INTERVIEW // Cayden Wemple


At 18 years old, Cayden Wemple is just starting out in his music career. From a young age, he started writing songs and playing guitar. With dozens of songs in his back pocket, Wemple is set to release a 5 track EP early next year.

We had an in-depth interview with Cayden about his musical journey so far:

BCT: Why did you decide to pick up the guitar? What inspired you to sing and write your own songs?

Cayden Wemple: I started playing guitar when I was 8 years old. Honestly, it was because my mom told me I should take lessons. I was actually kind of upset she was making me do it at first, (I didn’t really like doing what she told me to do). I was more of a baseball kid at that point. I kind of abandoned the guitar and music until I was around 12 when I realized I couldn’t make the MLB. After my initial dream was crushed, I really started getting back into music.

I was around 12 when I wrote one of my first songs “Sticky Situation.” When I came up with the line “when I look in the mirror, all I see are your tears…” that’s when I knew I had something good going for me.

I consequently recorded a music video with my friend and put it on YouTube. That video absolutely haunted me through middle school and has racked up somewhere around 1,800 view the last time I checked. This didn’t discourage me from writing more songs though. I developed a taste in music similar to the one I have now when I was around 13 or 14. I started listening to artists like Bon Iver, Gregory Alan Isakov, and Coldplay, It was around then when I decided I wanted to be just like Chris Martin and have been writing songs ever since.

BCT: As a young man who’s breaking out into the folk music scene, who are your biggest inspirations?

Cayden Wemple: I’ve always been mesmerized by the lyricism of Justin Vernon (Bon Iver). It’s just ridiculous to me how well he can take life experiences and turn them into songs that every single person can relate to, not to mention his completely unique instrumentation. Connor Oberst of Bright Eyes is a beautiful poet himself. His commentary on his life and society is almost weirdly relatable. I feel like Connor and I share a lot of views and have had some similar experiences. Recently, Declan McKenna has been a huge inspiration. I’ve been paying very close attention to him for a little over a year now. Before I was listening to him, I was primarily writing about my own life experiences. Declan writes about current events such as the FIFA World Cup scandal in Brazil, transgender inequalities, and police brutality. I started to get more involved in writing about politics around the time time I started following Declan.

BCT: Car Crash from an Aerial View is your first release. You had the chance to work with Joel Jacks on the EP. What was that experience like for you?

Cayden Wemple:  Recording my EP was really the first time I’ve worked in a legitimate studio and it was really amazing experience. Joel Jacks and I are very musically compatible and his expertise that he shared with me is something that I’ll be able to take with me as I continue down the music path. The whole atmosphere of the studio and the beautiful property that it’s on made me feel like I was in a really special and creative place. I’ll definitely stay friends with Joel for a long time.

BCT: The tracks on Car Crash from an Aerial View have quite the diverse subject matter. Where do you find the inspiration for what you write about? What is your typical songwriting process like?

Cayden Wemple: I draw inspiration for my songs from a little of everything. A lot of the times, I’ll think of something to write about, sit down, and write something completely different.

Watching the news lately has been a big inspiration. CNN is a literal gold mine of different topics to write about.

I write about the current state of the US and our president a fairly decent amount. I write about the uncertainties of which direction our country is going in and also the uncertainties of which direction my life is going in. I think I’m a pretty typical, confused Millennial that doesn’t quite know how life works, so I write down my feelings and frustrations as a sort of journal to maybe look back on when I do figure out life. (That might not ever come).

When I write a song, I almost always come up with the tune first. I play that melody and the first words usually blurt out of me pretty abruptly. Those first words are typically the foundation I base my song around and I go from there. Unfortunately, like most people, the time when I’m thinking the most deeply is usually pretty late at night, but that’s also the time where my family is asleep. Therefore, I get about a good hour or so of solid writing before my mom comes into my room and says “Okay Cayden… time to turn it off,” and then I’ll stare at her blankly for about 15 seconds and continue to play the song I was working on, sigh loudly, and “turn off” my guitar (even though there isn’t technically an off switch). A song takes a couple of days for me to write before I’m completely happy with it, but after I’m done, I record it on my phone and pretty much immediately move on to the next one.

BCT: Out of the 5 songs on the EP, which do you find to be the most personal? Why?

Cayden Wemple: Out of the 5 songs, the most personal one is “Not to Sugarcoat it.” I wrote that song after I broke up with my girlfriend of a year or so. It highlighted the reasons I broke up with her, the main reason being that we were codependent on each other. This was the easiest song I’ve ever written. I was so unjustly mad at her, and I wasn’t really sure exactly why, so I wrote down a bunch of potential reasons. The song was born out of pure frustration and wanting her to understand why I was so annoyed and distraught. I remember that frustration when I was writing the song and it gets me kind of fired up. I think that’s why it’s so personal.

BCT: If you had to pick one song from the EP that you thing really exemplifies who you are as an artist, which would you choose?

Cayden Wemple: The song that best exemplifies me as an artist is most likely “Better.” I love what my producer and I were able to do on that track with the effects (reverb, echoes, delays). The song also exemplifies my writing style the best. I use a “stream of consciousness” type writing style a lot, and that’s pretty evident in this track.

BCT: Why did you choose these five tracks for the EP as opposed to anything else you’ve written?

Cayden Wemple: I loved these five songs that I had written. These were the five songs that I was most passionate about out of everything that I had written up to that point.

There were other ones that almost “made the cut,” but I loved the potential that these ones had to be fully produced.

These were also songs that had gotten good feedback from my family, friends, and Joel. I was pretty content with these five tracks as opposed to anything else I had written.

BCT: Why did you name the EP Car Crash from an Aerial View? It seems like there has to be a story there!

Cayden Wemple: Yes, there is definitely a story:

The title came to me when I was on an airplane flying over my hometown of San Luis Opispo and I saw all the cars on the road from that point of view. I thought it would be strange to see the cars crash into each other from that vantage point. The idea of looking at cars crashing from an aerial view makes the whole spectacle seem so small. When you look away from the wreckage, there could be another disaster happening on the other side of the hill, or if you look outside the other side of the plane, the whole earth from that side could be on fire. Focusing on one thing at a time may be all we have time for in the moment, but in the grand scheme of things, there are thousands of little events and episodes in other people’s lives that we will never see. There is so much in our personal lives that seems disastrous to us, but it’s all a tiny spectacle or show. There is so much more than what we see at one specific instance.

BCT: After the EP is released, what are your plans? Will you be performing shows?

Cayden Wemple: After the EP is released, I want to book shows at as many places as I possibly can. I love playing in front of people and vibing off of their energy. My other plans will be to write and record more music! Hopefully, I’ll be fortunate enough to record a full length album at some point in the near future.

You can catch up with Cayden Wemple on social media here:

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