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Letting Life Grow with CALIGULA’S HORSE

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Last year’s success of the Love Conquers All tour saw Brisbane’s prog heroes Caligula’s Horse perform their 2017 album In Contact in its entirety over three evenings, and from that, a catalyst emerged.  

The band has decided to once again capture another milestone and celebrate the anniversary of albums The Tide, The Thief & River’s End and Bloom by performing them both in their entirety on an East Coast tour titled Let It Grow on the same nights this August. Tickets on sale from wildthingpresents.com 

Guitarist Sam Vallen gave HEAVY Magazine his thoughts, interpretations and explanations on writing their three seminal albums plus insights into what Caligula’s Horse fans can expect when attending the masterclass featuring both him and fellow CH guitarist Adrian. 

“We have this very particular outlook on what we do when writing an album,” Sam says. 

“It’s based around the idea that whatever we do immediately for the next material relative to the material we did in the past, has to be a movement away from that. For every album we sat down and asked, ‘what did it achieve, what did we do that we’re proud of? What worked? What do we think didn’t work?’ 

“Then we look at how we can move in a direction which reiterates very little of what worked,  instead focussing on things that weren’t quite teased out, things that were different or perhaps sparked our interest somewhere else that perhaps didn’t get their due.” 

Giving us insight into how Caligula’s Horse aimed to achieve the outcome of songwriting perfection for their second album and those after it Sam elaborates, “River’s End has a storyline that’s intentionally quite vague and requires interpretation on the listeners behalf.  When we finished that album and we’re looking at what to do next, the first decision was that Bloom was not going to be a concept album. What ended up becoming Bloom was something that we had decided from that very early point was a string of songs which are thematically disconnected, intentionally contrasting them against what had come before.

Any true progressive music songwriter and listener is always looking for an experience and a dichotomy and also something different from what they were confronted with before. Acknowledging this aspect within the Caligula’s Horse realm, Vallen expands further upon the bands’ consummate need to grow and find that rare gift that sets them apart from every other band. “River’s End is a concept album about the cold, and crossing this vast expanse and seeing people die over the course of generations – really dark, heavy topics, so Bloom needed to be a celebration of life. It was really fulfilling to create something that was positive and life-affirming as its goal. 

“So, we said the thing that needs to happen [on In Contact] is that any of the emotional impetus of that album is that we reiterate it, be it happiness or sadness or whatever, it needs to have a much higher peak and much lower low. If it’s going to be heavy, it’s going to be heavier; if it’s going to be dynamic then it needs to be more dynamic. Those extremes need to be more pronounced.”

As well as performing both The Tide, The Thief & The River’s End and Bloom in full, Sam and bandmate Adrian will be conducting a musicians masterclass, giving their fans insight into the inner workings of their collaborative minds. 

Sam discusses how the two guitarists will deliver such an experience:

“Adrian and I have ideas about specific things we want to cover and think are especially interesting to fans. We’ll be focussing on technical and compositional things in the Caligula’s Horse back catalogue,” he says. 

“If anyone comes along and there is anything specifically they want to look at, that avenue will be open, which I think is appreciated. If I go and bug my favourite guitarists, I don’t want to hear the same thing I’ve heard a couple of times, I want to hit them with that pressing question that might keep them on their toes a little bit.”


Saturday,  August 10: The Zoo, Brisbane
Friday, August 16: The Factory Theatre, Sydney
Saturday, August 17: Max Watt’s, Melbourne

Tickets on sale from wildthingpresents.com 

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