After releasing his first EP, Freshman, on Pure Noise Records, Casey Bolles quickly made a name for himself. His lyrical styling has garnered a reputation for being very genuine and at the same time quirky. Since the release, Bolles has found himself on tour with Finch and Souvenirs and, more recently, wrapping up a new EP titled Manhattan that will be released on January 22nd.
Bolles was able to take a little time out of his busy schedule to answer a few questions for us about Manhattan and what future plans fans can look forward to.
I had a real nerdy fanboy response when I saw that you just came off tour with one of the bands that shaped my high school life, Finch. How did that tour come about?
Not exactly sure on all the details as to how it came about but I got the tour offer and was excited to go. I had a great time and Finch and Souvenirs are all really awesome people.
The vocal style showcased on Freshman was distinctly powerful for an acoustic singer-songwriter. To me, it seems very reminiscent of Chris Carraba in the early Dashboard Confessional days. Was there a singer that helped influence this style?
Before I recorded the record, The Hotelier’s big LP came out and I really loved the emotion in the vocals and thought the intense vocals were kind of a big reason for the album being so great, so I wanted to take a similar approach to energize what could’ve been a lot more docile.
Your cover of the 1975’s “Chocolate” on your latest EP, Manhattan, incorporated a lot more layering and different instrumentals than your EP Freshman did. Is this the direction that you are headed on your upcoming full-length? What brought this stylistic change on?
I don’t think that’s necessarily what the full length is going to sound like as a whole, but I wanted to do something more interesting than just acoustic covers and since Freshman is distinctly bare I thought I’d do something completely different while still not going full band.
For Manhattan, you worked with Jay Zubricky who also produced Freshman. With the stylistic change for the latest EP, how was the production process different this time around?
Last time it was much more focused on getting the right guitar takes and capturing the right emotion in the vocal takes. For the cover EP it was a much more relaxed process for me, and we spent a lot more time building the songs or getting the right guitar tone.
Manhattan has really great cover art from your friend Chelsea Beck. Did you have a hand in designing it and what was the inspiration for it?
Chelsea came up with the idea just based on the title. I called it Manhattan because this was kind of something to release while I’m working on my full length record, which I wrote while living in Manhattan this past year.
How did you choose the cover songs for Manhattan? Were there any other artists you were considering for the EP?
I had a hard time finding something that wasn’t what people would expect me to cover, and things that I normally don’t listen to, except for the Mountain Goats cover which I picked because I wanted to have a favorite of mine on the EP as well.
“Such Great Heights” has been covered by many artists, the most famous being the version by Iron and Wine. What did you do to make your take on it unique?
I was trying to write a guitar part that included the melodies played by all the synth instruments on the original song, then kind of gave up on that idea as recording came closer, but after hearing Iron and Wine’s version I didn’t want to do a slower sadder version of the song like I did with Chocolate, so I went with a somewhat bare yet up beat electric guitar.
When will you be releasing a full-length and what can we expect from it? Is there anything else on the horizon after the release of Manhattan for fans to look forward to?
I hope to be releasing an LP this year. I’m recording in a week in Philadelphia. Expect personal anecdotal songs and gnarly riffs.
Casey Bolles’ latest EP Manhattan will be released on January 22nd and Freshman is available now.