Interview w/ Cayley Spivey of Small Talks

The With Confidence and Broadside headlining tour of 2018 had one of my favorite line ups, also including Sleep On It and Small Talks. Even with sickness spreading all across these poor artists, Cayley Spivey hung out in a cold, dark alley of Lawrence, Ks with us to talk about her band’s latest single and upcoming album. I, being the social media addicted college student, I am, looked all throughout Small Talks pages and immediately found the greatest respect for everything Small Talks stands for. In planning the interview with Cayley I wanted to dig deep on her perspectives and opinions on not just this crazy talented tour, but also her own music and even the connection between music and mental health. We wanted to make this just A Conversation Between Us. (So sorry. I had to. It was the perfect opportunity.)

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Lexi: This might be weird, but I used to be a camp counselor so I always have to ask this question as an icebreaker. If you were any kind of chair, what kind would you be, and why?

 Cayley: Oh my God. Probably an antique chair. I just feel like those old looking ones you find at thrift stores, where they’ve just been through some stuff? That’s me, that’s me for sure.

They have some stories behind them.

 Yeah, yeah. For sure! I just feel like those chairs, I mean I like the floral patterns too. I don’t know. It’s my soul chair. I could have said a bean bag also, like on a good day I’m a bean bag.

I love it. I’ve just started saying I’d be a hammock just so I can relax.

So you said you’re not used to the weather here, but what is the weirdest part of this cross country tour for you, or the craziest parts of it?

We started in California so it was really hot and it felt like summer, then we ended up in like  snow and ice, and then we ended up back on the east coast where it’s like kind of middle ground. So basically the most crazy thing about it is the insane weather changes.

I’m guessing that’s why everyone is so sick lately?

Everyone on this tour is sick, they’re all going through some stuff. I can’t believe we’ve made it as far as we have. Like my band’s been out an extra month because my band is actually from Chicago so we had to do some practice dates beforehand.

And what’s the craziest thing that’s happened on this tour so far?

The craziest thing that’s happened is the crowd reaction to us has been really crazy. Like people have been picking up on us really, really well, and we’ve been given lots of gifts. I got a guitar on this tour, that’s definitely the craziest thing. Somebody made a replica of my guitar, and matched it, and gave it back to me and I thought that was the craziest thing ever. We’ve also gotten four penny boards gifted to us. People are just so nice, they’re really taking care of us. We even got an olive garden the other day, so just the kindness really has been really shocking.

For Small Talks, what is the hope for the future?

The hope for the future is really want to stick on this support tour train and get on with some other bands that we really like, and hopefully do a headliner soon. Our album’s coming out February 1st and we’re really, really excited about what’s going to happen with that. So basically just, gaining a fan-base and reaching out to more people is the main goal. One day playing arenas you know, all that cool stuff!

The album was actually one of my next questions! I know it’s “A Conversation Between Us,” what are the main points you’re hoping to say with that album?

Okay, that album is a bit of a big concept for me. I like concept albums, I prefer them more than anything else. I like everything to have a meaning and to make sense and tie together. A Conversation Between Us, when I wrote the album, I felt like it was something that was very personal to me and I felt like it was having a conversation between me and our audience. It was very important to me that I titled it appropriately. The concept behind it is actually like the human condition, which is pretty much just everything that makes up who we are as people and why we do things that we do. I have a keen interest in philosophy and people in general. Small Talks has always been about people and I love writing about other people. I don’t like writing about myself but I like the people I meet. So it’s just about people.

That was probably one of my favorite things I noticed when I was stalking you guys, was how philosophical everything was and how heart felt it all seemed. With that, what is one thing that you would want to say to your younger self?

It’s gonna be okay. I would overthink all the time, I still do, but younger me thought that nothing would ever work out the way it did, but I was so ambitious. I’m still ambitious, I’m a very ambitious person. So I’ve always had outlandish goals, but I just wish I could go back and tell myself that “Hey, they things you’re struggling with now, are things that you are going to take to the top with you later.” I learned that everything that I hate about myself, or that I was ever bullied for, or that I ever had to deal with roadblocks for are the things now that as an adult people admire the most about me and have pushed myself and my band to where we are. I don’t know, I wish I could just tell myself like, “Be you. You’re doing okay. You’re going to be fine.”

I love that. That’s a good one. Then getting to your music again, you just released Nicotine and Tangerines. I have been listening to it, just trying to figure out exactly what it means. Like, really trying to get in depth in it. In one of your tweets you said it was your favorite, so just talk about that. What does it mean to you?

Nicotine and Tangerines to me, which this is very rare. Usually I try to keep things secret because I want people to take it however they please, but I’m going to tell you this time because I really feel like it. We wrote the music first so I didn’t have actual lyrics for this when it was written. We just wrote it from a vibe I was feeling. Me and my cowrite, Eli, so it’s just me and this other guy who write together. When I was listening to it, it gave me the vibe of an indie movie. One of those ones that these teenagers run away or something, just go on an adventure, and my favorite thing when I write is to look at ordinary things and think about how interesting it would be if it was like “this.”

So I made up this whole summer story of running around and being crazy to fit an indie movie, and some of the verses, like specific lines show that. I wrote a line that was like, “You’re just here for the show.” That’s kind of a reference to some of the surface level stuff that we deal with. Like people don’t really get to know me, they just know the band, and like you’re just here for the entertainment. You don’t really care about me. It’s a tough one.

 

That so awesome, I’m so happy you shared that. And just one more question. We work a lot with music and mental health. Just how that affects someone’s mental health, how it can help them. How would you say music has helped you personally, mental health wise?

Oh my God. I hate to say this, because I think it’s discouraging, but without music I absolutely 100% don’t believe I would still be here for sure. Basically, I think a lot of people who deal with things like depression, it’s very isolating, and it can put you in a spot where you sort of lack identity. A lot of people take that sadness and make it their identity, like they make it who they are. They’re like, “I am nothing more than this illness I am dealing with.” Luckily, I found music, and it became an outlet for everything I deal with and anxiety and things like that. It being that outlet gave me a bit of an identity and put me more in touch with myself, which is something I think is really important.

Also, that’s another thing about the album. I want to encourage introspection in other people. Introspection is basically just being in touch with who you are and knowing yourself, because so many people push their external opinions and they look for external validation. They look for other people to tell them what they need and what they want but it’s like, no. You know what you want, you just have to love yourself and be in tune with yourself. Music gave that to me because I know music is what made me feel like I was alive, and it made me happy, and it helped me fight depression, and it helped me find an identity. Yeah, without music I would feel like I wasn’t even a person.

 

I ended this interview with both of us saying we were happy I stalked Small Talks a bit to see the deeper side of the music. After this freezing cold interview, I was almost ran over with one of those little moving dollies while I was just trying to get back to the crowd. It was entertaining for sure, but also just showed me just how close and genuine those a part of this tour was. This show was one of my favorites of the year, and hearing more from Cayley Spivey really made it stand above. I will be listening to Nicotine and Tangerines on repeat until February 1st when A Conversation Between Us comes out. Trust me, you should be too.

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Small Talks| Photography & Interview courtesy of Lexi Rodriguez

Be sure to check out Hope Through Headphones as well.

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