Baltimore electronica project CASCADING ELEPHANTS have announced a string of US tour dates. I spoke to the man behind it all to find out more.
1. Hello, please introduce yourself.
Hi, I’m Ben Parker. I play some of the weirdest electronic music you’ll ever hear under the name Cascading Elephants. I am way too into music and live in Baltimore for now. I’ll be moving to Louisville in August.
2. What inspired you to start making music?
When I was five my grandpa played me a Beatles album and I’ve been an addict ever since. Their album Abbey Road gave my five year old self a new perspective on what music could be and what forms it could take. From there I began taking guitar and piano lessons and played in a local rock band. The band was very dysfunctional and we could never agree on anything. In 2012 I quit the band and began Cascading Elephants as a solo project to explore my fascination with electronic sound manipulation.
3. Who are your inspirations?
I’d say my biggest influence is Animal Collective. I love how they are constantly evolving their sound and never settle on a particular style. It seems like fewer and fewer bands today are interested in progressing themselves as artists, so I really admire Animal Collective for going against the grain.
There’s a producer from Boston called Oneohtrix Point Never that I’ve been really into lately. He makes some of the most mind boggling, tripped out music I’ve ever heard and I absolutely love it.
4. So, you have a tour coming up… is it your first?
The tour this summer is my first. I haven’t toured before this because I didn’t have the resources to make it happen in the past. I was lucky that the stars kind of aligned for me this year: I have a working car, 3 open months in-between high school and college to do something, and a fan base.
This tour is a complete DIY effort. It’s self funded and I don’t have a booking agent so I literally did everything myself; assembling the CD packaging, writing & mailing press releases, booking the shows and everything in between.
5. What are you most excited for?
I’m most excited about meeting my fans in person on tour. Since I’ve never toured before, Cascading Elephants has only really existed on the Internet. I hear from people from all walks of life online who say how much my music means to them, so it’ll be nice to put faces to some of the names.
6. Can we expect more material from you anytime soon?
I’m going to begin recording a new album this summer in between the shows. I’m aiming to explore drone and ambient music in depth, and somehow combine it with the raw energy of punk music. I have no idea where this concept will take me but it seems like a cool place to start.
7. Who are some of your personal favorite artists?
There’s this band from Baltimore called Ed Schrader’s Music Beat that I really enjoy at the moment. They’re too abrasive to be pop but too weird to be punk, but they’re not pop-punk. They’ve pretty much invented their own breed of Lo-Fi music and Ed is by far the most hilarious person I know.
I recently saw this singer-songwriter from Nashville called Hushabye Baby at a house show. Her voice is gorgeous and she has some serious songwriting talent too.
8.If you could play any US festival, which would you pick?
If the opportunity presented itself, I’d love to play at the Windjammer Festival in Baltimore. It’s an annual benefit for Baltimore City music education programs and last year’s line up was phenomenal: Future Islands, Beach House, Dan Deacon, Ed Schrader’s Music Beat, Bond Street District and Romantic States. They only book artists from Baltimore to play and it was by far the favorite festival that I’ve been to.
9. How would you describe your overall sound to someone who hasn’t listened to you before?
I would describe my music as the soundtrack to an underwater dance party where everyone is peacefully tripping. Hectic Matter (my new album) combines elements of drone, noise, pop and house into this psychedelic oddity that I have never heard anyone else attempt. In terms of an artist comparison, imagine if Aphex Twin did a collaboration with Dan Deacon and Tim Hecker.
The tour will consist of the following dates:
- June 15 – Villain & Saint Bethesda, MD
- June 18 – Rainbow Records Newark, DE
- June 24 – The Hippo Hut Baltimore, MD
- July 1 – Electric Maid Washington, DC
- July 17* – Velma House Wall Township, NJ
- July 21 – Metropolitan Lounge Annapolis, MD
- July 29* – The Raven Inn Towson, MD
- July 31 – Sherman Showcase Stroudsburg, PA
- August 4 – Swallow at the Hollow Baltimore, MD
- August 7* – The Make Space Harrisburg, PA
*please note that marked ones may change.
Released on January 8th 2016, Hectic Matter is the third full length album from Cascading Elephants, and is available to download, on limited edition CD, and to stream. Being from Baltimore, each song is named after a Baltimore related event. You can give one a listen here.
Find Cascading Elephants on social media here: