Sunday, February 23, 2014

10 Questions with Crosshatch

New York City’s Crosshatch is a band to watch.  Mixing elements on ‘90s punk and indie rock, Crosshatch has created a sound that is blazing with energy, familiarity, and fun.  The band recently released their excellent debut EP Full Speed Ahead (read my review here) which is a must for fans of acts like Broadcaster, Iron Chic, Candy Hearts, Buffalo Tom, Sicko, Cheap Girls, and The Thermals.

This interview was conducted via email February 6 – 13, 2014.

For more information on Crosshatch check out their Facebook, Twitter, BandCamp, Instagram, and YouTube pages.

Dave:  How did the band get together? 

Meredith Spiegel:  I was in need of being a part of a band, or anything with music, since I had a job that made me pretty isolated and lonely. So, I went on Craigslist and replied to a post that was super enthusiastic and genuine. Boom - it was Abeer.

Äbeer Khalique:  I wanted to start a band, but everyone around me was way too smart to be doing that - so I put an ad out on Craigslist. After meeting a few strange people, I eventually met the one strange person that I clicked with, which was Meredith. She could come over and we would work on songs in my bedroom. Eventually Greg ended up filling out this trio and the rest is history.

Greg Caputo:  I've known Abeer for years before I joined the band. When we were playing in our old bands, we shared a studio space together. We always joked that one day we'd be in a band together because of our shared love of the Smashing Pumpkins. Well, one day the timing was right and a drummer was needed so here I am!

Dave:  What’s the story behind the name Crosshatch?

Äbeer:  I came up with the name. Most people know it as an illustration technique used to create depth in drawings. I sort of see life like that: there are things that happen, and regardless if you label them as good or bad, they inevitably add depth and dimension to your life. I think that’s important to remember, especially in tough times. I know it sounds a little a little heavy handed, but whatever.

Meredith:  When Abeer told me what it meant, I immediately fell in love with the name and meaning.

Dave:  For those who have never heard the band, how do you describe your music?

Meredith:  I can never answer this question.

Äbeer:  Me neither. I guess since we have a punk influences, we get called everything from pop-punk, to alternative punk, to rock. We also all really dig a lot of 90’s music and I think that comes out in our songs. All three of us have different influences when it comes to music, so our songs are small amalgamations of that I guess.

Dave:  You recently self-released your debut EP Full Speed Ahead.  What made you decide to go the self-release route instead of working with a traditional record label?  Are there any plans for a physical release?

Äbeer:  DIY, DUDE! Also, we weren’t exactly pitching ourselves to labels when we decided to make a record, we just wanted to have some music out there. It’s more important to us that people hear the songs, than for us to charge them to hear it. Maybe one day, if there is a larger demand, we will put out physical releases - but in the meantime, we’re more concerned with writing good songs and playing good shows.

Dave:  Do you have plans to tour in support of the new record?

Äbeer:  We are playing shows to bring attention to Full Speed Ahead. But we play shows regardless, so that’s just business as usual.

Dave:  Do you have any specific type of songwriting process?

Meredith:  We’re currently in the process of trying new ways to write songs as a group. “Full Speed Ahead” was a lot of Abeer’s songs, which were obviously amazing to work on and put basslines  and drums to, but now we are at a different place and want to expand our writing process. We all want each other’s input and ideas and stories in this album. We’re getting there. It’s a lot of work, but we are excited to go about it this way.

Greg:  When I joined the band, basically the entire record was already written so I had no problem just laying down some drums over it.  Now I think it’s good that we're all collaborating and we really get to see what this band is made of.

Äbeer:  Yeah, I’m excited to take a new approach to writing - different process, different lyrical themes, etc. We already have a bunch of great ideas in the works.

Dave:  What are your thoughts on the music scene in New York?  Is it at all daunting coming from a city with such deep and legendary musical roots?

Meredith:  I actually have never thought of that. I find it opposite actually - I think we’re really lucky to be in a city with such deep and legendary roots. So much inspiration and places to play and bands to play with. If we were in a town with two bars in a radius of 20 miles, it would be pretty tough. I think we’re lucky being able to be a part of the music scene in NY.

Äbeer:  While I don’t find it daunting, I think it sometimes presents a challenge. All three of us are born-and-raised New Yorkers, and because of that I think we have collectively seen so many bands and shows in our lifetime. Anyone who has been in the scene for a while will tell you that New York is somewhat oversaturated with bands, which has its pros and cons. There is something magical about small towns where kids all pack into house party or small venues to see their local bands. I’ve seen this happen a lot in places like Northport (Long Island): a place so far from NYC, that the mention of a local show draws an abundance of the town’s residence. I don’t see that much in NYC because there is always something going on, and so many musical acts, that it would be impossible to catch them all. With that said, I really appreciate people like Chris Andrews (One Mighty Ugly Backpack) and Dick Parker / Matt Dennehy (Taking Back Queens) who make it a point to curate the NYC scene and set up shows for bands.

Dave:  This is a High Fidelity inspired question.  What are your top five favorite bands, albums, movies, television programs, books/authors? 

Äbeer:  I would say The Smashing Pumpkins are my all-time favorite band. Currently, I’ve been listening to the new albums from Iron Chic and The Sidekicks, both of which are great. As for movies, I’m a huge fan of both the Oceans and Back To The Future trilogies. I’m a big Seinfeld nerd and Game of Thrones is my current obsession. Been reading some Aldous Huxley lately as well, though admittedly I’m not a huge reader.

Meredith:  Bridesmaids and American Psycho are my favorite movies. Seinfeld I think is the bands all around favorite tv show along with Breaking Bad. I enjoy any dark mystery fu*ked up book that leaves you questioning what you just read and why. My music ranges from screamo-pop-metal to country. I ingest it all and enjoy a ton. My favorite band that has also been an inspiration to me in many ways is The Used, since their first album back in 2002. Their performance captured me and the music just sunk in my veins and has been living in my body since then.

Greg:  Oh man, I love High Fidelity! The book and the movie, haha.  Yeah, I'd have to say Jimmy Chamberlain's drumming from the Smashing Pumpkins has always been a huge inspiration to me.  I tend to think I was born in the wrong decade because I can't stop listening to bands like Failure, Hum and Stabbing Westward.  I'm also officially listing music from Sonic the Hedgehog as a musical influence. I've been binging on Dexter lately. I started reading Game of Thrones but got distracted and I have to get back into reading it. I'd like to read it before I watch the show.

Dave:  What’s next for the band? 

Meredith:  Writing is taking priority now. We feel like we have a nice core of fans who truly enjoy Full Speed Ahead and we want to make the next record count, too. We want to expand our writing and put everything into it. We are playing shows to promote Full Speed Ahead, and also trying out new material. We just finished one song, literally, just finished, and we are all excited to try it out at our next show - like hormonal teenagers excited.

Dave:  Any final thoughts? 

Meredith:  Better Call Saul. Thanks for listening/reading us.

Äbeer:  Tip me some Dogecoin, much awesome!

Greg:  The dude abides.

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