Beneath the black leather and dark shades, Wes Eisold is a human who needs to be loved just like everybody else does. From his days as a punk vocalist at the turn of the millennium to his reincarnation as a poet, publisher and pioneer of modern electronic music, "the trajectory throughout all of this was this grandiose idea of love."
"When I started Cold Cave, it was a comedown from the whirlwind of my 20s," he recalls. "I wanted to experiment with that comedown and try to make some sense of what I'd just been through." And experiment he did. The first emissions from this endeavor hissed through layers of blown-out synths, repetitive rhythms and ambient noise. Below the surface of its controlled electronic chaos, a new voice emerged. And for the first time, it wasn't shouting.
"I still had this bit of hope that I would feel love for myself and find it with other people in the future," he says. "And ultimately, it was a self-fulfilling prophecy because I did get that with Cold Cave." Eisold released the debut Cold Cave album and a pair of EPs through his Heartworm Press imprint, all of which were featured on the Cremations compilation issued by New York-based noise label Hospital Productions. The method of recording singles and EPs which would later appear on compilation albums suited Eisold's approach to songwriting and would eventually become his preferred model for releasing music.
Cold Cave's breakout record, Love Comes Close, "wasn't written as an album," he says. "It was a bunch of singles that just came out as an LP one day." Co-released by Heartworm and indie powerhouse Matador Records in 2009, the album gathered synth-pop hits like "Life Magazine," "Heaven Was Full" and title track "Love Comes Close" into a work that would come to define the Cold Cave sound. Following the success of Love Comes Close, Matador signed the band for another album, and in 2011 Cherish the Light Years was released.
The album marked a major turning point for Cold Cave. Far from the lo-fi home recordings of its early days, Cherish's massive studio production divided longstanding fans while attracting new ones. While its songs were infinitely more accessible than their predecessors (try listening to "Confetti" or "Underworld USA" without bobbing your head), the process of recording and touring on a label's terms challenged Eisold's punk ethic. "We just didn't want to have to subscribe to what other bands were doing," he says. So they didn't.
Since Cherish the Light Years, Cold Cave has self-released an album's worth of singles – and then some. "Being able to release singles here and there keeps us moving," Eisold says. The band has also performed and collaborated with the likes of Genesis P-Orridge (of Throbbing Gristle and Psychic TV), Nine Inch Nails and Soundgarden, and they'll be joining Ministry for a handful of dates in the near future. When it comes to being an artist, Eisold says, "Freedom is the last thing you remember you're supposed to have. You've got to hold on to freedom and keep doing what you want."