Cale of Cale & The Gravity Well Talks The Age Of Envy, Inspiration, and Bon Iver

Post Author: Meredith Schneider
New York’s relatively new act Cale & The Gravity Well may have been formed, at its core, as the result of a joke when Cale’s sister suggested she start a record label, and Cale said he would be a part of it. Fast forward to now, and he’s the first one to sign to Made In The Shade Records. All joking aside, the man has cultivated a wide range of musical talent, and his debut album – The Age Of Envy – is a twelve track stand out that is worthy of note.
From the first lines of “The Age Of Envy” all the way through fourth track “Toy Store Robbery” and to the end of twelfth track “Lions And Tigers”, Cale’s light, spry vocals carry the album through various sounds and genres. “Toy Store Robbery”, obviously one of our favorites off of the album, boasts a twangy sound to it, highlighting that “it’s the little things that keep you going, like water, food, and space to call your own,” while “If That Ain’t Enough” travels through a a more psychedelic, funky sound and more commanding, vibey vocals.
Check out the album in its entirety below, and then read on for a fun interview with Cale himself.

If you could introduce yourself and your music to our audience in any way, how would you do so?
Ideally I would like to come bursting through their walls late at night, while they were sleeping soundly, wreathed in acrid smoke and flickering lightning, Wagner’s Ride of the Valkyries blaring in the background, and a cold wind howling through their very bones. Then I would bellow, “REPENT SINNERS! FOR THE END IS NIGH!” And of course after the screaming and sobbing but before the police and insurance investigators showed up, I’d let them know that this was just a millennial with too much time and a brand spanking new album that he chose to market by scaring the bejeezus out of everyone, and that in fact Jesus most loves people who do not press charges. 
What is the first album or song you remember listening to, and who introduced it to you?
Now that is a very hard question. The very first song I really remember is “Where is Love?” from the Broadway classic Oliver, which my mother used to sing to me as a child. But assuming you meant “What was the first song/album you chose to listen to?” then the answer is “Bondo’s Greatest Hits.” Don’t bother looking it up, you won’t find it. My dad, a passionate and lifelong music aficionado, used to make these compilation CD’s and hand them out to his friends and family, and yes, that’s really what they were called. I remember listening to (I think) the sixth one for hours at a time. It had “Pretty in Pink” by the Psychedelic Furs, “Couldn’t Get It Right” by the Climax Blues Band, “Bad Company” by Bad Company, and many many more. I really owe my early foray into music to that man. 
Was there a specific moment when you knew you wanted to pursue music? 
Honestly, no, not a specific moment. This was something I had some small ability in, and that I had always perceived of as being “Something, someday, I might actually do” but even after Zoe offered me a record deal, I don’t think I really took it that seriously. It’s been slowly sinking in ever since. 

The Age of Envy is SO SO good. Do you have any fun anecdotes from the recording process?

Thank you so much! I’m pretty proud of it. Fun anecdotes, let’s see. Well, I did all the recording in a basement belonging to one Chris Brooks, the keyboardist for Lionize. I spent months trekking down to DC every other weekend to spend it yelling into this little makeshift vocal booth consisting of two plywood panels covered in foam that Chris hung from the ceiling. My first or second time there, I was doing the vocals for “Charming Devil” and I just really felt like I wasn’t getting some of the Ooomph that I wanted. Chris just pointed to the little bar he has in one corner of the basement and said “That’ll fix you.” Which explains why the second time I sing “F@#& off!” in that song, it’s considerably more aggressive. The whole process went a bit like that. 
Do you have a favorite track from the album, or any stories of inspiration?
I think my favorite two are “Lions and Tigers” and “So Many Lashes.” Not for any particular reason, as far as I can tell, but they are both so much fun to sing.
Where do you draw the most inspiration for your work?
Most of the inspiration for my work seems to spring out of seemingly nowhere. I’ll hear a phrase, say, or get a small musical hook stuck in my head, and then I get seized by these kind of creative frenzies, where I’ll just hole up in my apartment for a day or two and crank out a song. Oftentimes it’s basically nonsense. I was sitting around one day, being amazing and handsome and charming and modest as usual, and the phrase “The best thing about the age of envy” just kinda popped into my head. And that doesn’t mean anything, nothing at all. But I’m of the opinion that a lot of great art erupts from concentrated gibberish, so I started working on more words and pretty soon I had the title track, “The Age of Envy.” You kinda figure out the meaning as you go, a kind of art and life inform each other approach.

We hear you’re “simultaneously trying to learn the fiddle and the banjo.” How’s that going for you?

Well I at least understand the banjo. The violin is just so, so hard. And I sound awful, and there’re no frets, and the bow hold hurts my arm, and why did I even decided to do this oh yeah cause it comes with free beer. Shoutout to Booze Violin, it really is a good time. Perhaps the best answer is this; if there’s a banjo or a violin on my next album I doubt I will be playing them. 

What’s your favorite open mic night to play in NYC? (AKA where can we find you?)

By far it is the Monday night open mic at Prohibition, on the upper west side. I haven’t been able to go recently, but the atmosphere is so inviting, the people are talented, and the house band is one of the finest is NYC. 
What is your favorite track out right now?
I have been really jamming on “10 dEAThBREasT” off Bon Iver‘s new album. I actually don’t listen to Bon Iver that much, but that song is so weird and expansive musically, and the words are so strange as to be almost coercive (who is The Raker??). I feel like recently there’s been this surge of half-folk-half-electronica music and I’m super into it (Sylvan Esso would be a prime example). I really attach to it emotionally for no reason I can distinguish. Plus there’s Justin Vernon’s ridiculous falsetto. What’s not to love?
If your music were a meal, what would be included in it?
Lot’s of raw asparagus and carrots and prickly pears and pineapples. Only the most nutritious, spiniest fruits and vegetables. 

Anything else you’d like to add, sir?

Well I would be remiss if I didn’t take this opportunity to say THANK YOU IMPOSE! This has been a blast, and these sort of reviews are the bread and butter for small artists like me. We couldn’t do it without you! And of course, all of my love to my wonderful sister and her boyz at Made in the Shade Records! Thank you for getting me to where I am today! 
The Age Of Envy is available now. Keep up with Cale & The Gravity Well here.