Sonos Studio Listening Room: Cage the Elephant

Cage the Elephant at Sonos StudioCage the Elephant recorded their acoustic Sirius XM set at the Sonos Studio in LA in between Coachella weekends. Sonos Studio Manager Nu Goteh talked with Brad Shultz about his favorite 90’s guilty pleasure jams, life in London for a band of Kentucky boys, and more.

NG: What are you listening to right now?

Brad: The Broken Bells record; I like that a lot. Temples. We have this psychedelic, garage underground scene in Nashville. Bad Cop, Fly Golden Eagle, and Ranch Ghost. More often than not I’ll just listen to vinyl. I mean, it does suck, but it’s the reality – people have their phone or their computer next to them but I prefer to listen to music on speakers rather than on a computer, or my phone.

NG: Where do you do most of your listening?

Brad: Well I live in Nashville now. But all in all we’ve been touring since 2006. We moved to London in early 2007 and have pretty much been touring ever since. We’re all from a small town in Kentucky – there’s probably thirty to fifty thousand people in our hometown – so we got the opportunity to sign with a record label over there and it was just enticing. We’re all young kids. It was pretty crazy. The town we came from was pretty small so just going from that to a town of eight million people was a little bit of shellshock. Just figuring out the subway system was confusing at first. It was a trip, man. It was a really good experience but we got so tired of the bad weather and the food. But we had our go-to joints that we liked, Nando’s, or Wagamamas. Have you been to Zanku chicken here in LA – THAT’s the joint right there.

NG: I have not – I’ll have to. So what’s life like out on the road?

Brad: We’re always fighting over who can DJ – you get like two songs and then it’s the next person. We all have pretty similar taste, we just like to have control over the playlist.

NG: Do you have any guilty pleasures when you DJ?

Brad: What will happen if we have a guilty pleasure night we’ll end up playing like old super-cheesy 90’s songs like “If you, wanna call me baby, just go ahead now” and wind up just laughing our asses off. There are so many songs like that from the kind of weird period. Who did play that song? Spin Doctors, I think. Sugar Ray – that band was uber-cheese. Barenaked Ladies was always good cheesy stuff – Chinese chicken have a drumstick and your brains stops tickin’.

NG: I wish you would step back from that ledge my friend

Brad: Matchbox 20, “It’s 3am I must be lonely.” What happened to music there? It went through this like acoustic stuff – they got the depressing part of grunge but not the meaningful feeling. It was just kind of like downer, but they made it way too poppy at the same time. “Lyin’ naked on the floor,” Natalia Imbruglia!

NG: Yeah what’s different about music now?

Brad: I think now people are searching for something that’s a bit more organic and real. But I do think there’s a pretentiousness that comes with that – that kind of ruins it – because people want to turn it into an elitist thing, but really music is a communal thing. If people are really searching for music to fill and emotion or inspire something, that’s when you really connect with music. But I feel like the downside of people digging deep into music – if there was one downside – then it becomes this competition of like “Oh you probably haven’t heard of that band, they only released one 45 and sold three copies back in ’91.” There’s so much good stuff it’s close minded. Miles Davis said one of the most profound things I’ve ever heard in an interview and it was a one word answer. And it was right before he came out with Bitches Brew. This reporter asked him where he was going with his next album, and he said “Forward,” and then he walked away.