Hastings' Caleb Flood on Kanye, The Culture, and Headlining P-Fest
The 19-year-old “Doubts” singer joins brother band The Culture to rock Pleasantville Music Festival’s Main Stage.
Photo courtesy of Giovani Lopez
Yes, he’s really 19. If that weren’t enough, Caleb Flood of Hastings-on-Hudson has been performing since he was eleven. At 16 he was voted the #1 up-and-coming artist on Australian tween charts. His YouTube videos have a combined 4.5 million views, and as of January his single Doubts has been in daily rotation on 107.1FM The Peak.
This Saturday, having joined with brothers Joseph, Rick, and Josh Frank, Caleb + The Culture will take to the main stage at Pleasantville Music Festival with the likes of Blues Traveler, Living Color, Suzanne Vega, and Hollis Brown.
You’ve played shows all over America and internationally. What’s your favorite venue you’ve gotten to play so far?
I really loved playing the Roxy Theater in LA, and in New York the Sidewalk Café. There’s something about that place. I play it all the time: They have a separate space for music, but it bleeds out into the restaurant. A lot of times people will come for dinner but get to hear my music.
You’re originally from Hastings. How do you feel headlining a major festival so close to where you grew up?
It’s really cool. It sort of feels like I’ve come full circle. When I was 11, my first festival I played at the Take Me To The River Festival in Hastings. So now to be on stage with big, respected artists — especially in this area — it feels really, really cool.
Have you ever attended P-Fest before, or is this all brand new for you?
No, I haven’t actually! But a couple of my best friends went last year and they had a great time.
What shows and local bands did you grow up seeing? Have you gotten to play with any of them?
Mostly just bands in Hastings. Kids, really. Active Bird Community, they’re still active. Hollis Brown is also headlining. I got to open for them about 6 months ago and they put on a great show.
You recently joined up with the Frank brothers trio The Culture. How did that collaboration start?
Really fast. Very quickly. [Laughs.] They found me on Soundcloud. The guitarist [Joe Frank] found me: I guess it recommended my music. He was listening to Doubts, which is out on Peak now. His brothers said, ‘We’re looking for a singer, we should call him.’ I was also looking for a band, so we got on the phone and started listing our influences — a week later they’re at my house!
And you’ve been writing since you were 8?
So how does the music you’re making together differ from your older work? How do you end up influencing each other?
One: I’m doing a lot less. I’m still writing all the lyrics, but a lot of times the brothers will come to me with, “Here’s a bunch of chords we’ve been playing.” Also it’s faster. It’s not just me thinking about everything on my own. When we write we really set out to write. When it’s me alone it’s just me playing and saying, “Oh, that sounds good.” We actually schedule practice and writing sessions.
What do you listen to when you’re gearing up for a show? What music gets you in the performing mindset?
A lot of rap stuff, I’ll listen to Kanye West on the way to a show. A lot of times I’m practicing covers we’re going to play. Also, the actual songs. The day of, I run the show twice beforehand. I think I could listen to no music the day of a show and be just as excited stepping on stage.
Anything else been in your headphones recently?
I really like the new Vince Staples album. There’s also this great rap collective called Brockhampton that I’ve been loving lately. Oh, the new Harry Stiles album blew me away! Those are my two favorite albums recently.
Photo courtesy of Ryan Flood Taylor
The Pleasantville Music Festival will be hosted at Parkway Field in Pleasantville Saturday, July 8. Gates will open at 11am and performances run from noon until approximately 9pm. Food and drink will be available, as well as a beer and wine garden for adults and activities for minors. The event is zero-waste in conjunction with PleasantvilleRecycles.