On their debut album, ‘Love Is Not Enough’, South Wales quintet Casey showcase a blend of tender, heartbreaking lyricism and explosive angst to create a captivating record. Rooted in a failed relationship, the album serves as an emotional outpouring for vocalist Tom Weaver.
Since its release last September, Casey have been hitting the road hard having toured with Being As An Ocean, Capsize, Thy Art Is Murder, and more recently, Boston Manor. And they’re not stopping anytime soon.
We recently caught up with Tom Weaver and guitarist Liam Torrance at the Slam Dunk Festival in Leeds, just one of the many festivals Casey will be hitting up this summer. They discussed their imminent appearance at the Download Festival, playing a set they’re comfortable with and how they’ve impressed their parents.
AH: This is your first time at Slam Dunk. How have you found it so far?
Tom: It was really good. It was one of our first shows on an outside stage. We’ve played a marquee stage but never fully outdoor. We didn’t know how well it would translate because we’re used to having things quite intimate. Obviously [outside] the sound can carry and get a bit lost, especially because our stage backed on to another, we thought we’d get drowned out but it went really well. We had a decent crowd.
AH: You were recently in Europe playing the Impericon Festival shows. Did they prepare you to play in front of bigger crowds?
Tom: It prepared us in terms of how comfortable we are playing our own music. We had a discussion before we went [for those shows] as to whether we were going to try and cater to a bigger audience because even though it was quite a diverse lineup, it was swaying towards the heavier side of things. We were thinking ‘should we just try and play our heavy songs to appeal to these people or stick to what we like doing and playing a bit of mix’, and that’s what we ended up doing.
When we came away for this tour, we were just thinking we should just play what we are comfortable with, and if people like it, they like it and if they don’t, they don’t.
AH: Before coming here this weekend, you’ve been touring with Boston Manor.
Liam: Those shows have been insane. There’s nothing worse for me than touring with a band that sounds exactly the same or you tour with four bands of the same genre. They put out one of the best records of last year, so to get to play some shows with those guys is good. They’re super talented artists. I think the reception has been really well. I don’t think anyone has really noticed we sound really different. It’s been a good experience.
AH: Of course quickly following this will be the Download Festival. How are you feeling about playing that?
Liam: I’m feeling good about it. It’s our first time there but I’ve actually been there as a punter. We’re really excited to play it. It’s not very eclectic, so it’s not really a festival…
Tom: I don’t know it still holds that stereotype doesn’t it? That people think it’s the old school rock festival, but as you come lower down the bill there is a bit more of a spectrum of genres kicking about.
When we were originally offered Download, we were thinking ‘oh god! we’re going to have to play a really heavy set’ and try and step it up. But as we’ve got closer to it and we’ve been playing these other shows, we’ve started thinking there’s no point in being someone that we’re not, we might as well go out and play a set that we’re really comfortable with.
AH: Liam, you mentioned you’ve attended previously. What are your memories from past years?
Liam: It’s quite blurry (laughs). The first time I went with a bunch of friends. There used to be a band in South Wales called Boys With X-Ray Eyes, so they invited me along. I think they put me down as ‘guitar tech’ but I did nothing, just drank beer all weekend.
I saw some amazing bands. I watched Iron Maiden and The Prodigy. It was nuts, so to get the chance to play a festival of that calibre. Download is a festival where I can go back to my mum and dad and say ‘I’m playing Download’ and they can be like ‘wow!’ Even they know how big it is.
AH: You’re going to be playing on the Dogtooth stage, which is pretty intimate. Is that something you’d prefer?
Tom: It’s a good stepping stone into it. From the experience of playing the Impericon Festivals, the one in Leipzig we played to nearly 8,000 people and it was this huge room, and it didn’t feel uncomfortable to us. But I think we are our most comfortable on an intimate stage. We’ve got a room that we can completely fill with sound, rather than get lost in translation.
AH: In recent years, that stage has hosted bands like Creeper who have gone on to bigger things. Is that something you’d like to replicate?
Tom: That is the end game for any band.
Liam: The fact that we’ve got an ‘in’ into these festivals this year (is great). Hopefully next year we can start building up the stages, and see how it goes. We’re just grateful to be playing all these cool festivals.
AH: Who do you want to see at Download?
Liam: There are some really good Welsh bands playing. Back home there’s a band called Junior, who are a pop-punk band, Venom Prison, another sick band, Holding Absence from Cardiff, and Astroid Boys. I’m mainly looking forward to the bands around our set.
We don’t always get to plan things out, so we’ll just do it and check who’s playing on the day.
AH: You’ve also playing the Reading & Leeds Festival later in the summer.
Tom: When Liam was saying about going back to his parents and saying ‘I’m playing Download’, that was Reading & Leeds for my parents. When we got the e-mail through and I said to my mum ‘we’ve been asked to play Reading & Leeds Festival,’ and the first thing she said was ‘that’s a festival for real bands’ (laughs). ‘Mum we are a real band’. But it was absolutely insane. I’ve never actually been to an outdoor festival; I don’t do mud, but the legacy that comes with Download and Reading & Leeds is insane.
They’re the pinnacle of UK mainstream and alternative music. Download is the biggest alternative festival we do, then Reading & Leeds is the biggest mainstream and alternative festival we do. So to be even considered to play it is insane but to have on a stage is really cool.
AH: ‘Love Is Not Enough’ has been out for a few months now, how has the response been?
Tom: It’s been really good for us because it has been a staggered release for us. It came out in the UK and Europe last September, then two and a half months ago it came out in North America, and then a couple of weeks ago it came out in Australia. So at consistent intervals, we’ve been getting fresh feedback on it, so it doesn’t feel that old to us because there are people saying to us ‘I’ve just heard the record for the first time,’ because it’s only become available in their territory.
The response has been largely positive. I’ve not seen anyone say anything that negative about it, which is incredible. Like I said on stage this week, ‘we can appreciate our music isn’t for everybody,’ not that we play black metal or anything (laughs). But there are going to be people out there who are going to listen to it, and say ‘this isn’t for me’ and we know, especially in the age of the internet, some people are going to be a lot more vocal. So we’re anticipating we’re going to get some negative (feedback) at some point. We’ve seen a lot of people say very nice things about it. It’s been very well received.
AH: The album lyrically is deeply emotional. Has that helped developed a connection with fans?
Tom: Not really. I’ve never written music from considering the perspective of other people. I’ve never sat down and thought ‘right I’m going to write a song about this topic because I want this certain demographic of people to feel this way about a certain thing.’ I’ve only ever written from the need to document things or personal expression, but it does then present an interesting interaction when people come to me and say ‘I’ve listened to this song and I think I can relate to your music because of what I’ve been through.’ More often than not, it’s not the frame of mind I was in, so to hear people breathe fresh life into the things I write is always incredibly interesting.
That was not necessarily the reasoning behind it because personally, that’s how I write. I’ve never been good at writing general topics unless I really think about it. Otherwise, it becomes generic and rubbish.
‘Love Is Not Enough by Casey is out now on Hassle Records.
View more of Already Heard’s coverage from Slam Dunk Festival 2017 here.
Words by Sêan Reid (@SeanReid86)
Download Festival 2017 takes place at Donington Park from June 9th to 11th.
Tickets can be purchased here.
View more of Already Heard’s coverage from Download Festival 2017 here.