Indie Rock Band Caterpillars Has Been Gaining A Lot Of Recognition Lately. We Chat With Robinson About The Group’s Exciting Recent Moves.

Chris Robinson started his Caterpillars project all the way back in 2008, and it’s now starting to gain national recognition. As a band that comes directly from inspiration from bands like Minus the Bear, Sunny Day Real Estate and many late 1990s post-hardcore/emo bands, the line-up has continued to evolve over the years.

Their sixth release, Frontier For the Fallen, was released last week on Friend Club Records. They’ve been featured on Brooklyn Vegan and other sites, and they have their eyes set on touring a little for it later on in the year. And they hope to have copies of the album available on vinyl – and possibly cassette tape – later on the year.

But getting to this point has been an interesting and wild ride. The band is now centered around Robinson and guitarist Eric Braun with various members on bass and drums, depending on availability. Frontier For the Fallen features the final recordings with longtime drummer Stephen O’Sicky and longtime bassist Ben Love.

The band had been a long distance studio project, as O’Sicky moved to East Texas a few years ago, Love moved to San Diego due to a job transfer, Braun is based in Austin and Robinson has moved around North Texas (and currently resides south of Fort Worth) and works at UTA. Now it’s becoming less of a long distance band.

We caught up with Robinson to discuss how the pandemic was actually good for productivity of the band, how they got Chris Simpson from Mineral/the Gloria Record to sing on a track, how they got signed by Friend Club and what the rest of this year looks like for them.

It seems like the word about Caterpillars is going out much wider with this new album.

I don’t think we tried to go in that direction, but I think with getting help with our label and new people joining the team, I feel like it got pushed in that direction naturally. All of the guys live in Austin and I’m out in south of Fort Worth. We made a lot of new connections down there [in Austin]. But I wouldn’t say, “I’m tired of playing local shows, I want to go national!” [Laughs]

This record seemed to get more recognized.

This is your fourth full length record. It can be weird when a band’s been around for a number of years and people are just now discovering you. There’s only so much that Bandcamp, Spotify and Apple Music can do with getting your name out there. Sometimes you need a publicist to let people know.

Definitely! For the most part, we’ve been doing everything ourselves. With this one, we got a lot of help and they pushed us out to different publications. We have an artist named Rhys [Meatyard] and he does all of our artwork. So we were able to push out lyric videos quickly, too. We have a team of people helping now.

How did you guys get hooked with Friend Club in the first place?

I think Stephen found them and messaged them about doing our last album on cassette. They were pretty brand new then, and it was the seventh release they ever did. Now, they keep going and pushing. They’ve got a bunch of great artists on there now. I think people are starting to take notice of that. I think it was a conversation Stephen had with Rob [Froese, owner], and I had nothing to do with it. [Laughs]

Stephen has been a longtime important member of the band. How important was he in terms of production, getting Chris Simpson singing on a song, that kind of stuff?

We’ve been doing it so long, writing was natural. It’s always been natural with Stephen. Every time I get in the room with him, it just comes out. The majority of the production was me and Eric. Stephen would record his MIDI drums at his house and then he would send stuff over. We could fit it with the songs. The Chris Simpson conversation was all Stephen. I’m not sure how he pulled that off. [Laughs]

It’s amazing when you message somebody and say, “Hey, check out my band.” 

Yeah! It’s really strange. Now I’ll post something about music and I’ll see William Goldsmith likes this and I’m like, my high school self kinda freaks out.

You can’t help writing new songs, and it seems like now is the time that you guys can go out and tour and do more that.

We did a few tours with the old lineup, but this one, people are willing to jump on board. It’s getting crazy. Eric is well connected in Austin. In the past, I had to struggle finding people.

Ben moved to San Diego and Stephen is in East Texas, so it’s been a studio project for a few years.

Yeah, we were thinking about calling it quits because the guys were moving and that’s when the pandemic hit. I was like, “I have all these songs, we should record an album anyway because it’s not like anyone can play right now.” So we did our last record that way and we had a pretty good system going on. I had some life-changing events happen and I [had] to write, so let’s do another one. [Laughs] Stuff was pouring out.

For some people, the pandemic had the opposite effect. For us, it was the most productive we’ve ever been. So now, we had to have that conversation when things started opening back up. “We have two albums of material. How are we going to play this?” We knew Ben and Stephen couldn’t commit and they’re all over the United States.

Eric found some people down in Austin and we started going for it.

Are you planning on touring this summer?

We’re going on tour in July. I think we’re doing to eight to ten dates in July. And I think we have some more opportunities in the fall with some other bands. We’re not doing crazy touring, but we’re putting in what we can.

Are you hoping to put this album out on vinyl?

It’s coming out on vinyl. The orders are already up on Friend Club Records’ site. They’ll be out in October. I think there’s plans for cassette tapes.

Are you thinking about writing new music?

Definitely! I’ve already got a batch of five songs right now. They still need to be solidified. In my crazy, whirly brain, I want to do another full-length again.

Do you feel a pull to move to Austin, or do you want to stay where you are?

I like my house. [Laughs] Being in the city kinda stresses me out. I live on two acres now. I like the situation where I drive down to Austin. I can spend a weekend in the city and get all of that out of my system and go back home. Also, Austin is insanely expensive. I’ve thought about it, but I don’t think it will be anytime soon.

No more articles