Interview with Caveboy: Raw Primitive Energy

Caveboy. Photo Remi A. Caveboy. Photo Remi A.

I love happy accidents.

My encounter with Caveboy was an accident. During POP Montreal, I settled in for a night at Cagibi because I knew I could write between stage changes. Three ladies got on stage and blew the roof off with their raw, wild energy and talent. They used their furious magic to transform what I normally think of as an intimate, acoustic venue into a massive rock hall. How come this was our first encounter? Well, turns out, Caveboy is fairly new — “birthed in May” — after an incarnation as Diamond Bones. So trust me on this one, Caveboy is a band to star, flag, circle, underline, highlight, and familiarize yourself with. They are arriving with a massive roar. Their new self-titled LP is out on October 9 and they’re heading out on tour through Ontario and Quebec.

Michelle Bensimon (lead vocals, guitar, synth) talked to me about Caveboy. I wanted to know all the basics — how they got started, how they write their tunes, and how they manage to light the audience on fire.

caveboy shares how they handled our interview.

caveboy shares how they handled our interview.

Bensimon explains that the band had an instant connection from their first jam, even though Lana Cooney and Isabelle Banos had been playing together for ten years. “We’re all born and raised in Montreal, but I was living in Toronto and Lana [Cooney] had another project and was friends with Isabelle [Banos] through it,” Bensimon says. “I started to go to their shows here and there. I didn’t know much about them. Then, I was in Montreal for a few months and they were looking for someone to jam, and I said, ‘Okay, cool. That sounds fun.’ I jammed with them and it was instant, ‘Cool, we’re going to do this.’ That was in 2012.”

In fact, it was more than just instant connection. Bensimon mentions that the connection is more like that of a family. I ask her if it’s a dysfunctional kind or a good kind and she laughs, “A great family. We have been through so much since we’ve been playing together. It’s a dynamic that I’ve never experienced before.”

Caveboy. Rialto Hall. Photo Rachel Levine

Caveboy. Rialto Hall. Photo Rachel Levine

The name Caveboy (admit it, it’s super catchy) replaced the original name Diamond Bones. “Diamond Bones didn’t match the vibe and the energy that we wanted to put across,” Bensimon says. “What caveboy is is primal and youthful but also tortured and feral. There’s this super raw, emotional quality that we wanted, especially at our live show. It’s like everybody’s at the show and we have no idea what can happen. There’s a lot of primitiveness.”

Turns out their cave-boyishness goes deeper than that. Bensimon drops an anecdote. “We used to play barefoot all the time and when we practice we’re barefoot.”

There are two exciting things in the lives of Caveboy right now. First is the six-song album that was worked on with Breakglass studio. Bensimon praises the team that had their hands on it. “Jace Lasek, Joseph Donovan, and Patrick Krief are three Montreal dream producers to work with. We were very lucky.” Then she talks about what they hope the album will achieve. “It’s kind of our little entrance into the scene and the world. The songs represent Caveboy and the theme is a little bit of growth and growing up and out and into things, all different kinds of relationships, family and friends, lovers, everything.”

The songs were written at different times. The first song they did together, Home is Where, written four years ago is one of their most consistent songs and the one people seem to attach too. “They’re all so different,” she says. “They all have their own weight.” They work collaboratively on all their songs.

I ask in particular about the video for Summer, as it features Tranna Wintour in a fab fur coat holding a garage sale in a suburban neighbourhood. “It was directed by Amit Kehar and the concept is ours,” says Bensimon. “We saw Tranna Winter do stand up and we were friends in the Montreal arts scene. We asked her to be our leading lady in this concept, leaving things behind and getting rid of everything you own and how that can make you feel. She was so down right away. She was into the idea. We filmed the whole thing together in a span of two weeks, which is kind of crazy, and filmed it!”

The other big thing is the tour. They’ll be off to CMJ in New York, and then touring a bit in Canada. They’re also supporting Dear Rouge and Rah Rah in some upcoming shows. I ask if the album and the live performance are similar. “I hope the emotion is carried through when you listen. The live show is more high energy.”

Caveboy. Rialto Hall. Photo Rachel Levine

Caveboy. Rialto Hall. Photo Rachel Levine

And get ready for that energy! I ask how they manage it. “To be honest, we’re in great health,” says Bensimon. “We all eat very well. We work out a lot. That’s how I keep the energy up. If we were intense partiers, we couldn’t put on that kind of energy.”

Caveboy releases their self-titled LP on October 9. Then they’re heading to New York for CMJ on October 13-16. They’ll be back in Montreal at Divan Orange on October 28 supporting Dear Rouge and Rah Rah. 9:30 p.m. $10.

About Rachel Levine

Rachel Levine is the big cheese around here. Contact: Website | More Posts