By: Matt Woodford
What is it about certain songwriters that when they begin to strum or sing it feels like they are speaking directly to you? Do these artists set out to tug on your heartstrings? Or are they just breaking down grand ideals into a sequence of notes and phonetics? Upon speaking with Andy Cabic (pronounced kai-bik) of the San Francisco band Vetiver, I realize his affinity for interpreting lifeâ€™s wavelength is actually quite simple.
Drawing from a pool of influences that anyone growing up in the late â€˜80s and early â€˜90s would have swam in, Cabic credits his early interest in music to those around him. â€œNot being from a musical family, I got my start like everyone elseâ€”by loving music, hanging out at the record store and eventually teaching myself to play guitar,â€ Cabic tells me from his home in San Fran. â€œThose steps manifested into bands in high school and eventually moving into the Bay area to play and write more of my own materialâ€.
Playing locally around the Bay area and making lasting connections with people like Thom Monahan aided in Cabicâ€™s aspirations for forming Vetiver. â€œHooking up with Thom and having him produce and play on all the Vetiver records was great because we have similar influences, which makes it easy for us to communicate during recording.â€
Pulling inspiration from every corner of his life, Cabic draws captivating imagery, using Vetiver as his canvas. â€œLyrics come from all over the place,â€ Cabic says, chuckling. â€œBeing on the road, hanging out with friends or just listening to tracks as I walk the streetsâ€”it hits me at anytime really.â€
During the life of Vetiver, Cabic has enlisted several players to aid him in transforming the recordings into live shows. He says itâ€™s â€œmore about having the live show be able to translate into a recording rather than the other way aroundâ€. Being that none of Cabicâ€™s band mates live in the same city, â€œit takes a couple of jams to get ourselves situated, but with the professionalism these musicians possess it doesnâ€™t take long.â€
Cabic has released five full-length records with Vetiver under a variety of different labels. Vetiverâ€™s first two releases came out of the San Francisco label DiChristina, with a thirdâ€”a record of coversâ€”out of Cabicâ€™s own label Gnomonsong. The legendary label Sub Pop, which released the latest Vetiver record, â€œThe Errant Charm,â€ as well as 2009â€™s â€œTight Knit,â€ provided a certain security for Vetiver. â€œThe move to Sub Pop was pretty natural actually. I had some friends that worked there and they were excited about getting on side with Vetiver.â€ So with numerous records in the bag, this young optimist and humble musician doesnâ€™t desire that his fans bleed from their hearts, but it sure is a sweet side effect.
Matt Woodford hostsÂ Strep Throat RadioÂ on Mondays from 4:00 â€“ 5:00pm.