Jarrod Alonge and Lauren Babic's project Crazy Eighty Eight dropped two EPs earlier this summer, and there's more on the way!
HOW DID CRAZY EIGHTY EIGHT GET STARTED?
Says Jarrod Alonge (guitar/vocals): “I started writing the instrumentals close to two years ago, just as another creative outlet, away from doing comedy music all the time.
“I’ve been wanting to write this type of stuff for a while, but did it without a vocalist in mind. I tried out some different vocalists, mostly female vocalists, as I feel that the music scene is kind of lacking in really strong, female rock singers. There are some of course, but I think this style of music needs it.”
Lauren Babic (vocals): “Jarrod first reached out to me some time in late 2016 mentioning that he wanted to take on a more serious project differing from his comedic work, and that he was searching for a vocalist for this new band.
“I've been a fan of Jarrod's work for a long time, so I was very eager about the idea from the get go. He had a very clear vision for what he wanted the band to sound like and coincidently, I was seeking another creative outlet on top of my duties in my other band, Red Handed Denial.
“The timing was absolutely perfect and it's crazy how well we've meshed since day one.”
Jarrod: “We chatted for a while, and found that we were totally on the same page musically. She’s a wonderful musician and great to work with, and we just clicked creatively.
“We experimented with songs, we’d send each other melodies and came up with some lyrics. It eventually became the ‘No Words Spoken’ EP.”
DID YOU KNOW WHAT KIND OF SOUND YOU WERE GOING FOR SINCE THE BEGINNING?
Jarrod: “To begin with, I didn’t have a vision for what kind of style it would be. It could have been metalcore, for a while I thought it was going to be pop-rock, but I didn’t want to restrict myself in any capacity.
“If it was going to turn out as a deathcore album or a rap album – though I don’t see that one happening for a while – that’s what it’d be. But it ended up with a pretty obvious Underøath, Saosin, classic post-hardcore influence, with some modern rock elements.
“When I was a teenager, the time I was most influenced and moulded by music was when that music was everywhere, and it’s stuck with me. As we progress it might sound a bit different each time – I’m thinking whatever we work on next will probably be a bit darker, maybe heavier in a metal sense, but we’ll see.”
HOW DID YOUR COVERS EP FACTOR INTO THAT?
Jarrod: “This is definitely an un-traditional kind of project. We’ve never been in the same room together, Lauren lives in Canada and this band for the time being only exists online.
“With this being a new project, we’ve never actually jammed and played music in a free style together! We don’t necessarily always have to write original songs, it’s good to just make music together, whatever form it may be, to see how the sound takes form. I think doing those covers helped give us a lead on how we should, at least from a production standpoint, make the original songs.
“It also helps with the marketing, since we’re not touring or anything for the time being. Having songs that people already know is good exposure to bring listeners in, and maybe they’ll go on to check out the original stuff.”
Lauren: “We finished the EP completely via emails, texts and messages. To this day we've never actually spoken or met face-to-face which is where the name ‘No Words Spoken’ comes from.
“I think we've achieved something incredible considering how it came to fruition, and we're going to see how long we can keep the streak going. That's my favourite part about all this.”
WHAT DID YOU DRAW ON LYRICALLY WHEN IT CAME TO THE ORIGINAL SONGS?
Jarrod: “The concept for the whole project, or at least for this EP, is that the lyrics are all written from the perspective of characters in different movies.
“I’m not a very poetic person, I’m not very verbose and it’s the thing I have most trouble with. I would love to bring someone else into the project to take the reins on that in the future, but Lauren is already a talented songwriter and lyricist.”
Lauren: “C88 draws inspiration from many parts of pop culture including our love for movies. It's been fun seeing what themes listeners have been discovering and interpreting, some themes including (obviously) Kill Bill and Star Wars.”
Jarrod: “My reasoning for going with that concept is, we like telling stories. I had a very normal, average upbringing without any real tragedies or big unique events to draw inspiration from, so if I were to write something deep and personal, it’d be about my asthma or how my head is too big for my body. No one really cares about those problems!
“I love film, it’s my favourite hobby and what inspires me to do pretty much everything I do. There are so many great stories to tell within that.”
Lauren: “‘Tommy's Planet’ is probably my favourite track off the EP and I think it's a great song for new listeners to get to know us. It has one of my favourite choruses to sing.”
JARROD, HOW HAVE YOU FOUND THE EXPERIENCE OF RELEASING MUSIC THAT’S NOT… WELL, FUNNY?
Jarrod: “With comedy music, there’s this protective blanket where if something in the song isn’t really up to par, you can be like ‘It’s comedy, it’s not supposed to be good!’ There is an anxiety around releasing serious music, because people can just straight shit on it.
“It’s not difficult to separate them in my mind. It’s a little more challenging marketing that, because I knew that as soon as I uploaded Crazy Eighty Eight songs, people would reasonably assume it was a comedy project, because that’s all I’ve done.
“I’ve seen some YouTube comments saying, ‘I don’t get it?’ but it hasn’t happened as much as I expected. It seems like people have really connected to it.”
WHAT’S NEXT FOR YOU?
Jarrod: “We’re actually working a new covers EP right now, another set of four songs. We have to produce everything online, Lauren records vocals in her home studio in Canada, then I get together with Johnny Franck (ex- Attack Attack!) who produces. You’ll hopefully see that soon.
“Then there’ll hopefully be a new single, and it’d be cool to go on and do a full-length by the end of the year.”
Lauren: “I'm very excited for what's in store for C88. We're getting geared up for the next round of releases which will include some more covers and an album. We eventually want to tour so that's definitely something we'll be doing when the time is right.”
Jarrod: “For the time being it’s just me and Lauren – the other guys in the videos were there to fill in for the music videos, so it wasn’t just awkwardly a singer and a guitarist!
“I’m totally open to adding new members, we actually have one new person who’s in the works of joining – someone who is fairly well known in the music scene – but it’s a little premature to say who that is at the moment. Maybe we’ll announce it when the album comes around. Over time I guess we’ll probably add new people.
“With the music I have, as it stands, I use a lot of different vocalists for things. I play the satirical vocalist character, but it’d be difficult to perform that live.
“If we used the original vocalists it’d be a little confusing, and if I tried to do it, I’d probably collapse from an asthma attack. I could probably tour off of my recent project Canadian Softball, but it’d be a little difficult. But with Crazy Eighty Eight I intentionally kept it in mind, and it’d be really fun to do these songs live.”