Interview with Caddywhompus vocalist/guitarist Chris Rehm | By Robert Duguay

New Orleans act, Caddywhompus, have a knack for melding various styles together within their music. The duo of vocalist and guitarist Chris Rehm and drummer Sean Hart touch upon art pop, math rock, free jazz, noise punk, and psychedelia with their latest release, Odd Hours, released April 14 via Inflated Records. There’s a varying amount of intensity and invigoration present within the album, while contagious riffs and rhythmic beats flow like a river upstream. It’s heavily distorted, and there’s no letting up from start to finish. Rehm and Hart push numerous boundaries to create a well-rounded sound that captivates the senses.

Odd Hours was made during the dog days of summer in August of 2016, with sweltering heat surrounding the recording sessions. “It was in the high 90s and 100 percent humidity, and we were in a large gutted house that we converted into a studio,” Rehm says. “We had a single window unit installed in a window six feet in the air on one of the walls that dropped it, like, one degree, but it was usually off for the takes since it was right above where we set up the drums. So, it got hot.”

“Sean’s a pretty loud drummer when he wants to be, and I’ve always tried to match him and basically be as sonically present as possible with my amps, running a sub octave to a bass amp and having my ‘normal’ guitar line sent to both a PA and a guitar amp,” Rehm continues, explaining how Caddywhompus capture their unique sound. “In past recordings, I’ve tried to capture my guitar sound by recording every speaker of every amp with varying success. This time, on Odd Hours, studio engineer Ross Farbe and us decided to pretty much stick to one amp for guitar, and I think it helped to make it sound even more direct and intense.”

“Also, we try to keep our music diverse and try not to be constrained by traditional song structure,” he adds. “This desire to weave unusual parts together and dramatic dynamic shifts probably contributes to our intense sound. Another reason besides the sheer volume that our music may seem intense is that we put all of our energy into writing drum, guitar, and vocals parts that don’t need accompaniment. However, we do try to spice up the recordings with minimal overdubs that hopefully serve to accentuate our natural setup but aren’t essential or even present at a live show.”

Caddywhompus’ adopted hometown of New Orleans has made a bit of a comeback since the disastrous effect of Hurricane Katrina in 2005. “It is a vastly changing landscape,” Rehm says about the Big Easy. “We moved here after the storm, so it’s hard to compare pre and post storm realities, but we can see changes happening all over the city all the time. It definitely has its problems, and some areas change very rapidly. The cost of housing is skyrocketing and historic neighborhoods are all too often taken over by enterprising young foodies and retailers, but we love the city and have managed to forge a path for ourselves musically and personally here in NOLA.”

“Sean moved to New Orleans in 2007 to go to school, and I moved there the next year for the same reason,” he continues, detailing their migration from Houston, Texas. “We knew in advance that we wanted to start a band, but didn’t have a name or idea until we got a practice space and started writing.”

On touring in support of Odd Hours, Rehm explains, “Our summer is pretty open-ended at the moment. We’re hoping to do some touring in the late summer, but nothing is announced just yet. Stay tuned!”

Purchase Odd Hours here: iTunes | Bandcamp | Inflated Records

Photo by Ben Davis

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