We love art, and we love music here at THP. And when those two collide, it’s truly a magical experience. We’re a sucker for those songs that make us feel something — whether that be an overpowering wave of emotion to the melody or those chills we get when we hear an audible representation in the lyrics of life intimating art. That’s exactly what CAL, former member and co-founder of the pop duo, TIMEFLIES, does to us with his impeccable music! We’re so here for it, too!
Following the success of CAL’s song dedicated to his wife, ‘Dressed Up In White,’ which surpassed 4.5 million streams since its February 2020 release, CAL now brings us a fresh new single, ‘In the Water.’ Under the direction of his new record label, Photo Finish Records, ‘In The Water’ was co-written by himself, Jorgen Odegard, and close friend and featured artist on the single, Quinn XCII.
In our exclusive interview with CAL, he reveals all the sweet deets on his first single in a year ‘In the Water,’ the behind-the-scenes look into the accompanying music video directed by Mike O’Brien, working with Quinn XCII, transitioning into a solo career after his start in the music biz as a pop duo, and the buzz around his famous “quarantine corner” on Instagram. Read all about it below!
You got your start as part of pop duo TIMEFLIES, how are you finding the journey of your solo career? How was the hiatus of TIMEFLIES important to the solo-superstardom of CAL?
It’s been a wild and fulfilling ride. All of it. I think my solo career has reminded me of how in love with the process I am. Once the train gets rolling, it gets a little bit harder to steer and maneuver, but taking a step back from Timeflies has allowed me to re-imagine all the little details. It really feels like I started over, which obviously comes with a lot of difficulties, but in a way, this “starting” and scheming and hustling phase is my favorite.
Is there something crucial you learned from your time in TIMEFLIES that you’ve incorporated or want to incorporate in your solo career?
I learned everything from Timeflies. What to do, what not to do, and everything in between. So much of being an artist takes place outside the studio, and that can be a really tough thing to grapple with. You want the music to speak for itself but we’re in an age where you also have to be a kind of brand manager/marketing company. I’ve learned that there are a million things that are going to pull you away from the studio. But in the end, it’s really the only place that matters. Don’t get me wrong, all those other pieces are critical, but it’s the music that lasts and it’s the music that tells your story.
Let’s now talk about your new music! ‘In the Water’ is the first track you’ve released with your new label, Photo Finish Records, and the first you’ve released in a year. How does it feel to finally be releasing new music again?
I’m ecstatic! And honestly, it’s really freeing. My laptop sometimes feels like it’s 10,000 pounds with all these unreleased songs and ideas. I’ve listened to this song—through making it, mixing it, music videos, etc… — so many times that it feels like a weight has been lifted. Finally, I get to show it to you. It’s hard to describe.
You said that the idea for ‘In the Water’ came to you in the shower, do you often get hit with inspiration in situations where you don’t expect it? You also described your recent single as your special project and a “certain intangible,” what does that mean?
First of all, yes. Weird phrases and melodies always happen when you least expect them to. A lot of times it happens when I’m driving or flying, but most of all it happens in the shower. And regarding the intangibles, I was more speaking to ‘In the Water’- I kept trying to make it more than it was, but I had to let it just have “that feel.” It has a summertime, relaxed feel to it, and a lot of the battle was trying to not get in the way of that.
Can you walk us through your creative process for making ‘In the Water’? And your new single reflects your phenomenal personal growth as a solo artist, how do you see yourself having evolved as an artist and an individual, over the years since you first started?
I think the evolution never stops, but at the beginning of the pandemic, I started making daily videos and had to pump out so many different productions that it really helped me with my overall skill, but more acutely it helped my micro decision making. When you’re creating a song, there are thousands of tiny decisions to make. Which hi-hats, are they too loud, no that’s good— how about the kick… there are just so many things, and if you overanalyze you can sit there for years and are often worse for it. So those daily videos really helped me to start trusting myself. This song started around a vocal melody and then I built the drums and chord progression around it. Most of it was about those ascending harmonies “water, water, water…” and then I wanted everything to go from a big vocal hook to a hip-hoppy verse.
You and Quinn XCII have a strong bond and friendship. How was the process of collaborating with him?
I think you’ll definitely be hearing more from us. He’s an incredible talent and something about the way we create just feels easy.
The music video for ‘In the Water’ looks so cinematic! Was there any movie magic you got to witness that really blew your mind or taught you something you didn’t know about the behind-the-scenes? For example, we thought the part where you walked on water was pretty cool! What was your favorite part of either filming the music video or your favorite part that you were most stoked about in the final video?
I honestly can’t believe how good Quinn’s falling scenes look. If you watch the behind-the-scenes, he’s lying on a table in front of a green screen and I’m using a leaf blower to make his clothes ruffle. The VFX team was like, “all good, we got this,” and then it came back looking like Michael Bay cooked it up. I was shocked.
We loved your quarantine corner on Instagram! How did it help you during a time of uncertainty last year? Did you find it challenging to stay sane during the quarantine or did you easily adapt to a changed lifestyle? What did you do to keep your creativity flowing?
Thank you! That was something. It kind of feels like yesterday and forever ago, but that was honestly huge for me. I was able to hone my production under pressure with a deadline looming every day. Would have been a lot easier if I just did it once a week but damn…. who knew how long we’d be in it…
If you weren’t in music, what other passion do you think you would have pursued as a career? Do you have any other art form projects or interests that you want to pursue in the nearby future?
Something entrepreneurial. That’s what’s so fun about starting this new chapter. It feels like that non-stop hustle start-up phase. I love working with young companies and helping in any way I can, so if I wasn’t doing this I’d be doing more of that.
What can fans expect from you this year?
I’m working on an album right now. But you’ll be seeing my name in the credits of a lot of other artists’ projects and a whole lot more. It’s going to be an exciting year!!
Ugh. We’re absolutely sobbing over here! We seriously can’t wait to hear more from CAL soon! But for now, while you’re waiting, remember to stream/purchase ‘In The Water’ here!
What was your favorite CAL moment during quarantine? What did you think of ‘In the Water’ and the music video? Let’s keep the conversation going by tweeting us @TheHoneyPOP or commenting below!
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Featured Image Source: Courtesy of Full Coverage Communication & THP Graphic Design Team Member, Bibi Lara