Monday, June 04, 2007

interview: CAKE's Vince DiFiore

On the eve of the release of CAKE’s new rarities & b-sides album, extrawack! spoke with the maker of perhaps the most recognizable brass sound in rock, trumpet player Vince DiFiore, about the perils of self-releasing music after years on a major label, and being in a band that stands for things above and beyond just record sales.

extrawack!: You guys have left a long relationship with Sony and are releasing a B-sides and rarities album and then a live album on your own..Has doing it all outside of the confines of a major label been much different for you?

Vince DiFiore: Not really. It’s about the same...and it’s a little more comforting because if you mess up it’s your fault and not someone else’s. If you like to be in control and call the shots, it’s actually a little bit less stressful. We did have to hire our own publicists, and things like that. There are some pieces and things that we had to do that the record company would have automatically done for us before. That stuff was kind of minor compared to the mixing, mastering, and getting the album art together. So yeah, it’s really been about the same.

ew!: Was it good to know there’d be no meddling from label people?

VD: Actually, we’ve never had much of that, since our first album was a success they’ve trusted us from the beginning...they liked the art work, they liked how the albums were produced...they really didn’t bother us that much. Both Capricorn and Columbia had been very respectful about how we do things. But as far as pressures from label people, I don’t think that’ll ever be a problem for us because music listeners will be our best judges and will tell us what’s good or not.

We’ve never really taken the major labels for granted, and I think we are able to do this because we’ve built a strong base of fans through putting out our records through major labels and years of touring, but right now with music practically being free due to downloading and record sales being so low unless you are a finalist on American Idol, it just made a lot of sense to take things into our own hands and maybe sell less records but have that feeling that we took the bull by the horns.

ew!: Since you’ve already gone through the motions of setting up your own label, do you see yourselves releasing other artists on your label as well?

VD: No, not really. It’s just for our records. I guess it could happen, but we don’t want to let anyone down...that’s a big responsibility! We saw what kind of let down can happen with a label when we turned in Comfort Eagle, a record we had really done a great job on...but they had bigger fish to fry, like Beyonce or something like that...but that’s the kind of responsibility we would have, and I don’t think we’d want the responsibility of sitting on something that’s really good. This is all sort of experimental for us. If it goes well, we’ll put out another one of our own records. If the experiment goes poorly, we might have to look at something else. But we’re doing the best we can to service our own record right now...we don’t want to do a bad job on someone else’s, just a good job on ours.

ew!: CAKE has long been known for not being afraid of speaking out on social issues, and your website is always full of interesting tips and info to challenge and inspire your fans. Are the thoughts on your website agreed upon by the whole band? Do you guys ever disagree on what gets posted up there?

VD: John (McCrea) runs the news by me, and very rarely do I say, "Gosh, that’s really bad, or distasteful, or maybe not true", but John runs it past me and the person who administers our site, so we do agree on that stuff for the most part.

ew!: You guys haven’t put out a studio album since Pressure Chief over two years ago...any plans on another?

VD: Yeah, we’re planning on starting another one in the fall, which by the time it’s done and ready would mean it would be out sometime around September or October of next year. There’s no real schedule, and we’ll make sure we take the time to do it right.

CAKE’s B-Sides and Rarities, featuring a scratch & sniff cover (!!) is due for release any day now ("as soon as the discs arrive" according to the band) and is available directly from CAKE here.

Catch CAKE live:
Del Mar Concert Series @ The Del Mar Racetrack
Del Mar, CA

Monolith Festival @ Red Rocks Amphitheater
Morrison, CO

CAKE - "War Pigs" mp3

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