By Jeremy Essig
By Jason Robinson
By Hans Morgenstern
By Joseph Hess
By Peter Gilstrap
By Julia Burch
By Jeremy Essig
By Nathan Smith
"We haven't found our scene here, so playing onstage is a little bit different," says Sunyatta. "The Helium Tapes, by our first or second show, were already drawing pretty well. It was a somewhat rare show that we didn't have a decent draw. What we're doing now, in part because there are fewer people on the stage or because we run beats and samples and stuff, it seems like the audience isn't exactly sure what to do with us, and so we haven't found our audience. But we've also been playing a lot of places that might be the wrong places for us. I love the music, so to me there's no way it's just the music!"
Kevin explains that it may be a matter of sharing the bill with more rock-centric bands. "We've been playing with a lot of alt-country and Americana bands, just by default from the people we know are in those kinds of bands..."
"Because we're in St. Louis, and south St. Louis!" Sunyatta interjects with a laugh.
They highlight some similarly minded artists in town, like Adult Fur, Ou Où, Scripts 'N Screwz — musicians who work in electronic media but imbue it with their own personal, human stamp. Kevin is particularly looking forward to a proposed remix album of the Silverwalks material with contributions from the aforementioned artists and others.
"We're in an odd spot in St. Louis, and that's fine with us. I think we'll find our crowd; it may or may not be here," says Sunyatta. "I'm not that worried about it, because I still love to play shows and make music, and now we have a station wagon that we can tour in."
Station wagons carry a bit of domestic cachet with them as well, and the McDermotts have experienced both the graces and challenges of making music with one's partner. "Life gets in the way a lot," says Kevin. "When you don't live with the person that's in that band, you make a schedule and stick to it. I think a lot of times we're beat when we come home, and we want to hang out and just enjoy each other instead of working on the next set of twenty tracks."
So CaveofswordS is a band without a readily identifiable genre, a project of seasoned performers trying on new ideas and a juggling of love, live and music. And the McDermotts wouldn't have it any other way.
"You're hanging out with the person you want to hang out with," says Sunyatta, "and it's fun to make music..."
"But it's fun to watch a movie! It's fun to go see another band," adds Kevin. Later, he reflects on how their relationship, which began as a musical project and bloomed into love and, eventually, marriage, reveals itself in CaveofswordS' music.
"They informed each other," says Kevin. "I write a ridiculous amount of stuff — there are hundreds of songs that I am in the process of working on. But it's really nice to have someone to write for. The truth is that I really do enjoy thinking of someone that I'm writing for. Now I think, what would sound good with Sunyatta's voice? What can reflect how we live day to day?
"I don't write that much sad music anymore."