CAUSE AND EFFECT
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.
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?
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.
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?
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.
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?
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.
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
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
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?
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.
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.
What kept you inspired after BMG pulled the plug on your
label in 1996? Why did you choose to go it alone?
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
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
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.
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.
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?
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.
You have plans for a full-length follow up to "The Sunrise
EP" due out in early 2004. What can fans expect?
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!
How has pursuing a career as a DJ/remix production team
changed your creative process and how you go about your
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.
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.
Fans are eagerly awaiting a tour to support "The Sunrise
EP". Where and when can we expect to you see you?
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.
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?
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.
Who has been the biggest influence on your career in music
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?
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!
Would you welcome a new major label deal at this point in
your career or do you prefer to run your career on your
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.
What are your interests outside of Cause & Effect? What do
you find yourself immersed in when you have free time?
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
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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