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Cold Cave's Wesley Eisold on Boyd Rice: "He's an Original, a Poet"

Cold Cave is Wesley Eisold, the brooding, multifarious former vocalist behind influential hardcore groups Give Up the Ghost (previously American Nightmare) and Some Girls. Since 2007, he's been churning out a stream of self-produced experimental darkwave synth, occasionally collaborating with friends like Sean Martin of Hatebreed and the late Justin Benoit. But Cold Cave essentially remains a solo endeavor.

By turns musician, poet, author, and publisher, Eisold is candid about his lifelong battles with drinking and depression. He puts out a brand of Goth-romantic art that remains seductive as it keeps you at arm's length. It is sincere and familiar, with a distinct chill; the culmination of a career marked by severe highs and lows and bursts of creative force.

An extensive tour underway, a full-length album in the works, and a recent tour with controversial noise musician Boyd Rice have Eisold still making waves. As Cold Cave, he's become the sort of chimerical renaissance figure that hooks critics and followers across a spectrum of mediums and genres. Topping the bill at Respectable Street's impressive 26th Anniversary Block Party lineup next Saturday, Eisold took a timeout to talk about his itinerant lifestyle, what motivates his art, and when we can expect new material.

New Times: You mentioned you were in the middle of touring outside the U.S. Where are you now, and how are you feeling today?

Wesley Eisold: I'm driving from Berlin to London now. I have a few more shows over here and then go home to start a US tour. I just played Brussels, Paris, and Berlin. Really cool shows, and it has been a few years since I've performed here.

"Meaningful Life" versus "People are Poison;" authentic versus false; solo versus collaborative; straight-edge versus not sober... Your life and work seem dictated by dichotomies in some sense. How do you maintain a balance? Do you think creativity thrives off of extremes?

I think the dichotomy itself is balance. I've always felt extreme and maybe creativity does thrive this way. That doesn't mean it's good though. Lately, I feel centered and more productive than ever. I guess it may be a bit boring to just understand the most efficient way to live suddenly.

You've always moved around a lot, and now you're based in Los Angeles. What brought you back to the West Coast? Will you be there long?

I was a habitual mover. I grew up in a military family and kept moving every two years. I'm going to stay in L.A. though since I love it.

You're currently touring with Boyd Rice, an artist whose radical ideology has been the subject of some controversy. Rather than play on your own, you've opted to cancel shows where Rice wasn't welcome. What was behind your decision to tour together? Will he be performing with you at Respectable Street on August 24?

No, Last month we did a tour together. I cancelled because I felt the decisions were acts of cowardice and stupidity. People loved the shows we played. I like his music and he's a joy to be around. He's an original, a poet. Not easy to find these days.

You've described your next album, tentatively titled Sunflower, as a "mix between some of the bigger sounds on Cherish and more minimal stuff I'm interested in now, like Suicide or 39 Clocks. Could you give us any details on who you've been collaborating with, if anyone, and when we can expect its release?

It will be released in 2014, and I'm not collaborating with anyone these days, just like on the last three singles. After this tour I'll start recording.

You said in a 2011 interview with Vulture that you've only ever written about one thing: love. Is that still true? Would you consider love at the core of your belief system?

Yes, it's all love. Love can be vague or expansive. It can be difficult to live a life of love.

Last one. If your house was burning, what would you take with you?

Well, I've been in this situation, and I took nothing.

Respectable Street's 26th Anniversary Block Party with Cold Cave, Jacuzzi Boys, the Band in Heaven, Beach Day, and more. 8 p.m., Saturday, August 24, Respectable Street, 518 Clematis Steet, West Palm Beach 33401. Free. Call 561-832-9999 or visit www.respectablestreet.com.

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