If you’re into psychedelic sounds, lively shows, and the occasional alien-themed music video, check out Ceramic Animal. The Philly band, comprising brothers Warren, Elliot, and Erik Regan and friends Dallas Hosey and Ant Marchione, describes its genre as “garage-yacht,” which gives you an idea of its unique sound. Last year, they released sophomore albumThe Horse; they just wrapped up a tour this spring.
Recently, we had the chance to chat with Erik Regan, the band’s drummer. We talked about tour memories, South by Southwest, the fantastical “Look for a Lover” video, and a clever inside joke.
TYF: You recently wrapped up a tour. Do you have any fun stories from the road? Anything that was particularly memorable?
Erik Regan: Oh, man. It’s tough to narrow it down. Just the day in, day out hanging with the Spendtime Palace guys, of course, was awesome. Getting to see their set every night and pushing each other to outdo each other, night after night… After South by Southwest, we all stopped in New Orleans, and we got a big five-bedroom house, this little mansion, by Bourbon Street, and both bands crashed together. There was, like, 12 of us in total in this mansion house, and it was Saint Patty’s Day in New Orleans. We got to hang out in New Orleans on Saint Patty’s day for all those shenanigans. And it delivered.
TYF: Sounds like a lot of fun. Now let’s talk about your album The Horse. The first song is called “Tino”; why is that?
Regan: It’s actually a little secret we’re not ready to reveal yet.
TYF: Got it.
Regan: (Laughs)When the time is right.
TYF: When the time is right, everyone will know. Another song off that album is “Look for a Lover”; that one has a very cool music video. How’d you guys come up with the concept?
Regan: So we worked with our buddies, Matt Noll and Sid Kreitzer. They’re a couple of Philly boys. And they approached us two or three years ago about doing a music video with us. At the time, it kinda didn’t line up, but we grew to be pretty good friends. And then finally, when we were releasing a new album, we were like, “Shoot, we should get together and do this thing.” So we told them they could pick any song on the album that they wanted, and we would shoot a video together. And that’s the one they picked, and they came up with the idea. They actually approached us. They were like, “All right, we got it. It’s going to be ’70s dating game show meets sci-fi. And we know this girl who does this awesome alien makeup, and we got ideas for casting a host and stuff… That was really their brainchild. We just delivered on the acting front.
TYF: Super fun. What was the filming process like?
Regan: We worked in a studio that one of those guys works in. We shot it over a day and a half. The alien makeup took a couple of hours to do each day, so that was a big chunk of time. So we did about two days in the studio, and then [Matt Noll and Sid Kreitzer] went and shot another day in a couple of cool locations. The Jersey Shore area is where they found some of those desolate-looking areas for the alien’s home planet. And there really was a thunderstorm going on, which made the video look even more like a foreign planet. So yeah, we got lucky. Those guys are awesome, and we’re hoping to work with them again this year on another video.
TYF: For sure. Your most recent single is “All My Loving,” which was previously a live-only song. Are there other live-only songs that are part of your repertoire, or was that a special thing?
Regan: Yeah. This past tour, we played a song called “Bone City,” and that was our live-only song for this tour. And it went really, really well, so we kept sliding it back in the set. Eventually, we moved it all the way back to the anchor song in the set, the final song in the set. [We even use it as an] encore song sometimes, if we get a good reception. In Denver, we encored it, and no one had ever heard the song before, because it’s a brand new song, it’s live-only, and that was the first show of tour. So this is the first time we’re playing it live for anybody; we’re in Denver. We just drove 24 hours to meet Spendtime Palace in the middle of the country, ’cause we’re Philly and they’re Orange County, so we met in the middle. But we get a great turnout. We come out for the encore, and we play “Bone City,” a song they’d never heard before. And they loved it so much so that Warren, my brother who plays guitar, goes, “Should we run it again?” They go, “Yeah!” And so we play the same song again. (Laughs)The first time we ever played it, we played it twice a row for a crowd that had never heard it before. So from that point on, we knew it was going to be a fan favorite, a likable track.
TYF: That’s awesome. A track on your first album, The Cart, is called “Codename Righteous.” What’s the story behind that?
Regan: I don’t know the story behind the name, but that is another song that has evolved over time, kind of like “All My Loving.” “Codename Righteous”… We had been playing that song for maybe more than a year before we even recorded it for the album. Even now, it’s still evolving. We play it totally different live. It’s actually a nine-minute song live, nine to ten minutes. And it’s kind of psychedelic, a little riff-y, a little jammy, you know what I mean? It’s in and out of that stuff, and then it’s heavy again. That’s another fun one live.
TYF: Your first album is called The Cart, and your second album is called The Horse. So you “put The Cart before The Horse.” Was this something that you’d been planning for a long time?
Regan: Yes. Thank you so much for recognizing that. You wouldn’t believe how many people don’t get it. Most people don’t get it. Even during interviews, people don’t connect the dots. So you are in an elite crowd right now, as far as figuring that out. Before putting out the album, which we had put a lot of effort and time into, we decided at the last minute, “You know what? We should call it The Cart.That way, when we put out our second album, we can call it The Horse. Put The Cartbefore The Horse. And then in interviews, people will say, ‘I guess you put The Cartbefore The Horse!’” But no one got it. But it worked as a reason to put out a second album. Otherwise, we couldn’t pay off the joke. You know what I mean? A little added motivation.
TYF: Yup. And since your name is Ceramic Animal, if you could be any animal, which one would you be?
Regan: I always go with dolphin.
TYF: That’s a good one. All right; is there anything else that you’d like to say to the readers and the fans before we wrap up?
Regan: Thank you. Thank you for supporting us, coming out, making our tour outstanding. We love everybody that drops us a line on Instagram or comes up to us after the show to talk. We love that shit, and that’s why we do it. Thank you for your support; we’ll see you soon.