A Day in the Life of…Casper Skulls

Credit: Kate Dockeray

Once upon a time, over a decade ago, guitarist Neil Bednisand singer Melanie St-Pierre met in their hometown of Sudbury, Ontario. Years went by and they wanted to start a band, so they put out an ad, and formed Casper Skulls in 2015. Melanie explains how they got their name: “The name is a reference from Richard Hell’s book I Dreamed I Was A Very Clean Tramp, in which Tom Verlaine and Richard Hell would sign their poems Caspar Skull.”

After moving to Toronto, they drew inspiration from the city’s diverse musical landscape. “Being around people doing so many different things inevitably influences the music we all make,” Melanie says.

With bassist Fraser McClean and drummer Aurora Bangarth, they all make beautiful alternative music. Their newest album Knows No Kindness is a continuation of their artistic songwriting and exquisite, moody melodies. “We give our sound a lot of room to breathe,” Melanie explains. “It is indie rock, but it has a lot of other influences in there as well. Since we had previously started out as a louder band inspired by bands such as Sonic Youth and Sleater-Kinney, those sounds are still sort of present but it now has more folk elements with an emphasis on storytelling.”

The new album is inspired by a small-town community called Massey, Ontario, where Melanie’s grandmother and grandfather lived. “It’s about growing up there and now following in my grandmother’s footsteps of becoming an artist and musician,” Melanie says. “She moved to Massey after letting go of big city life in Toronto, where I‘m now cutting my teeth.” Melanie credits the entire band for equal input in creating Knows No Kindness.

“The process was very democratic between Aurora, Fraser, Neil and myself. We self-produced the entire album, but worked with some fantastic engineers and people we trusted that understood our sound. Shout out to Leon Taheny, Darren McGill, Aaron Goldstein, Paul Phelan, Alex Bonenfante, and Calvin Hartwick.”

Here’s a day in the life of Casper Skulls.

 

 

 

Date  October 5, 2021

Time I woke up 

7:30 a.m., a bit after Neil wakes up. — Melanie

6:40 a.m. — Neil

8:00 a.m. — Fraser

9:30 a.m. Hello delayed phase sleep disorder. — Aurora

Every day starts with

Rolling around in bed. — Melanie

Coffee! — Neil

An impatient husky who wants to go out. — Fraser

Replying to round one of the day’s emails and texts while still in bed. — Aurora

Breakfast consists of

Homemade breakfast sandwich or granola. — Melanie

More coffee! — Neil

A smoothie. — Fraser

Both coffee AND a smoothie. — Aurora

To get going I always

Play my dulcimer or guitar in the basement. — Melanie

Drink coffee. — Neil

Walk the husk. — Fraser

Absorb the impending sense of doom emanating from my to do list. — Aurora

I don’t feel dressed without

A turtleneck or my Reeboks. — Melanie

A fresh pair of socks. — Neil

Either a structured jumpsuit or a black bag dress. — Aurora

Before I start working I must

Put on a record or a playlist I made. — Melanie

Slam at least one coffee. — Neil

Procrastinate as much as possible. — Fraser

Open my eyes and roll over. — Aurora

Currently working on

A commissioned artwork for an episode of Radiolab(my favorite podcast ever). — Melanie

Secret government stuff. — Neil

Fender guitars. — Fraser

Dismantling late-stage capitalism one sound recording grant at a time. — Aurora

But I’d really love to be

Doing this commission haha. — Melanie

Writing and recording music. — Neil

Recording new songs with Casper Skulls. — Fraser

On tour. — Aurora

Book I’m reading

I just received Michelle Zauner’s book Crying in H Martand I’m excited to start it. — Melanie

I haven’t read a book in a while but the last one I did was The Story of Motownby Peter Benjaminson. — Neil

Computer for Dummies. — Fraser

A Composer’s Guide to Game Musicby Winifred Phillips and re-reading Death with Interruptionsby José Saramago. — Aurora

I don’t know how anyone ever

Drinks multiple cups of coffee every day. — Melanie

Operates without three nice cups of coffee. — Neil

Drinks coffee. — Fraser

Does one thing at a time (this is my own personal failing, not theirs). — Aurora

If I had to play one album on repeat, it would be

LOMA’s Don’t Shy Away. — Melanie

Wilco’s Yankee Hotel Foxtrot. — Neil

Spirit of the Beehive’s Pleasure Suck. — Fraser

Kendrick Lamar’s Untitled Unmastered. — Aurora

The perfect midday consists of

A little bit of Stardew Valleybefore work. — Melanie

One more cup of coffee and a nice sandwich. — Neil

A nap. — Aurora

To help get through the day I need

I like to have my made-up tea blend of chickweed, rosemary, decaf green and wild orange white. — Melanie

Coffee. — Neil

A couple good jams, maybe a podcast. — Fraser

A change of scenery. — Aurora

Not a day goes by without speaking to

Neil and probably saying pretty silly stuff on text. — Melanie

Mel and my parents. — Neil

My dog Lulu. — Fraser

My partner and whatever creatures I encounter in the backyard. — Aurora

My daydreams consist of

Playing shows and thinking up cool visual art project ideas. — Melanie

Record buying and writing songs. — Neil

Jamming with friends, playing live shows. — Fraser

Floor plans for the artist retreat in the woods I’ll build one day. — Aurora

In a perfect day, in a perfect world

I’d have an endless amount of time to play music and do art. — Melanie

I’d be able to write and record every day. — Neil

I’d somehow simultaneously be secluded deep in a forest and playing a show (see previous answer). And world peace. — Aurora

I’ll always fight for

The underdog. — Melanie

The underdog as well! — Neil

What’s right as opposed to what’s nice. — Aurora

Currently in love with

Tim Robinson, but always in love with Tim Heidecker. — Melanie

DetroitersTV show. — Neil

The six-month old Rottweiler named Daisy my mom puppy-sits. — Aurora

Hoping to make time to watch 

Finally finish Hunter x Hunter. — Melanie

The Many Saints of Newark. — Neil

The Many Saints of Newark. — Fraser

The final season of Veep. — Aurora

By my bedside I always have

My Nintendo Switch with Stardew Valleyat the ready and Micron pens in case I decide to do some illustrations in bed. — Melanie

My water bottle or a Bubly. — Neil

A water bottle, six books I haven’t read yet and earplugs. — Aurora

To help get through the night I

Take CBD. — Melanie

Put on our cozy lights and watch something funny. — Neil

Take advantage of my 12:00 -2:00 witching hour then sleep like the dead. — Aurora

Bed time

10:30 p.m., Neil and I have our lava lamp, galaxy light and diffuser going with a movie. — Melanie

10:30 p.m. — Neil

1:00 a.m. — Fraser

2:30 a.m. — Aurora

When I think about tomorrow, it’s always

Save money for a house. — Melanie

A bit daunting these days. — Neil

Hope everything works out. — Fraser

A day away. — Aurora

IMPACT

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