Blood And Hugs: Get to know Cabaret Runaway

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Cabaret Runaway

If you’ve been following anything Alesana has been doing, you might recognize the name Cabaret Runaway. The quintet just finished opening up for Alesana on their recent tour and are signed to frontman Shawn Milke’s label Revival Recordings. The Pittsburgh band’s debut album on Revival, Atrocities, is a perfect mixture of guitars that are easy to dance to and vocals that’ll be the background music for your nightmares. “I haven’t heard anybody tell me they hate it yet,” frontman Andrew Dinger says. “All the responses have been very good. I don’t know if that’s because people don’t respond if they don’t like it or if everybody just likes it. I hope it’s the second one.”

The name for the album is actually an inside joke for the band. “[In] ‘Confessions Of A Teenage Psychopath,’ in the middle of the break, the lyric is ‘All atrocities are from my heart,'” Dinger explains. “It’s kind of a satirical thing. When it came down to this album, we had no idea what to call it. We kept making this joke in our band, ‘Hey, share the atrocities, spread the atrocities. Come on everyone, let’s get atrocious.’ We just made a little thing out of that.”

Cabaret Runaway bassist Shane Lentz says the band was eating eggs for breakfast and discussing the name for the album. “First thing in the morning, we cranked that out and was ready to go.”

Early last month, we premiered the band’s music video for their song “Apples.” “It’s about a show that we’re very fond of,” Dinger explains. “You never say it, because then it’d be too obvious. It’s pretty obvious anyways. It’s about a TV show that all of us really like.” (Many fans have made guesses about the inspiration for the song and video, but the band will neither confirm nor deny these claims.) “We had this abandoned building…”

“It wasn’t really abandoned,” interrupts guitarist Kyle Purtell. “It was, like, our practice space and it had a nice open space upstairs where we could basically do whatever we wanted to do. [Andrew] had the idea of doing blood and I was kind of apprehensive about it, but he’s like, ‘Fuck it, let’s get a bucket of fake blood.'”

So how did this small-time Pittsburgh band get noticed by one of the biggest names in our music scene? Dinger told us the life-changing story: “Shawn Milke from Alesana reached out to us. He messaged us on Facebook one day and was like, ‘I’ve been listening to your music all week. I absolutely love it and I want to talk to you about your band.’ The whole process took forever. We’ve been talking for, like, a year-and-a-half before we’re actually doing this. It was a really long process. We played Alesana’s live album [recording show], I guess they wanted to watch us play live. He found our music somehow, reached out to us and made it happen. We got lucky.”

Dinger and guitarist Geo Martinez were fans of Alesana before hearing from Milke. “I more than anyone else,” Dinger says. “I listened to Alesana when I was a little kid. I downloaded their shit off of Myspace when I was 14 years old and listened to it a lot.”

Milke is basically Cabaret’s boss, and touring with your boss could be challenging at times, but the guys don’t feel that way at all. “It’s interesting,” Purtell explains. “It’s kind of hard sometimes to get ahold of him. You’ll know he’s around [and] suddenly you’ll get a text from him. But some of the time you can just go up and have a conversation with him. He’ll give you a big hug. He’s all about the hugs.”

“He’ll come up to you and give you a hug and bullshit with you,” Dinger confirms. “And sometimes he’s like, ‘Look man, you have an interview with Substream in Cleveland coming up the next day.’ It’s intense sometimes, and I get afraid to talk to him sometimes.

“He’s really helpful and good with what he does,” Dinger continues. “It’s nice being on tour with him too because we have a really supportive environment. All the other bands and that, even though it’s our first tour, they treat us really nice. Everyone’s really cool with us even though we’re just jumping into this.”

“It’s good because he’s subtly hands-on, too,” Martinez mentions. “He gives us advice here and there. No matter what, he always making sure we’re having a blast of a time. We’re having fun.”

Revival only has nine bands on its roster, including Alesana, presumably so Milke can spend more time with each artist to help them become successful. “Totally,” Martinez confesses. “Especially the past few months and even before we were signed eventually to his record label, he was already kind of hinting. He was putting us out there in a really subtle way, but now that we’ve been announced, it’s crazy.”

Even though Cabaret Runaway has just released a full-length, they already have new music in the works. “New music is coming sooner than most people probably think it is. It exists already, but we haven’t finished it the way we want to. It’s going to be new good shit,” Dinger confesses. “We are trying to take some time to finish but we have another full-length that we’ve been in the process of writing for a long time. We just want to capture everyone’s musical identity in the whole thing.”