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A Dirty Dozen with CHARLES CASWELL from BERRIED ALIVE – May 2022

According to a recent press release: “Berried Alive is a carefully curated world of adventurous music and multi-sensory goodies including, most recently, a beer partnership. In marketing speak, the company is a whimsical and colorful lifestyle brand with an ever-expanding menu of commercial offerings. But the founding duo—husband and wife, Charles Caswell and Kaylie Caswell—aren’t so calculated. For them, behind the genre-defying music, playful but upscale clothing, and clever marketing ideas is simply a freewheeling artistic dialogue.” We get Charles to discuss new music, influences, and more…

1. Tell us a little about your latest release.  What might a fan or listener not grab the first or second time they listen through?  Are there any hidden nuggets you put in the material or that only diehard fans might find?

Our latest track “Melon-choly” features a drum beat by Travis Barker, we found it on Splice and thought it fit the vibe of the acoustic guitars and chill ambience. I’ve done this in the past as well with songs like “Figsaw,” I’m a Travis Barker fan, so it’s kinda like jamming with my one of my favorite musicians. My wife Kaylie recorded me performing the acoustic guitars for this song as well, normally I record everything myself, so it was nice to teach her how the recording process works.

2. What got you into music, and can you tell us about the moment you realized you wanted to be a musician?

When I was very little, I used to watch videos of Elvis Presley perform and I always thought it was so amazing and inspirational. I’ve wanted to play guitar since I was 5, but I didn’t start until I was 11. It’s just something I’ve always wanted to do.

3. Building on that, is there a specific song, album, performer, or live show that guided your musical taste?

It’s really hard to pinpoint any single song that guided me, but one moment was when I heard Jimi Hendrix play guitar for the first time, I was inspired by all the sounds and emotions he could get out of the instrument, he played with no limits, and it opened my mind to learning new techniques, inventing my own techniques, and realizing nothing is impossible with enough effort combined with faith. He also sang and wrote beautiful lyrics, which set him above your everyday guitar virtuosos, because he could connect at a much more meaningful level with people, rather than just guys wanting to see him do a fancy guitar trick, until they get bored and move on to the next guy doing the same thing just slightly faster.

4. If you could call in any one collaborator to do a song with, who would it be, and why?

Dimebag Darrel would be my ultimate collaboration artist. His riffing combined with his lead work is so exciting, I think it would be a great opportunity to grow as a musician and to show him what he’s inspired me to do on guitar. He also had such an amazing outlook on music and art, I feel his insights have been forgotten by a lot of other guitarists/musicians, as I have been heavily scrutinized while sharing his same beliefs. I realize he’s passed, but you said I if I could collab with anyone! Haha

5. What is your favorite activity when out of the studio and/or not on tour?  What do you like to do to unwind?

I like to travel the world and enjoy beautiful views, ancient ruins, etc. But I honestly just like to make music and express myself with art. When I’m traveling, I love having my laptop with so I can write and feed off the inspiration I experience in different places. It’s very rarely ever felt like work to me. I also enjoy collecting coins, sports memorabilia, etc.

6. How would you describe your music to someone who’d never listened to you before? What is the one comparison a reviewer or fan has made that made you cringe or you disagreed with?

Our music is like popping outer space balloons. Haha It’s very extraterrestrial, avant-garde, and totally limitless. The term genre blending comes to mind, but the intention to blend specific genres together is never the goal, it’s so much more than that. It’s an incredibly free form of expression. We’re not trying to belong anywhere specific, because we know how people from other groups turn on you forever being different, so we just embrace being weird, and whoever we attract is totally welcome. I’ve definitely had some incredibly annoying comparisons to other artists that I can’t stand, but I don’t want to go there in this because that’s just going to attract attention to them, and negative attention to us. It’s always best to keep things positive due to how incredibly judgmental people get towards artists.

7. When your band is hanging out together, who cooks, who gets the drinks in, and who is first to crack out the acoustic guitars for a singalong?

The “band” consists of me and my wife Kaylie, we always cook together, I mix the cocktails or pour the champagne, and we both have Ukuleles that we jam on together in the evening times. Haha

8. When was the last time you were starstruck and who was it?

About a week ago Joe Satriani commented on the guitar solo teaser video for our latest single “Melon-choly.” He’s one of my favorite guitarists, and probably one of the best guitarists in the world, so that was a big moment for me!

9. What is the best part of being a musician? If you could no longer be a musician for whatever reason, what would be your dream job?

The best part of being a musician Is making art all day long and being my own boss. Unfortunately, this career is incredibly fickle, and pretty selfish tbh, so it’s important to be prepared to do something else if it’s ever time to. I don’t have a dream job in mind, but I have a lot of special skills in other areas, so I’d probably move somewhere in the world that I love and find a job helping that community thrive. I had my first job when I was 12, and I’ve had consistent employment up until just the last few years of being a full-time artist, so working hard has never been a problem for me.

10. What is one question you have always wanted an interviewer to ask – and what is the answer? Conversely, what question are you tired of answering?

I get tired of being asked when we are going to tour and start playing live. We’re an online band/brand, and so we’re more than likely going to stay that way and expand upon that. I realize it’s hard for people to understand what we’re doing since we’re one of the first to do this, but I’ve noticed a trend of other people leaving their full band and doing a solo thing since we’ve started, so maybe that question will eventually get put to rest. We have no obligation to tour or perform live, we just make art and share it with people online. I have a history of touring with the band I was previously in, and it honestly sucked so bad that I am still sick of touring. I’ve successfully eliminated all the things I disliked about being a musician back then, and now we can make the exact music we want, share it however we’d like, and we don’t have a sketchy label, an even more sketchy manager, and label debt that was completely ruining every aspect of my life back then.

11. Looking back over your career, is there a single moment or situation you feel was a misstep or you would like to have a “do over,” even if it didn’t change your current situation?

I’ve had several missteps that I’ve since learned from. Going to college for music was a huge misstep as funny as that sounds. A fraction of the money I spent on that would’ve gotten me all the tools necessary to do what I do now. Signing to a record label with my old band was a misstep, I’m glad I got to use that as a learning experience for what not to do with Berried Alive. I would’ve also never had bandmates, because once Berried Alive started gaining some real traction, my old bandmates started doing malicious stuff in attempt to knock me down, basically making up things and starting rumors that harmed me. They eventually published an apology saying they made up all these allegations, but that was after leaving it open ended for several years for people to speculate and gossip about, and the apology didn’t come across as genuine, because right after apologizing, they wanted to re-use all the old music I wrote for them a long time ago, so the timing comes across as manipulation, not authentic. Sometimes you trust the wrong people in life though, and I think that’s something we can all relate to. I also wish I spent more time on my voice, and less time on guitar. Guitar focused music can attract quite unsavory people at times, to the point where a bunch of unestablished guitarists started a rumor that our guitar videos were sped up and fake. That level of jealousy/hate within a community I was trying to contribute to in a positive way made me resent guitar for the first time in my life. I have since focused much more on songwriting and making meaningful connections to real people, and not musicians. If I avoided all these things, I’d have so much less life experience to give to others, so now I can really help someone that is moving in a similar direction and save them so much pain and suffering.

12. If you could magically go back in time and be a part of the recording sessions for any one record in history, which would you choose – and what does that record mean to you?

I would watch Pantera make their Cowboys From Hell record, I love the way everything on that album sounds, and it would be amazing to see how it was put together. That type of music used to mean a lot to me, but now I just genuinely appreciate the technical aspects, and the feel of performances.






Category: Interviews

About the Author ()

ToddStar - that's me... just a rocking accountant who had dreams of being a rock star. I get to do the next best thing to rocking the globe - I get to take pictures of the lucky ones that do. I love to shoot all genres of music and different types of performers. If it is related to music, I love to photograph it. I get to shoot and hang with not only some of my friends and idols, but some of the coolest people around today.

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