra5280 was able to chat with member David Dugan ahead of the band’s upcoming Red Bull Sound Select show with DIIV at Summit Music Hall on May 13. Read below to hear about Slow Caves’ experience about partying with BRONCHO, creating “Desert Minded” and some serious love for The Strokes.
Jocelyn: Can you talk about the process behind your most recent EP, “Desert Minded?”
Dugan: The first ep we did, Oliver and Jakob did it together out in LA, and that was before we had played any shows. When they brought it back, it was like, ‘okay, let’s play these songs and see how they work live.’ With this EP, it’s all songs we’ve been playing for the past two years. If you’ve see us at a show, you’ve heard us play these songs. We like to think these are the songs we base our sound around, and they give you a vibe of what Slow Caves is now and what we’re moving towards. We originally recorded [Desert Minded] last January, and we were gonna put it out last May. We had a couple EP release shows booked. We ended up getting signed to Old Flame Records and finished that deal in April, and had to push everything back with paperwork and everything, so that took about a year. It feels good that it’s out and we’re touring it. It feels like a long time in the making, but definitely worth it.
Jocelyn: What is your songwriting process like?
Dugan: It’s different for every song. There will be times when the four of us are just hanging out and we’ll try to write a song like that. Oliver and Jakob are the two guys who are the main songwriters. Usually they’ll come to practice with a fully-formed idea or a guitar part, and we’ll just hash it out in the practice space over the course of a couple weeks. The best songs come out in an hour or two though, honestly.
Jocelyn: Can you tell us about your trip to Austin for SXSW?
Dugan: SX was crazy, it was a whirlwind. That’s the second time we’ve been down there, but the first time we’ve played official showcases. We played 6 shows in 4 days. That’s not too many, but the scene down there is really chaotic and there’s free food and drinks everywhere. You don’t mean to get drunk, but you kind of do, and you have to go play shows.
Jocelyn: We know a lot of bands leave SXSW with a crazy story or two--do you have any?
Dugan: A bunch of that. We were going to go see BRONCHO, and we ended up partying with the lead singer until like 3 in the morning, just hanging out with him. He ended up recording a message with Jakob for his girlfriend, she’s a BRONCHO fan. So he recorded a video message wishing her happy birthday. We love that band, they’re amazing.
Jocelyn: You guys are playing a Red Bull Sound Select show and then going on tour. How did this show get set up and where are your favorite places to play shows?
Dugan: It’s a little bit of a one-off show for us [before tour starts.] The people from Red Bull Sound Select reached out to us and we joined their program. We saw DIIV at UMS a couple years ago—then, we hadn’t listened to them a lot, but now we do listen to them a lot. We really like their guitar work. We’re heading out to hit Chicago, Pittsburgh, and everything in between. That’s like our third tour this year, and we’re pretty stoked about it. We really enjoy going to California. So far, Salt Lake City is a really good market for us. People turn out there. It gets a bad rap, but it’s been good for us. It’s a beautiful place, and there’s always a lot of kids that come out to shows. Our goal for this year is play away from Colorado as much as we possibly can. We want to play 100 shows, I don’t know if it’s going to happen. We want to tour as much as possible, because it’s the best way for us to grow. We’ll do as many tours as we can in the next couple of years.
Jocelyn: Previously, Slow Caves has listed bands such as The Beach Boys and The Strokes as influences—as the band has grown, has that changed at all?
Dugan: The Beach Boys and The Strokes are still there—we do a lot of vocal harmonies and partial chords, but we also have Nirvana and some more shoegaze stuff like The Smiths. The guys emulate [David Bowie’s] singing style. At first it was like ‘we love The Strokes, let’s write songs like them’ and now it’s more like we’ve moved into our own sound. We definitely do still love The Strokes though.
Jocelyn: Oliver and Jakob are both from Denmark, while you and Jackson are from the US—has being from two different countries influenced your music at all?
Dugan: Totally. Oliver and Jakob were pretty young when they moved here. Last summer we actually all went to Denmark together for almost a month, and tried to write songs there. There’s definitely things we take away from traveling to Denmark. It’s something cool to be able to experience. Me and Oliver, one of our old bands played at a music festival over there. Denmark has been a big part of all of our lives.
Jocelyn: For someone who hasn’t seen Slow Caves live, how would you describe the experience?
Dugan: We don’t like to take it too seriously. We have as much fun as we can on stage. If we’re not gonna look like we’re enjoying ourselves and going crazy, then why should the crowd have a good time? We have a pretty positive and happy vibe going through the whole thing.
Interview conducted by writer Jocelyn Rockhold.