CALE: electronic prodigy
Sitting across from me at High Street’s Blue Danube (on dollar burger night) is talent, energy, and creative motivation. This list of adjectives, better known as a tangible noun, chats about the past, present, and future.
Jesse smiles while reflecting on the band that inspired him to create the electronic danceable beats that large Columbus fan bases have come to adore.
“It was Joy Electric when I was six-years-old. From there, my Grandpa got me a keyboard and I took piano lessons.”
With seven years of piano lessons under his belt, Cale was ready to record. In 5th grade he received his first recording software and began constructing the first album.
After the waitress took our hamburger orders, Cale told me that he uses a CASIO keyboard he got when he was nine, a micro korg he purchased in the 7th grade, analog equipment along with a drum machine, and 6 years of production skill to create his unique digital sounds.
The use of such equipment creates a number of pleasing diversified textures: a free flowing trance sound in “Once We’re In Heaven,” a happy hardcore beat in “People Like You,” and a dark industrial cover of “Snakes Are Scary.”
When recording, moments of inspiration are transformed into club beats.
“A moment comes to me and I just put it down. My longest song took me about 11 months to finish. [Other songs] take only two to three hours.”
Influences include Aphex Twin, The Postal Service, M83, Glenn Davis, and Anna Ranger.
Cale records in his basement, typically initiating with music, then converting some journal entries, among other ideas, into lyrics.
Lyrical topics range from love to nature, with sidebars of humor. Cale creates a harmonic, hypnotic state with calming vocals that flow in unison with the style and song texture, sometimes using props for added distortion.
“Snow” is powerful enough to embody the mind into transfixing an imaginative realist portrayal of winter.
After taking the first bite out of our burgers, I ask Cale to explain how Panda became a symbol.
“It’s become part of the image. Whenever people see a Panda now, they think of me! During a Spring Break me and my friend Chad hung out at Easton. We would always eat at the Panda Express there. Chad wrote a funny rap and I wrote one about Panda Express (“The Panda Rap”)! Since then, it’s stuck. Now I own at least twenty Pandas!”
Cale went as far as posing with Pandas and wearing make-up, briefly concealing his identity as a furry Panda bear!
The humorous “Panda Rap Remix” breaks out into a fast-paced dance song with Reznor-like screams of “Save, The, Pandas!” and a brief “Closure” sample.
Just receiving his license a few days prior, sixteen-year-old Cale has not only proved his musical capabilities, but also his artistic creation.
Cale enjoys graffiti stencils and designs all of his albums, t-shirts, and also collaborates with other bands.
“I’m always playing with music. I’ve worked in a few side projects like I Am Mute and soon TI-83 Plus. I’ve done a few band re-mixes. For some live shows I’ll sing with other bands.”
Cale is also getting his foot into the college door early by taking senior on-line courses as a junior.
“This Fall I’m hoping for a big break. I would love to eventually tour in the Midwest, but my biggest goal would be to do a tour in Japan!”
At the age of fourteen Disney contacted Cale for a possible on-air performance, but he was too tall. The co-creator of MySpace also contacted Cale about an album project, but he was too young.
Despite minor set backs and performing over 25-30 shows and just releasing his 4th more personal album Midnight And Other Beasts (including a re-make of “Snow” collaboration with Allan / Bear and a re-mix of “Green Sky, Blue Grass” by his friend Max), Cale is ready for a breakthrough.
Finishing up our burgers, we discussed Anime and a few of Cale’s favorite movies: Suicide Club, Snatch, Battle Royale.
It’s almost that time of year—watch for Cale in his fashionable colorful winter gear and go to a show–dance, have fun! (Until then, we can only hope for another hilarious online “True Cale Story of Absopure!”)
Written, Photography By Neil Shumate, Out Of The Blue Publications, Copyright OOTB