Caleb Folks is a full-time musician who has lived all over the place, but currently calls Hampton, Virginia home. After spending six years in the Army as part of the North Carolina Army National Guard Band, Folks decided it was time for him to go all in on his own original music. Stylizing his name as calebfolks., he released his first EP, “I Can’t Give You the World, But I Can Give You My Heart,” in 2018. The EP is four tracks long, with pop-punk and emo influences. Folks has big plans for 2019, and before his performance at Poe’s Pub in Richmond, VA, he took some time to sit down with The Alternative Feed. Sitting outside on the deck with his long hair, peace sign necklace, and bare feet, Folks spoke about music, his influences, his want to spread hope and love, and his hopes for his future in music:
The Alternative Feed: When did you first start getting into music?
Caleb Folks: Maybe like fifth or sixth grade. I started listening to like Christian rock, because I was kind of sheltered and that was all I was really allowed to listen to, and then I got into pop punk and stuff like Reliant K and Hawk Nelson. So right before I moved to Wisconsin when I was 16, I started writing music. I started playing guitar when I was 15. Freshman year of high school, I brought it to school every day. My fingers bled. I wanted to play ukulele. I didn’t have one, but my dad had a guitar, so I learned guitar and I fell in love with it. I started writing music probably my junior year of high school.
AF: Do you remember the first song you ever wrote?
CF: It’s called “Chasing Love.” I wrote it in 2011, when I was 16.
AF: Who are some of your biggest musical influences?
CF: nevershoutnever!, Reliant K, All Time Low, Mayday Parade, Taking Back Sunday, and Dashboard Confessional are all big ones. Anything like emo/pop-punk probably.
AF: So would you consider yourself emo/pop-punk as well?
CF: It’s hard to describe the genre, but on the EP probably I would say like alternative, indie, pop-rock, but definitely very pop-punk influenced for sure. I wanted to go for more of a band sound.
AF: What inspires you to write?
CF: Human emotions and experiences. Love is definitely a huge one. Whether it’s God’s love or a relationship, pain, trying to overcome something, happiness, joy, just emotions.
AF: Have you had a favorite performance so far?
CF: Probably the first time I opened for Drake Bell, last year at Shaka’s. It was so sweet, because that was a couple months after I released my EP, and I had just decided to commit to music fully. That was big for me, because Drake Bell was a big inspiration for me, and he gave me some advice on how to do it, and it was basically like, “Just do it. Go all in.”
AF: Have you had a performance that felt most important or formative to your career?
CF: Well, I think the Drake Bell show was probably up there…But most formative, maybe when I got to open for SayWeCanFly in 2014. He’s my same age and he’s signed, and he’s been in Warped Tour and Alternative Press and whatnot, and that was like my first big show ever, and I was nineteen, and I had people who came and did a live music video of my first song, “Chasing Love,” so that was really cool.
AF: Do you have any upcoming releases?
CF: This year I’m totally going to have new music coming out. I can’t say when yet, but I’m definitely working on stuff right now with some really cool producers and my manager.
AF: Where would you like to see yourself in five years with your music?
CF: I’d like to be touring nationally for sure. Like for me playing shows is a huge reason why I do this. This is a bunch of things for me. It’s an outlet, but more than that, it’s about spreading hope and love to people. I’m so into people because everyone is so different and unique, but everyone is connected. I’d love to be maybe touring with some big band I love and just playing a bunch of shows and having music videos. Oh, and being signed would be pretty cool.
AF: What exactly is the #FreedomFeet hashtag? Is that a thing you started, or is that a whole movement that a bunch of people are a part of?
CF: I love that question. Well it’s totally going to be a movement, but my buddy Jordan started it as a nickname, but I use #FreedomFeet on everything. It’s supposed to be able to relate to everybody, just like, be yourself. Do what makes you you. For me, I like being barefoot, so I just don’t wear shoes. But yeah basically it’s my nickname, but it’s also a hashtag to just be yourself.
AF: If you could tour with anyone who would it be?
CF: nevershoutnever!, Dashboard Confessional, Taking Back Sunday, The 1975, and Remo Drive.
AF: What are five things you couldn't live without?
CF: Sour Patch Kids watermelons, fruit, avocados, homies-just straight up homies, and my “folkswagon” bus. She was my first car. She’s a 1979 Volkswagon bus, so I call her “The Folkswagon.” That’s her name. I love to drive her, but she has some oil leaks, so I can’t really drive her all the time.
AF: If you could be an expert at anything unrelated to music, what would it be?
CF: Maybe like mechanics so I could work on my bus *laughs*
AF: Who are your top five most listened to artists?
CF: Post Malone, The Japanese House, Bring Me the Horizon, littleDEATH, and SØREN.
AF: If you had to sing karaoke somewhere, and not one of your own songs, what would be your go-to song?
CF: Let's go with “Cute Without The ‘e’” by Taking Back Sunday.
AF: Do you have any artists you listen to that are kind of guilty pleasure music?
CF: Well, I’m not really guilty about it, but I guess you could say Lana Del Ray and Katy Perry.
Before heading inside for his set, Folks wanted to make sure to include a thank you to everyone that has followed him and supported him along the way. To his fans and supporters he wants to say, “Thank you so much to everyone who follows me or engages in any way or comes to shows. Coming to shows is the biggest thing. When I get to see people and meet people and exchange some real human interaction, even if it’s just for a second, I can see them and I can love them, and that’s super cool for me. My whole thing is I want to spread peace and love and I want to connect with people. I don’t want anyone to ever feel like they’re alone. I’m super excited for what’s to come and thankful for everyone who’s coming on this journey with me. I’m not looking back.”
Folks just finished up a weekend tour of Atlanta, GA, Virginia Beach, VA, and Chattanooga, TN, but you can find out about future shows on all his social media. If you want to hear more from calebfolks., follow him on Instagram, Facebook, Spotify, and Twitter, and make sure to choose “see it first.” You can also check out his website, calebfolks.com.
Interview, Article, and Photos by Garnette Ransone