Staff Spare Time Series: Casey & the Sitar
Next up in the Staff Spare Time Series is one of our brewery staff members, Casey! Join us for a short interview as Casey discusses playing the SITAR, being in multiple bands, and hopefully one day meeting Tim Presley from White Fence.
1) When did you start playing music?
I started playing guitar and writing songs when I was 7. I took lessons for a couple years around that time but a lot of it was self-taught. I started playing in bands at the end of middle school and have been active since. When I got to college I got obsessed with Brian Jones of The Rolling Stones and The Brian Jonestown Massacre which influenced me to learn the sitar, an Indian instrument that has 18+ strings.
2) What instruments do you play? If multiple, do you have a favorite? Why?
My main instrument is guitar which typically is a 12 string electric or 6 string acoustic. I also play sitar, hand percussion, keyboard/organ/piano, and sing. My favorite thing to do with instruments is write songs, typically writing while recording. I much prefer writing over messing around with an instrument. I have a small studio at home which allows me to record at my leisure. When I am just practicing by myself, I enjoy finger picking with an acoustic guitar or playing the sitar while my dog Lola stares at me.
3) Tell us about your band(s)!
My main group is Ravi/Lola, a psychedelic baroque pop group. We've been around in various forms for about 11 years. It started out as a home recording project but became a live group in 2014. I also play guitar in an art pop group Peeper & Le Play, as well as sing, write songs and play keyboard in a synth pop group Kiss Critique. I will soon be joining Droope on lead guitar. All of the groups are part of the Activities Archive, a web-based catalogue of albums, tapes, performances, videos, songs & other recorded ephemera spanning several decades.
4) What are some goals you have with your music?
I've always wanted an album released on vinyl. But really I just want the ability to record and write songs while continuing to enjoy what I produce. That is my main passion besides working at Good City. I love doing character sketches and telling stories in songs. The next Ravi/Lola album 'Neighborhood Daydream' is a conceptual album with a neighborhood theme, including a song about John Gurda.
5) How much spare time do you spend practicing/playing/performing?
Thankfully the groups don't overlap a whole lot so I'm not spending all week practicing. But Ravi/Lola is the busiest project and we typically practice about 2 hours a week. I devote some weekend days to writing and recording demos for the group. I believe listening to as much music as possible is vital for being a musician/songwriter so I spend a lot of my time doing that. I love finding old, hard to find music, especially from the 60s.
6) If you could meet one musician (or band), who would it be and why?
He's not alive anymore, but Curt Boettcher would be that person. He was in a variety of groups in the 60s (The Goldebriars, The Ballroom, The Millennium) and also produced a lot of music. His vocal arrangements are angelic and just as good if not better than anyone of his generation. I take a lot of inspiration from him when doing vocal arrangements of Ravi/Lola. He's also a native of Eau Claire! Alive, it would have to be Tim Presley (White Fence). I saw him at a show in Chicago a couple weeks ago but chickened out.
7) Where can we listen to your music? Any upcoming shows?
You can listen to Ravi/Lola, Peeper & Le Play, and Kiss Critique on all major streaming services via Bandcamp, Spotify, iTunes, etc., and on the Activities Archive website. Ravi/Lola has a show on August 16th at Linnemann's for the release of our new album 'Neighborhood Daydream'. Our brewer Jacob's band The Old Northwest will also be playing!
Published August 16, 2019.