Bearded pic taken from Castanets’ MySpace
The man behind Castanets is mid US tour, yet takes time to talk with Shane Mehling about feline asthma, Freak Folk and (obviously) Juan Rodriguez Cabrillo.
usounds: What lessons did you learn from your last record that you addressed on In The Vines?
Raymond Raposa: I learned to fry eggs. I learned the wretched smell of corn mash turning to whiskey, the smell that burns the inside of your nostrils, makes you think blood will tear from your eyes. I learned that it is better to leave some things on the ground no matter how intriguing they are to pick up.
usounds: Since the name implies a group of people, was the band started out with the intention of it not being a solo project? Do you ever think about forming a full-time band?
Raposa: It only implies a group of people if it’s written or said as “The Castanets” which is incorrect. It’s Castanets. The band did start out as a trio, however quickly mutated and the possibility for happy accidents by inviting friends and strangers to share the stage was sweet unpredictability. I have dream bands in mind, but I think these dreamy incarnations are happening in ways more powerful than self-willing or intentionality. It’s a flexibility thing. Keeping limber.
usounds: With Radiohead putting out their new record for as little as zero dollars, do you think this will have a trickle-down effect for indie bands in the near future?
Raposa: Radiohead is reveling in the privilege of stardom. They flaunt their bourgeois dismissal of dependency on the market economy because they have been blessed by that market economy. However, that said, even the engagement in music as a pastime or profession is a luxury that we as post-survival humans take for granted.
usounds: When cats severely suffer from feline asthma, they’re given glucocorticoid, which is a hormone that binds with the cortisol receptor. While effective, it’s a little pricey. Are you one of those people who spend a bunch of money on their pets, or do those people creep the shit out of you?
Raposa: The only thing creepy about this is the fact that cat asthma is a result of their allergies to humans. Makes one wonder what else in the world is allergic to humans.
usounds: Has anyone ever reviewed your record with the line “More like the Castanots”? Did it make you furious?
Raposa: No. What makes me furious is that you just said it.
usounds: You were considered part of the Freak Folk movement. Was that the dumbest name ever? Grunge was a pretty stupid name too. Was it dumber than grunge?
Raposa: Is the use of a word for forward progressing describing two genres that are actually a nostalgic look back an oxymoron? Taxonomy is a bitch you can’t leave. Definitely a terrible, terrible name and a lazy catch-all for a bunch of bands that kind of know each other.
usounds: On a scale from 1 to 10, how much do you love having a beard?
Raposa: I don’t know about score, but if you want me to categorize, I say “best new”. That seems to be a useful term these days.
usounds: You are known for the endless amount of musicians who are happy to get up on stage and play music with you. Can you give me the name of one guy who sucked really bad?
Raposa: Myself. If others are “sucking” or standing out, I have failed because of my nearsightedness and inability to assimilate the chaos, or at least dance with it.
usounds: “Psychodelic-Megabytes” wrote on your comment page “your one amazing person. :-)”. Did you e-mail her back to tell her that the correct spelling is actually “You’re”? Could you go do it now?
Raposa: Punctuation is negligible. MySpace even more so.
usounds: Juan Rodriguez Cabrillo discovered San Diego, your native city. He died in 1543 of gangrene stepping out of his boat and splintering his shin when he stumbled on a jagged rock. Do you think you’ll die in a less or more pathetic way?
Raposa: I could only hope my death is that pathetic. Blessed are the pathetic, for they shall escape the historical misappropriations of future generations.