All band photos by Emily Kacsandi
With the year coming to a close, there’s still new and great bands and music coming to fruition here in Columbus. This week I got to chat with singer and guitarist Trent Rowland of the band Silver Cave, who recently returned to Ohio from Los Angeles, California.
Jesse Jester: Let’s start from the top. Silver Cave. How did the band come together, and who else is in it with you?
Trent Rowland: Well right now the band consists of myself on vocals and guitar and Jaxson Tackett on drums. We played with a few bassists prior to the pandemic and met some good guys, but we are still looking for the full-time fit there.
I knew I would need a great drummer when I moved back to Ohio, so I started scouring the internet for players before I even left California. I wasn’t sure when I was going to be able to continue when I got back, but I was very lucky to find Jaxson early on.
Getting together was literally as easy as reaching out online. He was into the music and was very talented. There was some trepidation at first because he’s such a young guy and I’m at a different stage of my life, but that was quickly put to bed when we first jammed. From there we worked out the new songs that I had and that’s what will be on this new EP.
It’s always good when things work out like that! So what brought along your move from LA to Columbus? It seems like most people would do the opposite.
Most people WOULD do the opposite. But I actually had done it already. When I graduated from OSU (Ohio State University) with a theatre degree in 2015, I moved to LA that fall to pursue an acting career. As my time there went along, as well as auditioning and taking classes, I started getting into music more and more. I had always wanted to be in a band and loved writing songs. I wrote all through my college years.
LA took me in MANY directions, but to keep it as brief as possible, it wasn’t until I had a gig doing a stage musical around the country that I really decided to give my music a fair shake. The show was Million Dollar Quartet and I played Elvis every night alongside Johnny Cash, Carl Perkins and Jerry Lee Lewis. The actors played the instruments on stage and that really helped me lock in with a band, believe it or not! It also really made me appreciate my own love for rock music and heavy music. Elvis was heavy back then. That’s when I put together Silver Cave and we did our first EP, Clock.
All of that aside, I knew I wanted to be closer to my family and I didn’t really care for living in LA. Didn’t feel right. After four years, I figured I gave it a fair shake. I also figured that Columbus would be a better fit for the music I wanted to make. The Midwest seems friendlier toward heavy music I find.
We definitely do love our heavy stuff here. Along those lines, what would you say are the biggest differences between the two scenes? I’ve never been to California, but I’m sure the weather there is better than what we’ve got right now!
Oh yeah, the weather is way different! BUT, I like it here more. I really missed the seasons! I found that sun all the time kind of made me not appreciate it. That, and I lived in the valley where the summers were particularly brutal. Especially in my apartment. Very weak AC.
As far as the scenes go, I feel like there weren’t many heavy bands making the kind of music I was looking to make. At least in my experience, I feel like there was a strong alt-rock scene but not as strong a metal scene. There are outliers of course (an old band-mate of mine has a dope prog-metal band called Death of the Author) and I’m sure there are some other great heavy bands coming up that I don’t know!
But out here, you can just point to something like Sonic Temple. Biggest rock festival in the country! And it’s pretty exclusively heavy stuff. And out there, there’s no 99.7 playing hard rock and heavy metal.
Oh yeah. The Blitz (99.7) has definitely done their part to keep the heavier side of music rolling. Let’s talk about your music then… your sound seems to have changed a little from your first EP to your newest single, Skullbash. Tell me about how you’ve grown as a musician in that time?
Yeah, Skullbash is the new single and Racing Down Rosedale preceded it in October. Those songs, as well as the rest of the new music, seem to have a bit more of a hard rock tilt than the Clock stuff. The new material works hand in hand with the previous stuff. As far as a change, I’d say we’re going in a more melodic place with this collection. But it’s still plenty heavy. Silver Cave is always going to oscillate between hard rock and metal. Sometimes it’s groovier and sometimes it’s pretty brutal.
I’ve definitely grown as a musician as well. I learned from a lot of different players in other bands and with my stage work. Those experiences really gave me some nice tools to lean back on when it came time to put the new songs together with Jaxson. Hopefully we’ll keep learning from each other and keep on growing.
It’s always good to keep learning! Can you tell me about your lyrical themes?
The themes are very heavy, haha. All of the lyrics are very personal to me. I really try to dig deep and get very specific with imagery and how I’m feeling, because I feel like there is a lot of heavy music out there that lacks lyrically. I think we have a chance to really stand out in that way.
I also try not to be afraid of tackling lyrical ideas that other heavy bands won’t. Racing Down Rosedale is mostly inspired by bike rides as a kid. Not super metal on the surface, but I think that it can TOTALLY be metal. Why not, right?
I’d love to one day write wonderfully happy lyrics to a BRUTAL song. We’ll keep scheming.
I like it. It’s almost cliché that certain genres only write about certain things, and by now it’s like they’re singing themselves in circles. Since we’re talking about genres and such, what genre would you say best captures Silver Cave?
It’s just a bit tricky. Silver Cave is rooted in hard rock, but heavily influenced by metal as well.
I tend to describe us as Rock/Metal or Heavy Rock. Silver Cave is a heavy band. That’s really the best way to describe it I think. We play heavy music.
Easy enough. Who would you say are your biggest musical influences?
There are definitely a few. Jaxson is all over the place, but I think he’d tell you that he is most influenced by a mix of modern metalcore and classic rock and metal. Like he’ll listen to brutal stuff like Crystal Lake and also stuff like ABBA and Van Halen.
For me, my biggest influences are probably Gojira and Mark Tremonti. Gojira really finds great emotion in their brutality that is very inspiring to me. Mark Tremonti, specifically with his solo stuff, has an amazing ability to pair melody with heavy riffs. Both of those aspects are twisted in our own way to make Silver Cave.
One more influence I have is a bit surprising however: Taylor Swift. I was OBSESSED with her in later high school-early college. I still really like the stuff that she puts out now too. She really tells a story in a beautiful, nostalgic way that connects with me (and countless others obviously), and that type of emotional storytelling can be more present in heavy music in my view. Singer/songwriter metal!
That’s uh… well, that’s different. I wasn’t expecting that, but emotion knows no boundary. Live on like you do!
Speaking of emotional storytelling, your voice is quite similar to Jesse Hasek (10 Years), Brent Smith (Shinedown) and Maynard James Keenan (Tool, etc). It really seems to capture the emotion of what you’re writing. Do you think rock music as a whole needs more singers like that, as opposed to the overwhelming majority of what you hear on popular music now (e.g. screaming/unclean vocals, hip hop beats, formulaic palm-muted pop metal)?
Thank you so so much! Seriously, I really appreciate that. I consider myself a singer and a songwriter first and foremost. That emotion is always going to be the catalyst for me as an artist, and Silver Cave’s music reflects that.
I don’t think I know what rock NEEDS, but I do know that I WANT rock and metal to have singers who can really connect emotionally. I can’t say that I succeed every time, but I certainly try to attain that.
I think the formulaic nature of what you hear in popular music now has less to do with the vocal style and more with what they are singing. I think some bands are afraid to dig into what exactly they are feeling out of fear of alienating the listener. But I’d rather hear an actual point of view on redemption instead of “Never giving up and never giving in.” I just think lyricists in rock and metal can dig deeper. Then they can really believe what they’re saying. There are exceptions of course, but I do see a trend.
I like your perspective. Alright, so considering you’ve been on both sides of the United States, where would you say are/were your favorite places to play?
In LA, the Troubadour was hands down my favorite venue. I played there with my other band and it was just amazing. I’d love for Silver Cave to return there sometime. Whisky A-Go-Go was pretty cool as well.
When I was back here in Columbus I didn’t have a band, so I just played acoustic in some spots. Bars and dives. Sometimes I was alone or I was with my buddy Aaron. We played at Bernie’s which I don’t even think exists anymore. I played over at Skully’s as well. I’d love to get back in there and throw a great, sweaty heavy metal show when shows come back.
Ah, good old Bernie’s. I’ve been to some nice sweaty shows at Skully’s before, haha. Good times. Anyways, you definitely cannot currently play live, but when you can, what what would a typical Silver Cave live performance sound/look like?
A Silver Cave live show is simple. It is gonna be heavy it is gonna be loud and it is gonna be live.
That energy and emotion that we bring to the recording, we want to be present in the room as well. No one hurts anyone at a Silver Cave show, but I want to see people moving, head-banging and feeling the heaviness with us.
The band is just a three piece, but we’re gonna give you all that we’ve got. We hit hard.
Excellent. If you could grab a band (or two) from LA and from Columbus to play with, who would you choose?
Oh wow this is tough! Well, I mentioned my friend’s band, Death of the Author, out of LA. They are pretty dope if you like heavy/cosmic goodness. Just incredible players. Satellite Citi is another one from LA. They’re more rock-centric and doing some really cool things as well.
From Columbus, I’ve gotten to know the band Thy Witness and I’d love to play with them. Crushing metalcore-ish stuff. It’s super awesome.
Definitely hard to choose! There are some others but I think putting those bands together with Silver Cave would make for a pretty awesome night of heavy music!
Well, hopefully you can do that again soon! Tell me about your future plans for the band? What should we expect in terms of new music?
Well, Racing Down Rosedale is out and Skullbash dropped today, and I hope people are really enjoying those. The rest of the EP will be out in early 2021 at some point. That will be called See You Later.
SUPER stoked on that. I particularly think that the title track is something special. We worked with Will Carlson here in Columbus on it and were thrilled with the results.
From there, we will promote the new music the best that we can and hold out hope that we can promote the music in a live setting in the back half of the year.
We’ve got some other things cooking as well. I have a ton of material ready to get together with Jaxson on. So who knows? You may see even more Silver Cave stuff before the end of 2021. I’d love to see it that’s for sure.
Definitely! The obvious question from there is: how has the COVID-19 pandemic changed/helped/hurt your plans for 2020 and beyond?
I certainly want to be playing shows. I know Jaxson is hungry as well. We will get out there when it is smart to do so.
However, over the summer, it really gave us the time to get in the studio and get See You Later hashed out. So there are some positives to the whole situation.
We’ll see how this plays out. We will just lie in wait and make the most of our time in whatever way that we can to hit the ground running as soon as we can. We will continue to roll with the punches.
That’s a great attitude to have. Is there anything else you’d like to add?
I would LOVE to thank you for talking to me. Just a really nice opportunity. Really looking forward to get to know the whole scene in Columbus once we can mingle!
And one more thank you to everyone who has supported the band so far! We’ll keep on keeping on. As always, love to you all.
Thanks to Trent for taking the time to chat with me! You can find their newest single Skullbash below.