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Jeffrey Cain of Remy Zero/Dead Snares Romances The South

TIS: So I know you lived in Los Angeles for quite some time and recently moved back home to Alabama. Can you tell us what prompted this decision and how you are adapting?

JC: Well, I grew up in Alabama, and being southern is in my blood. I love being in the south, I actually enjoy the humidity (laughter) and the deep southern romance. It’s a pretty complex place. I’ve always loved the south country and thought I’d come back one day, I just never knew when that would be. I never intended to be in Los Angeles for thirteen years, but it happened, and one day I had a moment where I realized, wait a minute, I can leave, I’m not tied to this place. So I decided to bring my family and recording equipment back south. I found an old house to set up and decided to start recording all my music there.

TIS: Exactly, and do you find any difference in your new location vs. LA, or does it not affect you?

JC: Not really, I can honestly write between any four walls, in any small room with speakers. I could really be anywhere, and music is of course a good way to travel, so it doesn’t matter where I am. However, it certainly affects you and your life as it happens outside the four walls. We have thunderstorms, denser air and heat in the south. It definitely puts you in a different state of mind, one that personally takes me back to my childhood when I first started creating and writing. It brings back memories of those days associated with thunderstorms and other weather here, so it affects me…in a good way.

TIS: Yes, Mother Nature can definitely affect us. So Remy Zero played a few shows this year in memory of your drummer Gregory Slay who sadly passed away this January.

JC: Yeah, we played some shows on the west coast.

TIS: And a few months ago you also released a new single called “Til The End”. So are there any plans for a new album or tour from Remy Zero?

JC: Well, what I try to tell people is that Remy Zero was never a band that rehearsed and toured. We were always separate artists coming together and making music, and that was basically our vehicle. We did it non-stop for a while, like ten years, and we stopped touring about seven years ago, but that didn’t mean we stopped creating. The CD we made is actually songs we recorded during the seven years we technically “broke up” even though we were still recording music together. So I think it’s a lifetime commitment for us. We’ll probably be old and still record songs. We haven’t committed to a new record or tour, but I think we always find excuses to get in a room and play music together. And it was on this tour that we automatically started writing songs in the rehearsal room and on the road, and since we’ve been off the road, we’ve been playing music back and forth. So I definitely think there will be more in the future.

TIS: Very cool. So I also wanted to ask about the tour you did with Radiohead on the tour for the album “The Bends”. I know this goes back a bit, but I read that they somehow stumbled upon your album and that’s how it happened. What’s the story there?

JC: Well, we were signed to Capitol Records a long time ago. We made a record that never came out, and we had Radiohead as our label partner at the time. Well, if you’re at a label, you have access to the music closet to see what else the label puts out, and they found this CD by a band from Alabama (Remy Zero). It’s funny because they had a CD by one of Capital’s bands that was never released. So they really liked the music and approached us. We ended up sending them more stuff from an unreleased record. They really liked it and said they wanted to meet us when they came to the states. So they came and we met them and that led to them asking us to go out on the road and that was really cool. That’s when we became friends. We really enjoyed listening to their music and for a while they liked to switch the music back and forth. We did these shows and kept in touch with their producer, Nigel, who’s a good friend of the band, but we didn’t really have a deep personal relationship with the guys. They were just another band we met for a while. But yeah, they’re totally cool guys and I’m so grateful for that time.

TIS: So, back to the day, I wanted to quickly ask you about your 2003 Emmy nomination for the Nip/Tuck theme song. I know you’re always doing all sorts of things musically, but do you often work with Soundtrack or Theme Song music?

JC: (Laughter) I think it’s probably because you live in Los Angeles and everyone you meet is working on something. So over the years, I’ve met people who used to go to our shows, who were either actors, or directors, or writers, etc. Remy Zero just quit, literally that week I think. We recently moved out of our rehearsal space and got a call from someone who worked on Nip/Tuck. He said the show was due in a week and they weren’t happy with anything they had written for the theme song yet and asked if they could send a video of the opening secrets. So they sent me the video and I cut the song within a week and it’s been going ever since. It was very fast and very strange, very strange. So when he was nominated for an Emmy, it was even weirder, but really cool. It was a completely random thing for me, especially at the time.

It wasn’t on my radar, I wasn’t hunting down theme songs for TV shows or anything like that (laughs). I like to work with any kind of music. I love filming, and I see music very vividly when watching a movie, so when I’m doing something spectacular, I’m very happy to do it. The options don’t seem to present themselves as much, or at least the ones that interest me. When they gave the footage to Nip/Tuck, the first scene was a guy getting a butt implant, and I thought that was worth writing (laughs).

TIS: Haha, right away. So I wanted to talk a little bit about your current Dead Snares project. To be honest, I didn’t know her, but after I interviewed Aimee Mann, Annissa (Aimee & Jeffrey’s joint publicist) mentioned the album to me, and you know that happens sometimes…

JC: Haha, yeah.

TIS: Okay, but you also mentioned Jeffrey Cain from Remy Zero, and I was really interested then. Needless to say, he sent me the album, I loved it, and here we are. So can you tell me about Dead Snares from the beginning to the release of the album.

JC: Yeah, well, I think that’s another thing where after Remy Zero disbanded, I felt really open to music and working with different people and working on a bunch of different records in my studio. But in the evening, when everyone left, I found myself alone in the studio and I started writing these songs, and for the first time in a long time it wasn’t just music. I like to write for singers, I like to create a background for people, this is where I feel good and what I really like. So, I think when these songs started coming out with words, I was surprised and I started documenting some, but I didn’t really plan anything.

I had two songs that came very quickly, almost in automatic writing mode. So I put them on with my gear, which I love, I have really cool gear. So after those two songs I felt like a kid, but I wasn’t quite sure what to do with them. So I decided to send them anonymously to radio stations etc. I didn’t want people to say they love them just because I associate them with other things. I didn’t know if I necessarily liked them. I knew I made them and wondered why I was making them. The name Dead Snares just came to mind as a band name, so I put it on a CD and sent it to some radio stations in Los Angeles. The CD only listed Dead Snares and the names of the songs, nothing about who was on it etc.

But I heard it on the radio at the end of the week and I felt like a kid again, like I did when I was fifteen and I heard myself on the radio for the first time because there wasn’t a whole machine behind it. A label, a publicist, the people who make me do it. I just sent my music hoping it would blindly connect with someone. So I started letting some of my friends hear it and they wanted to know where the rest of the record was. So then I put energy into figuring out what the rest of the story was, and the songs basically started to develop in the order of the arrangement of the record. The record is pretty concise. That’s exactly how many songs I cut.

TIS: Wow, that’s pretty cool. So are you going to tour in support of the album?

JC: Yes, I always had a vision in my mind of being on stage and performing the album live, but in that vision I always saw Gregory, my friend and drummer, on stage with me. So I think when he passed away this year, it really took me out of my comfort zone. I thought I knew what the future was and everything changed. So it took me a while to get back to a place where I feel confident and ready to go or even want to go on stage. Although playing with Remy Zero over the past few months has really renewed my love for being with people and sharing music in a live setting. But I definitely want to perform it.

TIS: Well, I hope it does, and if it does, it will include the East Coast. So, guitars and amps aside, can you name three pieces of equipment that you absolutely cannot live without?

JC: OK, so the guitar and amps are already there?

TIS: Yes, those are fully taken care of, so what else is needed?

JC: Okay, I absolutely need tape machines. I need a tape delay. These are tools for me. I need a tape that I can handle because I’m slowing things down, speeding them up, and detuning things, so I’d definitely need that. I would also need a piano and a tambourine (laughter).

TIS: Great, I’m sure we’ll definitely achieve something with this line-up. So, to wrap this up, I’m going to ask a bit of a trite question, which is, “What’s one of the most defining moments in your music career and why?”, and I’m asking this because you’ve honestly done so much. , musically in so many different aspects, and even though it’s a cliché, I’m genuinely interested.

JC: Oh man.

TIS: Haha, I know, sorry.

JC: Jeez, that’s really hard because honestly, I get stuck every day and have for years. I have to say the chance to have music as a career and share that with people and let people in. I think the first thing that shocked me was when I first saw someone singing in the audience. along with our songs, just seeing the communicative power of music and what it means to people. But I do not know.

TIS: Honestly, that’s probably the best and most corny answer I could have asked for. Fantastic.

JC: Well, that’s the truth, you know? I never want to get tired of it, and I don’t think I ever will. Anytime I can play music and see how it affects people and knowing that we can share that with each other, if I can do that with people, what more could I ask for?

TIS: That’s really cool stuff. JC: Great. Well, thanks for calling and checking out the album. Now your website name The indie spiritualist? I like this.

TIS: That’s it, thank you. It’s an eclectic mix of everything under the sun, fused with non-dogmatic spirituality.

JC: Yeah, man, that’s pretty cool. So be it.

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