Interview: Introducing Romanian Garage Rock Quartet Cardinal

“Cardinal is the future of rock music! Put your 3D glasses on now!” says Daniel, who is both guitarist and vocalist of the band Cardinal. Formed in 2015, in the suburbs of the Black Sea, Cardinal seems a promising project so far.

Cardinal explore different sub-genres of rock music, from garage, math, and stoner. They started as a high school band, originally as a three-piece, which at that time was made up of Daniel, Victor, and Vladone. Later, Marko joined them on this wild, experimental journey as their second guitarist.

They could easily resemble an “awkward-teenage-coming-of-age-highschool-hijinx comedy where all the actors are actually in their mid-30s” mixed with a “stop motion film boasting industrial landscapes and a dead world full of blues,” they describe.

Poster provided by Cardinal

The name Cardinal came out after they decided they wanted “an easy-to-say single word that sounded quasi-cool and could be easily remembered” by their fans, as Victor describes. “After a while of getting used to the name, we started retroactively applying symbolism to it that fit our evolving sound and context better.”, Victor, who is both bassist and vocalist of the band, says.

These “beach boys” are inspired by every single aspect the world can offer, and maybe out of it sometimes, as Daniel says, when it comes to writing their music. Victor says that the lyrics are, mostly, a fusing of politics, irony, existential crises, and personal experiences. On the instrumental part, things are mostly spontaneous. Victor says that he likes to “mish-mash” the music he has been obsessed with his whole life and combine it with mathematical experimentation. “Others might call ‘originality’ but is just throwing sh*t at a wall and seeing what sticks.”, he says. Marko, on the other hand, is inspired by whatever he is listening to at the time.

Photo Credit: Alex Vladoiu (@vitaminafp)

Recently, not only that they had a small part in a movie, but also were part of its soundtrack, too. The movie is called Otto the Barbarian and was directed by Ruxandra Ghitescu. “It was honestly surreal that they trusted a bunch of basically children with no experience with the film industry whatsoever not only with playing small roles in front of the camera but also with writing and recording the original soundtrack for the film.”, Victor says. The film recently got nominated for eleven categories, including Best Original Music Score, at the GOPO Awards. “I was joking that we would get nominated for the ‘Romanian Oscar’, in the idea that we even recorded some of the music that wound up on the final cut with our phones in the rehearsal room. I guess we joked it into reality.”, says Daniel.

They had several gigs in other countries, too, including Serbia, Hungary, and England. Their first gig in London was in 2020, and they seemed to enjoy the atmosphere the crowd was giving. “It was a really good gig, and the people there really seemed to enjoy it, which was really nice. It’s always a big moment when playing to people who have never heard you before, especially in a place as musically significant as London,” says Marko.

Photo Credit: George Ilie Andrei (Cersworld)

The lockdown was quite harsh for them, as they could not be able to perform live anymore. Nevertheless, they said that this rough period gave them room for studio work and songwriting. They have released one EP and one studio album so far which can be listened to on all of the usual platforms. They are now working on their second album, which they promise will be as good as they imagine it to be.

Photo Credit: The Interwission

Cardinal will play their next show in July, in Bucharest. But until then, you can check them out on their online platforms.

Facebook / Youtube / Instagram / Bandcamp / Spotify

Interview by Lorena Cristea
Header photo by Mihai Matei

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