The Callous Daoboys are a six-piece band from the depths of Atlanta, Georgia. They released their debut album independently, Die On Mars in June of 2019. This year, they were signed to MNKR, which is known formerly as eOne Music. They are set to release their second album, Celebrity Therapist on September 2nd, 2022. The band is comprised of violinist Amber Christman, bassist Jack Buckalew, guitarist Maddie Caffrey, drummer Sam Williamson, guitarist Dan Hodson, and vocalist & lyricist Carson Pace. We sat down with Carson while they were in town during their outdoor show at Fargo Brewing Company with Light The Torch, and headliners AVATAR. You can listen to the audio above and/or read the transcript below!
Interview and Photography by Jenna ‘The Scream Queen’
What is delicious?
Great question. I mean, it’s our song title that’s asking the question. So, I believe it’s for you to answer. I wish I had a better answer for you.
Same deal, still a question that we’re asking you. Sorry if that was a little anti-climactic.
The video for ‘What Is Delicious? Who Swarms?’ is very interesting. Can you talk about some of the things that inspired you to create the video like that?
Yeah, sure. So, a lot of the record, a lot of our new record is centered around cults and stuff like that, initiation. How people get sucked into them and stuff like that. I wanted just a basic like, the most basic way of being sucked into a cult, which is when you have no other options and you feel like nothing else is working for you, tending to turn to something spiritual or divine. I know, I’ve done it before with Meditation or therapy, or something like that. So, when nothing else is working, that tends to be when people will try anything.
So, I wanted just a basic way of telling that. That’s the only video of the three that we filmed that I directed. I’m very proud of it. I don’t think, I don’t know if I’m eligible for an Emmy or something like that. Hopefully though. Hopefully something comes of it. It’s very baseline, there’s no real sub-text [laughs] or anything kubrickian in the background or anything like that, it’s just basic, very straight forward. There’s some quick chaotic cuts, I’m a big fan of doing very simple stories just making them look really pretty. I think we really accomplished that.
Ok. How do you feel it captures the vibe of the song?
I mean largely that is what that song is about, when you have nothing else to turn to, it’s particularly talking about the rhythm of my perspective being a younger person, being my teen years, there being a lot of pull to commit more into the church or into society, or something like that. I went to a really weird private school when I was in high school, but I was dating somebody who went to full-on party high school. [laughs] So, it was like…. My parents made me go to church every Sunday, so I was being pulled between three very different worlds when honestly, I just wanted to make Music the entire time and I was told I never was going to have a career doing that. I think it captures the vibe of the song pretty well. If anything, I wanted that for the vibe of the rest of the record. And it ties in with the first video we put out, for A Brief Article In Regarding Time Loops. And it ties into the third video that we haven’t put out yet as well.
Ooooh! And what video is that?
I can leak that here, I guess… It’s for a song called The Elephant Man In The Room, it’s like, one of the strangest songs we’ve ever written. [laughs] I wrote it for a friend of mine, who lost his wife to a car accident. Yeah, I wrote that for him and it’s not exactly the same story, but it’s a full narrative start to end and everything like that. Yeah, the third video, it looks like an actual movie, our friend Bret directed it. Should come out in a few weeks. It’s awesome. I’m so proud of it! We got the final cut back like as we were driving here to watch it.
Yeah, the album it starts out…It just hits you in the face and just keeps hitting you in the face. Like, all the way down to Star Baby!
Yeah! I’d like to think Star Baby has like that moment of levity at the end of kind of lifting things off your shoulders. But yeah, it’s seven tracks of Hell until you get to that pretty much.
A Brief Article In Time Loops…. Is that a nod to Stephen Hawking?
Nah. Not at all. It’s just a brief article in time loops… I think a lot of people have asked if it’s a nod to Groundhog Day, is it a nod to Russian Doll, I mean, you’re the first to say Stephen Hawking… Not really, it’s more so just a I think that if you have a job that you hate or if you repeatedly do the same thing every day, it’s no different than being trapped in a movie or anything like that. I don’t think it’s…I don’t think it’s a clever way to live your Life exactly is basically putting yourself through Deja Vu every single day. That’s more …. It was kind of me reflecting on how many behavioral patterns I’d fallen back into or how many times I just like stuck with a job even though, you know, clearly there was something else I wanted to do.
So, it’s just about wanting to start over and taking everything back I feel a lot of people will work at a job for 30-40 years and then retire and realize, “what the hell have I done with my Life?” …I watched a lot of people in my family do it. I’ve watched my friends do it. It’s just not what I want for myself, whether that’s a job, or whether that’s doing drugs or anything like that. It’s just wanting to start your Life over. Yeah, I mean it could be a nod to something like that. [laughs] I mean, yeah, sure! If it’s a nod to Stephen Hawking to you, that’s ok!
Yeah. That’s what the title just reminded me of. So, here’s another question…. Your Title Track song off of Celebrity Therapist, not the actual title track…
Yeah, the song is called Title Track.
Yeah. That one’s different. It even has a Pop aesthetic to it when it gets to the clean vocals. What was the mentality behind that song? I mean, your Music is so complex!
[laughs] Well, thank you! I mean, I feel like a lot of bands out-do us in the complexity spectrum occasionally. But I don’t know, we’re always a band that’s always going to take big swings with our songwriting. When it comes to, I mean even our Music videos, like our Music video isn’t us playing in a warehouse, you know? Our Music videos have stories and characters and acting and shit. We’re always going to be a band that takes really big swings like that. That song in particular, and the song after it…Are both the biggest swings I think we’ve ever taken. I’m very proud of it. I’ve been jokingly just saying that we’re Pop Music, just for fun because in a way, this type of Music is kind of like, coming back into Culture, I feel. I mean fuckin’ Limp Bizkit has a second wave of career.
Still Sucks is amazing.
Yeah, great album. …I think that there’s kind of been a resurgence for that kind of stuff and we don’t ever write anything for radio or for the Pop fans or whatever. I mean, that song has like a full minute of just like synths just before it kicks out and it’s still very heavy. I don’t really know what the thinking is behind that song, we wrote it and were like ‘this is really cool.’ And for a minute, we were like, “is this too different songs, or is it one song?” Then we were like, “No, it’s one big song.” And I think we’re very proud that it’s one big song. I think that it really encapsulates everything we do as a band. It’s not only a mission statement for the record, but it’s a mission statement for our band of like, this is our band, these are the swings that we take, this is us connecting, and this is a homerun. [laughs] So, I’m a big baseball fan, so yeah, just expect a lot of baseball analogies.
Yeah, with the album, that is where it takes an unexpected turn. It’s amazing. When you first started The Callous Daoboys, and like you said, your Music is kind of about breaking a cult, society’s mold, whatever you want to call it…What was the breaking point for you that was like, “oh My God, ok, I’m starting a band, I can’t take this shit anymore!'”?
I still worked a normal ass job when I started this band, that being said I was still like 19, I’m 25 now. Most of my adult Life has been spent in The Callous Daoboys, which is a little crazy to say. I don’t know, I think my, ‘I’m done with this shit’ point was, I don’t know. This has been my full-time job since February of this year. And it’s always kind of been like, I’ve known that I wanted to be a professional Musician since I was 12 or 13. I was told that it was impossible since I was that age too. And that only makes me want to do it more. And every time that we hit a roadblock, or we have growing pains, it only makes me want to work five times harder.
If someone says like, “You’ll never get signed,” it’s like, “Cool, I’m going to get signed by the biggest label we possibly can get signed by. It’s like, you’re never going to play with a band this big, it’s like, “Awesome, I’m going to play with a band that’s ten times that big.” And anytime we encounter something like that, I’m like, “Nah, fuck you, we’re just doing it.” And that’s the way we’re going to keep on trucking.
I think, [laughs], and maybe my previous employers would speak to this, but my head is never in my job, my head is never in my nine to five, if I had a nine to five, my head is always in this band and how I can make the best possible Music and make Music that no one’s ever made before in this band. I hope that’s a good answer, I hope that answers your question.
Definitely, totally relate to it too, in a different way. You mentioned Meditation earlier. What have been some songs when you were meditating that came to you, that you had to just stop and write everything down?
I was meditating last night, and I wrote like a whole chorus. So, I mean, it’s funny…That’s so rarely happens, it’s funny that you mention that because it happened last night was when I was meditating. I had to sleep in the bus last night, everyone else slept in our keyboardist’s house and I slept in a bus. But it was very nice, I wanted to sleep in a bus, I don’t want anyone to think that I’m a martyr or anything like that. I wanted to sleep in a bus so I could meditate.
There is like a– there’s something that happens after you’ve finished meditating where you open your eyes again if you’ve only done it for twenty minutes, but like, I don’t know about you, but I get these very tingly feelings and I feel really good and really motivated to do something with my day. I mean, it’s usually after that it happens. But if I have a chorus come to me or if I have a riff come to me, there’s nothing I can really do besides put it down or I’m going to forget it.
Honestly, all my good choruses, I come up with in the shower. I can just work them out in there. My roommate is probably not a very big fan of that… Kyle, if you’re reading or listening to this, I’m sorry! [laughs] But, that is where they end up getting out the most. I feel that Meditation, Meditation’s a very quiet brain thing for me, I don’t have a very quiet brain. I think the only time it is quiet is when I meditate. So yeah, there you go!
How do you feel Die On Mars, your first album, introduced The Callous Daoboys into the Metal world?
I mean, it’s another one of those things where it was a really big swing for us. We paid for the recording of that, paid for the distribution of that entirely ourselves. We paid for the Music videos, we didn’t have a label behind us or anything like that, we just went for the highest quality possible. I personally think it paid off, the more– you know you’re going to get out what you put into it. And if we half-assed a record, if we recorded it, put out one Music video, and then sat down the next month, it wouldn’t have worked very well. We did a standard album and all that, with three singles, we paid for everything ourselves. I mean, yeah, it paid off because it got us signed, and we had a really good first month or so where it was like, ‘holy shit, people really like this album!” it’s just kind of crazy, and we really thought we were going to keep the independent route, but it is so hard to be an independent band. [laughs] I think one day, we might be down the line, probably not any time soon, but yeah….it was so crazy, I still can’t really believe that it got us here.
I think the two singles from Celebrity Therapist that we’ve released are what probably got us on the tours that we are on coming up. But, we would be nowhere without Die On Mars. It was kind of like us being like, we have a new lineup, a new sound, we have matured a lot because the EPs we put out when we were 19-20 years old, in my opinion were not very good. I mean we were 19 year old’s trying to sound like The Chariot, they don’t sound very good. But Die On Mars, it was like, we’re more mature. Yes, we’re wearing our influences on our sleeve, but we are something new. We are here to whoop ass. So, I think it was probably the best decision we’ve ever made to just say, “you know what, we’re not going to do a couple singles, we’re not going to try and pitch to labels, we’re just going to pay for everything ourselves. And then let them come to us. And that’s exactly what we did and it happened, and that’s exactly what we’re going to continue. [laughs] I Love the idea of yelling at bands on Twitter and being like, “please take us on tour!” But it’s like, “No, no, no, they’ll come to us. They’ll come to us eventually.”
So, I’m really proud of Die On Mars and I’m really proud that we own it. And I’m really proud that we haven’t sold it to a label for a quick buck or anything like that, it’s ours forever. We’re going to keep reprinting it on vinyl forever. If I’m ever like, short on rent or something one month, just be prepared to buy another variant of it everybody! [laughs]
Ok, here’s an off the wall question…You know there’s twenty billion different subgenres of Metal, and I keep reading that The Callous Daoboys are Mathcore, so what exactly does Mathcore mean to you, and is that what you dub the band?
I think that if you were to slap a singular label on it, probably that. I don’t want to be shy about that or anything, or deny the term exactly. I know that when Horse The Band was coming up, they didn’t want to be called Nintendo-Core, well they kind of invented that as a genre, so… What does Mathcore mean to me? I don’t know, maybe we’re not as “mathy” as a lot of the, Car Bomb or Dillinger Escape Plan, or something like that, but I mean, to us, it just kind of happens naturally… If we have a really cool riff that we like, but it’s like hard to play again, like it’s hard to repeat, we’re like “well, let’s just add an extra beat so we can take a break and then play it again!” [laughs] Our “mathiness” and our odd time signatures, I’d say are more incidental than they are like planned or anything like that, and also like I think when we were younger, we thought it was cool to put a song into 23-16 or some bullshit time signature like that, but I think now, it’s just like now, “no one’s shaking ass to that! Why would we do that?!” [laughs] No one can headbang to that, why are we doing this?!” I don’t know, like, the look how fast we can play or look how we can play this awful time signature.
I think it’s gotten less cool to me, it’s still really hard to sing in weird time signatures like that, but I think we’re probably going to keep doing it because we like it. Bands like Thrice and Radiohead go ahead and use alternate time signatures, no one calls them “Mathcore” or “Math Rock“, so it’s a little…I think it’s a little arbitrary, but at the same time, I get it, it’s ok, if someone wants to call us a Mathcore band, I’m not going to say they’re wrong. So, there ya go!
Ok, that concludes our interview, do you have any messages you’d like to put out there?
Yes. Drive fast and take chances.
Celebrity Therapist Track List:
1. Violent Astrology
2. A Brief Article Regarding Time Loops
3. Beautiful Dude Missile
4. Title Track
5. Field Sobriety Practice
6. The Elephant Man In The Room
7. What Is Delicious? Who Swarms?
8. Star Baby