By Tyler Aleksandr Allen
First impressions are everything - you can only make one of them and Crue’s music damn near made a perfect impression. I was laying on the beach at Lanikai in Hawaii staring up at a clear blue sky when I stumbled upon Crue’s Aesthetics. A truly existential feeling as the sun danced on my skin, the wind blew sand across my face, and Aesthetics flooded my head through my earphones. Definitely one of the highlights of my vacation but what made it even better was the opportunity to chat with Crue about her creative process and the release of her latest EP DA CAPO that was released on January 10th. Crue can do it all from singing vocals, to playing the violin, piano, or steel drums, to producing all of her work. Check out the interview:
Rare Candy: I just wanted to know a little more about you as an artist so tell me about yourself. Who is Crue? What does your name mean? What's your music background?
Crue: Crue is an experimental project that aims to combine all musical elements that i have an affinity for: classical, jazz, disco, house etc. It's the future. Moving past the sounds and structures we know into the unknown.
I consider this music to be what I call electro soul, the electro obviously being the more experimental electronic sounds used and the soul being the roots of my musical upbringing; classical/orchestral and jazz which heavily influences the structure of my compositions.
Crue is just a nickname my sisters gave me years ago inspired by cruella d'ville because i'm evil sometimes.
I am first a self taught pianist and violinist. I started playing classical violin when i was 6 and have been playing ever since. I also play guitar and the steel drums.
RC: So you're basically a superwoman channelling your experiences in the most intimate way you can through music. How deep into this unknown have you been in your past work such as Aesthetics and Theme of Crue? Tell me more about your earlier work. How does your music making process usually work? What instrument do you usually start with? Is the process more systematic or random?
C: When creating Aesthetics it was definitely a more sporadic, go with the flow process. I heard the bassline in my head and then played chords with it on the piano.
An essential part of Crue music is improvisation and I compose in that manner as well. I never know exactly what I'll lay down next, I just build and build one thing on top of the next, and maybe break it down.
I always start with piano. It helps organize the rush of ideas into a bassline and a chord progression before I get too excited and can't remember what I was even trying to do.
When working on my Theme of Crue (there's multiple, which sequence into another something like movements) I think of it more as contemporary compositions with modern technology. They are soundtracks to a hypothetical game in which Crue is a character. Each board, or song is a different theme. They typically revolve around orchestral strings, piano and very obnoxious percussion and spacey effects. I never know what the next will sound like until I just do it. I never control the direction or say "I want my music to sound like xyz", I just do what comes to me, mostly in daydreams which I explore more in the concept of DA CAPO EP.
I would say the process is systematic in the sense that I expect chaos.
I released my first EP entitled The Pit in 2014 where I first experimented with turning classical compositions I'd made into this fusion music I call electro soul. That's also a major part of my creative process. Almost everything is originally for quartet or something I composed for piano. Then I take motifs and melodies from it to make Crue music.
The Pit was a test run because I had just learned how to produce and record music the summer of 2011 at string camp lol. After taking a music technology course, I was inspired to start recording my compositions electronically, so I started working on The Pit.
RC: So your music thrives on a significant amount of spontaneity blossoming from initial thought introduced through the piano. Your process seems like such a fun experience. How much further do plan to go into the unknown with your EP DA CAPO?
C: You can buy The Pit and DA CAPO at xxcruexx.bandcamp.com
Da Capo is the entry way into the unknown. Da Capo is Italian meaning From the head. From the head to me meaning daydreams and improv. A daydream itself is like the brain wandering off on it's own. In music it means to go back to a certain point. A repeat of sorts. That's as much as I'll tell you.
My fans will hear a very solidified sound that they can pinpoint as uniquely Crue. I'm really proud of how the genres fuse together and the contrast between acoustic and electronic instrumentation that appears.
RC: Do you get inspiration from specific artists? If so who?
C: I get inspiration from Prokofiev, N*E*R*D, Donna Summer, Missy Elliot, Thelonius Monk, Above & Beyond, Kelis and Bach
Crue - Da Capo
Intro begins the ride into the future and what better way to get there than by peacefully sedating the conscious mind with a steady tempo and carefully crafted electronic sounds. Intro lulls the listener right where Crue wants: into a dream. In Make Me Dream, Crue’s vocals hover within the subconscious as if assuming the voice of the listener and asking the music to to take them to a state of limitlessness through dreaming. By the time I got to Black Magic the tune seemed very familiar yet very distant. The runs on the piano over the space sound ambiance in the beginning of the song disoriented me in the best way possible because it made what came next all the more enjoyable. The drums crash and Crue’s infectious voice lures you into a sort of trance. Crue’s voice prances and struts on the production (which is very much magical) with such intentionality while she discloses that she “Talks shit when I wake up, didn't even put on my make up”. Free Fall(ing) takes on a seeming different mood yet still blossoms from Black Magic. Jazz influences pervade the opening of Free Fall(ing) while Crue’s voice rises and falls effortlessly with her accompanying violin. Nearly halfway through the song, the violin (played by Crue) takes us to an alternate universe, a place inaccessible by the human voice. Claves (Str8 Up) begins as if you’re sitting in an empty cathedral and somebody somewhere is playing the claves as the sounds reverberates through you. Just as soon as you get used to the tempo, Crue magically reappears and weaves in and out of the claves until the instance when they sync up surging the listener to the brink. To the brink of what you may ask. Just listen for yourself and find out.
Like Crue on Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/cruemusic