San Diego dreamers Crocodiles put out their fourth studio album “Crimes of Passion” last year. An album that gained much deserved plaudits from the public and critics alike. Crocodiles make music that hits you hard lyrically, coupled with the melodic rush of shimmering fuzz-imbued guitar pop and the sweet kick of nostalgic summer days and tales of lost love and heartbreak. It’s a match made in heaven.
We were lucky to grab a quick chat with frontman and singer, Brandon Welchez, whilst the band are working away in the studio on their forthcoming fifth record, sounds pretty exciting if you ask us. Read on for further insight into the band’s journey across the world over the last year, what’s to come from their upcoming new album and much more.
You have been touring non-stop this year around the world, has there been a standout show to date? What’s it like being able to tour the globe?
Tokyo, Mexico City and Athens have been the stand outs this year. Tokyo and Athens because they are cities we hadn’t been to before and Mexico City because it’s one of our favourite cities and one of the greatest cities on the planet. It’s great to be able to travel so much; the best part is that we have friends all over the world now. We don’t have to be strangers in a lot of the world’s great cities.
The rigorous tour schedule must take its toll on you physically and mentally, but having said that on the flipside it is really rewarding also, being able to play to thousands of people every night and travel the world. Do you feel touring is the same now as when you started out, or have you found a renewed feeling towards it now?
The only obvious downsides to touring are the lack of sleep and the fact that you can’t have a day off if you are sick or depressed or whatever. Often times you’ll finish the show around midnight, have a beer, pack up the van and get to the hotel around 2 or 3 am and then have to wake up again 5 hours later to drive to the next city. There is a lot of learning how to function on very little sleep. That being said, it beats most other jobs I can think of.
We get to have fun in foreign places, meet all sorts of people, see all sorts of things. I can’t think of anything I’d rather be doing. Touring is a bit more comfortable now then when we started but my general feeling towards it is basically the same.
You have been playing the occasional DJ set at the after show parties on the last tour, what’s been on the playlist? What’s your go-to vibe song?
We play all sorts of stuff when we DJ; lots of punk, reggae, 60s pop, disco – just whatever fits the mood. A go to song right now might be William Onyeabor’s “Fantastic Man” or Freda Payne’s “Band Of Gold“.
You’ve been touring ‘Crimes of Passion’ now for the past year or so, now that the album has had a little bit of time to breathe, how do you feel about it?
I still feel great about it. I think it stands up. The album we are recording now is even better though; we are very excited about what we are currently cooking up.
If you could go back and release a song as a single from each of your past albums, are there any songs that you wish you could’ve released?
It’s hard for us to decide what are going to become fan favourites so we just usually release the songs we like the most as singles. If we could be clairvoyant and know what songs the fans would identify with those would probably make the most sense to release as singles as they’d have the most chance of “success” but we don’t really have any regrets.
It looks like being in Crocodiles is a lot of fun. But is it all that rock n’ roll party gig party that we on the outside might think it to be?
We have real lives like anyone else with occasional hardships and pain but yes, we try to make the most of life and enjoy ourselves. I think 99% of people are in the same boat; dealt the same amount of good and bad so it’s important not to wallow in the bad times. We have a philosophy: We are here for a good time, not for a long time.
I know it’s hard to pick only one definitive moment, but what do you feel has been your biggest achievement to date as a band?
We were on the cover of the Village Voice; that was a pretty big deal for us as we’ve never been on a magazine cover before (or since haha) and that particular magazine is so iconic and has so much history. Really though, our greatest achievements are when we record something that feels really special to us or when we have a transcendent show.
Do you remember your very first gig? How did it go?
Very first gig ever as a musician or very first Crocodiles gig? Both were nervous affairs.
How do you feel the band has evolved since taking those first steps on to a stage?
The most obvious way is that the band is 5 people now and not 2. But I think our music has grown and we’ve become more comfortable playing in adverse situations.
What has being a professional musician taught you about yourself?
That I have a much better work ethic than I thought I did.
You hear all the time from blogs and music websites, who we tip for greatness in the coming year, so I wanted to turn the tables a little and ask you, who do you tip to be huge or at least break through into mainstream consciousness in 2014?
Most of my favourite contemporary bands are unpopular so I’m probably the wrong person to ask. I’m sure something that I will think is complete crap will become huge in 2014 but I would hope bands like Gäy from Denmark or Azar Swan from New York would get some attention. Both are bands that my wife and I put out on our label haha so I hope people like them like we do.
I hear that you’re currently working on your fifth record, how’s it coming together? What’s the direction you’re going in with this record?
Yes, I’m answering these questions right now from the studio in Mexico City. Our producer is playing a guitar with a drum stick right now. There are some anthems, some trash-can pop, some beautiful moments and some really ugly ones. We’re very happy with the direction it’s going.
A special thanks to Crocodiles for this interview and for more info on the band, check out the following links below: