Crocodiles are nice guys. Despite all the fuss about crystal meth, drugs, anger that surrounds this up-and-coming Southern Californian duo emerging from the same “scene” (but don’t call it that way please!) that gave us Wavves, Crystal Stilts, Blank Dogs and many more, when I arrived at Bardens Boudoir - where they would later present their new album Summer Of Hate in the last date of their European tour - about one and a half hour late for our interview*, they kept that sort of composure and politeness that one would expect to find in British folks rather than in Californian dudes. After the preliminary greetings, Brandon Welchez (Vocals, Programming), Charles Rowland (Guitar, Synth) and me, we lock ourselves into the minuscule backstage of the venue, and start our long awaited tête-à-tête.
I’ve got a friend from San Diego and once he told me that all the good music coming out from that area is a result of all the bad punk and rock music of the Nineties. Do you agree with this? Where does your music come from? Brandon: (Laugh) There’s always been some good music coming out from San Diego. But it’s not usually the music that gets well-known, you know. On the other hand the bands people care about outside of San Diego, that are around right now, still can’t sell out clubs in San Diego. It’s always been that bands that are really big in San Diego are kind of “stupid” and bands that are cool are kind of unknown. I think it’s always been like this, even in the Nineties, there was a lot of cool stuff, only it wasn’t popular. There’s lots of anger in your music - take Neon Jesus or I Wanna Kill. Where does all this anger come from? B: I don’t feel like we are angry people, I just find it quite therapeutic to write about things when you are upset. If I weren’t sad or angry, maybe I wouldn’t feel motivated to write.
I read somewhere that you grew up in an environment where everyone was doing crystal meth and stuff like that... B: Haha where did you read that in? Loud And Quiet right? Growing up...Every kid hates growing up right? I mean I did drugs too growing up, I just didn’t do that kind of stuff. But where I grew up it was a suburb that was really conservative, there was a lot of racism and homophobia and stuff, and even at that young age I had to understand that that stuff was wrong... I felt, I don’t know, frustrated or that I didn’t fit in, because the people around me where idiots, you know. How is this European tour going? B: This tour was great, Europe has been really great. The UK a bit of a mess... Why? B: I don’t know, for tons of reasons, money reasons mainly, but Europe was 100% perfect. Are you excited at the idea of supporting The Horrors in their American tour? Do you relate to their music? B: I don’t know that much about The Horrors to be perfectly honest, I mean I’ve listened to their record and I like it, they seem like cool people so it should be fun! We always make friends when we are on tour, so I think we’ll probably make friends with them. Did you make lots of friends in this tour? B: Yessss How many? B: (WTF look in his eyes)15...? Ha I don’t know...
Uh, well nice.. Anyway, what’s all this thing about this strong ‘scene’ that is coming out both from the east and the west coast? Is it a matter of record labels or what? B: There’s lots of like-minded bands in the States, but I think that to a certain degree a lot of this is just the result of journalists’ imagination. We’re friends with bands from all over the Country that will fit into that definition, it’s not only an East coast/ West coast thing. I think there are other bands that are getting attentions, that internationally people are hearing about. ‘Cos sometimes the genres are not exactly the same. I mean, when I think about the Crocodiles, I think of Crystal Stilts, I think of Blank Dogs, Dum Dum Girls and all this - pardonnez moi for this “classification” - sort of shoegaze-y, lo-fi sound and not necessarily all these bands belong to the same area... Do you see any sort of connection between all these bands? B: We are friends with a couple of them... Charles: We are all around the same age, we are all kind of like-minded, it’s just making music and doing things, and I think we’ve bumped into nearly everyone of those bands in the past couple of years and we all get along, it’s just a little cool thing... B: musically I think all these bands haven’t too much in common, which is cool anyway. Things are more interesting and varied than that, but certain magazines have just put everything together into this term “lo-fi” but I think that’s pretty dangerous, you can’t imagine things like that, plus I don’t think we are lo-fi, I don’t think half those bands are lo-fi in a really technical definition of it. So you are at the end of your European tour. While here did you manage to have a feel of what the music scene around here is? What do you think are the main differences between the music scene here in the UK and in the States for instance? B: Well it seems like British bands are pretty obsessed with 90s America. It seems like everyone is into Seattle 1992 or something (everyone laughs and agrees). There’s nothing wrong with this, I mean, we’re probably influenced in 50% by British bands, you know, but I think for whatever reason it seems like Pavement, Beat Happening and Nirvana are the biggest things in people’s world over here, am I right? Which is fine, it’s cool, it’s cooler than that cultural back-and-forth’s, it’s interesting. I think that’s the biggest difference. American bands are probably enamoured with British and New Zealand bands so, I suppose. There’s not so many American bands that are terribly influenced by Nirvana - I mean there’s some but it’s not quite as big as here. And what are your main influences then? B: Marijuana, frustration, poverty, ha I don’t know... Have you got any old and new bands that you’d like to suggest to our readers? B: Chrome, Big Youth, Woven Bones. And how couldn’t we trust you guys? Look forward to welcoming you in London again! And this time we will give you the warmest welcome. * FYI: That massive delay was not entirely my fault: miscommunication problems and a bigger issue - that is, finding a new flat within the following 24 hours - played a big role in my delay. By the way, has anyone got a spare 3-bedroom flat to let out by any chance hu? Links