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It's safe to say that no one would ever call Cause and Effect formulaic, or derivative. Their sound has ranged from the bubbliest of synthpop to an acoustic set of sounds and styles. Adding 'The Sunrise EP' to their discography, Cause and Effect once again take their fans on a new journey of style and substance. Rob and Keith took some time with the Electrogarden to shed some light on the new EP and their career.

EN: Listening to the Sunrise EP, I hear a more mature sound than your previous release. Definitely more lush. Where did the musical inspiration come for the EP?      

Keith: The inspiration comes from just about everything and everyone we've been involved with over the last couple of years. We're both very different people than we were five years ago when we did IMS, we've done some growing up, we're into different music and we've experienced different things in life, I think its only natural that these things find their way into the music we make.

EN: After hearing the Sunrise EP, many of your fans are clamoring for more. Why only release the five tracks? Initially you were expecting to release a full length CD. What happened? 

Rob: We did initially set out to do a full length CD. We had a whole bunch of songs we'd been working on since Innermost Station and intended to rework those for this release. Just before I was set to go down to Keith's studio in LA, we started playing around with some new material and out of that came Into The Light and Long Way Down. They were such a departure for us but we were so excited about the new direction. It soon became obvious to us that we'd outgrown much of the older material. They're great songs but they wouldn't translate into what we want to do now. Rather than release a full length CD with songs that didn't work together, we decided to concentrate on the ones that did.

EN: For the CandE gear heads among your fans, take us around your studio. What did you use for the sound design of "The Sunrise EP"? What are your favorite pieces of gear?

Rob: We mostly used Keith's gear for Sunrise but I did manage to get my Korg MS2000r on a couple of tracks. My favorite piece of gear is probably my Minimoog. It doesn't stay in tune for very long but it never lets me down when I need something special. You just can't beat the external filter input for processing drum loops either. Not bad for something built in 1971.

Keith: Yeah, that external filter works great, we used that for some vocal processing on World Is Ours V.2 a couple of years ago. It's hard for me to pick a favorite piece of gear, the Supernova 2 is probably the most used synth just because it's also my controller and it's easy to program, but I like different pieces of gear for different purposes.
Our equipment list is pretty extensive but here's a brief overview of our main gear: Computer: Mac G4. Sequencer: Digital Performer 3. Audio System: (2) Motu 2408's, (1) Motu 1224. Plug-In's: Tons-of-em. Samplers: Samplecell 2. Software: Reason2, Recycle2, Peak. Mixers: Mackie 32.8 (analog), Yamaha O1V (digital.) Synths: Supernova2, JD-800, Vintage Keys, MC-505, Juno 106, Juno 60, Minimoog, Korg MS2000r, various soft-synths. Guitars: Gibson 335, Taylor acoustic. Studio Monitors: Mackie HR824's. Vocal Mic: Neuman TLM-103. Outboard Gear: (2) Lexicon MPX100's, (2) Neve pre-amps, Ashley parametric EQ, TL audio compressor.

EN: Your first two albums "Another Minute" and "Trip" had a smattering of Billboard success, with some singles breaching the Billboards top 20. You had some videos in rotation on MTV. Looking back what are your high points and low points professionally?

Rob: The Another Minute time is such a blur. It felt like being pushed from behind by an intense windstorm and I never really got to sit back and enjoy what was happening. Obviously the time around Sean's death was the darkest hour but once the decision to carry on was made and Rich and I started working with Keith, things turned around.
Probably the best thing to come out of Another Minute's success was that it allowed us to go to London for 6 months to record TRIP with Martyn Phillips. Other than a month I spent bumming around Thailand last year, those 6 months in London were some of the best times I've had. There we were, the 3 of us, working with Martyn, living in a very cool flat together, all expenses paid in one of the greatest cities in the world. It was a dream. During the week it was a lot of hard work, sometimes 14 hours a day, but on the weekends we'd spend all night dancing at Club UK or Heaven. Sometimes I don't know how we made it into the studio on Mondays. Legendary good times.

Keith: I agree, the whole London experience was just amazing. Working with Martyn Phillips was a tremendous learning experience that none of us will ever forget. We came back from London different people, nothing but great memories of that time period. Working on The Sunrise EP last summer was also a high point, after we finished Into The Light, everything just fell into place. There was so much positive energy surrounding us, you could almost grab it in the air.

EN: What kept you inspired after BMG pulled the plug on your label in 1996? Why did you choose to go it alone?

Rob: We were all tired of being pulled this way and that by managers and record companies so we thought we'd release something independently. It wasn't, and isn't, our plan to always be independent. Doing everything yourselves and maintaining any level of success is extremely difficult. I'm a songwriter not a label grunt so even though I enjoy much of what being an independent artist allows, I know I don't want to do it this way forever. What I want is to be able to concentrate on just creating the music and let the experts do the selling.

"Innermost Station" was a different sound for CandE? Was there a conscious effort to change the sound or was it a natural evolution?

: Innermost Station was an experiment to create a more "live" sounding record. After coming off of the TRIP tour and playing together live almost every night, it felt like the natural move for us to make. There are good songs on that album but they are definitely more raw and less polished than anything we'd ever done. I don't think that it will go down as one of the "best" albums we've ever made, but it was an important record for us to make at the time.

EN: It had been about five years between the release of "Innermost Station" and "The Sunrise EP." Were there ever any thoughts of pulling the plug on Cause and Effect? What keeps you and Keith together creating music as team?

: There have been many times when the idea of pulling the plug has been close. Sometimes because of outside forces beyond our control, sometimes just from the frustration of dealing with the industry. What keeps me going is a love of creating something from nothing and the incredible respect I have for what Keith does. One of the greatest things for me is to sketch out a song, record a scratch vocal, send it to Keith only to get back a finished song 100 times better than anything I could do by myself. For a few years I tried my hand at production but in all honesty, I'm not very good. I lack the focus and attention to detail that Keith has. Now I limit myself to writing the lyrics and melody and let Keith work his magic.

Keith: We could have released a new album soon after IMS, but I think we really needed to take some time to try new things and re-invent ourselves. The down time gave us a greater confidence in what we're doing and were we're headed. We've got a lot of new creative energy that needs to be unleashed and I think the next few years will see a much more prolific CandE.

What keeps us working as a team?

Rob and I have got a pretty unique working relationship, I think we complement each other well. Whether I'm building music around a lyric and melody idea Rob has come up with or Rob adds a lyric and melody to a music idea I've come up with, the end result is always something better than what we could have done on our own. We've learned to trust and respect each others strengths without letting ego get in the way, which seems to be a downfall for many bands. Sure, we have the occasional fight where one of us says "Well if you'd just try it MY WAY," but generally it's a very rewarding relationship.

EN: It is my understanding that drummer Richard Shepherd had some hearing problems and that was what ultimately led to his departure from the band after "Innermost Station." What were the circumstances of his departure?

Rob: We knew he was having problems during the recording of Innermost but I didn't realize how bad it really was. Soon after we released Innermost, he let us know that he just couldn't play drums anymore. I know it was really hard on him. I don't know what I would do if I couldn't sing anymore. The amazing thing about Rich is that he didn't give up on music, just drums. He now fronts a band in Sacramento called Opal Magnetic and they do regular semi-acoustic shows around town at low volumes so that he doesn't do any more damage to his hearing.

EN: You have plans for a full-length follow up to "The Sunrise EP" due out in early 2004. What can fans expect?

Keith: With each record we release, we try to bring something different to the table. It helps to keep things fresh and interesting for us and for our fans. With Sunrise, we stumbled upon new methods of working and writing together. With the next album, we'll be exploring those methods even further. We are both suckers for great pop hooks and melodies, that's a definite must for any CandE song, but I think we'll be experimenting more with song structures, arrangements, and vocal/musical textures. Stylistically, we'll be bringing an even broader range of influences and production techniques into the mix. It's going to be a very exciting album!

EN: How has pursuing a career as a DJ/remix production team changed your creative process and how you go about your trade?

Rob: Djing has probably been the most influential thing on me the last couple of years. After Another Minute and being labeled as "just a dance band," I wanted to go in another direction and prove to people that we were capable of more than that which I think we did with TRIP and Innermost. The whole DJ thing came more out of curiosity than really wanting to DJ professionally. I just wanted to better understand what it was about so I went out and bought some gear and started messing around. The turning point for me was when Craig DeGraff (Floria & DeGraff) was visiting me and turned me onto some progressive house labels. After that I was hooked and soon after some elements of what I was spinning started showing up in my song demos.

Keith: When you're doing a remix, the whole process is all very spontaneous. You kind of  just have fun and go with what feels right at the moment without having to think about how the track will sound five years from now or how it will fit within the context of an album. It's all for the here and now. Working within that mindset can lead you in directions that you might not necessarily have explored working on your own songs. I think the same can translate into djing and spinning records, you get to experience first hand the energy of the crowd and what really gets them going. It's always fun to turn around and drop some of those bits into your own records.

EN: Fans are eagerly awaiting a tour to support "The Sunrise EP". Where and when can we expect to you see you?

Rob: Putting a tour together is a daunting task, but we're in the planning stages of a 25-30 city US tour. Right now, it's looking like it will start in the middle of April, but we may do a couple of one-off shows at the end of March in the Northwest. We'll be hitting as many places as we can. If someone asks, we'll do it (within reason of course, no birthday parties for 5 year olds in the backyard.) People should check our tour page or get on our mailinglist for information once it becomes available.

EN: I vividly remember the KROQ Acoustic Christmas show in Los Angeles shortly after Sean's death. What are your memories of that show and that period of your life Rob?

Rob: The overwhelming memory of that show was the amount of support that we got from the audience. It was that show that made me realize that it was okay to pick up the pieces and move on without Sean. Up until that night, I really hadn't decided.

EN: Who has been the biggest influence on your career in music and why?
Rob: I've been doing this so long that it's hard to narrow it down to a single influence. There have been so many bands and people along the way that I don't think I can single anyone out. Keith?

Keith: Same for me, without sounding gushy, I have to say that Rob is a huge influence and he inspires me deeply. His lyrics are very colorful, poetic, and in my opinion are some of the best in music today. As far as other bands or artists that have made an impression on me, there are so many I couldn't possibly name them all: from The Beatles to Prince and many others inbetween. Some current faves are bands like Frou Frou, Groove Armada, Baxter, Weeknd Players, Halou, Blue Six, Madonna, FC/Kahuna, Olive, Bjork, Coldplay, Massive Attack, EBTG, Mirwais. The list goes on!
EN: Would you welcome a new major label deal at this point in your career or do you prefer to run your career on your own terms?
Rob: With the right terms, we'd more than welcome a new major label deal. I think we have a much better understanding of who we are and what we do and don't want to do. With that understanding, I think we could take advantage of a relationship with a label. What I wouldn't want to do is to give up the creative freedom that we've enjoyed all these years so maybe a situation where we license to another company would be a good thing for us.

After our relationship with Zoo ended, we never actually made an effort to shop for another deal. We just took it upon ourselves to do it on our own. We learned a great deal about the workings of the industry being independant. But I agree, there comes a point where you reach a limit as to what you can do on your own. With the radio support we've been receiving for Into The Light and the positive response to the EP in general, there's a strong possibility that some form of relationship with a label will be emerging in the near future.

EN: What are your interests outside of Cause & Effect? What do you find yourself immersed in when you have free time?
Rob: Outside of C&E? There are other things? Between the band, Djing and my web design business, I have very little time for anything else. When I do have time, books, films, wine and the occasional snowboarding trip keep me off the streets.

Keith: Free time is pretty rare these days and aside from the band, it's usually spent with friends, family or my dog. I love going out on the weekends, but I'm pretty much a homebody. I love relaxing on the couch and reading a book or watching a movie. I'm also pretty fanatical about fitness, I make it a point to work out at least five times a week and for the most part, eat pretty well.


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TRIP 1994


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