- 05 Mar 20
Bedroom-pop maestro Cavetown discusses his hotly anticipated major label debut, Sleepyhead.
The line outside Dublin’s Academy for the Cavetown gig is stacked around the block, with hundreds of teens in flower crowns and panda hoodies anxiously bopping in the cold. Inside, the young hipster vibe only amplifies, as a jazz cover of the Nintendo Mii Channel theme song blares over the PA.
Backstage, the mellowness continues, as I’m greeted by a cup of tea and Cavetown himself, aka Robin Skinner. The singer is actually a bit like the tea: warm, calming, and just the right amount of sweet. Skinner, however, more regularly requires caffeine.
“I feel like I’ve been on the road,” he notes. “I mean, I actually have, pretty much non-stop since May 2018. It’s been a long one, I’m so tired. But I’ve learned to ignore being tired.”
The show must go on, and Skinner has trained himself to overcome fatigue.
“I think it’s just practice,” he shrugs. “It’s years of going into a dissociative state of, ‘I’m working now. Time to do it!’ You kind of forget that you feel anything. Which is probably not very healthy, but it’s okay. It gets the job done.”
The job – most of which lately has either been touring or preparing for the imminent release of his fourth studio album, Sleepyhead, this spring – wasn’t always music, though. Skinner also runs a YouTube channel with intimate behind-the-scenes videos, covers, and vlogs. He also dreamed of becoming a director back when he was a kid.
“I used to make movies with my friends growing up,” he recalls, lighting up. “But that dream kind of died when I was working on this movie for ages with friends. I’d travelled to Italy to film some scenes on the beach. And one evening, I was about to show my parents and my friend’s parents a recent cut of it.
“I remember pulling the chair closer, so that it was in a better place to view. And the hard drive fell on the ground. I couldn’t open anything anymore and there was nothing they could do – I lost two years of work. And it broke my heart. So, I stopped making movies then. I was like really into being a director at the time, but I kind of gave up after that. Maybe it’s for the best – this is working fine.”
It certainly seems to be working fine. A few years later, Skinner formed the Cavetown project and began making music out of his bedroom.
“Bedroom pop is more than a genre,” he says, seemingly convincing himself of his opinion as he relays it. “It’s a style and it’s like a genre of DIY, I guess. I feel like that fits me, because I always find it hard to define what my genre is.”
Certainly, the hundreds of kids that we can hear excitedly pouring into the Academy are pleased with his sound, no matter the categorisation. His fourth LP – a noteworthy feat at the ripe old age of 21 – is out shortly and marks his major label debut.
“It kind of came together in the same way that my music always has,” says Skinner. “I just write stuff intermittently, whenever I feel like it. And then eventually, it will come together and I put it all into one album. I’m excited for a new of chapter of my career – I’m ready to have a fresh new world I can share with everyone.”