…here’s the beginning of that writing project I was going on about the other day. This is the rough-rough version, so it will change before I’m done with it.
If you were to ask me what album has had the greatest influence on me and my band, The Soviet Space Program, I would have to give you a list. Most listeners hear the weight that The Mayfair Set’s Too Few Human Beings had on my own songwriting, and the effect that any of the early Ventures releases, especially Walk Don’t Run, had on Kyle Shenk’s guitar is so obvious that it would go without mentioning. Also, the summer of 1996 was ruled by Dens invaginatis’s Coming up It!, a fact that has no doubt influenced our early albums.
One album, however, that has had a much greater effect on The Soviet Space Program, as well as many of the other bands that have come out of the growing Canton Indie scene (Such as Chernobyl Necklace, Tom Hever and the Hot Tub Club, and Gogol’s Overcoat, to name a few) , would have to be Conspiracy of Cartographers’ first and final full-length album, Conspiracy of Cartographers are Dead. Indeed, in the Canton scene, the album has developed an almost mystical significance.
It would seem obvious that the album would become a sort of urban legend; a mere five days after the albums release, the most of the band’s members, including Jay Nova and Kelly Otter, the Core of the band, were killed in a tragic accident when their tour bus careened off a bridge in Brooklyn, New York. The stories that the local music zines told read like tabloids: tales of a suicide pact, black magic, and even a conspiracy between Borges Records executives and local law enforcement abounded in those sad, sad days in 2004.
The real story is much more complex, yet more mundane. When I originally proposed this book to the guys at 45RPM books, I had thought that I would be writing about the songs on the album and how they painted a nearly prophetic picture of the band’s demise. However, to understand the album and where Nova and Otter were coming from when developing their concept for their only album, I quickly realized that I would have to describe the earlier EPs of CoC, the Canton Indie scene, and the effect that the band, their album, and their tragic end had on others from the scene.
And so, I would like to take the time to thank everyone who gave their input on what has turned out to be an almost oral history of the band. I realize that, even now, it is hard to talk about how the Canton Indie Scene lost not only a great band but also some great friends. I thank you all in making this book possible, because, frankly, I think that it is necessary.