Miami's Cave of Swimmers on Touring the U.S.: "You Leave the State, It's a Brand-New World"

Of the wild and weird animals in Miami's menagerie of heavy bands, Cave of Swimmers (formerly known as The Tunnel) is a particularly unique anomaly. Childhood friends Arturo Garcia and Guillermo Gonzalez have taken the power duo concept to a completely unexpected place.

Expanding and exploring their respective musical palettes and abilities together since the 4th grade, these two have developed a fire-breathing prog-metal style, fusing unbridled musical athleticism with gut-level chunk in a most satisfying and unexpected way.

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The band's performances have always left jaws on the floor in Miami, and, according to Garcia, had a similar effect around the country on the band's spring tour. Now hitting its stride, Cave of Swimmers is celebrating the rerelease of its debut full length on the Path Less Traveled Records, preparing for a sophomore offering, and booking dates for another tour in June.

We here at Crossfade caught up with Garcia to discuss the benefits of touring as a duo, the band's recent record deal, and what the future holds for one of Miami's most talked-about bands.

Crossfade: Tell me about the rerelease of the band's first full length!

Arturo Garcia: It's a label called the Path Less Traveled Records. Shroud Eater, from Miami, is also on the label. They're putting it out really nice, they're making really nice CDs. They've been supercool to us and we should be getting those CDs in the mail pretty shortly!

Where is the label based out of?

They're from a really small town in Illinois, like southwest of Chicago.

How did you guys get involved with them?

I had been looking around for labels that would be down to put out our CD and I sent some press kits to a few labels that I was interested in, and the fact that Shroud Eater was in there, it was cool that they were familiar with a Miami band. So, it was like, "OK, maybe these guys are into it," and some of their bands sounded kind of similar to us. So, as soon as I sent the press kit, I got a response back and they were game to rerelease our stuff -- they really liked our sound and they were glad to have us on board!

That's awesome! So, you guys recently got back from a big tour, right?

We got back in, like, mid March. It was sick! That was our first time out of the state, it was awesome! We had a really long drive because we wanted to cover as much territory as possible. We only had ten days, so we drove from here all the way to Chicago, stopped in between in Tennessee, South Carolina, North Carolina, and we made our way down through the East Coast.

It was a great experience and we were pretty well received everywhere that we went, so that made us superpumped, and now we're going to go back again at the end of June.

I presume people are having an easier time remembering the band with the name change?

Yeah, totally! We weren't afraid of doing it because we had never left the state! So, I know people in Miami were familiar with the Tunnel, but as soon as you leave the state, it's a brand-new world out there, and to everybody else, you're a new band. So, yeah, it totally worked out.

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There are few experiences that can make a band tighter than time on the road, and you guys were already tight because of the nature of being a duo. Did you find the experience elevated things further?

Man, we're getting better as a band, relationship wise and music wise, every day. And the tour, it's really a proof of fire because you're with the same person, and we tour in a pickup truck -- there's really nowhere to hide. We're with each other 24 hours a day and we're pretty close. I've known Guillermo since the 4th grade; we're super close and we're brothers. So, just the fact that we're on the road, we're sleeping on people's floors sometimes, air mattresses, couches, we're having McDonald's together because there's shitty food on the road, so we really get to bond on the road.

Having known each other for so long, you guys surely must have discovered a lot of the bands that influenced Cave of Swimmers together.

Yeah, exactly! I mean, a lot of the music that influenced the band is music that we were into when we were kids. Of course we've matured over the years because we're older, but before we got into this band we were both playing all kinds of different styles, we were in different bands, we were gigging musicians a lot, playing jazz, latin music -- a bunch of other stuff. So now that we have a band together, all of those bands we listened to back in the day -- Rage Against the Machine and Metallica, our teenager bands -- have merged with our experience now as older musicians and that's kind of what we sound like nowadays.

I always have a difficult time describing the band's sound to people. I've settled on Rush covering Black Sabbath with the Melvins gear. How do you want to be perceived, or would you describe your music to someone?

Dude, that's a good question. I would rather have people form their own opinions -- I don't really want to push a sound or a way to be perceived to other people at all. Whatever people want to think! It's fun because there's a lot of names and a lot bands that people throw around, like "you guys sound like this and that, or this and this" and I love it, because a lot of time, we haven't really listened to those bands in-depth, you know? So you heard something different than we have an we haven't even explored! It's always a good experience and it's great to see what people have to say!

To say Guillermo is an extremely busy musician on stage would be an insulting understatement. Between holding down the roles of lead and rhythm guitar, playing the Moog pedals, and singing, he might be the best multi-tasker ever. Do you guys ever plan to expand the lineup to make things easier on him?

I don't like talking in absolutes, but I feel like the duo suits us really well. Guillermo does a great job with the pedals and the singing and the guitar playing and he's really developed that skill, and he keeps getting better at it, but it's a lot of work. For the next record, I'm going to incorporate more electronics and percussion to my drum set, but I don't know...I feel like the song writing vibe and the mechanics of our rehearsals are really easy just being two people, and also the touring right now is really easy being two people. It's really easy to crash at somebody's house and it's easy to accommodate two people. Also, if there's a small stage, it's good for two people! Maybe down the road we'll get some people, but I don't see it right now. I love the duo and Guillermo feels the same.

Who are you planning to record the next record with and is there any changes in musical direction?

It's a natural evolution I think. Some songs have been really hard, we wrote some pretty hard shit. The album's going to have a few surprises: We're going to have some acoustic stuff and we're working on an instrumental. It's going to be a little different, but it's going to sound like us for sure. I don't think there's a drastic departure and we're also looking to record at the same spot with similar production, so it's just new songs, man!

We're booking the next tour for June and as soon as we get back we're going to book the studio time and record, but that'll be the fall or next year!

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