The prog powerhouse from Brisbane, Caligula’s Horse is supporting Ne Obliviscaris next week on their Painted Progression Tour. The shows will be the first time Ne Obliviscaris has played in Australia since late 2017, and the first time the two bands have been on the same bill in several years. I had the opportunity to chat with lead guitarist Sam Vallen, about their involvement on this tour as well as how the band is shaping up this year.

On being asked about having previously performed with other bands in the line-up, Vallen said “Interestingly enough we haven’t, but pretty much all of them have been on our radar at one point or the other. Tim’s been talking about Rivers of Nihil for a little while ‘cause they’re a phenomenal band, and they’re all obviously phenomenal, but they’re a band who’s sort of piqued our interest a little bit lately.”

And of course when it came to favourite city, there was justified bias in his response. “There’s nothing like playing your hometown show. We’ve spent a long time kind of building ourselves up in Brisbane even before we really started getting on the national circuit and even the international circuit for that matter…There’s something very special about playing in our home, in the city that we kind of established ourselves in.”

When asked about what band they still wish to play with, Vallen makes an interesting and excellent choice. “We toured Europe with Opeth, we’ve played with bands like Pain Of Salvation, Mastodon and heaps of bands that we look up to. But the band that we really really wanna play with is Devin Townsend Band.”

Comparing pre-show preparations between this and their previous tours, “a tour like this is a little bit more about getting the setlist right, making sure that the theming and the vibe on stage and everything is exactly as we want it. ‘Cause at the end of the day you know it’s only 4 shows compared to the long runs we’ve done, and it’s not as long a set so instead it’s more about how do we make the time we’ve got as powerful as it can be.”

On the In Contact tab book, Vallen explains “We love doing stuff like this coz of course we do a tab book you know you get the benefit of seeing people post their covers and stuff on Instagram and that to us is sort of a metric whether we’re doing well. And it’s kind of scary you know? I’m the lead guitarist and seeing all these young guitarists just killing it with my solos so it makes me wanna practice haha!”

“ was a massive amount of work ‘cause I am one of those guys who I’m kind of old school when it comes to writing – I tend to write it as kind of a demo form and my records of it are just scribbles in a notepad … Then when it comes to doing a tab book, all of a sudden I’ve got to write meticulously, all of the many guitar parts that I’ve layered, it’s nuts! I had to learn to use Guitar Pro quickly for one but on top of that it was just really fascinating to go back through all of these layers…so doing this tab book was awesome, I got to go back and be really meticulous about it all.”

Want to play those sweet riffs from In Contact? Grab a copy of Caligula’s Horse tab book HERE (digital files only)

The Painted Progression Tour is on next week! Don’t miss out, get your tickets here: Adelaide, Melbourne, Sydney, Brisbane.