Nowadays, there are plenty of avenues for independent artists to be heard, but because there are so many different listening options, it’s typically difficult for a new band to develop a diehard following and perform at larger venues - especially within months of their formation. But Caveman isn’t the stereotypical “new” group.
Although social networking has played a role in their development, the Brooklyn-based indie rock outfit (comprised of singer/guitarist Matthew Iwanusa, bassist Jeff Berrall, drummer Stefan Marolachakis, and guitarists Jimmy Carbonetti and Sam Hopkins) has been able to build much of their fan base simply by word of mouth.
Caveman Performing "Decide" at Brooklyn's Veronica Peoples Clb
Then again, that also has something to do with an old pal obtaining a copy of their unreleased full-length album and playing it nonstop at a neighboring Manhattan tavern. “We have a friend who works at a bar and he loved our record,” Iwanusa admits. “I don’t know how he got it … maybe we were drunk one night or something. He’s a sneaky dude. I don’t know how he got it, but he played it every day. It was a little weird.”
What was even more peculiar, and flattering rather, was when random folks from the bar arrived at their next concert and pulled Iwanusa aside to tell him how much they enjoyed the group’s music. “I met 20 people who came up to me and said, ‘Yeah, I heard it at the bar,’ [and they] come to every show,” the front man explains. “It’s people like that who help us out and all of a sudden, you get 20 other people who come out.”
Only those people, and the sneaky bartender, have been able to hear the full-length album in its entirety. Late last year, Caveman went into Love Boats Studio with Nick Stumpf, the former singer of the French Kicks, to record their debut studio album. Based on the singles that have been leaked, “Decide” and “December 28th,” it’s clear the quintet is influenced by 80’s rock and the sounds from artists like The Beach Boys, Bob Dylan and Fleetwood Mac yet still manage to incorporate a modern flare.
Also, according to Iwanusa, the aforementioned records set the pace for their album. “These are two songs that represent what we're doing,” he says. “I like it a lot. But we got some tricks up some sleeve. We're holding some things back, but I think it’s going to be good.”
We have a full album done, but we're just waiting to see who is gonna put it out.
Furthermore, a release date has yet to be set because the five-piece is still seeking the best label and distribution deal. “We have a full album done, but we're just waiting to see who is gonna put it out. We're kind of just feeling it out. We'll probably know something soon, but right now, I have no idea,” Iwanusa mentions. “We got nothing, but we got the album.”
Caveman was initially launched in December 2009 when the members, all of whom have been friends for years, were unsatisfied with their previous bands. The indie rock collective began writing material together and only a few months after their formation, they got an offer to play their first gig with White Rabbit.
Ever since that first crucial gig, Caveman has been booked fairly regularly at well-respected NYC clubs like the Bowery Ballroom, the Mercury Lounge and Pianos. The group has also recently ventured as far south as Washington DC and were tapped for this years festival in Austin, Texas.
Simply put, this start-up band is becoming New York’s indie rock juggernaut at a rapid pace. “It was like, ‘Ok, if we’re getting shows like this, we might as well keep playing, so it just kinda continued,” Iwanusa recalls. “I don’t even know how we did it, but we just started playing these big shows and people started paying attention. I guess we kinda fooled everybody, but that’s ok.”
Look who’s acting sneaky now.
For more from Bear Frazer follow him on Twitter: @BearFrazer