After the Kyiv gig Caspian played two more in Russia and one in Finland. After coming back home and having a short rest in native city Boston, the band’s bassist Chris Friedrich agreed to answer our questions about their last tour over Europe and the USA. As it turned out, Caspian have given approximately 70 concerts within two continents for three months.
AZH: You've just completed the biggest tour in the history of your band, right? (I have found some information on facebook that you played 24 concerts in 25 days in Europe. But I didn't found how much it were in the U.S.. Can you tell me?) .. You probably aren't very tired, 'cause you've planned ahead a lot of tours? Touring - is it your lifestyle?
Chris Friedrich: Before we got to Europe we played somewhere around 50 shows in North America in about two months. It was fantastic. We hadn't done a proper, coast-to-coast American tour in years and it was great to get back to all those places and cities we've missed over the years. The tour started with Arms and Sleepers until the final two weeks when we toured with Red Sparowes and Fang Island (both amazing bands).
After we finished both tours I looked back on it all and realized that we had basically spent every single night in a different city for 80 nights. That can get exhausting no matter how much you've done it or how prepared you think you are. But is touring my lifestyle? Not really. I do it, but I also spend most of my year at home, living my regular life. So it's always a bit of a shock to the system to get back in to tour mode.
AZH: Is there any difference between European and American audience? Where are they involved in your music the most?
(I've read that Philip told tokafi "We played a show in Belgium where two girls layed down and took a nap right in front of the stage and it was actually one of the coolest things we've seen." - Have there been more incidents like this?)
America can be really hit-or-miss. Some cities and shows are incredible and some are just dead. It was hard touring the US when we first began touring because we would have plenty of nights in a row when there would be maybe 5 or 10 people out at our shows. Now that never really happens anymore but it seemed like the moment we first got to Europe the shows were incredible. We were all really surprised at how many people had heard of our music and were coming out to the shows. The hospitality was incredible. European promoters and fans have been unbelievably kind and amazing to us.
AZH: You have toured many beautiful cities ... Haven't you wish to stay in some of them longer than one evening?
Definitely. Especially in Europe. I dreamt about going to many of these places when I was a kid: Vienna, Prague, Moscow, Athens, Kiev, etc. etc. Now all I get is one night to try and enjoy these places. But, at the end of the day, having the opportunity to play music in these cities makes it all worthwhile. It's a dream-come-true.
AZH: Is there any particular city you would like to visit again?
If I had to choose one? That's a hard question because there are many (actually almost all of them). But if I had to choose one it would be Athens. I fell in love with that city. Athens is one of the most beautiful cities I have ever been to. The restaurants, the food, the people, the architecture and the pure beauty of the city itself was enchanting.
AZH: Historical background of these cities, cultural environment, people that you met on your way - Does something of this affects you and your music?
Definitely. I've read a lot about European history so I understand a good amount of the historical significance of a lot of these places. Also, getting a chance to meet people from all these countries is more of an education than any history book could teach me. The conversations I've been able to have with people about their countries, their lives and where they come from is one of the most fascinating things about tour. I love it.
Does it effect the music? Definitely. Realizing how amazing it is to be able to play in these places all over the world is incredibly inspiring.
AZH: Is it difficult to invite you to play in some small town? (Such as Poznan. What do you need to do a gig there?)
Nope. If the fans are there and we can afford to get there we'll probably figure out a way to make it happen.
photo from Justin Forrest's blog
AZH: Erin wrote in his blog "1st night Netherlands. Rocks. Treated like royalty and sweet sweet sweet games of kicker. God I love Europe." and several days after he added the following "I'm in fuckin Russia!!" - Why there is such a big contrast? What happened there?
Well, I think the phrase "I'm in fuckin Russia!!" got lost in translation. He's expressing excitement and disbelief at the fact that he's in Russia. It's not a negative, but rather a positive statement. It's really no different than him saying it "rocks".
AZH: Please, tell us about the concert in France on the highway under the bridge?
(Philip told us in Kyiv that it was one of the best Caspian’s concerts. Traffic on the highway was blocked off and the audience of more than 800 people came to see to the band.)
Wish I could but I was actually in Africa during that tour so I missed that show. Heard it was great though.
AZH: Where is it better to play - on a highway, in a theater (eg, Wave Gothik Theatre in Leipzig, Germany) or in a typical club?
I would take alternative venues rather than clubs almost any day. I can't speak for the rest of the guys but I love playing in theaters and churches. Clubs all start to sound the same after a while but venues like that all have personalities of their own.
AZH: In US' tour Arms & Sleepers helped you to fulfill the final part of the Sycamore song, in Europe it was the Constans ... Have you ever got more people involved on stage? And do you have a desire to increase their number to a few dozen - to make such "mega epical" final of your show? :)
It's become a tradition now that any bands that we're on tour with come up and play on the end of Sycamore. It's great. Especially if it's the last song of the night, bringing everybody back up on stage is an amazing way to wrap up the show in a communal sort of way.
AZH: Tell us please about your upcoming tour in China.
Looks like we're heading to China for about 5 days in mid-July. It's something that I've been excited about doing for a long time. We're playing one show in Guangzhou and another in Hong Kong so it's quite short but I believe the plan is to make it back to Asia next year. I cannot wait.
AZH: How you met guys from God Is An Astronaut, that will support you during the UK Tour? They were in Krakow the day before you - and performed a beautiful space gig.
GIAA is a fantastic band. Amazing guys and amazing music. Caspian and GIAA teamed up for the first time for a short tour of Poland last year. That was the first time both of our bands met. Now we get a chance to support them in their native UK and I couldn't be more excited about it. The shows that are shaping up now look like they're going to be incredible.
AZH: All members of Caspian are very active on a Facebook. Except you. I found only one list of the books you have read on your page. Hmmm .. Very interesting. From where you got this love of classic Russian literature?
And did you read something on your last tour?
I'm not much of a facebook person. I only really use it to get in touch with people if I don't have their email address. Boring eh?
But yes, I do love Russian literature. I've been reading Tolstoy, Dostoevsky, Gogol, Bulgakov etc. since I was young. There's something about Russian literature and music that has always fascinated me. It's so huge and romantic and volatile. Getting to Russia on this tour and seeing all those places I'd read about in novels was one of the most surreal moments of my life. I fell in love.
interview by Taras Khimchak