Despite their lone, eponymous album release, the churning, heavy rockers known as Caravact boast a surprising wealth of original material. Toss a couple classic covers in with drawnout metallic jams and whatever else the band’s been working on lately, and you’ve got enough music to keep a crowd filled for an afternoon, as bassist/vocalist Nathan Richards recently learned.
“Not too long ago, we played for Bikers Against Child Abuse, a one-day festival,” he said. “One of the bands dropped out, so we wound up playing about three and a half hours. We have the material (to play that long), which is weird.”
Weird, indeed. Its current incarnation’s only been together since 2009, but it’s proven a fountain of inspiration for Caravact’s rock ’n’ roll, which ranges from muddy and psychedelic to damaged, muscular and bluesy.
“There’s so much material we’ve scrapped. Whole albums’ worth of material we’ve scrapped over the last couple years. The songwriting process is ever-flowing.”
Although it began as the fatherson/drums-guitar duo of Mike and Jake Monroe, Caravact eventually absorbed Richards, saxophonist Russell Bourn, guitarist Ronnie Robinson and keyboardist Beau Mansfield. Richards said each mem ber brings something to the songwriting table, even if much of their tunes’ origins are in the younger Monroe’s guitar hooks and riffs.
“It’s a very collaborative process, which is actually very difficult at the same time,” Richards said.
Several members of the group, Richards included, have migrated from their original Chickasha to Norman since they started playing together, making it tougher to write music in their collaborative, all-inclusive style.
It’s a great victory for Norman’s music scene, which now can boast a six-piece rock act that’s actively looking to contribute, both by playing music and supporting the activities of the many charity organizations tied to it. Sunday’s Groovefest is a prime opportunity.
“Anytime there’s a wholesome gathering of people — outdoors, indoors, especially if it’s nonprofit — we love to jump on that,” Richards said. “We love our bar scene and the local shows, but we also like to support our community.”
Caravact makes a perfect fit for local label Zanzibar! Records, which issued the group’s debut LP.
“It seems to be much more than a record label these days,” Richards said. “They’re putting on all these crazy showcases, body painting, date auctions, painting and stuff. They’ll have punk rock, American folk-jug bands, DJ sets — all in the same night. They like to give people a run for their money, and it’s not just musicians, either. They support lots of different types of artistic media.”