For as long as he can remember Cavetown has been fascinated with music. Real name Robin Skinner, he began writing songs while scarcely in his teens, hiding away with his Mac and some cheap mics and sharing the results online. “I would make a song and post it that evening,” he recalls. “It was pretty casual”.
Using social media and BandCamp as hubs, he began gathering a community around him. Small at first, but growing larger every day, he eventually amassed millions of listeners thanks to the endearing naivety of his hand-made indie pop.
There’d be groups of friends who would all collaborate together, and help each other out, and I liked that,” he recalls. Not that Cavetown would ever surrender the reins to someone else, commenting: “I think I’m too stubborn to work with other people on music!”
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“I like creating worlds to escape to,” he explains. “I want to have control over everything. I want to know that if I feel stressed or overwhelmed by what I’m working on then I can get up and go and make a cup of tea in my own kitchen.”
Breakout album ‘Lemon Boy’ took Cavetown’s profile to the next level, with his major label debut ‘Sleepyhead’ incoming. The hand-made roots are still there, but his prodigal talent is now part of something much bigger. “I started to learn more recently,” he says, “that the key to staying focussed and doing the best job I can is to not do it. To step back and take time to clear my head and calm down and take time to relax.”
Softly spoken, Cavetown’s unerring innocence is matched by his pure passion for music and his quiet driven to succeed. It’s something that has marked his material right from the start. “I’ve always recorded at home,” he says. “In my bedroom at first. But it’s not a great idea to mix sleep-space and work-space. You feel that when you’re working you should be sleeping, and when you’re sleeping you need to work!”
WHERE: London, via Oxford
WHAT: Sweetly melodic indie pop with a DIY template.
3 SONGS: ‘Sweet Tooth’, ‘Lemon Boy’, ‘This Is Home’
FACT: Cavetown scored A* on his Music Tech A-Level, commenting: “I didn’t really try at anything else...”
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Words: Robin Murray
Photography: Joel Smedley
Styling: Zarina Shukri
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