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Matt Shultz on Tell Me I’m Pretty, and what’s next for Cage The Elephant

The 7.40pm slot on tonights NME stage went off with a bang! Cage The Elephant, the American rock band formed in 2006 out of Bowling Green, Kentucky, is made up of brothers Matt Shultz (vocalist) and Brad Shultz (rhythm guitar), and friends Jared Champion (drummer) and Daniel Tizhenor (bassist), and their set tonight blew the roof off of this Reading Festival tent! This dynamic set saw thousands of fans cram into the space and dance their socks off. With frontman, Matt, running around the stage, grabbing audience members as he ran by and dancing like he didn’t have a care in the world, the atmosphere was incredible and every fan was screaming with excitement! Engaging with fans is easy for the charismatic vocalist, who stopped by the press tent after his set for a quick chat with us here at The Spark Newspaper!

Q: Hi Matt, thank you for meeting with us! This won’t take long. First of all, you’ve performed Reading twice before, in 2008 and 2014.

A: Yeah that sounds right, maybe, maybe even more actually!

Q: Well we were just wondering what keeps drawing you back each year?

A: I mean, it’s one of the quintessentials here and the audiences are always incredible, so it’s a no brainer.

Q: Okay! So, back in January Rolling Stones said Tell Me I’m Pretty was “melodically taut garage rock with psychedelic flourishes and a fighting edge” (David Fricke, 5th January 2016), but what we want to know is how you’d describe the sound of your album?

A: I don’t know, I think it was probably some of the most honest material that we’ve made today, lyrically and musically. Dan produced the record, Dan Auerbach, and he really wanted to capture the first response, if that makes any sense? So a lot of the songs are one take, the vocals are scratch vocals, even if I was like ‘no I can do that better’ so that was kind of the whole idea for the record.

Q: Perfect! So obviously yourself and Brad are brothers, but the other members of the band, well you’ve known each other since you were kids and have been working together for ten years. How does that impact the creative process?

A: [laughing] It has its ups and downs I think… It’s good, it’s really great. Like we know each other very well, can kind of read each others thoughts. We know each others buttons as well. I know how to push everyones buttons! And we have two new touring members [Matthan Minster on keys and guitar, and Nick Bockrath on lead guitar] that aren’t like official members yet, but they’re very much part of the family and they worked on the last record with us and so, they add some new elements to be working with and keep it exciting. They’re also incredible composers themselves!

Q: Brilliant! Also, each of your albums have had a distinctly different sound, what was your biggest influence behind Tell Me I’m Pretty?

A: I think the biggest influence for myself, and for many of the guys in the band, was that we wanted to create something that had somewhat of a timeless sound… and really to kind of shed style rather than picking up too much exterior influence if that makes sense? So like in the past I think a lot of the time we were cross referencing things and stuff like that and on this record we really try to allow the songs to speak for themselves and not front load it with where we derived the idea from or whatever.

Q: Great! Final question; your album was released in December 2015, what’s next for Cage The Elephant?

A: So, this was our last show, officially, for most of the festival season. We have a couple shows in the States, we have ACL and Voodoo Fest and then we’re done for the most part so we’re going to start working on new material and then we’ll pick back up next year for festival season!
After congratulating Mr Shultz on the set tonight, he commented that “it was really fun and the audience made it easy” rather than taking the praise for himself, showing that you can be a rock star and still be humble! Now, the only question left for me is, what did he mean by the last show, officially? Can we expect more from Cage the Elephant before festival season is up? Only time will tell, but in the mean time I’m happy to sit back and know I ended my time at Reading Festival 2016 chatting with one of the biggest names in todays rock industry.

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