Cathedral Bells are a soft and bright, psychedelic, dream-pop band out of Cassadaga, Florida, helmed by Matt Messore. Matt began the project in his bedroom and started releasing self-recorded EPs and singles to Bandcamp in early 2019.
Matt has since added two new members to the group and dropped his debut LP Velvet Spirit (Good Eye Records), and is in preparation for the release of his second full-length, Ether, which will be out January 29, 2021 on Spirit Goth Records.
You can stream the first single from the forthcoming album “Invisible” via Bancamp below:
I was able to catch up with Matt to get some insight into his project and learn a little about his approach to making music headed into the release of his second LP. You can read our exchange via email below:
The following transcript has been edited slightly for clarity and consistency.
What was the impetuous for starting Cathedral Bells?
To carry the torch of making music, fuming from DIY bedroom elements.
What other bands might people know you from?
We’ve all played in many projects over the years. To name a few: Dear Tracks / Houseplants and You Blew It!. Aaron played drums in Rareflowers & PYNKIE. Kyle played in Kinder Than Wolves, and has recorded and engineered for many bands all over.
What do you think makes Cathedral Bell different from your past projects?
This project is different from any other projects I’ve done because it’s crafted all from home. Going from vintage drum machines all the way to the recording process, it has a unique formula.
What did your bedroom recording setup look like for your early singles?
Mostly all have been the same setup from the start. Mainly tracking everything through a two-channel interface. Our forthcoming album, Ether was also split between my bedroom studio and Kyle’s studio at home. Which is also where the new album was mixed for higher quality. We try to keep a balance from the lo-fi bedroom soundscape and overall production.
At what point did you decide to bring other people on board?
Since Cathedral Bells first live performance all the way up to the start of the pandemic, there has always been a live member either playing on guitar or drums, with a few solo performances that I did on the west coast and in Florida. Since adding the newest members Kyle and Aaron, it really has made a completed circle between playing live & adding ideas.
What is it about Aaron Gollubier and Kyle Hoffer that makes them good collaborators for this project?
Aaron and I have similar music tastes and value the same things aesthetically. Aaron’s previous project was on the same label as Cathedral Bells, and he moved from New Jersey to Florida. He eventually started playing/touring with Cathedral Bells. Both Kyle and Aaron understand the sound and vibe for the project, which makes it easier to bring it all together.
Kyle has joined most recently this year, and already has been a major part of recording the most recent tracks and mixing the album. A few songs off the new album were written during quarantine, and a few of the latest tracks were contributed by Kyle and Aaron.
You released your debut LP this year [Velvet Spirit] and are looking forward to releasing a second in early 2021. Did the writing and recording process differ between these two albums? What are you carrying over from the first to this new one?
The process for the first LP is the same way of putting together the new album. I usually work on one or two songs at a time, to keep the momentum going. Keeping a theme to each track is important, so I try to space out the writing process. I look at it as a collection of songs made in segments.
What are some of your non-musical influences?
Do you consider yourself a spiritual person?
How much is Cathedral Bells inspired by the Cassadaga Spiritualist Camp, and are they still active in your area?
Cassadaga is a very good feeling community. It’s almost like a place to feel at ease and enjoy the scenery. There are spiritual groups in the community but we aren’t a part of anything like that. There’s a fairy garden trail, where people decorate the woods with their personal items. There’s also a park that expands deep into the woods and is a good place for nature trails.
For all your midwestern fans, tell us a little about what the winters like in Florida? What is your favorite/least favorite part?
I actually lived in Michigan for a few years, and definitely have been through a few brutal winters. Mostly Florida is usually too hot, but the winters are perfect. We don’t have any snow and the temperature usually sits between 60-80 degrees. You can expect some cold days that hit 30-40 degrees but definitely nothing below 30!
Do you consider yourself a gardener, and if so, what do you like to grow?
I don’t personally garden, but we have a lot of live plants around our house and I live by a lake and I’m surrounded by woods.
What are some good names for cats?
Momo, Bubbles, Bean, Topher, Alaska, Lola