Slow Caves’ sound is tough to pin down, intertwining surf rock, ‘90s jangle vibes, poppy synths, and a touch of emo, all laid under a vintage curtain. The band of longtime friends Jakob Mueller, Oliver Mueller, David Dugan, and Jackson Lamperes formed in 2014 out of Fort Collins, Colorado, and have become key to Denver’s music scene ever since. This March, Slow Caves released their latest EP via Old Flame Records, Desert Minded, revealing a tailored sound of laid-back, catchy grooves. Slow Caves singer and guitarist Jakob told PopGun all about the new EP, the Colorado music scene, and the band’s love for School of Rock.
What should people know about your newest EP, Desert Minded?
Desert Minded is a collection of the songs that were worked on for quite a while. Some of them we worked on for several months, some we sat on for a few years. The songs were workshopped in rehearsal spaces, but were mainly worked out live. When we put our first EP out, we had played only one or two shows, so we didn’t really know who we were. So in a way, we found out who we wanted to be as a live rock band through these tracks.
Was there a particular moment for you as a band that made you want to pursue music seriously and professionally?
Since we’ve been best friends for most of our lives, the answer to this question could honestly go back to 2003 when “School of Rock” came out. I think we all really wanted to be those kids who played in a rad rock ‘n’ roll band. That dream ultimately drove us to where we are now. A few years back we played our first shows in New York at the last CMJ Music Marathon. We played a show one day at like 12:00 pm at the Bowery Electric where I think we played for one or two friends and the staff. We didn’t care that no one was there though, it just made us want to work harder so that we could keep coming back to New York to play shows as often as we could.
What has been the most memorable audience reaction from one of your live shows?
This past summer we played at Red Rocks for a super cool series through Denver Film Society called “Film on the Rocks,” where bands open for classic movies that are shown on the stage. When we played, the place was pretty full, so whenever we would finish a song you would hear the kind and enthusiastic cheers from 8,000 people. You could even say, “How are y’all doing?” to the crowd, and the place would roar. It was unreal.
What music influenced you when you were putting the Desert Minded EP together?
A lot of stuff. Probably the main ones being early Beach Boys, The Strokes and The Cribs. We’re suckers for those bands.
How has Colorado influenced your music, and how does it feel to bring those sounds to the east coast on this tour?
There’s a band here called, Gleemer. Check them out. We love those dudes, and I think their stuff is maybe influencing our new music to be heavier, maybe moodier? The cool thing is that there isn’t, at least in my mind, a Colorado style in rock music out here at the moment. So when people hear that a Colorado band is coming to town, maybe they won’t know what to expect. I think that’s pretty cool.
You said in an interview that your ideal show would be at the Mercury Lounge with the Strokes in 2001. Although we can’t make that happen, you are coming to New York! What are you most looking forward to about coming here to play?
Gee, that would be sick, though! We’re always hoping that we run into Jules when we’re in NY. PopGun Presents shows are always a heck of a time! We’re getting real excited for the show. Other than that, we’re looking forward to stocking up on some tasty deli sandwiches for the rest of the tour, and having a late night with some old friends.
Interview by Natalia Barr