CrazyEightyEight talk about their new album, adding As It Is' Patty Walters as a member and the possibility of playing the last ever Vans Warped Tour.
And obviously, their brand new album, which is being funded through Kickstarter.
JARROD, HOW WAS THE REACTION TO CRAZYEIGHTYEIGHT'S LAUNCH? WERE YOU EXPECTING PEOPLE TOWARM TO A NON-PARODY PROJECT SO QUICKLY? WHAT WAS THE MOMENT WHEN YOU KNEW THIS WAS ACTUALLY SOMETHING PEOPLE WOULD BE INTERESTED IN?
Says Jarrod Alonge [vocals / guitar]: "Online opinions are always highly diverse, but our core audiences seem to really enjoy the music. I knew that many people would be super confused when Lauren and I first started CrazyEightyEight, mostly since I had only released parody music up until that point in time. I’m still completely overwhelmed by how many people continue to support us, and I never thought I would be starting on the debut album this soon."
IT MUST BE NICE TO ACTUALLY BE ABLE TO DO AN ALBUM OF MUSIC RATHER THAN COVERS, TOO. IS IT IMPORTANT TO YOU THAT YOU'RE NOT JUST KNOWN AS THAT BAND THAT DOES COVERS?
Jarrod: "To be honest, it never mattered that much to me personally. Covers are fun, and I think it’s a great way to test out new sounds and to cultivate an audience that would have otherwise never discovered us. Unlike most other artists that make it a priority to break new ground in their respective genres, CrazyEightyEight is a nostalgic celebration of the music we’ve grown to love over the last two decades. Creative musicianship is very important to us, but our primary goal is to just make fun music."
TELL US ABOUT THE VIDEO SHOOT - WHAT WAS IT LIKE TO HAVE EVERYBODY IN THE SAME ROOM FOR (WHAT I ASSUME WAS) THE FIRST TIME?
Jarrod: "Unfortunately, there wasn’t too much time to enjoy each other’s company. Patty was in the middle of touring with As It Is and I flew into Toronto from Tennessee the night before, so our shoot had to move like clockwork. We were unbelievably exhausted by the end of the day, especially Patty since he had to perform with As It Is that same night. I’m very proud of everyone for working so hard and being so enthusiastic about what we were creating. The sushi that night was dope."
HOW HAS THE CURRENT STATE OF YOUTUBE AFFECTED YOUR DECISION TO DO THIS KICKSTARTER AND FOCUS ON MUSIC? AND ALSO WHERE DOES THIS CONTENT SIT IN THE FUTURE? IS IT ON YOUTUBE?
Jarrod: "Although I’m eternally grateful to YouTube for helping me realize that I needed to pursue my creative leanings in life, I’d say that my decision to focus on bigger projects (not just the music) comes from a realization that a creator can never reach their full potential if restricted by any of their platforms. For now, my content will simply exist wherever my audience exists. It could end up being a huge mistake, but only time will tell."
CAN THIS EVER BECOME A TOURING BAND? WOULD YOU WANT IT TO BE? WHAT DO YOU NEED TO ACHIEVE BEFORE THAT HAPPENS?
Jarrod: "We're very excited to tour eventually. The obvious hurdle is that CrazyEightyEight is still a side-project to all three of us and we’re far more invested in other ventures. Lauren has Red Handed Denial, Patty has As It Is and I’m still working hard on a plethora of unrelated projects. If the world REALLY wants CrazyEightyEight, we’ll give it to them to the best of our abilities.
"The stars might have to align every now and then, but again, only time will tell. I personally can’t wait to smash guitars and jump into crowds. Maybe a one-off show or two on the final Warped Tour? We shall see…"
HEY LAUREN - TELL US ABOUT THE MUSIC VIDEO SHOOT. WAS THAT THE FIRST TIME YOU AND JARROD HAVE ACTUALLY BEEN IN A ROOM TOGETHER SINCE THIS BAND BEGAN?
Says Lauren Babic [vocals]: "The Shinebox video shoot was the first time Jarrod and I were able to create something together in person. When I picked him up at the airport in Toronto, that was legitimately the first time I ever said a word to him haha. Up until that point, everything Jarrod and I had done was only through messaging and email.
"We hadn’t even spoken via phone or on Skype (hence our EP’s name ‘No Words Spoken’). I’m still dumbfounded as to how well we worked together off the bat but it was fantastic to be able to work together face-to-face. The weekend went incredibly smooth considering our extremely tight schedule until my car got broken into and smashed up just before I was going to bring Jarrod back to the airport!"
WHEN AND WHERE WAS 'SHINEBOX' WRITTEN? WHAT'S IT ABOUT? HOW ARE THE MECHANICS OF WRITING AND TRACKING MUSIC VIA SKYPE GOING?
Lauren: "'Shinebox' came about pretty similarly to our EP with many messages back and forth. C88 has always been about celebrating our nostalgic roots and we have a list of all our favorite movies and characters we want to eventually draw influence from.
'Shinebox' is a Goodfellas reference written from the perspective of Joe Pesci’s character, Tommy DeSimone. Tommy’s psychotic behavior called for a really aggressive feel and I had a blast tracking the vocals. I also did screams in an original C88 song for the first time, so I was stoked on that. I think the mood translated especially well on this track and I couldn’t be happier with how it came out."
WHAT HAPPENS IF A LABEL COMES ALONG AND WANTS TO SIGN YOU GUYS? WOULD YOU STAY INDEPENDENT AND CARRY ON FUNDING THROUGH THINGS LIKE KICKSTARTER? HOW DO YOU SEE THAT SIDE OF THINGS DEVELOPING FOR THE BAND?
Lauren: "I think at the end of the day, whatever decisions we make will always be for the best interest of the band. Nowadays, it’s more feasible than ever to have a successful independent band and so far that route has worked very well. If for whatever reason the situation becomes bigger than we can handle, we’ll certainly be open to whatever opportunities present themselves. What happens remains to be seen!"
AND EQUALLY, WHAT HAPPENS IF THE ALBUM DOESN'T MEET THE $50,000 GOAL? IS THAT THE END OF CRAZYEIGHTYEIGHT?
Lauren: "The cool thing about this is that we have nothing to lose and it’s also a great way to gauge if people are digging what we’re doing. This is the first time I’ve been involved with a Kickstarter campaign so at first 50k seemed like a daunting number, but so far the response has been amazing. I’m pretty hopeful considering Jarrod and Patty’s level of experience with these kinds of things. If we don’t reach our goal, C88 will live on and we’ll probably make another EP."
HI PATTY! FOR THOSE WHO MAY NOT KNOW, CAN YOU LET US KNOW HOW YOU AND JARROD FIRST TEAMED UP FOR SUNRISE SKATER KIDS?
Patty Walters [bass]: "Jarrod, Lauren, and I have all been internet pals for quite a few years now, meeting through our respective YouTube channels at that time. I think the first time Jarrod and I spoke, though, was to collaborate on the debut SSK single. We arranged to chat over Skype, during which Jarrod sent me an instrumental, lyrics, and a rough vocal guide, and within an hour or so, all my vocal parts were tracked. It was an awesome experience, and without it, I probably wouldn’t be involved in this amazing project."
NOW YOU'RE PLAYING BASS FOR CRAZYEIGHTYEIGHT - HOW DID THAT HAPPEN? WHAT MADE YOU WANT TO LOOK FOR ANOTHER CREATIVE OUTLET?
Patty: "Years ago, I remember reading about how The Postal Service collaborated, sending tape recordings back and forth in the mail, and ever since, I’ve been really interested in collaborating in a similar way. So after Jarrod and Lauren released the debut ‘No Words Spoken’, I found myself listening to it over and over and over.
"I reached out with the prospect of me joining the band, and after speaking at length about the future of C88, I became the band’s bassist. I think it’s really liberating and inspiring that a band like this can exist, where three people in three different countries can collaborate so effortlessly and effectively."
WHAT ARE YOUR TIES TO THE MID-'00S SCENE? I'M GUESSING YOU GREW UP LISTENING TO ALL OF CRAZYEIGHTYEIGHT'S INFLUENCES.
Patty: "I did, and I absolutely still do; that era of music deeply influenced me as an artist and a performer. I fell in love with the energy and chaos that all the best mid-00’s post-hardcore bands performed with, so I wanted to channel that energy while shooting the ‘Shinebox’ music video. Performing with zero vocal responsibilities is still a little foreign to me, but it’s a role I’m excited to embrace."
AND HOW DO YOU FEEL ABOUT NOT BEING A VOCALIST HERE? IS IT A WELCOME OPPORTUNITY TO DO SOMETHING DIFFERENT?
Patty: "The guys asked if I was interested in contributing vocally in some way, but that’s just not how I envisioned myself within this project. Lauren is an exceptionally talented and versatile vocalist, and playing bass alongside her feels pretty awesome. I’m always hungry to learn and grow, both personally and professionally.
"I’m still so profoundly invested in As It Is, and I’ve learnt so much along the way, but there’s always an opportunity to gain experience and perspective. It’s not about saying ‘yes’ to every opportunity, just the ones that make me feel something really special."
You can help fund CrazyEightyEight's debut album at their Kickstarter page.