Gavin Duffy

14:15 13th March 2008

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Cazals are roughly about four years old; today things are looking quite good for them. An album finished, a cool fashionable record label to release it with and all Cazals are in perfect harmony. This was not always the case. Emerging from the London, Cazals have endured having all their instruments stolen, being left in limbo waiting for a deal, band members leaving and trying to find a decent drummer. Yet they have maintained their style and unique sound throughout. Gigwise spoke to their manager/guitarist Daniel Cazal, to hear their stories, hopes and dreams. A straightforward and clear interviewee, Daniel knows everything Cazals and he is prepared to share.

Cazals are five strong, the aforementioned Daniel on guitar along with Luca Cazal. Martin Cazal, who doubles as producer, on bass. Their current drummer is Warren Cazal, he arrived after an exhausting search, as Daniel points out, “There are a lot of bad drummers out there.” He concludes by outlining the lengths they had to go to get one, “We poached him from a band up in Stoke.”  Phil Cazal is lead singer and focal point of the band. He is quite a dapper chap, “He likes his clothes and he likes fashion”. He has sported a spiv moustache in the past and may still do. Daniel in his dual role as manager and Martin as producer marks Cazals as an entirely self-contained unit, something Daniel feels helps the band, “Having things like producing yourselves, managing yourselves. You are always driving yourselves on.” The gang mentality gives the band confidence and identity, “nobody can really do or get Cazals better than we can.”

Cazals, whether they like it or not, are firmly entrenched in London’s scene. Ali Love is an ex-member; he left during the disheartening search for a drummer. Luca Cazal is best friend and lives with Drew Babyshambles. Phil Cazal, lead singer, has been a friend with Pete Doherty for many years. Cazals also toured with Babyshambles, “We got to play to so many people touring with them and got so many fans doing some great gigs.” They always knew though that they had something different to offer, “We never really, well to us, we never sounded similar.” Daniel though is quick to add, he was grateful for the opportunity afforded by the affiliation, “It kind of helped set us off.” The connections with the London scene helped them through probably the toughest period faced by the band, “Everything we had musically was in this place. We rehearsed out of there; everything we kept there and it all got stolen.” This event is clearly still a source of frustration for Cazals, as Daniel outlines, “that was probably one of the worst days of being in Cazals”, The band had just recorded their first single with 1234 records until this disaster nearly ruined them.

This massive stroke of bad fortune led to Cazalaide, a illegal party in Whitechapel, London in to fund replacements for the stolen instruments. Their friends came in droves to help them, “First, Erol Alkan, said he’d DJ for us. Then The Rakes, who’d we been playing with said they’d do it and the next minute Bloc Party said they’d do it”. Cazalaide just snowballed, even to the surprise of the band, “It just kind of started spiralling into this big event with everyone turning up from Pete Doherty to Bloc Party, it was just one of those nights.” The illegal party garnered plenty of coverage across the presses but as for any band, the path to a record deal can be treacherous. Patience is the key, but disappointment is always one step away even when it seems you are ready to take on the world.

“We did a couple of singles with the label 1234 records”, recalls Daniel. A record deal seemed inevitable as the singles, including the sublime 'Poor Innocent Boys', were well received. This though was not to be their time, “it seemed to be a lot of momentum around the time but nothing kind of really happened,” offers Daniel, still seemingly baffled by the lack of anything. Cazals, their unique sound and dapper front man were to find a perfect home outside the cluttered London scene. “The thing I really liked about them was they really promised and they’ve stuck to their word about allowing the band to have all the artistic control.” A knight on a dashing white horse appeared in the shape of Kitsune records, Daniel is able to put it in plainer language, “Its just Kitsune liked us and that’s how it works.” But he does allow himself one  momentary transgression; “They took us to Paris to make our album so you can’t really complain about that.” French label Kitsune, known for its unique image and the Maison compilation series, put Cazals on Maison two before asking them to sign with the label. It was that simple in the end.

Kitsune are known primarily as an electronica label and Cazals are known for their lofty guitars, could this prove a problem.  “The way the music was written was very much with dance and electronic music in mind,” informs Daniel, about Cazals upcoming album. The long in gestation album is ready to go, “we finished it last year.” It is produced by Martin Cazal, as Daniel reveals “Martin has a genius musical head on him, and he comes up with mad ideas to make things just very different from anyone else,” The album should and will be a sonic event, as Daniel succinctly puts it, “The Strokes being produced by Daft Punk. And that’s kind of what we aimed for.”

The album will be called What Of Our Future? Daniel explains, “The album is based on a track, a b-side we did “What Of Our Future” and it’s the title of the album as well. That’s kind of the blueprint for the album, that song.” A date has been set for its release, so set your calendars, “I think it’s fixed for the 26th of May.” As for hopes for the album, Daniel is pragmatic in his expectations, “I just hope some people really really understand what a good album it is.”  The album should fit nicely into Kitsunes eclectic canon but why such a long wait for release. Daniel, with the manager’s hat firmly, elucidates, “Obviously Kitsune are based in France so it took us a while to build a team of people to work the band in the U.K. because we haven’t got a London office with Kitsune with people doing all that kind of stuff.” The wait for the album may be almost over but Cazals will be giving a taster to the people.

The Life Is Boring tour is in full flow as we speak, with dates in Darlington, Bristol, Exeter and London to come before the end of March. The tour is to support the recent release Life is Boring (released March 3rd). Daniel puts it plainly why you need to catch the band now, “The band are really really tight at the moment and we’re playing really well.” Cazals will also play a couple of dates in Ireland in April. They will be in Galway’s Cuba venue, April 10th.  Most interestingly, as a triple header in Dublin with label mates Digitalism and long time friend Erol Alkan as part of the Budrising Festival. Daniel is completely unfazed at the prospect playing with these electro heavyweights, “You just get up, and you play your best. We wouldn’t change ourselves just to please other people, we feel our songs are good and strong enough.”  The summer festivals should also have a smattering of Cazals, “The agent comes back next week with a list of what we can do. Its not actually booked in yet.”

What of their future? We’d say blinding.

The single 'Life Is Boring' is available now and a remix of their previous single Cut A Long Story Short can be found on Kitsune Maison 5.

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