Q&A: Ryan Haft and Capsule Kick Off Tour Tonight at the Cave
Ghost, where hook-laden songwriting keeps the dizzying arrangements
and aggressive vocals from becoming too self-indulgent. Here, Capsule manages to be
complex and technical without being boring, a happy departure from many of their posthardcore peers.
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sent over a few questions via email to guitarist Ryan Haft, who graciously
answered them in detail before the band's rehearsal Wednesday.
New Times: As one of the Capsule members to join later, how much
musical input do you personally have on the songwriting process?
Haft: I joined the band pretty much as the Blue record
being finished, so I was kind of just hanging around the studio when
Eric [bass, vocals] and Colin [guitar, vocals] were working on it. Those
dudes basically built that thing from the ground up, just the two of them
writing and playing all the parts. For the new material, I would bring my own
ideas to the table pretty much in the same manner Eric and Colin were used to: writing material before I jumped in.
of times, Eric will show up with a full song idea ready to go, and we
it out from there and see how far we can take it. Same would go for
Colin and I, as we would pretty much bring in song ideas that were
mostly composed and develop them as much as possible in our rehearsal
On our new record, it is a big mix of songs we each came up
with. So I definitely have had my input in the same respect as the OG
Can you talk about some of the inspirations for the new
The new record has a fairly wide range of ideas and
inspirations for the content. Lyrically,
songs ranged from subjects of parenting and family to some bizarre encounters
at Steve's Pizza in North Miami. Musically, we were definitely inspired to try
to write a record that pushed our boundaries and at the same time didn't really
sound like all the stuff we had already done, to move in a progressively
logical direction. We are all musicians
to the core before vocalists, so we definitely thrive on experimenting with song
structures and wild riffs and creative ways to get around song structures and
play with timings without losing a groove. Each of us definitely would get on
different musical tips for different compositions from things we
were listening to and vibing on. But we all would have the same goal in sight
for what the record should sound like. We definitely pull a lot of inspiration from music that sounds nothing like us, as I'm sure most serious songwriters do.
How did Rorschach Records get involved?
Once we were about 85 percent done with the record, we began
shopping it around to different labels we had been in contact with. We had spoken
to lots of people and were given tons of runarounds. No one
would really get on board with us, so we honestly were going to release the record
ourselves and see how well that would work. We had always worked with Robotic Empire, which was also based out of Richmond,
Virginia, on our previous releases, and we were friendly with Curtis Grimstead of Rorschach. So we ended up
just getting in touch with him to see if he was interested in the album, and
he was totally stoked. So far, it's been great, and we're glad to be working
No Ghost demonstrates your continued evolution
from a DIY or even heavier feel in your early days to a more technical,
cerebral sound now. What accounts for this evolution?
Basically highlighting what I mentioned before is that we
all wanted to write a new record that didn't sound like the previous releases
we had done. We spent a good deal of time between Blue and No Ghost just
writing and demoing songs over and over and experimenting with different possibilities
for the outcome of certain tracks. I think the time spent doing so allowed us
to really tap into a more mature musical ideal that perhaps wasn't the
case when we were younger. A lot more thought of writing songs sensibly and not
trying to cram too many ideas into one piece definitely lends itself to the
sound of the new record as whole. We
still try to stick to our guns but musically be smart with our choices, which
may take away from the DIY sound, if you will. We are all very much into a wide variety of
musical styles and genres as well, so tapping into some of those inspirations
brought more direction to the table when fleshing out ideas for these songs.
Like you said, you guys took your time on this album. Did you write it,
then let it evolve on tour, and then rewrite it? What was the process?
For this record, we did have a lot of time to write the
songs. Eric was spending a good deal of time touring with Kylesa through the Static Tensions cycle, and Colin and I were living together in North
Miami over the time this record was written and
recorded. Colin and I were constantly demoing songs as we would come up with
them, and Eric was doing the same when he was in town and playing with
We basically recorded this whole
record two times before we went into the Dungeon [Recording Studio where Ryan works] to lay it down for real. We
were able to do some tours and play a few of the songs live to get a better
feel for the material, but basically it was us working in my home studio over
several months just playing through the songs and demoing our ideas on the
spot. We had the luxury to record this
record in a home studio for the most part as well, so we were very laid-back
when it came to tracking out the entire record. We didn't have a clock ticking
on us or anything, so it kind of took longer than it should have, but we were
comfortable through the whole process, which led to us being able to put the
material down and let it sink in before we would commit to one thing.
Definitely was a very fun record to make.
Is the second song "Small Caps" an homage to hip-hop artist MF Doom?
It isn't at all. In actuality, the first working title for
the track coincidentally was "All Caps," which is a Doom track. We learned we
were beaten to the punch; hence "Small Caps."
"Small Caps" sounds like it could be a companion piece to
Torche. In fact, a lot of the album feels that way. As a fellow Miami
band and having Jon Nunez coproduce the album, is it inevitable that Torche rubs off
We have all been friends and played in bands together for
years, so to some degree, we vibe on each others' styles, definitely. I
feel maybe the comparison stems from the
fact that we tried to write some songs in a more contemporary manner and
new, more melodic, approach to the vocals on this record. But in all
entire record was written, produced, and recorded from start to finish
by myself, Eric, and Colin, on our own. Jonathan was part of the
recording process on the first day, when we were getting drum sounds,
and the very last day, months and months
later, when Jon and I did a brutal 17-hour mix session at the Dungeon to
this thing ready for mastering.
Capsule kicks off a tour in
Wynwood tonight at Beezlebub's Cave, located at 164
NW 20th St., Miami.
Beings and Shroud Eater will open. Show starts at 8
p.m., and admission is $3.
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