Cage the Elephant’s Lincoln Parish Talks New Album ‘Melophobia’ + More
Cage the Elephant are rocking it with their new album ‘Melophobia.’ The band’s third studio album has already spawned the hit single ‘Come a Little Closer,’ and is filled with several more infectious rock tunes.
Prior to the album’s release, Loudwire spoke with guitarist Lincoln Parish about the new disc. He opened up about the creative process, welcoming one of their first musical collaborations on a song and how the early touring on their album has gone. Check out our interview with Cage the Elephant’s Lincoln Parish:
You have a history of having your next albums done while supporting the current disc. Was that the case with ‘Melophobia’?
No, not at all. We took like two months completely off just to like decompress and then we ended up renting a house because most of us live in Nashville, myself included, but Jared and Matt still live in Bowling Green and it’s about an hour drive so we rented a cabin that was right in the middle in this little town called Portland and rented a house out there and we would just drive out there like five days a week. Every day we would jam from like 3:00 to 8:00 or 9:00 at night, just started putting things together. I mean we had a few song ideas beforehand that we thought would work out like riff ideas, guitar ideas, little things but no complete songs and then so we just kind of jammed them out and then this is also the first album that we demoed like before we went to the studio on so that kind of gave us a little more perspective too, um, so yeah.
You mentioned a cabin. That’s a cool idea to get away and record.
Yeah, it was right on the lake and there would be all these geese like coming right up and stuff. It was really pretty out there. It took about 45 minutes because it was like 30 minutes once you got off the interstate and then 15 after that to get to it because it was like back country roads and stuff. It was nice because we didn’t really have to have any distractions. Our cell phones wouldn’t even work out there so like it was good.
Is that cabin something that’s yours or you rented for the experience?
The house? We just rented it for like 6 months, no we were in it for a year. But we demoed at my studio. I have a studio at my house and that’s where we did the demos.
Same producer this time around — Jay Joyce. You must have a great working relationship. Was it pretty much a no brainer to have him return?
Yeah, basically, I mean, there was some of us who were on the fence about it, just because you know I feel like it’s not bad to get some new blood and do something — you know and do something that can make you think in a different approach, take it from a different angle you know? But Jay is an amazing producer and an amazing musician you know, we definitely felt safe, not that we wanted to play it safe but you know we thought that it wouldn’t hurt to do one more with him you know.
It was kind of a different scenario compared to the other records and not for the obvious reasons but Jay um bought this 20,000 square foot church in East Nashville and before that his studio was in his basement and that’s where we did the first records and stuff so he bought this massive church and you know, turned it into [a studio].
He’s got two studios in there now um and its just for his personal, whatever he’s working on and we were like the second band I think that ever even recorded in there so yeah he was kind of out of his element a little bit too, you know figuring it out and also like, we haven’t really been around him much in a couple of years so it was kind of like you know a little different to see how things had changed and like you know, um, just the dynamic of everything. It was just a lot different of an experience making this record. Jay likes to work typically really fast and we wanted to take our time on it so we were kind of like had this internal struggle with trying to meet in the middle, you know, make everyone happy so, and that was kind of a big thing for the whole record among the band members you know it was like trying to do something you love and you think other people will love but also that everyone is going to be happy with, you know, getting on the same page. That was probably the hardest part about making this album.
One of the things with Cage the Elephant, you can see the musical progression with each album. This sounds like something different from Cage The Elephant. Does it feel like you’re taking the next logical step?
I’ve always said this from the beginning. We never want to make the same record twice. I know a lot of bands probably say that. We’re so ADD, we’ll write an album, put it out and then hate the sound we went for on that album and are ready to do something else. It’s been like that every album. We just want to keep doing something different. It’s like, if you get too comfortable in one thing then it can kind of — the fire can fizzle out. If you keep yourself on edge and out of your comfort zone, then hopefully that’ll push you forward as a musician or band.
Talk about how the single ‘‘Come a Little Closer’ came together.
That song, we didn’t even know. After we had written it, we liked it when we first wrote it. But then we went and demoed it in my studio and we kind of felt like polka. The verse had a different feel and beat to it. Kind of a polka feel. Then we listened to it back and were like, i don’t even think we ended up turning that version of the demo in to management, we weren’t that happy with it. We just let it sit and then we were back in the studio with Jay, it wasn’t even a song that we were trying to cut. Then he was like, well what other songs can we do? Towards the last little bit we were kind of, well what songs do we have left to cut? Or what songs do we want to cut and not cut. We decided and Jay was like, we should do this one. We’re like yeah, but the verse, we didn’t like the feel. He was like, figure it out. So, we just sat around and actually just dumbed it down and made it a little more simple than it was originally. The chorus is the same, but the verse changed as far as making it more straightforward and simple.
You’ve also got a collaboration on here — ‘It’s Just Forever’ with Alison Mosshart. Until you mentioned recording in Nashville, I wondered about the connection.
I think she lives there too. We had that song, and Matt was saying he thought a girl should sing that part. We kicked around a few different names and then, I don’t eve know who said it. What about Alison Mosshart from The Kills, Dead Weather? We’re like, yeah, cool. Let’s see if she can come over and do it. She knocked it out in like 10 minutes. She’s killer.
Any songs off the new album you’d like to see as subsequent singles?
There’s a song called ‘Halo’ we really like. It’d be nice to see what people’s opinion is. We’ve never gotten to play those songs for that many people yet, except for the hometown show. It’ll be interesting to see, nice to see people’s reactions to different songs to see what sticks. You never really know, whenever we came back to the States from England. I was like, oh. We didn’t have the radio success over there right away. I was like, ‘Ain’t No Rest for the Wicked; is not going to do anything in the States on the radio. I’m so wrong, I have no idea or perspective. I think that’s a good thing if you’re an artist, not knowing is sometimes the best.
Why does ‘Halo’ stand out to you?
We were on tour with The Black Keys. Me and Jared were jamming at soundcheck one day and I came up with the riff. Then me and Matt started working on it a little bit, that’s a song too, kind of kept that idea around. That’s all it was for the longest time, just an idea. I just had this one riff and then some chords, put it to a chorus and ended up changing all the – it was just one of those things that had a catchy melody, and the riff then we just kept the idea around. Then once we all got together, that’s when it really became what it is. That’s what’s great about our band, everybody is individually is coming from such a different place that when we get together and put it together, that’s what makes the uniqueness of our sound. I wouldn’t have it any other way. It was be boring to have to do — if we all thought all the same, or into the same music. That’s probably why we butt heads a lot when we’re working on the album, but we come out on the other side. Sometimes struggle isn’t a bad thing. I think us, we learn to agree to disagree over the years. That’s helped us out a lot and we’re better for it.
Everyone in the band comes from different places, different perspectives. As a reference point, what are some of your own personal influences you’re bringing to the Cage the Elephant sound?
I listen to a lot of different stuff. A lot of old country, Johnny Cash, Merle Haggard, Hank Williams Sr. I grew up on that kind of music. I’m also really into pop too. So, I’m into anything really. It doesn’t to me if it feels good and it seems right. Its hard for me to get specific, it’s so broad. I could say I like country and then I can like this dance pop track. It’s all of that stuff together. Kind of a cesspool of randomness. If I showed you my iPod, you’d be like, what?!?
Our thanks to Cage the Elephant guitarist Lincoln Parish for the interview. The band’s new album, ‘Melophobia,’ is currently available at iTunes.