By • Nov 13th, 2003 • Category: Interviews

When the Smoking Popes disbanded in 1998, singer/songwriter Josh Caterer took a two-and-a-half year hiatus from making music to devote himself to his newfound Christianity.

Forming Duvall in 2001 with a former Popes member, his brother Eli, the band released a series of EPs.

On Nov. 18, the band will release a full-length album, “Volume & Density.”

Duvall played an acoustic set at The House, 263 E. Lincoln Highway, on Monday. Before the show, the Weekender had a chance to sit down and talk with the frontman.

Weekender: I’ll avoid stupid “what are your influences?” questions.
Josh Caterer: Thanks, those get really old.

WE: Last year was very tour-heavy, this year has been spent mostly in the studio. Was it nice to settle back down?
JC: You can only tour so much on the strength of EPs. We hadn’t released a full-length yet. We felt we had to get back into the studio and finish [the album] up before we continued touring.

WE: This month has been very show-oriented, but they are mostly acoustic shows.
JC: The acoustic shows are supposed to be a tease as to what the real shows and the new album are like. Basically, they are designed to spark interest in people and have them buy the record.

WE: Are the shows mostly new songs?
JC: We focus mostly on the material that’s on the new album, but we occasionally play older songs. Last night we played some old songs.

WE: Speaking of past shows, you’ll play the Metro (in Chicago) one night, and then a coffee shop the next. What’s the appeal of the diversity?
JC: We like playing to both small and large crowds. Doing these acoustic shows, it’s nice to play to small groups. But we’ll play to anyone. Like tonight, the show was supposed to be in a church, but then it got moved to a more “real” venue, and now we’re charging.

WE: On the new record, is it going to be the same power-pop we’ve come to expect?
JC: Yeah, there’s a lot of that. With the EPs we released, we had to just come out swinging and catch people’s attention right away. On a full-length, we put some slower songs, some ballads.

WE: Same Christian lyrics?
JC: Yeah. It only takes me a little while to write the music. I’ll take weeks on the lyrics to make sure I have them just right.

WE: So your message is more important than the music its packaged in?
JC: Not really. I mean, I want people to enjoy what they are hearing. But I also want them to hear what I am saying. Ideally, it would be half and half. But yes, I do want people to appreciate the message.

WE: There is something to be said about the ambiguous pop song, though.
JC: Yeah, there is. But when you have something you want to say, why hide it?

WE: Is there added pressure because of the history of the band members and their former projects?
JC: At first there was. But when we released our EPs and saw that the [Smoking] Popes fans like what we had done, and the reviews were positive, my nerves settled.

WE: So what can we expect in the near future?
JC: We’re doing an album release show [Saturday]. Then we have a few weeks on tour, then a break and another short tour in December.

WE: You’ll return in December?
JC: Yeah, I don’t know where we’re playing. But we will be back.

Northern Star, Nov. 13, 2003

Email this author | All posts by

Comments are closed.