“Everyone tells me I need to be more professional and have a five-year plan,” said Tony Garcia, founder of local band Cad Bane. “I know I should. But Jimi Hendrix was homeless in New York before he made it. If you work hard and love what you’re doing, things can fall into place.”
Over an organic loose-leaf tea, Garcia talked comfortably about being a young musician, with a mix of thoughtful insights, biting humor and references to Drake lyrics. It’s a mix of rebellion, optimism and culturally charged introspection that stresses the best characteristics of Generation Y.
According to Garcia, Cad Bane began as a way to “be a middle finger” during his period of defiance—one that happens whenever someone leaves the proverbial nest. It’s a perspective that colored Cad Bane’s early uber-raunchy, provocative musical identity.
But in the year and a half since Cad Bane was established, the project has undergone a major overhaul. What started out as a one-man project of synths and vocals, much like The Weeknd, has evolved into a four-piece experimental R&B jazz group.
Aside from Garcia, who sings and now plays the piano, the lineup consists of Casey Frasca on guitar, Ryan Phillips on bass, and Tony Tinoco on drums.
Now, armed with retro haircuts and cuffed jeans, jobs at hip midtown stomping grounds, and several ties to the local music scene, the members of Cad Bane exude a Portlandia-esque coolness and humor, without the pretension.
The music of Cad Bane ambles through a myriad of genres, like jazz, ’90s hip-hop and R&B, while consistently maintaining an indie flavor.
“The indie influence is like our lord and savior,” joked Garcia. “You can’t always see it, but it’s always there. Yet while the core style of music has remained generally the same, the changes made in the band necessitated other adjustments, both musically and lyrically.
During the change in format, Cad Bane began the process of rearranging old electronic songs and composing new ones to adapt to a full band—a transition which proved surprisingly easy.
“Each of us has our own spirit that we bring to the band through our instruments,” said Tinoco. “When we started, it felt so organic and clicked right away. We got into the basement, got rid of the computer and it all came together.”
It’s the naturally occurring understanding of each other that defines the musical language of Cad Bane.
“We’re always trying to build up our music, but at the same time, set the stage for one another,” said Frasca. “It creates a really interesting interplay between our parts.”
Over time, the content of the songs has evolved drastically as well. Cad Bane’s earlier works were customary musings about sex and drugs, marred by glumness and exorbitant vulgarity. Since then, the lyrics have developed into a more positive, thoughtful conversation (about sex and drugs).
Garcia attributes the shift to a desire to be more honest in his music, but more importantly to prevent a collapse into complacency.
“If you just keep writing sad shit again and again, you can’t grow with it,” said Garcia. “You just become Mumford and Sons, and how many sad folk albums are you going to put out before you say, ’Get over it’?”
Instead, the band hopes to provide a musical refuge from negativity.
“When people see Cad Bane play, I want them to be able to have fun and let go,” said Phillips. “I think that’s why we go to see live music, to let go of what we have going on in the real world. I think our music brings that out.”