“Puppies (Smile Back)” by Compass & Cavern brings the punk energy we’re all craving right now.
Compass & Cavern is a long-time friendship between Will Timbers and Chris Fruci disguised as an alternative rock band from Denver. Will & Chris have been writing and performing music together for over a decade. C&C is their current musical outlet for sharing deep thoughts, reflections, wild dreams, frustrations, strange stories, and more.
The band’s sound is characterized by massive synths, riffing guitars, dynamic drums, vocal harmonies, and the occasional, but always appropriate, shaker.
This song is inspired by the Toronto punk band PUP. We wanted to write something that was equally catching / accessible and interesting from a song structure / time signature perspective, which is hard to do. As you’ll hear, the number of beats changes often between measures in Puppies (Smile Back). Our hope is that the average listener won’t even realize they’re listening to something that’s not in 4/4 and still enjoy it. The subject matter is about feeling exhausted and trapped in a social situation that everyone else loves. Clearly this was written before COVID. -Compass & Caverns
The song starts off strong with an ear worm of a guitar riff, and some light vocal stacking that instantly tells us, this is a banger. We hear the drum stick taps, and then we’re immediately dropped into the instrumental at full force, and led energetically by the first verse’s lyrics and vocal delivery. We are then gifted with the insanely catchy hook that makes us want to shout the lyrics along with them. Did we mention there’s a crazy time signature? What more could you ask for? The breakdown at the bridge brings us head banging guitar riffs before the song closes with the catchy hook once more. This song is addictive to listen to, through and through.
I had the privilege to interview them about the track, check it out below!
Describe your release in 3 sentences.
Diamonds from the Sky is the second release in our 3-EP, 3-studio experiment. This EP was recorded at VuDu Studios in New York with the legendary Mike Watts. It features an eclectic collection of songs with subjects ranging from unrequited love in a popular video game to technological progress in the context of climate change.
What was your favorite part about making this release?
Easy – our favorite part about making this release was getting the opportunity to record with Mike Watts and the equally awesome engineer Frank Mitaritonna at VuDu Studios in New York. The beautiful studio space, the high-end equipment, and the impressive amount of recording knowledge made for an incredible weekend. We never wanted to leave.
What was the hardest part making this release?
The hardest part of making this release was probably recording the drums. I (Will) decided to learn the parts rather than hire a drummer to make the logistics of traveling to New York a little easier. The logistics were definitely easier, but the recording was much harder.
Was this release cathartic for you?
When we finally finish the months-long process of songwriting, recording, editing, mixing, and mastering, it is definitely cathartic. It’s a crazy feeling to have the final versions of songs and think, “that’s it. I’m done obsessing. I can’t make any more changes.” It can be difficult to accept that the process is over, but at the same time, it’s freeing. Of course, we immediately fill that void with the next release (more on this below).
What keeps you motivated?
We’re both strongly motivated by the belief that we would thrive as professional musicians. Our love for the art, years of experience, and flexibility when it comes to scheduling and fluctuating income make a career in music seem increasingly possible each year. But on a more immediate and emotional level, we’re motivated whenever we hear a song that feels refreshing and exciting, or whenever we see a high-energy live performance. Both of those drive us to create and perform at the top of our ability in order to make others feel the same way.
What can we expect next from you?
You can expect the third release in our EP experiment at some point later this year! Since each EP only has three songs, we’ve been able to work on all of them simultaneously. We’re wrapping up the finishing touches on the third one now.
What other artists are you listening to right now?
Royal Blood’s new music has been super inspiring. The bass tones are absolutely ridiculous. In the last week, we started listening to Manchester Orchestra’s new album. The song transitions are seamless, and the structures and lyrics are so interesting and original. And of course, Will’s guilty pleasure for months now has been Shawn Mendes’ album, Wonder, especially the live versions on the bonus edition (you won’t be sorry you checked it out).
Thank you for taking the time to answer those questions for us!
Be sure to stream the new single “Puppies (Smile Back)” by Compass & Cavern on all platforms now, and follow them on social media below!
Written By: Bryce Quartz