Less Is More

In an indie rock scene featuring bands with as many as nine members, local psychedelic noise-rock duo Caddywhompus realizes that a little minimalism can go a long way. The duo, consisting of Loyola students Chris Rehm on guitar and vocals and Sean Hart on percussion, have been creating a local buzz with their sound showing what the White Stripes might have sounded like had Jack White cut his teeth on Magical Mystery Tour instead of Muddy Waters. The decision to work as a duo was a natural choice for Caddywhompus’ members. “I’ve been playing with Sean for five years,” says Rehm, “so we decided to get rid of the compromising with other band members because we work with each other really well. Sean is a musical extension of my brain.”

Not that they need more band members. Caddywhompus boasts a larger, louder, and more triumphant sound than would be expected for a duo. “I’ve always played really loud,” says Rehm, “I play through a P.A. combined with two other amps which, along with Sean’s huge drum set, makes the sound really big.” The band’s small set up also influences the direction of the music. “We stay busy with the music and avoid dull spots to make it full,” says Hart, “we also compensate for not having a bassist by keeping the low end going through emphasizing the bass drum and Chris playing lower notes.” “But we mostly compensate with volume,” adds Hart.

Caddywhompus is also going small with how the band releases its music. “Sometimes a whole album can be too much to digest of a new band,” explains Rehm. “We try to offer our music in bite-size portions.” The band first released a free four-song EP online on its website before putting out a split cassette EP with Female Demand, a band from Caddywhompus’ native Houston. They are currently promoting a full-length effort featuring the songs from both EPs as well as two new recordings. However, the release of all of the EPs on one disc comes out of practicality. “We had one super-accessible EP if you have the Internet, and one not at all accessible EP if you don’t have a tape player,” explains Rehm, “so it made sense to put everything on one CD.” Such practicality is common for Caddywhompus. “We can both fit in my Volvo with all of our equipment,” says Rehm. “It makes being in this band easy.”

Published July 2009, OffBeat Louisiana Music & Culture Magazine, Volume 22, No. 7.