I only found out that I’m a bastard because it is written in the liner notes of the latest Caustic album.
I first heard Caustic on a Das Bunker compilation album some years ago now, which I picked up purely for an exclusive track it featured by my favourite band. That led to me buying “Booze Up And Riot” from Crunchpod – an underground record label whose entire roster consisted of many bands/albums that I now love – and I picked up “This Is Jizzcore” on pre-order.
I found that Matt Fanale – Caustic – is a prolific blogger and sometime comedian, who posts incredibly insightful and helpful yet entertaining musings on the state of the industrial and wider music scenes; the creation of music and art; ways in which he recommends musicians find and retain fans; the hard work and sacrifice required (he holds down two day jobs and makes music around them). His intelligent and humourous blogs were great reading, even for us lay people, and I respected his DIY approach to making, producing, and releasing his music. He always came across as very down-to-earth and appreciative that he has any fanbase to speak of, and was very open and honest in his opinions, advice, and in fighting his personal demons. I quickly came to admire and respect him, and in truth I initially continued buying his albums more for that reason than for the music he was putting out on them.
Since discovering his band, I have watched Matt publicly cast out his major demon and seen the support his loyal fanbase has afforded him, and have also heard as he has evolved his sound. His next release was funded through Kickstarter, and I happily pledged him some dollars to make his lyrically personal and literally handmade new album. I helped fund the one after that, and the highly-acclaimed most recent one too. Part of the ‘reward package’ included signed CDs, and latterly included mentions in the liner notes too.
That’s what I like about Matt/Caustic – he makes so many levels of “reward” available, and so as well as signed CDs and mentions in the liner notes (the first just my name, the second Matt decided to label me a bastard – and you can probably sense that I don’t see it as an insult), I also have my name mentioned in one of his bonus tracks from the previous album. For this album, as before, he added additional items to each reward level with every thousand-dollars in pledges above his target. Due to overwhelming public support, he kept having to find new bonuses. For $25 (seven dollars of which went on international postage alone), I have a signed CD, two magnets, a patch, a band condom, and a dogtag with chain. That is astounding value for money, and that is before you even consider the fact that this is easily his best album to date, in numerous ways. There have also been exclusive remixes and mp3s, and we got to download and hear the album before the release date.
That claim to fame might be shit, since being mentioned in the liner notes/song was part of the price I paid in pre-ordering the albums. It’s nothing that anyone else couldn’t have achieved, given the same web address, a credit card, and the desire to hear new Caustic music and/or support one of the most respected (if not, by his own admission, respectable) artists in the scene just now. I’m going to add below my own personal claim to fame with Caustic.
When he was scheduled to play at the first Resistanz Festival, Matt dropped me a line on Facebook a few months in advance to ask if I knew anybody that might give him a gig in Glasgow – he wanted to add some additional shows in the UK that week, since he is here so rarely. I put him in touch with my local promoter, who I see and speak to quite often in the club he runs, and within an hour Caustic had been booked to perform their (I believe) only Scottish date. It was kept very secret, as part of the agreement with the festival, and announced that same weekend, just days before the show. I met Matt there, and he later thanked me from the stage for setting up the gig. In truth, I just put one person in touch with another and stepped back, but I’m glad it came together. It was a good gig, and his support band (and Caustic bandmates) The Gothsicles were fun.
That, then, is my Caustic claim to fame – I helped in some very small way to arrange his sole Scottish show to date.
Having seen Matt go from strength to strength, both musically and as he has candidly addressed his personal demons and fought hard to overcome them, it is heartening to see the success he is now finding. When Crunchpod went under, he self-released his next album, before signing to the relatively-huge Metropolis Records. His latest album has received a lot of critical praise, even more than the last one, and yet he remains very grounded and seems genuinely humbled by the loyalty, support, and generosity (not just financial) of his fans and admirers.
If you want to hear some industrial and dance music from one of the most interesting people in the scene just now, give Caustic a listen. He puts out a quite ridiculous amount of free music too – bonus tracks, free EPs, and occasionally even free albums from his back catalogue.
If you want to learn a little (or even a lot) about music, art, how to succeed, engaging with people and keeping their interest, or about battling addiction and winning, then check out his blogs – old and new.
Top: …And You Will Know Me By The Trail Of Vomit (2010)
Bottom Left: The Man Who Couldn’t Stop (2012)
Bottom Right: The Golden Vagina Of Fame And Profit (2011)
Above: My name in both of the last two album sleeves.