Hailing from Hudson County, Cantations is a formidable four-piece band specializing in the artistry of post-punk. With Nicholas Maratta leading on guitar and vocals, Jeff Mckeon on bass and vocals, Dan Nagano-Gerace bringing the saxophone magic, and Ryan Treppedi on drums and vocals, the ensemble weaves a sonic tapestry of profound lyricism, diverse inspirations, and compelling instrumentation. What started as a recording venture for Nick Maratta, featuring collaborations with a cadre of talented musicians, including Matt Olsson, Jared Hart, and Amanda DaSilva, has evolved into a more traditional four-piece powerhouse. The name "Cantations" emerged from a journey of trial and error, transforming from "CANTS" to encapsulate the essence of the music—simple yet esoterically charged singing and songs. We caught up with lead vocalist Nick Maratta and drummer Ryan Trepeddi to discuss the new album.
Q: In your opinion, what are the essential qualities that make a “good songwriter”?
Nick: I am a firm believer that there's no set structure towards being "good" but it can't hurt to have an understanding of melody and at least lyric writing, or having band mates that can aid with that.
Q: What is the basis for writing attention-grabbing music in the year 2023?
Nick: mutate trends into your own favor, since its a dying scene. The idea of being attention grabbing brings me great anxiety.
Q: What has it been like working with an indie record label as opposed to working on your own?
There are many avenues that we cannot access that have become open thanks to the network that it provides. This does help us focus on the music more and avoid the trials and tribulations of networking. However it is true there is more to be done especially in our decaying world.
Q: Can you pinpoint some specific songs and songwriters that changed the way you write music?
Nick: Dua Lipa has changed my life. "Levitating" is a masterpiece.
Q: Do you find it hard to be inspired by artists that are younger than you, or are you motivated by their energy? Can you name any new artists you find inspiring?
Nick: Absolutely none, but that is only because I live under a rock. However, I have been exposed to some amazing talents at local open mics and shows, but their names elude me.
Ryan: I love to see artists younger than me, I always find them fun and inspiring, seeing them come in with vitality and conviction is incredible, and I love the idea of that circle of giving back and making room. Talent knows no age. Sunstyle is a fun younger band I saw recently. Ravyn Lenae is almost a decade younger than me she’s one of my favorites. I don’t know if they are younger than us because they keep their identities secret - but Taqbir is an incredible punk band that popped up in the last 2 years.
Q: For your new album, what inspired the lyrical content, album title, and overall vibe?
The Water Won't Go Down was influenced majorly by one's own need for Love versus feelings of doom and apocalypse and the place of Love within that setting. The title, The Water Won't Go Down, is a lyric that was formed specifically from a bathtub clog that took one days to fix, eventually spending a half hour with a snake to repair. The intent was to imply that some changes are irreepable, although survivable. Overall vibe tries to maintain heroic energy versus guaranteed impending doom by harnessing post punk and classic punk rock styles with a spritz of plain pop songwriting.
Q: Do you find that you ruminate over writing songs and hold on to them for a long time before including them on a record? Or do you prefer to write them, release them, and be done with them? Do you ever re-visit old material to do a re-write or once it’s done it’s done?
This band definitely is comfortable with reinventing the wheel around our own songs, so there is no discomfort with us trying alternate genres of the same exact songs since the structural components remain very much the same. We often revisit old songs with the intention of changing their arrangement and dynamic.
Q: Were there any lessons you learned in the writing and recording process for your current release that you will take with you into your next project?
Absolutely: evereything is relative to the final dish.