Slow Caves talks new music, early musical influences

Jonny Rhein

Local band Slow Caves has made a name for themselves in the rock scene of Fort Collins and throughout the United States.

four members of the band slow caves
Fort Collins band Slow Caves band members Jakob Mueller, Oliver Miller, David Dugan and Jackson Lamperes pose for a portrait. (Photo Courtesy of Evan Olea)

In the four years since their official formation, Slow Caves has opened for bands like Mini Mansions and Cake, has played Red Rocks and toured extensively since last year, but that is only the beginning.

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“We recorded back in January,” said singer and guitarist Jakob Mueller. “I will say that 2019 is going to be the busiest year we’ve had as far as releases and touring.”

Slow Caves released “Desert Minded” last year, an EP filled with surf rock vibes and echoes of The Strokes and Arctic Monkeys. Lately, the band has been throwing it back to Oasis, Nirvana and The Cribs for inspiration. With new influences comes new creativity, and Jakob Mueller said they took their new material in a different direction.

“It’s very different,” Jakob Mueller said. “It’s more guitar heavy, you could say it’s heavier in general. There’s an overall emotional trend throughout the record. It’s very influenced by both American and English guitar music from the ‘90s as far as Britpop and grunge whereas the ‘Desert Minded’ EP, some of the songs are pretty surfy which hasn’t really carried over at all.”

David Dugan, bass player for Slow Caves, said the style has definitely evolved, even since the release of their most recent singles, the “Poser” and “Rover” split.

 “It’s definitely in that vein, but we’re sort of slowing down a little from that one and exploring that vibe, taking that to a newer, sonic place,” Dugan said. “We worked with a producer that pushed us to create really cool sounds. I would say it’s more mature than our other stuff. We waited so long to make a full-length album because we wanted the first one to be something that we could really be proud of, and I think that’s what we’ve done now.”

Since “Desert Minded,” Slow Caves have released two singles, “Poser” and “Rover” and a live session from the acclaimed Audiotree studio in Chicago.

Slow Caves is the product of several musical projects among childhood friends and a love for music from an early age. Dugan and singer and guitarist Oliver Mueller started a band called The Rewards, and Jakob Mueller joined later as the guitar player, but later switched to drums. After some instrument swapping and Oliver Mueller’s return to Fort Collins from California, Slow Caves has formed into what it is today.

“We wanted an opportunity,” Jakob Mueller said. “My brother moved back from California, and we were like ‘let’s just start a new band.’”

Brothers Jakob and Oliver Mueller grew up surrounded by music. Their father is the drummer of the band Fjord Collins and their parents encouraged them to find innovative hobbies as children. Aside from their parents pushing them in the right direction, they had a little help from Jack Black too, of course.

“My parents said to (Oliver), basically, ‘you have to play an instrument,” Jakob Oliver said. “You can’t just sit around and play Gameboy.’ So then I was like, ‘Oh, I’ll do it too.’ And then we got really into it because we saw ‘School of Rock’. That movie is still amazing. Both of our parents were really into David Bowie and The Who, so from the start, (we were) a pretty musical family.”

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Dugan had a similar childhood experience with music. Like Jakob and Oliver Mueller, his early influences were David Bowie, The Who, The Beatles and Queen. His mother would play him a song that made a huge impact on his musical inspirations and his life in general.

“My mom one day showed me Jimi Hendrix, ‘Purple Haze,’ and it changed my life,” Dugan said.

Slow Caves are closing the year strong with a tour including a show with Third Eye Blind in Aspen. Tour dates can be found on their website.

Jonny Rhein can be reached at entertainment@collegian.com or on Twitter @jonnyrhein.