Young girls kicked off at the Crystal Stilts gig beautifully. I love girls in floral dresses acting punk; it’s like Silvester Stallone writing an Edgar Allen Poe biopic: it makes no sense but I can’t stop thinking about it. As the band played, this group of heady young girls stole beers, stormed the stage and spat in the singers face. They chose the wrong night for it though; as we found out in the afternoon, Crystal Stilts is comprised of a group of very likeable, but serious lads.
We met them as they were finishing their sound check and this is what they had to say:
What is it that you have in common which brought you together as a band?
Brad: I think musical tastes. Me and JB sort of diverge in some areas but we met in South Florida and there were very few people down there with tastes like that. Then we came to Brooklyn and I got a job in a record store and that’s where I met him (Johnny). It’s similar music tastes.
Johnny: I think its that and not being an asshole. We were all kind of friends already before the band.
So what’s the music that brought you together?
Brad: I think a lot of the recording stuff before the 60s. Recordings used slapbacks, they’re a bit muddier. Just the fifties music and the way it was recorded as well as the way it sounded.
Do you try and imitate these techniques when you’re in the studio?
Brad: We always record on tape. We do some stuff on a computer, a little bit of over dubbing. JB does lot of production, he has a great ear. A lot of tape delays and reverb (JB arrives). We were just talking about your wizardry on the board. We basically recorded live in the studio. We did the basic tracks, then some overdubs. The drums and bass and the guitars sometimes and then do like other parts, like keyboards and synths.
Would you say you’re perfectionists?
Johnny: I think we’re sloppy perfectionists, is there such a thing? It’s not like “that guitar part has to be exact.”
JB: I like sloppy accidents on records.
Brad: I think we spent more time on the production than on the actual tracks. Doing the best with whats on the table, but not in terms of doing 75 takes of a song, just getting the overall sound how we envision it.
Brad: I don’t think I’ve done more than 4 or 5 takes on the vocals. If its not happening after 5 takes its not happening.
There’s a distinct difference in sound between your two albums. Is this something you consciously worked at or is it just natural progression?
JB: No, it was just such a long amount of time.
Johnny: It was like, in seven years time your writing and tastes change. On our first record JB played pretty much every instrument, now it feels more like our own sound.
Crystal Stilts’ new allbum, In Love With Oblivion, is released by Slumberland on 12th April. If you have a good set-up, they recommend that you buy it on vinyl. So do we…