An Interview with Caustic Casanova

Having had Beatles on the brain for a while now, specifically the early years of their hysteria-inducing mop tops, I started to think about their early interviews. I looked up some of those early pressers and was taken aback by just how many times the fab foursome was asked about money and marriage, but there were also some gems hidden amongst the clunkers. And so, inspired by the early press conferences of the Beatles, especially their US tour interviews, I decided to ask some of those very same questions to some of the best and brightest making music today.

I've mentioned it already, but Caustic Casanova just released (as in, this very day) their latest LP, God How I Envy the Deaf. A noisy meander through muddy, murky morasses of genre-jumbling hard rock, this record holds nothing back. The DC band is celebrating this beast of an album by throwing a record release shindig at Atlas Brew Works, a party you should most certainly include in your weekend. Tomatoes optional.

Half of the newly-expanded foursome (Stefanie Zaenker, drums/vox and Andrew Yonki, guitar) dove right in and answered some Beatles-y Qs, which you can read below (ideally while also listening to God How I Envy the Deaf).


What has been your most exciting moment in the last year?

Stefanie Zaenker: Releasing our newest record God How I Envy The Deaf TODAY!

Andrew Yonki: I got engaged this year, so definitely that. Music-specific, I'd have to say that playing BuddyFest with some of my favorite modern DC-area hardcore bands was a blast. That was our last show where I was the only guitar player, and I feel like we knocked it out of the park.

Who are your favorite recording artists?

SZ: I have so many but I'll mention three of my favorites still releasing new music regularly: Queens of the Stone Age, Melvins, Clutch.

AY: Currently I'm enjoying Opeth, the War on Drugs, Judas Priest, Tom Petty, and Red House Painters.

Do you feel safe riding in airplanes?

SZ: Yes. I love them and I always order tomato juice as my complimentary drink.

AY: Mentally I do, but my knees do not.

Does every city look the same?

SZ: No and yes. I find something unique about every city or region I'm in (ex - meat raffles in Minneapolis, garbage plates in Rochester), but yes in that each city has street lights, people with opposing political views, and gentrified neighborhoods.

AY: Thankfully no.

What message are you trying to get across, if any?

SZ: If I ever get rich all I want is at least three hour-long deep tissue massages per week. Oh wait, did you say message? I need to put my glasses on...

AY: I don't always know what I'm doing, but I'm gonna have a blast doing it. Also, wearing shorts onstage is not a crime.

How would you describe yourself in one word?

SZ: Ready.


Where would you like to go that you haven't gone yet?

SZ: Anywhere making a living playing music.

AY: Ireland, Belgium, Portugal, at least on vacation. To play shows? Oddly enough, this band has not played in New Jersey, and despite denying it for years, I grew up there, and it's a state with a deep musical heritage.

Do you feel that you're setting a new trend in music?

SZ: I think we are the opposite of trendy so, no.

AY: I've never heard anyone that aims to do what we do, so I'd guess not.

What kinds of guitars do you use?

SZ: In tune ones.

AY: My white SG Standard is my pride and joy, I have a Guild S100 that I also love, and currently in the practice space, I have a Hamer Vector flying V copy, and a Schecter C1.

Does anybody ever ask you for advice?

SZ: Yes.

AY: Musically speaking? Rarely.

How do you prefer for your fans to act at your concerts?

SZ: Throw a tomato directly at my nose and I'll know you're really paying attention.

AY: Feral.

How do you go about writing your songs?

SZ: Someone will come to the band with a riff or loose song and we flesh them out together in practices.

AY: Play random crap until something cool comes, then either beat it to death or beat it into something cool.

What is one question you would like to be asked that probably nobody has ever asked?

SZ: What a great question. Nobody has ever asked this question in our interviews. I'm not dying to tell the world anything but ask me something and I'll give you an honest answer.

AY: What hot sauce or beer would you pair with which Caustic Casanova songs. (Ed. note - under consideration.)

What do you call your sound?

SZ: Eclectic and heavy.

AY: I've toyed a lot with semantics and specifics in our sound, but let's cut the shit. We play heavy metal.

Have you ever had a mental block-out on stage?

SZ: I feel like I'm a different person on stage, does that count?

AY: Yes.

What are your unfulfilled ambitions?

SZ: I'd like to become an owl, or prove that a duck isn't a bird, someday.

AY: To play a Halloween cover set of classic Hüsker Dü songs.

What advice do you have for teenagers?

SZ: Being a loser isn't cool. Be yourself at all costs - it will pay off eventually and the wait is worth it.

AY: Enough with the sweat pants in public.

What is the closest you have come to losing life and limb?

SZ: The time I fell off of a roof and broke both of my wrists and tailbone. Ouch!

AY: Loading into Smith's Old Bar in Atlanta in a rain storm. Carrying 100lb cabs up a metal staircase at an 80 degree angle while being pounded with rain, barely having any purchase under your feet, and having to go under a busted gutter. One slip all that gear and SPLAT.

Do you think of yourself more as an entertainer or a musician, or do you think it's more of a combination of the two?

SZ: Definitely a combination. I could say a lot about this actually and I think about it a lot. I am a musician first, but a huge part of being in a live band is entertaining while executing your music as flawlessly as possible. It was never really a one or the other thing with me to begin with, but I've become much more confident in both as I get closer to 40.

AY: I'd rather be an entertainer. Don't try to analyze what I do, just have a good time and go nuts.

[posted 10.18.19]


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