BY TREVOR PFEIFER
Local band Cactus Collateral caught fans off-guard on Wednesday with the surprise release of their debut extended play. The self-titled EP features five original songs from the three-piece outfit, and it was completed independently by the band.
Cactus Collateral first began teasing the new release a week ago via a social media post that included nothing more than a date against a cactus-print background: 9/9/2020. Work on the record, however, began much earlier, with songwriting dating as far back as 2016 and recording taking place over recent months.
“We started the bulk of the recording process sometime around early June and finished up around the last week of August,” said Aaron Schneider (guitar, vocals). “There were little bits of groundwork we did in March before everything got shut down, but due to quarantine we decided to push back to recording.”
Without a knowledgeable producer or audio engineer, this can be quite a difficult process, particularly so without access to a studio. Nevertheless, the trio was up to the task, eager to figure it out along the way.
Jacob Long (bass, vocals) explained a little bit about what his personal experience was like.
“Going into it, we knew that our outside help was going to be very limited, starting during quarantine with little money for it. That’s where Aaron stepped up big time,” Long said. “It’s also a bizarre process because I tend to look at these other groups [in Hays], but I have to remind myself that what we’re doing is different. The process of doing this ourselves is going to yield a different result, and that’s okay. After all, we’re all just doing it to have fun.”
Schneider, who Long described as “in charge on the tech side of things,” said although the recording process took a lot of time, it was a welcome change during a global pandemic.
“Recording music is a lot of tedious work. I think for each song we spent about an hour to record parts and another 4 hours to edit and mix,” Schneider said. “I really enjoyed the process, and it was nice to have something to focus on with everything happening in the world.”
Cactus Collateral is not the first Hays band that has turned its attention to recording in recent times. According to members of other local groups such as Tree Kitty, Primair, and Company 11, these bands have also utilized this time to work on producing their own original music as a way to stay productive throughout coronavirus; but that isn’t to say that it comes without challenges.
“COVID has definitely caused a lot of hurdles. Our usual practice spot was locked down, and with everyone stuck at home it was difficult to try to start recording,” Schneider said. “Not being able to play shows is really unfortunate, but we’re hopeful that we can all get back out there soon to play. We would love to do a release show and a small tour as soon as it is safe to do so.”
Even in times such as these, however, it seems the Hays music scene can conjure a success story against the odds.
“The reception seems really positive so far,” Schneider said. “I know all of our moms have a copy so I think that’s a good sign. We’re still a newer band so the amount of support from the local music community and family and friends has been tremendously generous and kind.
Cactus Collateral can be streamed or purchased now on all major music platforms.