Introducing: Cardinals

By Lais

You may already be familiar with South Wales’ Cardinals, but if you’re not, then this is for you (and even if you are, read on anyway). The four-piece are a self-described ‘depressing pop punk’ band, and if you like your Title Fight, Basement and Balance & Composure, you may well enjoy their work. We had a chat with the band recently to find out about their history, what led them to this point and what they hope to achieve in the future.

Cardinals were formed when Hit Or Miss – the former band of three of the members – ended. They began working on Cardinals, but didn’t settle on their original line up for a little while. “We’ve had our fair share of drummers, but a lot of them had other ongoing projects like Crossbreaker, so that never fully worked out,” says guitarist Tomos Marsh. “So then we hit up Ian who used to play in a band called Hot Damn, and that’s the whole beautiful story.”

Since they found their permanent line up, what have they done that they’ve most enjoyed? “That’s easily going to be touring Europe with our friends in The Caulfield Cult. We played some of the sketchiest shows in punk squats and basements, some of which were a little bit surreal. Places you definitely don’t feel comfortable keeping your equipment in. Oh, and we watched The Mighty Ducks films while driving. So all in all, pretty good.”

As for achievements, they’re most proud of their latest record, the ‘Feels Like Home’ EP (which you can listen to on the player below). “It’s the best thing we’ve put out to date. Hopefully other people like it too.”

How would Cardinals describe their own sound to someone who hadn’t heard them yet? “It’s difficult to put how we sound into words. I guess I’m hoping it comes across as something relatable, simple and honest. If it does that, then I’m pretty happy. I think we’re doing something slightly different to what other people are currently doing, but the closest thing it’s probably akin to is bands like Balance & Composure, Title Fight, Basement and The Wonder Years.”

And if they had to choose a track for you to listen to to make up your mind on them, they would go with the first or last tracks on the EP. “The first, ‘The Aquarium Bitch! You Know I Like Fish’ is probably our strongest song on record. It’s about a time when my mother collapsed and almost died. Then, the last track on the record is ‘I Left My Snare In Church’, which is probably our strongest song to play live. It just has the right energy.”

When asked about their influences, they name the previous bands they mentioned, but also Crime In Stereo, Alkaline Trio, The Lemonheads and Tigers Jaw. Despite that: “Hopefully we don’t sound overly similar to them. We’ve tried to shy away from our early overly pop punk influences. In terms of lyrics or artistic merit, I guess people like The Front Bottoms, Joyce Manor, The Wonder Years, Shellac, American Nightmare and a million other punk bands that would probably bore you.”

In terms of plans for the rest of 2014, they’ll be playing some shows (which you can find at their Facebook page) and possibly releasing a split record at the end of the year. We can also expect another record in late 2015.

And finally, what does the band mean to them? Where would they like to go with this? “I think pretty much everyone who’s serious about the band they’re in will have the same answer for this. We’d like to go as far as it will take us. I think the scene is oversaturated with the same bands playing songs that nobody cares about. Fuck that. All music has its merit, but the bands that matter most are the bands that are actually saying something important, even if it’s just to you. So if we can take that model and escalate it to playing to more people in more places, that would be amazing.”

Well said. Keep an eye (and both ears) on these guys, because they might just be brilliant.


Try these three interviews

Interview: Greywind [Reading 2016]

Interview: Arcane Roots [Reading 2016]

Interview: Trash Boat [Reading 2016]