Wednesday, April 1, 2009

'Jingle Kings' Cassette Release New Album

Wellington indie band Cassette have just released their latest album The Jingle King. Frontman Tom Watson talks to STACEY KNOTT of NZPA about finding inspiration in break-ups and a statue.

Wellington, March 20 NZPA - A band member's incessant singing and a small statue solved the problem of naming a new album for Wellington band Cassette.

Singer and songwriter of the country/folk rock band Tom Watson says the band's second album The Jingle King was made quite quickly -- recorded in May last year, mastered in September and artwork completed this year.

The album's art is based on a statue Watson found in a second-hand store in Picton. He named it after a phrase coined when the band suffered cabin fever in the studio.

That phrase, The Jingle King, also became the album's title.

"(Drummer) Craig (Terris) started singing everything that people would say in an inane sort of way, and (bassist) Andrew Bain said to him, `what are you man, some sort of jingle king?'

"So he just coined this thing, so for the rest of our time in the studio everyone was the jingle king, it became the theme of the session," Watson says.

He says later discovering the statue in the Picton store was "divine".

"He's sitting in a throne with an axe in his hand, he has a skull for his head and he has this Egyptian woman kneeling by his side."

The statue is a "lampoon of a classic man," Watson jokes.

"Suddenly it made perfect sense for him to be on the album and the album be named The Jingle King.'

The miniature jingle king was photographed for the album sleeve to accompany an elaborate story Watson describes.

"A friend of mine wrote a story for the sleeve of the album which details the story of how the Jingle King came to produce our record using all sorts of torturous methods.

"We took photos of him overseeing the project and me and Craig being slave-driven. It's taken on a life of its own. We wanted to have some fun with it."

He says the idea of power from the statue is a comical twist on the themes of the album, which include a relationship break-up.

While Cassette's music is more of the shoe-gazing, guitar-driven persuasion, the artwork lends itself to a more quirky feel.

Watson hopes it will attract people who haven't heard of the band.

"If they see this photo of a skull covered in smoke they might at least listen to it out of curiosity."

While Watson and Terris are the founding members of Cassette, they had help recording the album from Phoenix Foundation's Luke Buda, Fur Partol's Andrew Bain and SJD's Dave Fraser.

The album was recorded by Lee Prebble, who has also recorded the Black Seeds.

Watson says though The Jingle King is a better quality recording than fans will be used to, Cassette has not changed in terms of song- writing.

He wrote the songs after a break-up, and all the songs are about relationships to some degree, but the theme can be hard to spot at times.

"All the songs I wrote were from coming out of a relationship...but it's more ambiguous.

"Relationships are a microcosm of all your friendships, you go through those things (the hard parts of an intimate relationship) with most people but it's not quite so heavy."

Watson has already started writing for the next album, and plans to remain in Wellington for the near future.

"We are really happy in Wellington, it seems to be really easy to get our music-making done.

"We are certainly interested in touring overseas but haven't made any big moves to make that happen.

"We are happy just making our music, recording it and touring it."

Tour dates:

Happy, Wellington, March 20

Al's Bar, Christchurch, March 26

Carey's Bay Historic Hotel, Dunedin, March 27

Woodstock Lodge, Catlins, March 28

Woodstock Lodge, Catlins, March 28

Pix available from Charlotte Ryan 021 888 372,

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