Montreal’s Caveboy is Isabelle Banos, Lana Cooney and Michelle Bensimon. The band brings a complex synth-wave, dream pop sound to the indie scene. With powerful vocals and catchy riffs, they contrast ‘80s influences with danceable melodies making them unique, whimsical and the ones to watch out for. They’ve had success playing showcases and music festivals since debuting in 2015 and recently performed at the Juno Gala Dinner in Vancouver.
They played a short Canadian tour this spring, culminating in their hometown with one of their biggest shows yet. Having released a self-titled EP, their full-length album is in the works with the latest single “Landslide” out now. They made a brief stop in Toronto for Canadian Music Week (CMW) where they played the Paradigm Talent Agency Showcase on May 11th at Lee’s Palace. Caveboy returns May 26th (today) for the stacked, all-Canadian CBC Music Festival at RBC Echo Beach. It was during CMW that we had a chance to chat with Bensimon about performing, new music, minor setbacks and staying young at heart.
So you just got into town, are you excited about CMW?
Michelle Bensimon: Yeah, we’re so excited! We always have the best time. Toronto is so good to us, even though we’re from Montreal. It’s just so nice to be able to come here, so many of our friends are in town. The more we see them, the more part of the scene here and community we feel. We have as much fun hanging out with everybody as we do playing shows.
It’s a great community and you fit right in. You play a lot of festivals and showcases, what’s coming up?
Bensimon: We’re playing CBC Music Festival and that’s going to be super, super fun. We’ve never played it before so we’re really looking forward to that this summer. We’re also playing Riverfest in Elora later in the summer.
What’s the best venue you have played in Toronto so far?
Bensimon: There’s something just so fun about playing the Rivoli because it’s just a classic showcase spot. I loved playing the Mod Club too. Beautiful sound, and a beautiful venue, I think that’s my favourite.
I heard you do a lot of stuff barefoot, has anyone ever stepped on something sharp on stage?
Bensimon: We used to be barefoot a lot and Lana still plays the drums barefoot sometimes. I don’t think anything sharp, but probably just stepped in a lot of gross stuff: old beer and sticky things that you don’t know what it is.
You’re young, energetic, you love performing and you obviously have to be fit to jump around – how do you stay in shape?
Bensimon: It’s a good thing you’re talking to me, cause I work out a lot. Like 6 days a week. Mostly running and a lot of sprinting, because it’s a lot to perform, you have to stay in shape. When we’re on tour we’re at the hotel gym in the morning and playing shows at night. Also doing things like maybe not having that drink after the show are really valuable to us because we want to be the best performers we can be all while having fun.
Would you ever consider running a bootcamp for musicians?
Bensimon: I would love to do that! Just tonnes of sprinting and jumping around, maybe jumping onto amps, stuff like that.
Who’s the most likely out of the three of you to stage dive?
Bensimon: Isabelle. It would have been me, but I have this neck injury so I have to be very careful. So I would say Isabelle, and I’m very excited for the day that she does it.
Check out Caveboy’s new single “Landslide” below.
That would be an amazing thing to see. What happened with your neck?
Bensimon: I was whipping my head around a lot on stage, which is kind of like my move, and I realized I was straining an artery in the back of my neck. I could have died, it was a very scary situation. I’m feeling better now but I just have to be careful and sort of alter my movements. So stage diving, probably not the best for me.
There’s obviously a push to use Facebook and Instagram, how do you feel about using social media?
Bensimon: It’s such a thing right now, you just have to get on the train and do it. We try to find ways to enjoy it at least and we try not to take ourselves too seriously doing it.
If you were to have a podcast, what would it be about?
Bensimon: We’re so silly and dumb sometimes, I would say it would be about snacks.
What’s the go-to late night snack?
Bensimon: Popcorn. It’s classic, but a good move.
Butter or no butter?
Bensimon: No butter. I like a little bit of avocado oil, like a healthy popcorn. The band likes to put butter, and if we go to the movies they’ll dump peanut M&M’s in the popcorn for that salty/sweet.
What is the last picture taken on your phone?
Bensimon: Beth (our publicist) took a picture here at Audiotree, or maybe there’s a selfie in a reflection somewhere.
That’s not too embarrassing, everyone takes selfies. Will you take a selfie with me?
You’ve been working on your album in the last year, do you know when it’s coming out?
Bensimon: We’re still working on it! It’s our debut album, we just want to make it so special and be so proud of it. Sometimes we’ll finish a song and be like “you know what this song’s just not right for this album” and kind of go back, so we’re really just taking our time and not rushing it cause we’re just enjoying the process so much. We think end of this year or early next year.
Who do you think you want to work with in the future?
Bensimon: I’d actually love to work with Jimmy Shaw from Metric. I think he produced The Beaches record and it’s really awesome. He just has so much rock n’ roll in him, it’d be really fun to do something with him. I would also love to sing on a track with Kaytranada.
What do you think about using music as a way to heal, like music therapy?
Bensimon: I would say that my favourite reaction is when somebody tells us: “you got me through a hard time” or “listening to your music helped me grow, helped me learn”. Those things for us are just so important because we love music so much and we understand how it makes us feel, grow and heal. If we can do that for other people it would probably be our number one priority.
Will Caveboy ever evolve into Cavemen or Cavewomen?
Bensimon: No, I think we’re always going to be young at heart if anything. There’s such a youthfulness to our music and I think so much of Caveboy is the way that we grew up and it’s finding ways to integrate that now as adults. We all had very similar upbringings and listened to similar music. We knew we were kind of a bit off the cuff as kids, not following any kind of narrow path and so the name Caveboy, that’s something that is really important to us.
This is Caveboy’s lyric video for the song “New Touch”.