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The Crayon Set interview

The Crayon Set

Indie-pop outfit the Crayon Set will launch their brand new single ‘Attack’ this Saturday night March 29th in Whelan’s, Dublin. Band member Robert Baker spoke to theLastMixedTape’s Stephen White about the group’s new material and song writing.

The Crayon Set just released the new single ‘Attack’. How do you feel this song has developed the group’s sound?

To be honest, we’ve had the song written a while but we didn’t feel it belonged on the first album so we left it to one side. Writing the song was just a bit of an experiment in song-writing – using every chord in that key – and cramming about 5-6 different sections into a 3 minute song. So it’s a bit schizophrenic and a bit of a rush – hopefully in a good way and a bit different to the usual verse-chorus structure. Think I might have been listening to a lot of Stephen Malkmus at the time – also lyrically with a mix of the serious and more random, throwaway stuff

‘Attack’ has a much more expansive, full-scale production aesthetic than your début album. Was that something that the band set out to achieve when in the studio or was it more organic?

Given we were just looking at it as a single meant a slightly different approach and offered us a bit of freedom – we didn’t have to think about in the context of an album and sitting alongside other songs. We wanted it to sound big and like a single. Production-wise, I’m not sure it’s more full-scale than the first album – some of those tunes have had a lot more tracks and layers of strings, harmonies, pianos, woodwind etc – but it’s more full-on and we just turned up the distortion and rocked out more. We’ve always rocked out more live so we wanted to bring some of that energy into the studio too. In saying that, you always have to do what’s best for that particular song.

As a side note, we are mostly all Everton fans (an important criterion when we’re recruiting new members) and we were hoping the mighty Toffees would make it to the FA Cup Final and we’d submit Attack as a contender for their FA Cup song. It wasn’t to be this year, unfortunately. Danni our drummer – and a Gooner – has mooted we submit it for their FA Cup run. Negotiations in the band have reached a stalemate…

You worked with producer Karl Odlum on this recording. What did Karl bring to the table in terms of production?

Karl was great to work with. We had it arranged beforehand – and we only had a day in the studio – so it was really just about capturing good performances, getting the sound right and then coming up with a good mix. He also added a nice synth line – we’d been talking about it for months but never got around to actually coming up with one so that definitely added something. We were all on the same page and it all ran very smoothly and was good fun – I think the only thing we disagreed on was on what food to order in.

Do you feel that the song signals a departure in sound for the band coming into the next album?

Yes and No. I think we are a better band now and we play with more freedom and take more chances, if that makes sense. In saying that, I think the first album was lazily a bit dismissed in some quarters as twee indie pop – there was more to it than that – and original and catchy pop songs aren’t as easy to pull off as you might think.

The next album is written, it is a progression and we’re really excited about it. We’ve kind of described it as “Tom Petty on drugs” – it’s more open and expansive sounding, there’s more an Americana thing going on with little nuggets of folk, country and psychedelic twists. It still sounds like us but a progression and we’re having more fun with it. Stephen our lead guitarist is doing a lot of interesting stuff with his ever-expanding pedal board.

The band will be launching the single in Whelan’s this Saturday. How has the group’s live sound evolved since the last record?

I think we are just a better band and have a better understanding musically. We are more relaxed and enjoy it more which hopefully comes across in the performances.

The newer songs work great live too – as they rock more than some of the more overtly pop songs on the first album.

Following the ‘Attack’ single what do the Crayon Set have planned going forward?

We need to get around the country and do more gigs for sure. We’re also writing a lot more together as a band so we want to keep working at that as the results have been really promising – but it just takes a bit more work to get them finished when there’s lots of people involved. The main thing really though is  getting the 2nd album recorded and getting it sounding as good as it can be.  Hopefully, we’ll get cracking at it in June or July.

‘Attack’ by the Crayon Set is out now. Tickets for Saturday night show are priced at €5, support on the night comes from Carriages. For more information visit whelanslive.com.

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