cant: New Shoegaze Band Out of Syracuse Takes a “rocket ship to nowhere” (VIDEO PREMIERE)

Photo: Ron Ballweber

cant (yes that’s spelled correctly) are a new band from Syracuse, New York, home of everyone’s favorite vegan straight edge scene. Though these guys are not making anthems about animal liberation and refraining from drugs and alcohol, instead they have opted for more spacey, intimate portraits of inner turmoil and feelings.

Formed by members of other bands from the shoegaze vein such as Trench, Goodnight Forever, and Mistletoe, cant came about in the aftermath of many of their previous endeavors breaking up and the members wanted to continue in a similar direction. Immediately finding their footing through jamming together, the group recently played their first show and will release their debut EP on March 3rd.

Amongst the shoegaze revival that appears to be appearing on the horizon, cant brings a refreshing and skillful take on the genre with their lengthy, spaced out instrumentals and moody vocals.

Made up of Ron on vocals and guitar, Josh on drums, Bob on bass, and Rob on second guitar, cant formed in early 2022. When asked about if the band's direction was discovered through jamming or was planned ahead of time, guitarist Ron excitedly remarked, “Oh, I knew exactly where I wanted to go with this one when we went in but my approach to writing music when jamming with people is that you kinda just have to let it rip and see what comes from it. We didn’t know if we were gonna put music out or even when. We just didn’t want any pressure.”

One big musical marker of cant is their slower, more dissonant moments that are devoid from any singing and allow the members to flex their playing across the airy plains. These moments are almost reminiscent to the spacey dissonance of ISIS’ Panopticon in the way they seem to carry the listener through their own introspection. Their track “i’ve made today a mountain” in particular features no vocals, taking the listener on their own musical journey.

Speaking on influences, Ron stated that he found inspiration from a lot of his favorite artists whom he’s looked to in the past yet found new avenues of channeling this in his music. He states, “Big influences for me are Duster, that’s my favorite band. Just anything in the slowcore category, I guess. Our friend Bill, who we share a practice space with, said it perfectly, ‘cant is doom for pussies.’" 

The statement certainly holds some merit, vulgarities notwithstanding, their music does feature thick riffs that linger for long periods and they top these off with emotional lyricism or even forgo the lyrics.

There’s even a melodramatic nature in the way they present themselves and their music, such as the name being in all lowercase along with the song titles. It’s all very sadboi-esque yet the band can still bring the juice in the performance sector. Ron joked on the styling of the letters: “I want you to think I’m speaking softly to you.” Live performances of bands such as cant and those whom they cite as influences make for exquisitely intimate shows.

Photo: Ron Ballweber

cant's debut EP, fall off the earth, will feature four songs of their moody “doom for pussies” take on shoegaze, drops March 3rd.

Recording for the EP took place at More Sound Studios in Syracuse which Ron stated, “I think they’re the best in Syracuse, without a doubt. Pure Bliss recorded there and every single time it’s been great and sounded great. Casey (Ahern-Cavallo) behind the board is always amazing at what they do.” Ron being able at Syracuse’s local music shop, Gorham Brothers Music, also allows him access to niche gear that he felt would benefit the band's sound.

Ron explained, “I had this old Solid State amp from the '80s come in and it’s cheap as fuck, no one cares about them, they’re very sought after either. Testing it out I found that I really liked it and figured it’d be perfect for this kind of band. Very lo-fi and cheap so it was perfect.”

“Everyone’s pointing us in the shoegaze direction and I certainly understand that in terms of sound and certainly the vastness of the music… also we do in fact have a lot of pedals and that’s a key component in the genre.”

In talking to Ron about lyrics he brought up a great fact that has come up in the aftermath of the COVID pandemic, “I’ve been living in my own head a lot and thinking about death mostly. In the wake of the pandemic I can’t stop thinking about how I could be dead at any moment of the day now. It’s unhealthy but I realize now that this feeling is very unifying in a way but also very isolating.” While some of the band's songs feature sparse vocals the lyrics bring the dreamy soundscapes even closer to home and create a comforting feeling in spite of the chaos they cover.

cant recently enlisted the help of artist Bobby Markos of DocumaVision to make a video for their track, “rocket ship to nowhere.” At the time of this interview, the band had not seen the video, to which Ron explained: “We sent him this song and told him: ‘Do whatever with it’ and we haven’t seen it yet. I love collaborating with videographers because they can put their own spin on it and make some great stuff in my opinion.”

Now that they’ve got the video they are giving No Echo readers an exclusive peek before its official release:


cant on social media: Twitter | Instagram | Bandcamp


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