Crosses are a different kind of beast. With their harmonious melodies over a bedrock of electronic-rock, Crosses will see themselves in our humble country later this month for one of our biggest touring festivals, Soundwave. We caught up with guitarist Shaun to chat about the festival, their self titled album and the band in general.
For those who don’t know, give me a brief description of who Crosses are and what your sound is.
Crosses is basically, Chino, myself and Chuck and we just started making songs that we were experimenting with because that’s what we like to do. Chuck and I basically started it; we started coming up with the tunes and the writing, and Chino heard it and wanted to be involved with singing so he laid some stuff down and it all came together.
Was 2013 a good year for Crosses?
Yeah, I think it was. I mean we weren’t very active in 2013 with finishing the album and all but I think we’ll be a lot more active this year but the record was pretty great for us.
What does 2014 gold for you guys?
We’re going to tour and obviously doing Soundwave. We’ve got shows scheduled in the States and [we’re going to[ try and and go over to Europe, East and mainland. We’re doing Coachella in April, which should be fun! We’re just going to be playing lots of shows.
Good lead into the next set of questions. Soundwave. Kind of an obvious question you’ve been asked before, but how excited are you for Soundwave?
I’m very excited! I’ve never been to Australia before so it’ll be a solid tour. Great line-up too, definitely looking forward to it!
How about your sidewaves with AFI?
Oh definitely! That’ll be nice as we’ll play a longer set then we do on the festival itself and I think playing with AFI will be a good fit looking at the roster of bands. There are few others that would have gone good but AFI was a great match-up I think.
What do you intend to do on your downtime over here?
I’d probably just like to see the country I guess. I don’t know, hold a koala, chill with some kangaroos or something (laughs). I know that’s probably the go to answer for bands but it’s something I really want to do! (laughs) You always see bands with pictures of holding koalas. It’s something I guess you have to do. For you guys it’s like, ‘oh hey, yeah a koala. That’s cool, can you get on with it now?’
You guys have a very distinct and almost unique electronic sound and I was wondering how you go about translating that sound into the live environment?
It’s not easy! We definitely put some time into the live show. It took some time to get it where we are now; it’s sounding good and is feeling good and it’s feeling comfortable on stage. Since we started playing there’s been this sense of worry I guess you could say, throughout the band that the train was going to fall off the tracks. But I feel it’s pretty solid now. It just takes a lot of work and working out the parts. These songs were never written or recorded to be played live and I’ve never done that before; where you write music with no intention whatsoever to perform it live. Getting the electronics going [required] a good amount of work but it was a bit easier. Our live drummer plays a live kit but he has the pads and triggers as well so it comes off well I think.
Tell me about your new album. Must be excited to have it coming out.
Oh, very excited! Actually only just today did I just listen to it from start to finish. I had an advanced CD and put it in my car, and it’s been so long that I’ve listened to the CD it took me a minute to work it out! I was pretty excited just listening to it. It feels so good that people will have it finally.
Well, seeing as it’s fresh in your mind, tell us what genre you would say Crosses are if you were talking to someone who didn’t know the band?
I never know how to answer that question because I don’t think of it as a genre. To me it is a weird thing genres, genres are so many things. Like our music is rock but it’s also electronic and a little bit of pop and it is also mean and ugly. I guess I’d call it alternative or electronic rock but that just sounds bad. It’s like music I would never listen to.
I can agree with you, I’ve always had a hard time describing you guys to my friends and family. Tell us a bit about the recording process now. For you, what was most challenging about recoding the album live?
Finding time to get Chino (vocals) to come to the studio. He’s a pretty busy guy. It didn’t take long to perform the right take, it’s just a matter of getting him in the mood. I’m saying, it’s like with a lot of bands I work with where they have to do ten takes, he will do it in two or one even. You’ve got to work him up, get him into it, buy him dinner or something! Other than that there was not that much challenging. Between me and Chuck, we write the songs pretty fast and we record them fairly quick. I think more time is spent on the vocals because let’s face it, that’s nowadays the most important part. That’s what people care about. Unless it’s like a solid riff and sometimes the vocals are secondary, I don’t mind. You see where I’m going right?
Yeah, I can really see what you’re trying to say. It’s a sad fact in today with the vocals being centre stage but there are those times where people can love the other members. Now just from hearing that, can I take a swing that you produced the record yourself?
Yeah, produced the record.
Now do you think being in the band and producing it that gives you a lot more freedom to hone in on what YOU the band really want from the record or do you strive to really represent that third party as well?
I understand that a lot of bands having an outside ear helps, but I think it really worked for us. The other guys were really helpful, like if I was unsure of something they’d say either ‘No, no, that’s really good!’ or ‘I see what you’re trying to say, maybe you could do this…’ And we would work with it more. I think if somebody else were to produce it then it wouldn’t be what it is. We didn’t really care and the band didn’t care about doing things the right way. Some of the recording techniques were nothing I’ve never done. I was doing things the wrong way.
So it was very experimental in that way that you weren’t afraid to do different things and tap your toes into different waters.
Yeah, it was just stuff like that. Like micing up an amp through glass and shit. Just stupid stuff like that.
If there was one thing you could change about the album, what would it be?
You know, having just listened to it this morning I can see what I would change. But see, what I would change is just pointless stuff. Maybe it’s the levels in the guitar or snare drum or maybe I would liked that bit to be longer. Or even something even minor like not having as much end in a song. Like I could have taken away four seconds on the end of that one track you know? But I honestly really like the album and I guess I’m just being picky! (Laughs)