For Born Cages, freedom stands paramount. The New York-based alternative rock outfit thrives on creatively seeking that freedom, whether it’s in the studio or on stage. There’s no rulebook. There’s no template. There’s simply unhindered art in its purest form when Vlad Holiday [lead vocals/guitar], Amanda Carl [keyboards/backing vocals], Steve Kellner [bass guitar/backing vocals], and Dave Tantao [drums] converge. As a result of that shared boundless mentality, a delicate alchemy of raw guitars and shimmering electronics powers I’m Glad I’m Not Me, their forthcoming full-length debut for Razor & Tie. All boundaries and chains might just be broken in the process.
In 2011, these four musicians were naturally drawn to each other. Each had made his or her own imprint on the fertile New York scene, and their bond proved instantaneous. Within their first year together the band’s self-released online demos stirred major buzz. Soon, NYC’s most prominent rock radio station Q104.3FM started giving them frequent airtime, New Music Seminar dubbed them an “Artist on the Verge,” their in-studio performance at the Gibson showroom was featured in Times Square, and they shared the stage with the legendary Guns N’ Roses for two sold out shows.
Signing with Razor & Tie in 2012, the quartet commenced work on I’m Glad I’m Not Me with producer Jon Kaplan at Brooklyn’s Mission Sound Studios [Metric, Arctic Monkeys]. They further honed their singular and signature style.
“It’s loud, ethereal, and fuzzy,” exclaims Holiday. “The perfect balance of electronic and guitar music has yet to be found. We’re striving to achieve that balance. The mood and energy of the band are very real. The music is mysterious, exciting, truthful, embellished, vague, specific, dark, and happy. In other words, it’s life.”
Everything comes alive on tracks like “Don’t Look Back.” Literally plucked from a dream Holiday had one night, the song teeters from elegantly entrancing keys to an anthemic groove just before erupting into a scorching solo.
“Have you heard a song so fucking great you wished you could go back in time and write it yourself?” he asks. “I had a dream one night about this song. The band playing it was a fictitious, blurry symbol of youth and revolt. I woke up from the dream and still had the melody in my head. I picked up my guitar and recorded the main riff in less than a minute. I guess in a way, I plagiarized my subconscious.”
Born Cages exist to capture moments like that. Rather than suppressing any emotions, they embrace them no matter how wild. It’s an ethos encapsulated within their very name.
“The band name is a symbol for discontentment,” reveals the singer. “It’s being unsatisfied with what you’re given, but actually doing something about it. Cages aren’t meant to be escaped from unless there’s extreme passion and motivation. It’s a symbol which alone is meaningless, but with enough people can change the world.”
There’s no shortage of passion or motivation when it comes to the group’s songs, and they might just wake up an entire culture in need of revolution. “There’s a line in Woody Allen’s Midnight in Paris that I keep coming back to,” says Holiday. “It goes, ‘The artist’s job is not to succumb to despair but to find an antidote for the emptiness of existence.’ That’s our attempt with this album. I want the listener to get inspired to live without fear. I want people to feel impetuous and free because that’s what rock music should be about.”