Cayetana – Dreams in Jars – A Q&A with Kelly Olsen

Even though Cayetana’s album “Nervous Like Me’ was released in September 2014, I’m going to circumvent any rules someone might have around naming an album of the year and say that it is at the top of my list for 2015. I just can’t stop listening to it. I listen to it at home, in the car, at the gym, at work, and if I’m not listening to it, one of the songs is probably stuck in my head. It’s been a freezing cold crappy winter here, and this record has offered up enough sunshine that I don’t need one of those SAD therapy lamps anymore. There is so much to love about this band and their flawless jangly pop-punk. The music is overflowing with hooks and eloquent lyrics and a nod to early the 90s girl power of Julianna Hatfield or That Dog. The home run for me though is Augusta Koch’s voice. There’s a moment in each song when Koch reaches down deep and growls out a sweet line or even a simple word, her voice cracking and breaking with emotion.

The trio was formed in Philadelphia in the fall of 2011 and they released a three-song demo in 2012 learning their instruments as they went, which led to them being picked up by North Carolina indie label – Tiny Engines. For such a quick turnaround you would think a first record would have noticeable growing pains – but Nervous Like Me is solid all the way through. Any newbie jitters are buoyed by the strength of the songwriting and there’s certainly some magic happening in that department. I guarantee Nervous Like Me will serve as a soundtrack for a transitional point in some 20-something’s life. Heck, I’m far away from being a 20-something but I know I’ll remember it as the record that got me through the winter that nearly broke me.

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We were stoked to connect with drummer Kelly Olsen for some answers to our questions.

We are…
Augusta -vocals/guitar
Allegra – bass
Kelly – drums

Photo by Mary Ferrigno

We are originally from…..

The Poconos and Upstate NY

How did you become Cayetana and what is the story behind the name?

Allegra had just moved to Philly, we all ended up at our friend’s birthday party, and in conversation, we all realized we wanted to start a band and make music. We pieced together amps, guitars, and a drum set…Our first practice was in my basement later that week and we haven’t stopped since! The band’s name came from a very good friend of ours, Cayetano Valenzuela. He is a spectacular human and an amazing artist, google him! He is great! (I did, see below).

What music has had an influence on your sound?

All three of us have different tastes in music… And very different influences… For me, I am strongly inspired by all my friends who are in bands, When I watch them play, I get ideas about techniques and style, I am more influenced by people going out and just doing the damn thing, it feels like a more creative muse.

Tell us about the scene in Philly

Philadelphia’s music scene is like no other that I’ve found. It’s just incredible the amount of talented musicians are churning out some of the best music out there. The scene here is so supportive, with a combination of DIY promoters and R5productions putting shows together, and local radio stations like WXPN and WKDU – It is impossible to not have a great show to go to every night of the week. I don’t think our band would have as much success if we started in a different city, and I feel forever lucky for that.

Tell us about your live show…

Well, if you like goofy jokes then you’ll love watching us play hah. Nothing too special about the live show, but we are always out to have a great time.

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What influences the band lyrically?

Yeah, that’s more of a question for Augusta, she always blows my mind with the lyrics she comes up with. The woman has an amazing talent for putting her feeling into words. But, influence-wise, I’d say just everyday life stuff that we all go through, relationships, work, friendships, family.

Our most memorable gig ever was….

We’ve had so many amazing shows, it’s hard to pick one. But, actually, our record release shows in Boston, NY and Philly were my favorite. Even though I was a nervous wreck hoping they would go ok… They all turned out so well.
I’ve never felt so supported by my friends and community. It was a surreal weekend and totally unforgettable.

If you could pick any time to travel back to for music, where would you go and what year would it be…

Oh man…for me, probably the late 80s early 90s. I would love to be anywhere in the country. Just a time of pre-internet-influenced music scenes. I find the old ways of flyers, phone calls, word of mouth, and mailing letters way to promote music so romantic and uplifting. Only promoting shows on the internet makes me kinda sad, it loses a personal feel.

Growing up, at home we listened to…..

I know for a fact we all listened to Alanis Morisette’s “Jagged Little Pill”, and No Doubt “Tragic Kingdom” they are staples for girls growing up in 1995. I didn’t get into punk until I was heading into high school. And embarrassingly enough, it was with the help of Napster and this one Punk-O-Rama volume I had where I first heard bands like the Sex Pistols, Bad Religion, Hot Water Music etc.. But, I really grew up listening to a lot of ska, Catch 22, Less Thank Jake… and pop-punk like Blink 182 & Green Day…oh to be a youthful kid who just wants to dance at punk shows…

What tunes are on heavy rotation for you…

Right now: Future Islands, Hard Girls, The Sidekicks, Even Hand, Waxahatchee, Yuck, Sleater Kinney

If you could open for any band right now who would that be and why?

Against Me! That is one band that all three of us go nuts about.

When you’re not playing and have some time off, where could we find you…

Probably sitting around Augusta’s kitchen table talking for hours.

The one thing we want you to remember while you’re listening to us…

That if you want to be in a band and play music – just start doing it! Find people who encourage you and don’t be afraid of judgment, life is too short for that. It took me a while to figure that out, I only wish I started band stuff sooner.

What’s up for 2015?

We leave for tour with The Sidekicks in mid-February. We plan on writing a bunch more and heading to Pouzza Fest (in Montreal) in the spring, and recording a fun 7″. We don’t have much else planned yet, mostly writing!

Cayetana – Facebook

Cayetana – Merch

Cayetana – Twitter

Cayetana – Tumblr

Tiny Engines – Website


Cayetano Valenzuela – Website

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One foot in the door
The other one in the gutter

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