Hailing from the artistically bountiful Blue Mountains come Cooking with Caustic, a soul/hip hop/funk collective unlike any other.
Cooking with Caustic consists of core members Caustic (beats, keys and production), DJ Cost (turntables), Jarv Benaud (bass), Stephen Noble (saxophone), and Marc Brown (trombone).
Though they’ve been jamming for years; first meeting whilst working in hospitality together, From Mercury to Pluto is the group’s debut LP. The album pays homage to the classic sounds of 90’s hip hop, as well as focusing on big beat, groove, and turntablism.
“Rather than an album being about one vocalist, this is about a collection of voices that work together but provide the listener with variety too. We also have a focus on instrumentals, where turntables and musicianship can come to the fore.” –Caustic
Guest vocalists on the LP include Queen B, Blackjack Davey, Madame Wu (Madame Wu and Elise Graham), Mikoen (Daily Meds, Reverse Polarities), P.Smurf (Daily Meds, Reverse Polarities), Mute MC (Reverse Polarities, Mute X Roleo), Tenth Dan (Big Village), Charlotte Craib (Rumpunch), Broken Thought Theory, Ev Jones (Jones Jnr), and Loose Wayne.
“A lot of us are kind of science/music/cartoon nerds. Hence all the sci-fi samples and references.
Voice samples are mostly from old radio shows, there’s something awesome about those old accents.” – Caustic
The track ‘Journey from the Inside Out’ features Mute and Blackjack Davey, explores themes of birth and life’s journey in a sombre fashion, juxtaposed with its cartoon-like production. With its 50’s doo-wop backing vocal performed by the band, the heavily swung beat and double bass groove gives the song a lurchy feel.
‘About to Fly’ features Tenth Dan, Madame Wu, Ev Jones, and Queen B. Lyrically the track is about “doing the things you love, cos you only live once”. Though uplifting overall, the track’s minor key combined with the melancholy of the lyrics gives the ‘About to Fly’ further depth. “There’s a bird call throughout which was recorded from my garden. It’s a wattle bird, they make that call a lot in the morning, so it’s a real waking up in the mountains sound for me.” – Caustic
‘No One’ is an instrumental track speckled with vocal samples which include the words “no one”. The track got its origins from a pitched down guitar sample taken from a Two Toes track, and a Queen B vocal sample from a 2005 recording. The beat; constructed from MPC sequenced beats, is layered with live drums and percussion.
Possessing a cohesiveness and maturity rarely found in a debut album, Cooking with Caustic have come to define their own unique brand of music in the form of From Mercury to Pluto.
“Music’s a pretty compulsive creative outlet for us; we fill most of our time with it. The band’s a big creative family.” – Caustic
Watch the From Mercury to Pluto promo video: