Interview: Cable Car


The Los Angeles three-piece got together in an apartment complex last year, and have recently put out a debut five-tracker EP, Ride.


We interview Cable Car, an upcoming pop-rock outfit hailing from California. With the likes of Maroon 5 and Justin Timberlake among their primary influences, the three-piece had a chance meeting in a Los Angeles apartment in 2012, a short while before they put out their debut Ride EP. Thanks to Jack, Nate and Ryan for sharing their views:


1. Firstly, congratulations on the debut EP! I found it to be wildly infectious and it doesn’t take more than a singular listen to know that each of the five songs has Top-40 potential. Going back to 2012 in that LA apartment, what did each of you find in the other’s songwriting sensibilities that seemed to complement what you had only individually nurtured until then?


Jack: Firstly, thanks! For me it was just this wonderful synergy where we could immediately come up with jams that felt really good right there and then. Also, what what we did felt like more than the sum of our parts.


Ryan: I echo what Jack said. We sort of gave each other space to add some textures to each track, and fused the ideas that stuck into the greater amount of what became the record we have today.


Nate: I am so excited to hear that you like the EP as much as we do! In terms of the guys, it’s a mutual respect kind of thing. We all have worked hard over the years trying to better our creative selves. So when one of us brings an idea to the table it’s because we really think it’s going to benefit whatever we are working on at the time. With Jack and Ryan I quickly realized that I could trust their ideas, because they tended to be well…GREAT.


2. Tell us more about the recording process. The production value of
“Ride” itself could launch Cable Car into the stratosphere of seasoned players – the EP is such a treat to listen to! Having Mike Pappas on-board, how was it like to see the ideas from the jam sessions gradually turn into songs that you could be proud of?


Nate: Like any recording process it’s a roller-coaster sometimes. To watch ideas from our rehearsals eventually find their final form on the EP was one hell of a ride. If you followed the life of just one of the song ideas you would see it go from the three of us originating it one night over a few drinks, then laying down some scratch ideas, then full on producing a demo version, then showing the demo version to Mike Pappas, then a full team discussion of what works and what could work better, then back to the rehearsal space to try this way and then that way, then to the big studio, where the tweaks were ever-present, then to mix one which comes back, then notes, then ten more mixes, then the master. Then start the process over with a new idea. Having such a great band and a truly talented producer made the whole process the best thing I’ve ever been a part of.


Ryan: I think in examining the ways the three of us had independently made records in the past, we attempted to be as deliberate and focused as possible for Ride. After writing the skeletal songs, we hunkered down and crafted some intricate pre-production versions of the tracks, so once the ideas were brought into the studio with Mike, we could experiment with the instrumentation and sonic qualities, while having the structure of the song already solidified. While we are still taken aback by how fantastic the record sounds (because Mike Pappas is a producer that everyone will want to work with), it was not as much a situation of taking something very rough and making a rich and complex record, but a bunch of smaller steps culminating in the final product. We’re thrilled, because of how proud we are of the record, and of how others are reacting some positively toward it.


Jack: It was so great working with Mike. Not only is he a super talented producer but he also is a killer musician and a seasoned studio vet – he also worked pretty well as a therapist at times! Ryan and I were just talking about this last night – he really added more than other people would be capable of.


3. How do you assess the current state of radio? Now that you have an EP full of mainstream-tinged songs ready and good to go, do you believe that it’s a platform that Cable Car could make the best use of? Also, this one’s for Jack – What difference do you see in how radio-ready pop melodies are treated in the two continents, if at all?


Jack: I really like the state of radio right now. It’s very fragmented which can be a challenge, but there is a lot of content online, and I think the quality of music is very high. A lot of divergent influences coming together, also advances in technology blending analogue and digital sounds beautifully. As a consequence we can reach audiences all over the world very quickly – and this speaks to the second part of your question, I actually think the differences in continents are changing because of worldwide access to music.


Ryan: Radio-play would be incredible for a band such as ours. We’ve had many discussions on our approaches in creating access to the record to as many people as possible. Radio is a conduit to a lot of people who either choose not to or maybe do not understand how to find music easily using the Internet. That does not necessarily mean that they aren’t interested in variant musical styles, but really only have a limited resource to what they hear and enjoy. We’d like to be in their ears as well.


Nate: When we made the record we had a few goals that we had to achieve: 1. Will it perform well live? 2. Is it radio friendly? 3. Could we hear it behind a movie scene? We wanted to make sure that these songs could do well anywhere! So we paid a lot of attention to what is on the radio now, but also to what our personal favorites are so that we could make radio music that we would want to hear. Radio as a platform is always useful but as Jack stated, music has become so available it’s more like electricity. You just plug in somewhere and there is an endless supply. Because of that, radio has become even smaller and more tightly guarded. Now instead of hearing 40 songs in rotation you really only hear 15. I do think the people writing the hits are just as talented if not more so than ever, however I think the opportunities in radio are shrinking.


4. How do each one of you approach live performances, when it comes to re-enacting songs like “You’re Killing Me” and “Songs That Groove” (a personal favourite)? That being said, which track has proven to be the crowd favourite so far?


Ryan: Just constantly researching and incorporating digital functions to re-create parts of the tracks we want to keep authentic, and experimenting with the organic tools we’ve been using for years. I’ve been a drummer for a very long time, and it’s always exciting to strip things down and just groove. Live is a great time to find other identities in the songs to keep things fresh, and also energize EVERYTHING.


Nate: We worked so hard on making sure the story and emotions in the songs truly shine through. I find it easy tap into those emotions and remember the core purpose of each song. It really allows me to give each song its unique voice and performance… Wait For Me being my favorite, and I think the crowd favorite.


Jack: I just try to enjoy it! Then the whole process is easier. In the past, it’s been too easy for me to get nervous. I’m changing that! I think the crowd favorite has actually been a song not on the EP – this semi-satirical bluesy track called Hung Jury. We have a great bridge in there people love. The bridge in Songs that Groove really jams out when we play it live too, that might be my favorite time.


5. The output makes it hard to believe that you guys could make something so cohesive within a year of formation. Truly phenomenal. What does the rest of 2013 have in the cards for Cable Car?


Jack: We just put a cover on YouTube we’re really proud of. It’s Justin Timberlake’s That Girl. We also have about ten other tracks that are wonderful and nearly fully written or fully recorded. It’ll take time, and we need more time in each day to get it done – we create songs so quickly! The sooner we get record deal we can get all this music available to the public…any takers?


Nate: What Jack said! Honestly, this project just has what it needs to run smoothly. When things line up personally and creatively the project charges ahead!


Want to know more about Cable Car? You can begin by checking out our review of the band’s Ride EP.




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