Approaching Wesley Eisold for the first time is challenging because of the contradictions. Eisold is Cold Cave, but Cold Cave currently plays with two other members; Cold Cave’s songs can be booming synth symphonies with heartfelt angst ridden anthems, while others are strips of one instrument melodies with curiously longing harmonized mumbles; Cold Cave is aging, but still freshly unpredictable.
Apart from all the fluctuations in music, band members and label status is the constant presence of the project’s founder and composer Wesley Eisold. During the San Antonio date of their winter tour with rising self described tragic waver Drab Majesty, Eisold was accompanied on stage by wife and photographer Amy Lee and Heartworm Press co-owner and author Max G. Morton.
“Texas is great for us because it feels like you’re going to a different country, but it’s a cool different country,” Eisold said. “Texas always has good shows. People are super welcoming and warm.”
When I sat down between Eisold and Max to talk about Cold Cave, I pointed my questions towards Eisold under the assumption that he would want to be the one to speak about his project. Yet asking about why Drab Majesty was a good fit for the tour Eisold said “we connect more with what they’re doing musically”. Later on he would talk about how The Idea of Love, one of his latest singles, was currently everybody's favorite song to play.
“I think it’s a bit of relief at the end of the set,” Eisold said. “It kinda comes in with this sort of bone head beat which, is kind of refreshing after a bit more frantic songs. It represents the three of us in Cold Cave, at this point in time pretty well.”
After nearly twenty years of touring, Eisold describes the process as methodological and clinical. The Texas dates were the last of the winter tour, the sharable moments being those when he’d “gotten to see someone in clown makeup check into a hotel a few times”. Now he’s heading to Europe to play shows with American Nightmare, the prolific hardcore band he sang with through the 90s and early 2000s.
Despite the presence in another project, Cold Cave is teeming with material. Eisold is sitting on a few ready to release singles, and maybe an entire album. “I’m sure one day I’ll put out a single in the not too distance future, because I wake up that day and decide it’s a good day for it.”
This sort of creative process is attributable to the group’s independence from labels. Heartworm Press releases both Eisold’s music and writings. Like the process of creating music, his writing comes through spontaneity.
“It’s almost like it’s really easy to make it, in a weird way,” Eisold said. “I could write a book tomorrow, but I don’t know if I will. But if I do, I’ll put it out the next day. I kinda like the approach like that. It’s the nice part of not working with other people. No politics.”
Cold Cave’s fluctuations and unpredictability feel like the result of existing inside of a purely creative space. It’s a project that lives on a moment by moment basis. With no one and no where to look to besides himself, Eisold commands Cold Cave. People listen and react with enthusiasm. Throughout their nearly hour long set at the Paper Tiger people fluctuated between reverently gazing and passionately engaging. Some standing at the front stretched their hands out to simply feel a pass of Eisold’s black on black leather. Others just wanted to dance, and did to Cherish the Light Year favorites “Underworld USA” and “Confetti”. The reasons people want Cold Cave are as diverse as the several subcultures their fans emanate from. Perhaps more than anything people just want to watch a conductor.
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