A veteran of the Chicago music scene, Pete Cautious recently self-released his sophomore album “Florida Man”. Described as “like looking through your inner lizard through a microscope”, the album continues the laid-back guitar and synth vibe of his self-titled debut LP to great effect. The title track, “Just Another Live Song” and “First Time” are my standouts on a great listen.
We caught up with Pete to talk about the recording of the album and his musical influences.
Who are the band members and what do they play?
On the records, Pete Cautious sings and plays all of the instruments (with some exceptions). The live band features Brad Smith on keys, Paul Nixon on bass, and Erik Sowa on drums.
What are the band’s main influences?
Pete Cautious draws from a variety of sources, and it’s hard to pin down one specific genre or artist. Artist like Ariel Pink, Mac DeMarco, R Stevie Moore are definite influences in terms of setting templates for self producing/recording in a non-genre type of indie rock.
If you could only listen to one record, what would it be?
If I could listen to only one record, it’d be Grateful Dead, Europe ‘72. That may count as more than one LP, but I’d take any volume.
Are there any other interesting or amusing happenings – no matter how small – that the band have been involved with that would be of interest to those who like your music?
Pete almost got arrested filming the music video for “Florida Man”. He lit a smoke bomb under an underpass while wearing an alligator mask and people got freaked out. A cop was nearby and while Pete didn’t end up having to spend the night in jail, he was not able to capture the scene.
Where was the single/EP/album recorded and who was involved in its production?
This album was recorded in Pete’s practice space in Chicago. The spartan approach to the arrangements of the album are no accident. Tracking and mixing was done there, and Pete limited himself to using a single studio monitor(one is cheaper than two) and even going as far as only using a single mic on the drums for a couple of songs.
What classic album cover is your current mood?
My current mood would probably be reflected in REM’s Murmur. Fall vibes.
Is there a particular ethos behind the single/EP/album or any particular music styles or events that inspired it?
Pete made an album that exists in the real world, not just on a computer. The sparse production technique and simple arrangements were done so any band could play the songs convincingly, and they would be fun to play. While the production and arrangements are sparse(for rock), that isn’t to say the album sounds that way. It actually sounds very full and lively. Since Pete limited himself to a few voices, every part has a lot of charm, and every part is fun to play. This was done as a reaction to seeing many live bands that seem to be serving a production rather than playing music, which gets tiresome. You won’t see Pete playing to a click, and while it may not be as thunderously loud in the bass, or full of perfectly timed synth arpeggios, it will be alive and spontaneous.
Can you briefly describe what the song/each song is about?
Florida Man is an album that deals with everyone’s inner lizard. The album references addiction, prostitution, gambling, infidelity. The album is not necessarily a harsh indictment on vice or hedonism, but rather just looking at the dark part that exists in all of us, and trying to come to terms with it. “Florida Man” the song, is about the anti-hero of the album in this universe. It’s about someone who operates at a very primal level, which is kind of exciting and liberating in a way, but it also ends up getting the person in lots of trouble. “Just Another Love Song” follows someone that loses themselves to gambling, and must explain to their loved one that everything is gone, well, everything except a song. “The First Time” is about those fleeting moments when you reconnect back to a time when it was all new, and how hard it can be to chase that, but how great it is when you can grab it.
What would go on your signature pizza and what would it be called?
Signature pizza would be mushroom pizza all the way.
Were there any notable or amusing happenings surrounding the recording/production of the EP?
Pete records in a rehearsal facility where many other bands also work. When times are tough, people will end up living in the space. While he was recording, it wasn’t uncommon for him to see someone coming out of the bathroom after taking a sink shower and drying off with paper towels. There were a lot of clogged toilets during this session.
Any last comments or lessons to live by?
“Florida Man, the patron saint of #!*#ing up. Thank you for being alive” – PETE CAUTIOUS
Check out Pete’s Bandcamp Page to buy the album and check him out on Twitter or Instagram