I Love to Create – Bound Away an Interview with CAKE’s Gabe Nelson and a Giveaway

Before I did crafts I wrote music reviews and interviewed bands for various magazines, websites and my own zine. It has been a long time since I had a chance to chat with someone in the music industry since my focus has shifted from music to crafts over the years. Recently I discovered a project that combined both my love of music and my passion for all things handmade. “Bound Away” is a new project by the band CAKE and BANDmade Books. I got the chance to chat with CAKE bass player Gabe Nelson about their new CD book and all the DIY touches that went into making it. Oh and did I mention I have a copy of Bound Away to give away? Yup, keep reading.

Bound Away is a CD single made into a handmade book. BANDmade Books brings together musicians like CAKE with book artists to turn a song into a limited-edition handmade book. Bound Away, which is a song from CAKE’s most recent album Showroom of Compassion, is tailored perfectly to the band. CAKE was closely involved in every step, from creative concept, through the various stages of production.

Let me break down the awesomeness of this handmade/eco friendly/charity donating little gem for ya…

24 illustrated pages using linoleum blocks hand carved by the band and volunteers.

Type is handset in Alternate Gothic No. 2 and Universe.

Printing: two-color letterpress Vandercook proofing presses, by members of CAKE and volunteers

Text pages: 100% post-consumer recycled paper

End sheets: hand made paper made from reclaimed jute coffee sacks from a local coffee roaster.

Covers: handmade paper made by the band using their old cotton clothing

Binding: hand stitched with local hand spun thread waxed with bees wax from a local beehive

Edition: 1000 numbered copies signed by all members of CAKE 51⁄4 x 51⁄4” hardcover book Includes a CD single of the song Published in San Francisco, 2011

A portion of the sales of each edition of Bound Away will benefit 826 Valencia and the Hamilton Type Museum.

So let’s get on to that interview with Gabe. Somewhere between teaching bass lessons and touring with the band he found time to answer a few of my hot burning questions about Bound Away.

How did you guys hook up with Bandmade Books? Is CAKE the maiden voyage for the project? Do you know who is coming down the turnpike after you guys?

Pam Deluco called us up with the idea. It was timed perfectly because our album release was eminent therefore we could use a brand new song for the project. It was pretty flattering that Pam thought to ask us first. The book turned out great and is an excellent partner for the song. Regarding the next BANDmade edition… I know Pam is talking to several artists, although we are not certain who will follow next.

From what I understand you guys were very involved in the making of Bound Away both conceptually and physically. Most bands would have just ok-ed the use of their song and then that would be it. Why was it important for CAKE to be involved in every step from picking red and blue as the primary colors to doing pulls of the prints?

Pam’s entire vision was complete band inclusive — and we believed that was really the only way forward. We embraced that part of it, as we have always done much of our own labor in CAKE. John has worked a lot with print, and I have worked with paper, so we could help the other guys learn those parts. Carving the linoleum blocks was a really interesting experience as well.

How did you choose “Bound Away” as the song to make the book about? Was there a song that was a close first runner up?

“Bound Away” was the only choice for this project. It is an old fashioned song and making books by hand is also old fashioned craft. Sometimes, the right track is the obvious track. I don’t recall even discussing a different CAKE song for the project.

What is your earliest crafty/DIY memory. Macaroni necklaces for your mother count. What is your earliest musical memory?

Earliest craft project was a “Happy Father’s Day” plaque in 2nd grade. It was made from salt-dough. It was so salty and savory that I ate part of it on the way home from school. I remember my dad completely cracking up when I gave him his ” appy Father’s Day” gift. Earliest musical memory is watching the “Jerry Lewis Telethon”. They had Frank Sinatra, Johnny Cash, Charro, Bobby Vinton, and a host of others. I just remember connecting with the music and thinking to myself that I wanted to make those types of sounds someday.

Besides making music do you have any other hobbies in the artsy craftsy world? Do you knit on the tour bus or paint oil portraits between tours?

Music takes up all my time. I have tried to get into other things, but there just aren’t enough hours in the day. So it’s pretty narrowed down at the present time.

I love that the band’s old cotton clothing was recycled to make the paper for the covers of the CD. What type of clothing did you use? Could a super stalker fan tell themselves that perhaps a pair of cotton boxer shorts were used in the making of this CD cover?

I gave some old sheets that we had — which made the paper green.

All proceeds from the sale of Bound Away go to 826 Valencia and the Hamilton Type Museum. 826 Valencia helps students with their writing skills and the Hamilton Type Museum is dedicated to the preservation, study, production and printing of wood type. How did you choose the recipients of all the loot?

We thought something that had to do with book making was appropriate. The whole experience was a journey to the past when people had to be more creative if they wanted something. You couldn’t just pop into a store a make a purchase, you had to use your wits and your hands. I think science has confirmed that keeping your brain active is essential to good health. Hopefully the money will help those who are interested and have a chance to explore this old fashioned craft.

How do/did you encourage your children (if you have them) to be creative? Do you play music with them? Craft with them?

My son, Max, has always been self motivated to do art. When he was three or four he would be on the floor of his room at 6 a.m. drawing, or writing a story. He can paint water colors very well now. He also taught himself computer animation. I think he prefers it if i don’t try to involve myself in what he does. He is a pretty independent spirit. He has done a little music too, but usually goes back to the visual side of art. I think perhaps the practice involved with playing an instrument doesn’t suit him. I never try to push anything on him when it comes to art. Homework and chores usually require encouragement from me, but not art.

Thanks so much Gabe for taking the time to chat with me about Bound Away! If you would like to have your very own copy of Bound Away, you have two options. First, you can go buy a copy – remember they are limited eddition and all proceeds go to charity. Second, you can leave me a comment and in a week I will pick a lucky winner. This handmade beauty is signed my all the members of CAKE and numbered 14/1000. Leave me a comment about something fun like your fave CAKE song, if you have ever made handmade paper, have you ever been to a CAKE concert or perhaps you wanna share your love of linoleum block printing. Any ole’ comment will do.

42 Responses to “I Love to Create – Bound Away an Interview with CAKE’s Gabe Nelson and a Giveaway”

  1. Sweet T

    OMG! I LOVE CAKE! Prolonging the Magic got me through the 1999 Honolulu Marathon – they were all I would listen to while I was training.

    Guitar is my favorite song by them, from the same album. It kind of defined the relationship I was in at the time.

  2. Sweet T

    oops… as far paper making – never done it. but I did see Cake at ACL in 2004.

    I would love to have this book. If I don't win, I WILL be purchasing. But it would be cool to have the signed one. =)

  3. lauren

    What a fantastic giveaway! Being Sacto peeps, we have loved CAKE long time.

    I'd have to say my favorite CAKE song is "Daria" but my kids love to chant "No Phone". A LOT.

    Yes, I've made paper in my kitchen sink (with wildflower seeds in it for my wedding favors). And we've been to see them play many times. Thank you for this opportunity!

  4. Erdbeertee

    Hey there 🙂
    My most beloved CAKE song is hard to determine, since i like most of their songs. If i had to choose one i guess it is "Dime". The story behind this also is coneected to the (sadly) only concert i've ever been to. I purchased all the albums except Pressure Chief until i decided to go to their concert in Amsterdam in March 2011. I first heard it while walking

  5. Susie

    I think "mexico" would have to be my favorite. It has this dreamy quality to it that is lovely. I do agree with others, so hard to pick just one! I love this packaging! So much AWESOME SAUCE!

  6. Stephanie

    'Going the distance' is my fave – cause I need that song to keep me going when I'm working out!
    I've never made paper, thought have seriously concidered trying the blender & window screen method just for fun!

  7. Casey

    I guess Short Skirt/Long Jacket, if I had to choose. I've made paper, printed, and even made books, but I would love a copy of this one! Yeah, Sacto boys!

  8. Anonymous

    CAKE is my religion, by choice. their music inspires me to be a better person.

  9. Unknown

    My Hubby and I love Cake! We listen to them so much that our kids are fans of Cake now too! They request to listen to Cake everytime we go somewhere in our car. Cake have many songs that are my favorite, but the one that I'm feeling at the moment that's my fav is Comfort Eagle! It's the one that I currently blare out my car stereo through Walmart parking lot 🙂 My family and I would

  10. Pat Glowacki

    I LOVE CAKE!! getting this book would mean so much to me especially since it is signed by the members. John McCrea is legit my idol. I've seen them in concert twice out here near Philadelphia. Both times were absolutely phenomonal and his wit and personality on stage added to the perfect music they play. If I had to pick a favorite, I would say it is "Long Line of Cars". I say this

  11. Rachaeldaisy

    This looks awesome! I haven't heard of Cake, oh no does that make me daggy? I promise I'll track down some of their music and have a good listen. I want to eat cake while listening to Cake! I love the whole book idea and that it's on special paper and special printing etc just makes it soo.. Special! Thanks for a great interview!

  12. seh12

    It's hard to choose, but I'd have to say that "Stickshifts and Safetybelts" is my favourite Cake song, with "Where Would I Be?" as a close second. I also enjoy "Wheels," with their acknowledgment of "sexy French Canadians." I've had the pleasure of seeing Cake three times: in Montréal, Vancouver, and at Les Ardentes festival in Liège, Belgium a

  13. iheartve

    Although I love CAKE (both the band and the food), I have a seriously deep appreciation for letter pressing. The bold, hand carved graphins and the clean typography encompass everything that I'm drawn to (and strive for) artistically and creatively.

    But, if I must pick a song, I absolutely, without a doubt, must say Friend Is A Four Letter Word. I love old CAKE. Not stale, just

  14. BridgetKat

    Oooh ♥CAKE's adorable new book. I want one, BAF! Listening to them takes me back to an earlier place I'm time, when I was younger & more carefree.i

  15. jen @ hell razor

    I love when bands do something outside of the norm, and i especially love anything visual-arts related (being an art teacher and all…)

    That being said, my all-time favorite Cake song is "Satan is my Motor." Hear my motor purr… 🙂

  16. RRR

    "Guitar Man" might be my favorite song, or "Satan is My Motor." Depends on the day. And I hope this project wil inspire CAKE to write a song about book-making, and maybe even against digital books (long live bound books!) 🙂

  17. april h l

    I must say — I definitely love CAKE — but I love them even more as a handpapermaker, book artist, and printer, and the fact that this goes to the Hamilton Wood Type museum! I also love seeing more photos of the San Francisco Center for the Book…hopefully I'll get to visit next year.

    but as a graduate student in said mediums, Short Skirt / Long Jacket definitely has to be my

  18. Kierstyn

    Oh CAKE….my fave! I was first introduced to their music in 1999. A group of us were spending timeline the north of Norn Iron and Stick Shifts and Safety Belts became our anthem. The love affair has continued ever since. My husband (to be) and I danced to Perhaps at the birthday "prom" I threw for him, several of their songs have been my ringtones, and their albums have been favorite

  19. B

    CAKE is amazing. I can listen to their music all day (and I do) – Now they're my daughters' favorite band!

  20. Col

    We've seen CAKE three times in the last year and have plans to see them again in September. My daughter's favorite song is Perhaps, Perhaps, Perhaps – which we are convinced they played just for her as an encore at their Portland show in February! I like Guitar and Love You Madly – and so many others.

    My college roommate was a printmaking major, and I remember her doing all

  21. FAC Spitfire97

    I've been a CAKE fan almost all of my life. Being born in the early 90's and spending my formative years just outside Sacramento, CAKE was a local band to be proud of. Now, being almost 19, I am still an avid fan and listener and their music has been a tether to my "home" as I now reside in what I would consider the foreign landscape of southern Pennsylvania.

  22. iamirm

    I just love CAKE. I have made paper. I have made cake too. And ate it. I also ate paper. But that's an entirely different story.

  23. CKS

    I love CAKE! I am a huge fan and would always listen to them when I went on road trips, which was quite often. Aside from their fantastic and versatile music I love their versatility in life. I love that they excel in other things like cooking and crafting, which are also dear to my heart. I have done print making and have also made my own paper at home. I love to know that they had

  24. Pierce

    cake! i love how involved these guys were in the bookmaking process. it's nice to see a band that is really sincere in their work.

  25. frankenhut

    My favorite CAKE memory was in San Francisco. Cake was suddenly very popular after the release of their Fashion Nugget album, but I think they wanted to perform in a very small venue. Cake played one night at 'Bottom of the Hill' (a charming tiny music bar in the Potrero Hill neighborhood). The were billed as "Supersport" (who picked that name~ HA HA) and the ambiance was

  26. A

    If I win your copy, I'll send a donation to the Hamilton Type Museum so everybody wins.

    I moved to CAKE's hometown, Sacramento, a year and a half ago to take a great job with a nonprofit. I travel weekly, racking up 85 nights in California hotel rooms the first year and over 30,000 miles in my car. I bought "Showroom of Compassion" at the record store across from the

  27. L

    Jolene is my favorite song ever — but Bound Away is my favorite on the new album. CAKE is like a musical orgasm; everyone loves some good CAKE. Delicious.

    Also – did anyone else notice the pun? "Bound"? As in, book binding? HA!!

  28. Jimmy

    Thanks for the interview.
    I am using this inspiration to create a book with my daughter for gifts with a similar technique. Very cool stuff
    My wedding song is Love You Madly and I am excited to see them in an old venue on New Year's Eve this year.

  29. Laurent

    This book looks awesome (graphic designer speaking) and i'd loooove to see it for real…
    CAKE has been one of my favourite bands for a while. I just love all parts of their music, the sweet guitar sound, the amazing bass lines which i can't reproduce on my bass, the melodies… I just loooooove CAKE, and i just haaaaaate that they won't tour southern France, so i can't see

  30. Victoria

    My older sister introduced me to CAKE in high school and now I own all their albums. How could a person pick only one favorite song? They are all so amazing and varied, from the short and morbid End of the Movie to the melodious, yet some how soulful, Sad Songs and Waltzes. You can tell McCrea puts so much effort into his lyrics and I love that way he talks/sings them, it&#39

  31. Eric

    I love this band! I've seen them in concert 5 times so far. I have all of their albums and cannot decide on a favorite song. This book looks so cool and I think the whole concept is awesome. I did some printmaking in art school and have made books before. So I know all of the hard work and care that went into making this one. I'd love a copy. Thanks for the opportunity!

  32. Stacey Grigg

    Love this project. Know the words to every cake song. Own every album. Seen them live 4 times in the last 2 years. Going again in September. I also love crafting and had a paper making kick some years ago. My wife took a book arts class a few years ago and loved it.

  33. Nory

    The Distance off their second album is pretty classic. In high school a kid in my film class made a claymation music video for it which was extremely well done using final cut pro. Which included a car chase scene and a knife fight between some action figures to save a barbie. I have it on a old VHS tape somewhere. I should dig that out and upload it.


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