By Jodi Landes
The last band packed up their gear and exited the stage. The lights grew dim. Shadowy figures emerged and fog started to roll in.
Guitar riffs began to soar and a drum beat kicked in. Flickering lights gave way to a costumed figure sporting a top hat with some glitz and glam on a pedestal.
The crowd sat in silence with anticipation. Within moments A wicked Manowar type scream escaped. Heavy hitting chimed in, the show had begun.
Throughout the show theatrics accompanied each song as well as lead guitarist Steven Volor being carried piggy back around the audience for a short time period causing shock and confusion.
As the set list continued ,dynamic contrasts took place putting the music in your face.
The band closed with an abundance of guitar, bass and drum finale bidding everyone with a “We are Caster Volor. Thank You and Good night .”
CASTER VOLOR is:
CASTER VOLOR- Lead vocals
STEVEN VOLOR- Guitar, vocals
NICK “the rage” CHILSON-Bass guitar, backing vocals
JORGE “the snake” NAVARETTE- Drum’s, backing vocals
Genre: Combo of all the following: Hard Rock, Punk Rock, Glam Rock, Shock Rock and a touch of Heavy Metal
Before I post my interview with the band I wanted to state that as a person seeing the band for the first time, I could tell the guys all seemed very into their craft and art. It was an enjoyable stage show and they all seemed to be natural musicians without any force or effort. It just seemed to come to them. Thank you CASTER VOLOR for coming to our town. Read on for my interview results.
VQDM: Before forming C.V., were any of you guys involved in musical activities?
[Steven Volor]: Actually, no. Caster Volor was how my brother and I got involved in music. The day Caster gave me the guitar to play a riff he wrote was the day, I did something musical.
[Caster Volor]: I had to take boys choir in 7th grade, I hated it and I hated singing, so I think its hilarious that I would become a singer in band. After I started listening to metal, I started writing some lyrics and bought a guitar, and after Steven surpassed my 3 months of playing in a couple hours I gave it to him and became the singer.
[Snake]:I started playing snare drum in the marching band and drums in the orchestra when I was in the 4th grade and from there I played in marching band in all of my school years. About three years after, I graduated from high school and after many failed attempts, I finally joined my first band, which became one of the most successful bands in my country (El Salvador). I had the opportunity to record for all the band’s albums and tour internationally. I’ve been actively playing drums and percussion since then in a few well known bands in the DC area until moving to Minnesota.
[Rage]: I played trumpet in high school and was in choir most of my high school years. I started playing bass when a couple of my best friends from elementary school wanted to start a band up when we were 14-15.
VQDM: What inspired you guys to all get together and make music?
[Steven Volor]: We each have our own inspirations as to what got us started initially, but Caster Volor was formed because we weren’t/aren’t happy with the current music scene. Caster and I got together because we knew we could create something over-the-top, loud, and in your face that could inspire people to not settle. Fans tell us all the time that it’s so refreshing to see a band put on an actual show, move around on stage, and have killer songs at the same time.
[Caster Volor]: I believe that music is true proof of divinity, that way it can crossover any boundaries and connect us all on a deeper level, and playing music to me is the greatest pleasure of all. I think we have things we want to say and express and music is the perfect output for that.
[Snake]: I think when we all get together in the studio and we start warming up or jamming, the chemistry starts flowing and we get inspired to make music. Most important is that we love what we’re doing, we love our music and we “have a good time all the time” while we are playing together.
[Rage]: I liked where Caster Volor were going with everything music wise!
VQDM: Were there any boundaries any of you had to overcome before the band? During the band?
[Steven Volor]: We encounter boundaries all of the time. When we first started, people bashed my brother and I on social media for wearing leather, make-up, and having long hair. Keep in mind I was about 13-14 years old at the time and we didn’t do anything with shock rock value to provoke anyone, we were just a two-piece rock band trying to rock as hard as we could. Period.
VQDM: How many hours does a typical rehearsal consist of?
[Steven Volor]: It depends on what we’re rehearsing for. But most rehearsals last anywhere from 3-5 hours.
VQDM: How did Nick get labeled “The Rage” and Jorge “Snake” do Steven and Caster also have nicknames?
[Snake]: I’ve been called “Snake” for years, thanks to my great friend and ex-bandmate “The Patman” (R.I.P) who was the lead singer in a band that I played with back in Virginia. It was my second rehearsal with this band and in one of the songs he was staring at me and when we finished the song, he screamed at me “Snake! Man you bounce like a snake when you’re playing the drums!” and everybody started calling me “Snake” after that. In fact, I love the Chinese culture and according to the Chinese Zodiac, I was born in the Year Of The Snake so, I adopted “Snake” as my official stage name.
[Steven Volor]: Nick became labeled as “The Rage” by Caster because he is the calmest person you can meet, so it’s sort of ironic. I mean he’s very relaxed, easy-going, and polite, but when he plays the bass – he starts to rage.
VQDM: What response did you guys first get when you started out as a band?
[Steven Volor]: I sort of touched on this briefly, but again we did not get much support. The image through people off so much almost as bad as Twisted Sister had it when they first started. I have no idea why, the look was not that intense. However, whenever we hit the stage and started playing, the audience would be in awe like “Is this really happening? Wow!” They were always impressed despite how we looked. But we stuck with it and it became the normality to anyone viewing our band.
[Caster Volor]: the other bands in the scene hated us with a passion and turned it into an art form, we’d get tons of hateful emails and comments from other bands and these were thought out and clever hateful writings. The other bands did not like us, but their girlfriends did;) and that stays true today.
VQDM: Where does the bands strength come from?
[Steven Volor]: Our love and mutual goal of taking Caster Volor to the top and making a difference in the music industry. We fight for a common goal and we take care of each other as we climb the mountain. I’m driven and determined to take real rock ‘n’ roll to the top and the rest of the guys want it too. Most bands are either extremely heavy, the LA glam bands are just pretty, but can’t play, and then country, rap, and pop artists succeed. I refuse to live in that type of world, so I fight for what I want.
[Caster Volor]: Apart from my physical strength, the real strength of the band is the music. I don't know how we did it but we created a sound that is familiar yet completely our own. You can try to discredit us based on our appearance or theatrical stage show, but when you listen to the record all you get is the sound and you can’t deny that it speaks for itself and holds its own.
VQDM: Why do you choose this type of music to entertain and what is the main idea behind your performance?
[Caster Volor]: To me rock n roll is not just a genre of music, it's a way of life. I was raised listening to the beatles, scorpions, and Europe. When I got older I started listening to system of a down, slipknot, korn, but it was when I found Marilyn Manson that everything change for me, this is who I wanted to be. I was obsessed with his music and then I started listening to who wikipedia said his influences were: Motley Crue, Kiss, Queen, Alice Cooper, etc. and that's where my influences started to expand. I love all the different sub genres of rock n roll/metal and they all influence and inspire me. I don’t want to be labeled or put into a specific category or make music of a specific genre, I feel it, I write it, and play it. We have no desire to fit in or do things that would feel disingenuous to us. Which is where our concept of Welcome To The Freak Show comes in, we are being unapologetically ourselves, which means everything has to be over the top, the hair, the clothes, the stage, the performance, and of course the music. I basically want to create some great art.
VQDM: What kind of experience do you want people to have at your shows?
[Steven Volor]: I want people to feel that they can be themselves just by having a great time, partying, rocking out, and enjoying a quality performance. I want them to feel that their lives have been changed because they saw this show. I want people to feel something and learn something and vise-versa. When I perform and interact with my audience, I treat everyone like they’re my friend and I hope they feel the same. Hell, I even told an audience member the other day bless you in between a song as I heard him sneeze. We’re a family. The Caster Volor family.
[Caster Volor]: I want to stimulate all of their senses and give them an experience that takes them away from their daily woes even if it’s just for a little while. We’re all freaks in this show and I want to create a positive and empowering environment so that people can see that they’re not alone in this world.
VQDM: While your band performs, do you feel like the stage is an open canvas screaming to have something done on it?
[Steven Volor]: Absolutely. When I step on that stage and I see people looking up at me. I think to myself, I have to do something ridiculous, something crazy, anything to blow their minds, so I take a power drill and drill the shit out of my guitar. The attention is on us, the microphone is in our hands, this is our chance to say something to tell the audience what we want them to know.
[Caster Volor]: Absolutely, you’re on stage now deliver! Rule number 1, give the people what they want, and what they want is to be entertained. I feel the energy from the crowd, I see the stage, I hear the music, and then we is what happens. Most of what happens is not planned, it's all very spontaneous which is why we have a lot of spinal tap moments. When I’m on stage, I don’t do or think, I feel, and if it feels right then I do it, I let the music guide me.
VQDM: Do you feel your band has boundaries with your type of music performances?
[Steven Volor]: I’d like to say that we have no boundaries, but of course we do and very few. For example, we try not to get political besides our song, “The Inmates (Are Running The Asylum)” however, the song doesn’t target any specific party as that would lead to separation. Welcome To The Freak Show is all about coexistence and unity. Other than politics, I’d say our musical performance can lead to anything: Sex, violence, love you name it.
[Caster Volor]: for me music wise the only boundary I have is that is has to be genuine, I will not sing/write about something I don’t believe in or feel. Performance wise if there is a boundary I want to break it, the only real boundary that I worry about is my humanity. As for maybe there are places/events or musicians/artists that we might not be wanted to play at or with due to our style of music and performance, but that's really more of their problem than ours, it's like making a cake without using eggs, I’m sure you could but it would be weird and lacking in protein.
VQDM: What do you base your songs on and are there messages you are trying to give your fans?
[Caster Volor]: I try to express what I’m feeling, good or bad, and make it into a positive beautiful piece of art. I’m a firm believer in standing up for yourself, what you believe in, and free thinking. I am human, but I try not to judge people and let them live as they see fit. I want my songs to inspire thought, I don’t tell people what to think, I want it to be more of an open discussion, and I truly hope no one gets offended by our songs or performances cuz there are way more important issues in the news everyday for you to be offended by, we’re just a rock band that’s trying to have a good time, all the time.
[Steven Volor]: The songs don’t have a strict basis that we follow. If we go through our EP, A Prelude To The Freak Show, the songs “Ready or Not” and “Black Leather Middle Finger” present the message of be who you want to be and don’t let anyone stand in your way. Don’t harm anyone, but be yourself. Then “The Inmates (Are Running The Asylum)” goes on to discuss our political situation. The song doesn’t attack our current situation specifically as we’re not about that, instead it’s how things have been run for the past decades. This leads into track 4, “The Love We Once Had…” which is a love song set in the scene of death and a graveyard metaphorically describing how love dies and people can’t let it go. “They’re not ready to throw the dirt.” Lastly, we have “My Rock ‘N’ Roll Dream” which speaks for itself. Our rock ‘n’ roll dream is making Caster Volor the biggest and best band that it can be. It’s playing for an audience every night and sharing our songs with the world. Like the chorus goes, “This is my music and this is my life. My Rock ‘N’ Roll Dream comes true tonight.” Ultimately, we sing about standing up for yourself, love, partying, sex, death, unity, hate, pain, ect. Whatever we feel at the time.
VQDM: April 19,2018 you guys released your debut EP “ A Prelude To The Freak Show” Did this
album grab you guys right away or did you have to listen to it numerous times and re tweek?
[Steven Volor]: We knew these were the songs that had to be on the record, we’d played them so many times that they grabbed us right away. During the recording process, of course, we listened to the songs numerous times. I remember mixing the album, I would listen to the songs hundreds of times per day that at some point I took a week break and then came back to it. We really only re-tweaked the mix, the songs were solid.
[Caster Volor]: these 5 songs were the perfect songs to introduce us as a band and make a statement that we are here, make some room, or we’re going to make it ourselves. As for the recording, I’m never truly happy, I want everything to be perfect, but at the same time I want it to be raw and not over produced.
VQDM: How have people responded to the albums release?
[Steven Volor]: As shocking as it may be as an artist that’s proud of their work, we’re still always nervous about what people will think. I know the songs are killer, but I have to keep myself grounded, and luckily the response has been very positive. Radio stations love our submissions, and concerts have huge crowd reactions regardless of how many people are there. The only thing is expanding our reach. I want more people to hear it and share it with their friends and family.
[Caster Volor]: I have complete confidence in our music and songs, but I don’t believe a recording will ever do justice to what we hear at a live show and also that we recorded, mixed, and mastered the record on our own with little experience. But apparently that's just me being a perfectionist because we’ve had an extremely positive response to the record, and it's a great feeling to have people really enjoy your music and be blown away by it.
VQDM: Can people spot key influences or differences in your songs?
[Steven Volor]: Absolutely. By now, I can say, people have compared us to nearly every major artist like Judas Priest, Iron Maiden, Dead Kennedys, Nirvana, Motley Crue, Alice Cooper, Marilyn Manson, and on and on. My favorite part is that, they don’t say, “Hey you sound just like Judas Priest,” they say, “Hey I can definitely hear the Judas Priest influence.” There’s no question that in 2019 a new band won’t have an influence or some similarity because there’s only 12 notes that we have to work with. My point is that the way we arrange our 12 notes have an influence from artists before us, but at the same time are entirely our own. A fan once came up to us and said, “You guys sound like Wayne’s World!” I don’t even know what that means, but I love the movie, so great! I think we’ve really created something new which is going to take people a little while to understand and catch on too.
[Caster Volor]: I think people see and hear what they want to in our music and performance, which I’m fine with. We all come from different places and have unique experiences that have shaped us, and that’s what we use to interpret things. So that's why we get compared to so many different bands, and I will never not be flattered when I’m compared to Rob Halford or Freddie Mercury. There really are no wrong answers except if compared to Poison ;)
VQDM: Do any of the lyrics in the songs allude to other songs or art forms?
[Steven Volor]: Yes, some of our own songs make reference to future songs. Since, our EP is titled, A Prelude To The Freak Show it is safe to say that the full length album will be titled, “Welcome To The Freak Show Act: 1” and with that we need to be transitioning from one act to another. In the song, “My Rock ‘N’ Roll Dream” the last song off our EP, the chorus states, “I’ll welcome you to the freak show.” I gave that one away for free, I want to see what else the audience can come up with.
[Caster Volor]: I don’t want to say its a concept album, but there are themes that are running through the ep, our up coming album “welcome to the freak show act 1”, as well as our future records. Keep following us and everything will be made clear one day, we’re going to take you for one hell of ride.
VQDM: Where do your musical inspirations come from for the lyrics?
[Caster Volor]: Life. I can only write about what I know and have experienced first hand, so it's basically my autobiography or diary. Love, happiness, hate, loss, sorrow, anger, frustration, euphoria, etc. I’m just like everybody else, I share all the emotions that all of you have and I express them through my lyrics. To me the lyrics come first, if I’m not happy with the lyrics for a song, then that songs not happening, I never force myself to write lyrics, they need to come from a place next to the heart where the crotch and the brain meet. I want the lyrics to stand for themselves as a piece of poetry.
VQDM: You guys have shared the stage stateside with numerous big names such as Stryper and Vicious Rumors to name a few but recently did a Legions of Metal Fest in Chicago. Are there plans for the band to venture abroad to European Festivals?
[Steven Volor]: There are absolutely plans to take the band internationally in good time and when presented with the opportunity. It costs a lot of money to travel and do shows. If my guys are compensated well, then we can go anywhere. You know bands like Michael Monroe (Finland), and Hardcore Superstar (Sweden), they don’t come to the states that often or at all. It’s really difficult to go abroad like that.
VQDM: What are you currently working on?
[Steven Volor]: Currently, we are playing around the states promoting our debut EP, A Prelude To The Freak Show and doing interviews. We have a few music videos that we’d like to film and publish within the next few months, as well as finish writing the full length album.
VQDM: Are there any comments you would like to add?
[Steven Volor]: My typical comment - Support the artist you love by buying their music, merchandise, and tickets. Go out to shows and share the music you love with others. It is truly the best gift our world has to offer. Thank you to those of you who have/are supporting our band, we see you everyday. Natalie Quirk from Midwest Metal Promotions, Jammy Louise DaRanged Radio, The Brett Rock Anthony Show, Cerberus Entertainment, From The Depths Entertainment, The Best Seat in the House, and so many more. There’s plenty of thanks and Ferrari’s to go around very soon.
For more information about CASTER VOLOR check them out at the following sites:
Music is available for purchase on:
ITUNES, AMAZON, SPOTIFY and everywhere else.
Thank you for reading my article