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Crosss interview with Andrew March

July 25, 2013

Crosss interview with Andrew March

If you’re just joining me then you might have
missed out a little bit.  I am of the
opinion that a gerat deal of the best psychedelic music from across the globe
comes from Canada an area which I feel is a highly overlooked source of amazing
tunes.  I’ve talked with several bands
from America’s great white cousin to the North, Canada, including Powder Blue,
KRANG and Shooting Guns in an attempt to get people to stand up and pay
attention.  Now I’ve got another name to
add to the list of increasingly impressive and talented bands exploding out of
Canada right now, Crosss.  On the tail of
several extremely promising cassette tapes Telephone Explosion recently
unleashed Crosss’ debut album Obsidian Spectre on an unsuspecting world!  With previous releases from Ty Segall,
Charlie & The Moonhearts and Teenanger long before Segall became a trendy
household name, Telephone Explosion holds a special place in my heart as one of
the first specialty labels I ever from years ago at this point.  So when Telephone Explosion announced their
newest release I went in with high expectations.  I was not disappointed.  A poignant combination of grunge, psych and
just enough metal to keep things really interesting Crosss is proving to be an
incredibly unique voice amongst the increasingly chocked Canadian psych
scene.  A swirling amalgamation of some
of the heaviest psych I’ve heard in a long time and some clever interesting
composition Crosss is nothing short of jaw dropping.  Now that I have the obligatory name dropping,
comparisons and hype out of the way why don’t you just click on this link and
listen to some tunes?  http://crosss.bandcamp.com/  It will help you get into the right headspace
to read about one of my absolutely favorite new bands; Crosss…

What’s your lineup?  Is this the
original lineup or have you gone through some personnel changes?
Nathan Doucet and Ryan Allen join me now, my name is Andrew March.  There have been many lineups but this is the
real one.
When
and how did you all meet?
Halifax is a small place and we’ve known each other for a long
time.  Nathan and I however became close
friends during a time of parallel turmoil. 
We both lost our minds and souls to others and we helped each other
recover them.  That’s when the real band
was born, I guess we are co-shamans. Ryan tags along with whoever is driving
out of Halifax, so that’s his role.
Are
any of you in any other bands?  Have you
released any material with anyone else? 
If so can you tell us a little bit about it?
We’re all lifer musicians and Halifax is a prolific town, so yes we have
other projects and many other releases. 
Nathan is in a notable band called Heaven For Real, and Ryan has one
called Cold Warps.  I run a cassette
singles label called Craft Singles and operate a record lathe.
Where are you originally from?
I’m from Halifax, Nova Scotia, Canada.
Was
your household very musical growing up? 
Were any of your relatives musicians or very interested in music?
Yes my grandfather was a professional musician and educator.  He was a bandmaster in the Navy and played
most instruments very well.  My father is
a gifted intuitive pianist and guitarist and my mother is a very good
singer.  She won a lot of competitions as
a youngster.  My younger brother studies
the Tabla and is actually very good.  My
older brother taught me my first instrument, electric bass, and he also played
French horn.  We were a very musical
family, which is not at all uncommon in Nova Scotia.
How
were you first exposed to music?  When
did you first become interested in music and when did you first become
interested in writing/performing music?
I always intended to be a musician, ever since I was a child.  There’s a famous quote amongst my family of
me as a child saying, “I want to be a musician like gramps so I can make money
having fun”. I hold that same pathos now, though the ethos has changed.  I wanted to write music as soon as I realized
that man was inherently and forever becoming, I’m happy to be part of that
process now.
Where is the band currently located?
We’re an hour east of Calgary Alberta, on the trans-Canada, watching the
sun set behind endless fields of wheat, looking forward to twenty-three hours
of prairies and highway ‘til Chicago.
How
would you describe the local music scene where you are at?
The scene in Halifax is very special. 
I would be betraying too much to too many good friends to say any
more.  Just take a look on Bandcamp.  Things have been evolving in beautiful and
complex ways since before I was around, and thanks be to gods, will continue to
do so.
Are
you very involved with the local scene?
Yes, one of the local studios lets me record there in the nights, so I
try to document as many of the bands as I can. 
Craft Singles has twenty-six releases now, and most are local Halifax
bands.
Has
it played a large role in the sound, history or evolution of Crosss?
I would say yes and no.  All water
comes from the sky, though the ocean only vaguely resembles the clouds.  I’ve also lived several places and though I
might say I’m from a place, it’s not my real home.  I think the evolution of the band has come
from audiences and peers from several parts of the country, some of whom
identify with the Halifax scene, some of whom do not.  I have always tried to keep a wide vision
when it comes to all the different elements of life and I accept that it‘s a
slow path but I also believe it’s a strong path.
What
led you to form Crosss and when was that?
I was in a band called Cousins in 2008 but I couldn’t stay in Halifax
anymore and they moved on without me, and are doing very well now indeed.  I moved to Montreal and started Crosss there
because honestly, I didn’t know what else to do with my energy.
Can
you tell us who your major musical influences are?  What about the band as a whole rather than
individually?
I like a song when it gives me a little shiver in my back, when the
Kundalini writhes a little.  Nothing does
that for me like classical Indian music or the sounds of the 70’s British
Invasion, in all its incarnations.  On a
more intentional level, I’m blending Sabbath, Dog Day, Sleep, early Pink Floyd
and a sound which I imagine as a Druidic sound, though no one knows what that
would really be…
What
does the name Crosss mean and how was it chosen?
I named the band in honor of my first collaborator under this monicker,
who is named Christian.  Crosss was a
joke about that.  I like it now because
it points to a plurality of Crosses and is also usually mispronounced as cross,
a word which my grandmother may have used to describe my feelings for the
current remembrance of only a single cross. 
The history of sentient beings on earth has been scribbled over with
cheap markers by bratty boys and I’m happy to point that out with my band name.
Can
you tell us a little bit about Crosss’s songwriting process?  Is there a lot of exploratory jamming or is
there someone who approaches the rest of the band with a riff or more finished
product to work out with the rest of you?
So far we have done very little in the way of group explorations.  My role so far has been to compose.  The others play very, very well and I love
them.  That’s their role so far.
What
about the recording process?  Do you
enjoy recording?  Some bands love and
other head for the hills at the mere mention of recording ha-ha!
I love recording.  I recorded this
LP several times before releasing it, partly because I wanted to get it
sounding a particular way and partly just because I love recording!
Your
first release was the Bones Brigade cassette single.  Can you talk about the recording of that
album?  Where was it recorded?  When was it recorded?  Who recorded it and what kind of equipment
was used?  Who released the Bones Brigade
tape?
That tape was recorded in Montreal by Christian Simmons and me at his
studio, Drones Club.  We recorded
directly to 1/2 inch 8-track, and mixed it on a digital recorder of some kind I
think.  I released it on cassette under
my own imprint.
You
followed up the Bones Brigade tape with a split cassette release with I Smell
Blood.  How did that collaboration come
about?  Why a split cassette rather than
a 7”, CD or something?

That release was someone else’s idea, and was not collaborative.  I assume tapes were chosen for their price.
Can
you tell us who recorded the song that appeared on that cassette, Obsidian
Song?  Where and when was it
recorded?  What kind of equipment was
used?
That was a very unusual one.  I
produced it alone, creating several loops with guitar, drums and my voice and
then outputting them to a mixer.  I used
the mixer with some outboard gear to create the arrangement and filter and
manipulate the loops, giving me the finished product.  I hoped to create a song that seemed
spontaneous and natural in its arrangement, although that sounds very
supernatural, the real time process of mixing helped in so far as that was a
success.
Did
you write that song specifically for that split or did you have it completed
and or recorded beforehand?
I wrote and produced it in one sitting.
You
just released your debut album Obsidian Spectre on Telephone Explosion Records
out of Canada.  Can you tell us about the
recording of that album?  Where was it
recorded?  Who recorded it?  When was it recorded?  What kind of equipment was used?  Was it very different than the recording for
your earlier split and single?
Yes it was.  We recorded it
ourselves at the Echo Chamber in Halifax very late at night in 2012.  Our approach was to focus on the drum sounds
without cymbals.  We used a very good
microphone, a RCA clone, and a very good Neve clone.  It was recorded on a low-quality a/d
converter and the pre amps in that box give it that clipping, something we got
from Tame Impala.  The guitars get there
tone from being doubled and by careful use of several mics.  Phase and panning lend a lot of their
character.  I spent a long time learning
to master so I could put the finishing touches on the record, I think it took
me three months to master.
The
songs from the Bones Brigade single made their way on to the album but the
Obsidian Song from the split didn’t.  Is
that song available anywhere now?  If not
are there any plans to make it available physically or via a digital release
medium like iTunes or Bandcamp?  Where
the tracks from the Bones Brigade single the original recordings or were they
re-recorded during the Obsidian Spectre sessions?
Obsidian Song is streaming on our Bandcamp and available for download
there.  We re-recorded both those songs
for the LP.
You
also release an already sold out extremely limited lathe cut 8” (yes 8” not 7”)
split with Un Blonde.  How did that
collaboration come about?  8” lathe cut
squares of plexi-glass, wow!  How limited
was the release?  Who put it out?  It would seem to me there can’t be a lot of
people out there capable of even releasing something like that!
*Songs are still available for digital
purchase via Bandcamp
The singer in UnBlonde is young man from Calgary, Alberta named Jean
Sebastien Audet.  He sent me demos last
year and I was amazed by them.  I
released those songs as a cassette under the name The You Are Minez.  The Crosss/UnBlonde split was proposed by
Pierre Richardson who runs the label Bruised Tongue, an Ottawa imprint, which
released the 8″.  I made them on my
Record Lathe.  I’ve made fifty so far,
and may make more if I ever get home.
Was
the recording of the song for that split, Saccarhine, handled in the same
fashion as the Obsidian Spectre sessions?
I made Saccarhine alone but this time I used Logic.  The drums are a program called BFD, I played
them on my computer keyboard.
Are
there any plans for a follow-up release of any sort coming up?
Yes we are working on the songs for our next release right now.  In the meantime there’s a 7″ split with
a band called Astral Gunk coming up soon on the Pleasance imprint, and we are
curating a six band compilation for a Brooklyn label called Northern Spy which
is coming out on cassette.
With
the recent international postage rate hikes where is the best place for our US
readers to purchase copies of your music? 
What about international and overseas readers?
Postage is a big problem.  The
best approach that I know of is to have your local store order the record.  Our distributor is called Revolver and it
should be available anywhere, stores order from distributors in bulk so they
save on shipping.  The next best thing is
to just get in touch with the label directly, email telephoneexplosion@gmail.com
What
do you have planned as far as touring goes for the rest of the year?
This will be a busy year.  We’ll
be around the USA and Canada a lot.  If
all goes according to plan.
Do
you have any funny or interesting stories from live shows that you’d like to
share with our readers?
Last week we were supposed to play with Thee Oh Sees in Calgary at a
festival called Sled Island, but the city was hit with a massive flood so the
festival was cancelled.  A bunch of house
shows were arranged at the last minute in the dry part of town to try to make
up for it.  There were so many people it
was kind of nuts, just hundreds of people trying to cram into someone’s tiny
basement.  We played a few of them over
the next few days, and, well…  They were
crazy.
You
have played with some awesome bands, who are some of your personal favorites
that you’d like to share a bill with?
Hmmm…  In my dreams I’m usually on
tour with Swans.  I would really like to tour
with Metz or Naomi Punk someday.
I
must admit I love having a digital copy of an album to take with me on the go;
I can’t very well haul my vinyl around with me! 
But there’s something inescapable about physical releases for me.  Having a physical object to hold in your
hands, artwork to look at and liner notes to read will always make the
listening experience more complete, at least for me.  Do you have any such connection with physical
releases?
Yes of course, the act of listening to records and looking at the
packaging is an important element.
Do
you have a music collection at all?  If
so can you tell us a little bit about it?
It’s funny.  I’m not a
collector.  I consume music pretty fast
and don’t really go back, so I don’t keep records around.  I go through other people’s collections and I
love other people’s records very passionately although I have very few of my
own.  Most of which I was just given or
bought at shows, though there are maybe one or two very special records, like
the Husband and Knife LP, which carry special meaning to me.
As
an artist during the reign of digital what’s your opinion on digital music and
distribution.  While it seems to be doing
a lot of damage to the mainstream industry it seems to be allowing independent
bands to level the playing field as far as promotion and distribution goes as
long as they are willing to put in the work.
I think the music industry needed adjustment and that has happened.  And I think its back on its feet again now,
in a better way.  Maybe I’m wrong but as
of right now that’s how I feel.  The
greatest relevance of digital music, I feel, is in research.  When I started studying music I would go
through the university library, my friends parent’s collections or maybe read
about a band in magazine and save up to order a CD for $25, but it was very
hard.  It was very unfortunate.  Today, obviously, research is very
powerful.  There are tremendous archives
of music from every time and place.  It’s
very different and a whole lot better.  I
think music will progress faster and better now.  Really, I feel like it is already.
I
ask everyone I talk to this question in hopes of keeping up with half of the amazing
musicians out there right now.  Who
should I be listening to from your local scene or area that I might not have
heard of before?
Oh gee whiz, Bloodhouse, Dog Day, Husband and Knife, Bad Vibrations, Old
and Weird, Torso and Guilt
What
about nationally and internationally?
Nationally:  The Soupcans, Each
Other, Freak Heat Waves, The Hussy and Telstar Drugs.  Internationally, I don’t know any secrets
Is
there anything that I missed or that you’d just like to talk about?
Nope.  Thanks!
DISCOGRAPHY
(2011) 
Crosss – Bones Brigade – Cassette Tape – Craft Singles/Electric Voice
Records (Limited to 90 copies)
(2012) 
Crosss/I Smell Blood – Split – Cassette Tape – Perdu Zine
(2013) 
Crosss – Obsidian Spectre – digital, 12” – Telephone Explosion Records
(2013) 
Crosss/Un Blonde – Split – digital, 8” – Bruised Tongue
Interview made by Roman Rathert/2013
© Copyright
http://psychedelicbaby.blogspot.com/2013
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