March 15, 2016

Interview: Crater

Find out who in Crater would be Daria and who would be Jane.

I've come up with a genre in my brain that doesn't exist in the outside world. I like to call it, "Music that makes me feel like I'm floating", which is what I would be doing at all times if I had my way. It's how I feel when I listen to songs like "Echo's Answer" by Broadcast and "The Breakup Suite" by Duster - it's the musical equivalent to being weightless in a pool of water or hovering in the air. but without the horrifying turbulence of an airplane. The first time I heard "Habits Die Slow" by Seattle duo Crater, it was like I was drifting off into space to some strange, far away planet. Crater's (aka real life friends Ceci Gomez and Kessiah Gordon) recent debut album, Talk to Me so I Can Fall Asleep, had been in the works since 2014 and is well worth the wait. The record is full of lush soundscapes that range from dreamy to industrial. You could just as easily listen to it while falling asleep as you could hear it at a warehouse party (some songs, like "Summer Skin", transition from one setting to the other). We've already gushed about the album on The Le Sigh and we also had the chance to talk to Kessiah and Ceci about their writing process, the weirdest sample they've used, and their preferred karaoke song.

THE LE SIGH: You two have been releasing singles as Crater since 2014 - how did you come together to make music? What was putting the album together like for the last two years? 

KESSIAH GORDON: Ceci started writing music for the project in 2014, back when she had just uprooted her life in New York on a whim to move to Seattle and was struggling with the growing pains of basically starting over. Though I was also in NYC for college, which is where Ceci and I met, it was a lot easier for me to adjust to Seattle because it's my hometown. I convinced Ceci to give the city a shot, because I thought she could benefit from some sort of change in her life. More selfishly speaking, I wanted my best friend around. The idea of forming a band came shortly after the move. We were both dealing with a pretty severe identity crisis, and what perpetuated this was the fact that we lived together and fed off each other's unhappiness. Neither of us were making music but working for other bands. We loved our jobs, don't get me wrong, but when you're watching and helping other artists do exactly what you are meant to do yourself - and you know this with certainty - it's incredibly painful. So we both agreed to commit ourselves 100% to this new musical project and after one or two hits of LSD on a camping trip we became Crater. The record was essentially finished a year ago, but finding the right peeps to help with the release took some time. We are glad we waited because Help Yourself Records and Riot Act have consistently shown Ceci and I that if you work with people who really care about you, your music, and also taking risks, it will be way more rewarding. Not just for the transparent sake of selling records, but because they are fans, friends, and advocates of your music. What's more is that even though we have a label putting out our album, we jointly packaged each record and sealed them. I love that this is a team effort and I hope that comes across in the release of this record.

TLS: Talk to Me so I Can Fall Asleep contains so many intricate soundscapes - how do you build a song? What is the strangest thing you've sampled on a song? 

KG: We like to build our songs differently every time, often around a single sample or a melody Ceci has written. From there we layer and layer with synths, live instrumentation, chopped vocals, and random samples found online or ones that we have recorded ourselves. The strangest sample...I was at a laundromat and heard a really cool pattern emanating from a washing machine. It was strangely in time so I stuck my phone against the glass, recorded it, dumped it into Ableton, effected it, looped it, and now it's going to be featured prominently in a drum beat on a new song of ours. One of my favorite things that Ceci does is that she likes to sample her own vocal melody from a song and then chop it up to make a synth or just randomly place it in the recording to disrupt the arrangement.

TLS: In what atmosphere would you suggest people listen to Talk to Me So I Can Fall Asleep? What movie do you think it would soundtrack? 

CECI GOMEZ: I recently did an hour long session in a sensory deprivation tank. I think that would be #1. "Lara Croft: Tomb Raider" would totally be the ideal movie to go with our record.

TLS: I'm kind of obsessed with the video of "Hardly At All", where you essentially Sim-ify yourselves. Where did you get this idea and what did your avatars get to do that you wish you could?

CG: I was home alone one night and had just eaten a super tasty edible. Once it started kicking in I got into a k-hole of watching sims gameplay videos on youtube. Mainly I was doing it because I was feeling nostalgic about the game after having played it so much growing up. As the hole got deeper and deeper I came upon a series of Sims videos that various users made recreating famous music videos by RIRI, TWSIFT, and more. I was so infatuated with them and how strange and cool they were that I messaged a user named Electric Blanket Fort to see if they would be interested in making a video for our band. I had no expectations whatsoever of hearing back but within hours they got back to me and told me they loved the song and would be stoked to do it! My favorite scene in the video is where we are performing in this jungle dreamscape. I wish we could do that IRL.

TLS: One of the songs in Talk to Me is titled "Sick Sad World" - who in Crater would be the Daria and who would be the Jane in the band? 

KG: I would definitely be Daria and Ceci would be Jane. Not just because I'm short and she's tall, but the way those characters interact does remind me of our friendship sometimes. We're a bit more spritely than Daria and Jane but that's not to say we don't have our fair share of misanthropic emo days.

TLS: I was recently in Seattle and did karaoke basically every night. What's your go to karaoke song? 

CG: "PICTURE" by Kid Rock and Sheryl Crow

Listen to Crater on Soundcloud.

Written by Emily Thompson