It’s a sweltering 102 degrees out in San Antonio where Atlanta icons The Callous Daoboys plan to take the stage — but while the temperatures outside continue to rise, I was given the honor (and pleasure!) of interviewing vocalist Carson Pace, guitarist Dan Hodsdon, and drummer Matthew “Marty” Hague in the comfort of a cool, air-conditioned room just a bit before their set. We discussed touring again with Rolo Tomassi, their upcoming European excursion, and what it’s been like for the band since Celebrity Therapist’s splash upon the scene.
Cain Borgia: Last year, you guys released the incredible Celebrity Therapist. How have things been following the heels of that album’s massive success?
Carson Pace: It's been wild. We had a good amount of success with Die on Mars, and we were very proud of that being a self-released album. This was an album that was released by a label and done all the proper ways that you're supposed to release music. So if anything, I'd say our expectations were exceeded – we have a great label with MNRK Heavy. We’re just going to keep the good music rolling.
Marty Hague: I joined the band right before we put out Celebrity Therapist, and for me personally, it's been so crazy to see how much we've grown over the past year. I did my first tour with the Daoboys this time last year, and we're still on tour, going back to places we played last year, and the crowds are triple the size. It's been crazy. I love the album. I heard it with fresh ears way after these guys did, because they made it. I'm just happy everyone likes it as much as I do.
Dan Hodsdon: I could use the word “scary” honestly. People are still opening their eyes to it or noticing us and throwing opportunities our way that we would've not thought possible a year and a half ago or even six months ago. Yeah, we all knew it was a powerful record, but the actual response to it is genuinely a little scary, and sometimes it gives me nightmares.
On this tour run, you’re once again joining forces with the legendary Rolo Tomassi. How does it feel touring with them for a second time?
CP: I was saying the other day that this band is a series of full-circle moments. I became a fan of them when Time Will Die and Love Will Bury It came out, and I was die-hard. That album got me through a lot of hard times then and got me through a lot of hard times recently. I think that album, in particular, is just always going to be a piece of art that I go back to. The fact that I get to cohabitate, not just have them as coworkers and be on the same tour, but to hang out and be around them all the time, is such a huge gift. It's awesome.
After this tour, you guys are going to be heading over to Europe. What shows or festivals are you looking forward to performing the most?
DH: Definitely the one on the boat. One of the shows got moved to another venue, which is literally just a boat, and I think that's really cool. I think it's called The Pink Whale.
CP: Pink Whale in Bratislava.
DH: That's the headlining show that I'm most looking forward to. As far as festivals go, I think it's Metal Days that I'm really, really looking forward to because we were told a little while ago we were playing the main stage, and it's always been a dream of mine, playing one of those huge square box stages and just being on a big screen monitor. That's just cool to me, and I'm stoked on it.
What’s the general feeling around the European run? Is there anything you guys are nervous about, considering that it’ll be the Daoboys’ first time abroad?
CP: I think the biggest thing I'm nervous about is just our humor translating. From what I understand, European culture maybe isn't as, for lack of a better word, shitposty as American culture is. As our friends in Rolo Tomassi would say, we like to “take the piss out of a lot of things.” So I think that's my biggest worry. But I think the thing I'm most excited about is just playing this very weird music to European people, who I think will respond to it better than American people will.
MH: It’s definitely intimidating for a band our size to be heading over there for the first time. And we're all pretty young too. We're still kind of green as far as bands go. I would say in our camp, it's more excitement and anticipation than nervousness. I think we've spent the past year really pulling our live show together and getting these songs to translate to people who have not gotten it before. I'm more excited than nervous; I think we all are.
Recently, it was posted that you guys have wrapped up the recording for the next EP. Are there any details that you feel comfortable sharing about what fans, or new listeners as well, could expect with this new release?
CP: We actually got a mix back this morning that these two haven't heard, but I heard it, and it rocks. So, what can you expect? I don't know. When I hear it, I'm like, "That's not that difficult. That's not that weird." But I think from an outsider's perspective or to the people that have to learn this music, it's very strange and very weird. I love it. I think it's some of the best material we've ever made. It was Marty and Dan's first time playing on anything that we've recorded.
MH: This is definitely the hardest I've ever had to push myself as a musician to learn these songs. Before I joined the band, I'd never played any type of odd time signature or any weird mathcore stuff at all, so having to get in the studio has been crazy. But on the flip side, I honestly think these songs have a little more groove to them than some of the older stuff. I think they flow very well, and as weird as they are, they're still pretty accessible, maybe even more so than some of the other stuff we've done.
What were the inspirations for this EP?
CP: I was listening to more Gojira than normal, for sure. And I think that definitely peered through. Gojira and Meshuggah were two of the biggest influences on one song, and because I do this Fall Out Boy podcast, I listen to so much Fall Out Boy now, an amount that I'm worried is going to ruin Fall Out Boy for me. So I’d say Emmure, Gojira, Meshuggah, Fall Out Boy, and probably Glassjaw’s Coloring Book, because I love that album, but I've never tried to make anything like it.
I'm very proud of how we molded all the influences, but I think when you listen back to it, it's going to be hard to tell what it is. Someone was like, "This sounds like Horse the Band,” and I was like, "This sounds nothing like Horse the Band, but I appreciate it." It's one of those things.
Can we expect any new songs to debut soon?
CP: Well, we shot some music videos, so sooner than later.
DH: It’s coming.
For both Dan and Marty: You guys are new members of the band – and we touched on this a bit ago – but what has the overall experience been like? For Carson, what’s it been like having them join the helm of the Daoboys?
DH: I joined my favorite band, so I'll just lead with that. I literally joined my favorite band. I've wanted to be in this band since 2018.
CP: It always makes me smile when you say that.
DH: Some of the musicians in the band are a good bit younger than I am, and not to be like, "I'm an old guy that's been playing music for super, super long," but I got to see an evolution of a band; from being borderline DIY to being a full-fledged functioning machine. It's been a joy to see how quickly people can function at the highest level if they want it enough.
MH: I've been touring for a long time, for 10 years now, and for half of that, I bounced around from different bands. I was a “for hire” guy. This is the first band I've been a part of in years that I would've started if I had the chance to, you know what I mean? Every other band, I was just like, "Yeah, I'll play these songs. I'll jump in, I'll tour, I'll do whatever." But it's so different to feel at home in a project. I've become better friends with these guys than I have anyone else I've ever played music with. I feel so fortunate that I found my people on top of the best band I could possibly be in.
CP: I mean, we have been a band since 2016, and as much as it pains me to say it, it never felt right until now. We'd be on tours, and we'd be doing well. We had success with Die on Mars and stuff like that, but there was always this looming feeling of, “With these people, with this lineup, I don't think this is going to work.” Which sucks because this band is all I've wanted to do since we started it. We've been fortunate enough to where even when things didn't feel right, things were still going pretty well for us, which I think happens to a lot of bands, and then that's why bands break up. To be honest with you, we were on the verge of that. And before these two joined the band, that was a question of, “All right, is this as far as we can take it?” I don't think it would've kept going without them. So it's been awesome.
Just meeting Dan, immediately I was like, "I don't think I could be in a band with this guy." But obviously, we've been in a band together for over a year and it's worked great. We have our differences, we have our ups and downs, but at the end of the day, I'm just like, "I love this person. I'm going to continue to play in this band with them." Dan's just an amazing guitar player, an amazing businessperson, and just an excellent coworker.
Being in a band with Marty is like being in a band with your dad. It truly is. I feel like I'm being fathered most of the time. In a good way, of course, but where Marty will say something to me, and it'll make so much sense that I'm like, "Fuck. I hate that you're right about that!" Marty is also the only drummer that we've ever had that likes playing drums. I don't really know how to describe that, but Marty is like, "Listen to the tone of the wood." And I'm like, "Yeah, man.”
What’s a dream tour for you guys?
DH: Either Korn or Gojira. That's it. I literally have dreams about being on tour with Korn and playing bagpipes with Jonathan Davis on stage. So Korn or Gojira.
CP: 1995 Madonna.
MH: It's got to be My Chem. We've been group manifesting a My Chemical Romance tour since I joined the band, and it feels like we get closer and closer to it every day. So if anyone from My Chem is reading this, take us on tour.
The world of up-and-coming bands has really, really been popping off lately. Is there any advice you guys can offer to the bands that are getting their start that might be reading this interview?
CP: The only advice I can give you that will mean anything is to keep going. You are going to make bad music, you are going to make bad songs, you are going to play shitty shows, and you are going to lose money. All of that is going to happen. But if you just keep going, it will pay off. And as long as you are always giving a hundred percent and discovering that what giving a hundred percent meant yesterday is not what giving a hundred percent means today – you got to just keep going harder and harder and not give up, because everything tends to just fall into your hands if you do that.
MH: My advice is more for individual musicians than bands as a whole, but I would say my best advice is not to be afraid to pivot. If something's not working or if you as a musician want to tour and your band doesn't, find another band. Really just put yourself out there and good things will follow. I, at one point, completely quit touring, got an office job, and I just couldn't take it. I was like, "I need to be on the road." At this point, I really think if you never stop, things will work out eventually. You just have to be focused and keep doing it.
DH: Mine would be to take no shit and know your worth, bands and individuals. Practice your craft. Going to see a band that's objectively bad is fun for a little bit, and if you're a band that's just making noise to make noise, that's fun to an extent. But if you're not practicing, you'll know, and people will know. Not to sound like a dad, but practice your craft if you want people to care. People will only care as much as you care.