Portland's CarCrashLander released their debut album Mountains On Our Backs last year, a moody, dark album with a certain musical eloquence throbbing through its breathy vocals and tender woodwind and brass parts. It's been on my iPod playlist for months, and is inimitably perfect for morning bus journeys or sleepless late nights. Carcrashlander's mastermind Cory Gray speaks to me about album art, holiday destinations and the new EP You Were Born in a Hospital, which can be downloaded free from the band's website.
Cory Gray bids for a place in low-budget horror film
Hi Cory. What inspired Carcrashlander's band name? I was going through an old notebook after moving house recently, and found a clipping from a newspaper. It was only then I remembered how I came up with the name. Until this interview I had just been making up something new every time someone asked. Your new EP has more of a reggae feel than before; was this a conscious effort? What are generally your main influences? The EP is a dedication to my late grandmother, who is largely responsible for my interest in a good chunk of my favourite music. Her record collection had a strong mix of 60s and 70s Bay Area Jazz and Soul, and also a ton of reggae records. I suppose everything in my life is an influence to my music, maybe writing songs is just an attempt to sort it all out for later. But specifically, at this moment for influences I will cite: camping at Trillium Lake on Mt. Hood, reading a book of short stories by William Saroyan called The Man with the Heart in the Highlands, and drinking a very strong cup of coffee. Is there one track you are particularly proud of? What is it and why? I think my personal favourite tracks on this record are Oldest Offer and Point Arena, because they are the most nostalgic, and that is more or less what the record is about to me.
YOU WERE BORN IN A HOSPITAL EP The cover art to free new EP You Were Born In a Hospital
Why did you get into music in the first place? Do you still feel like that? Music has been a part of my life as long as I can remember, and what it is to me is always changing, but I'm fairly confident I couldn't live without it.
Video for 'Where to Swim'
How does the average track come about? I guess in the average way. Do you think art and music are reliant on one another (eg, does the album art affect how you listen to music)? When done well, the art on a record should be totally relevant to the music. I'm not sure that I would listen to a record differently because of the art, but I have certainly bought records that I knew nothing about based on the cover. It's only books you're not supposed to judge that way, right? A little lighter to finish: what’s your favourite holiday destination, and why? Feel free to say London because that’s where The 405 is. I do love London, and I would love to know it better, and I'm pretty fond of Oxford as well. But I think the best holiday I had this year was the time I spent exploring Portugal, camping out on the Praia da Galé, staying in a hostel in Sintra and hanging out with some great new friends in Lisbon. Carcrashlander's second album Where to Swim, released November last year, is available to buy here. A particularly great mood for the coming change of season, I’d recommend taking notice of this band ASAP.