Brandon Welchez (Vocals, Programming) and Charles Rowland (Guitar, Synth) are the driving force behind Crocodiles, a San Diego based band that’s on the verge of taking your house by storm. Their first album, “Summer of Hate” is released in May and we wanted you to hop on board before the other “cool kids”.
We’ve discussed our disdain with comparing bands to others. Crocodiles agrees and would prefer to be graded on their own merits. Suffice to say; guitars, loud, feedback, bliss.
Brandon took a few moments to answer our questions. They are in the midst of a tour that will take them through most of the country. Keep your eyes peeled, because their live shows are rumored to be epic.
TDOA: We’ve listened to your music and understand the comparisons to The Velvet Underground and Jesus and Mary Chain. As a an artist, how do you feel about “comparisons”? Do you hate being categorized as opposed to being appreciated on your own merit or are you just flattered to be get such lofty praise?
BW: To be honest, I kind of hate comparisons. It makes sense that people will need a basis to contexualize someones music but at this point it just feels lazy. I would much rather read a review, even a bad review, that uses adjectives rather than other bands to describe us. Yes, we love a lot of those bands we are being compared to and certainly a lot of that comes through, but we strive to be different from everyone, past and present.
TDOA: What are the musical influences that you think inform your sound?
BW: We are really into trying to mix beauty and violence sonically. That probably sounds quite pretencious but you get the idea…
TDOA: Your MySpace page is titled- “Crocodiles- Visual”. What does the “visual” tag reference?
BW: Oh, thats just a joke. We feel silly about myspace in general, but unfortunately its a necessity for a band in this day and age. It used to say °chinese pop° , we should probably just change it back to that.
TDOA: Is your band name intended to be a tip of the hat to Echo and the Bunnymen?
BW: No, though we love that album. We originally wanted to be called Crocodile Tears but it was taken. Coming up with a band name is such a drag. In the end we thought our name sounded like some sort of dark doo wop band from the fifties or something. Like if the Penguins had evil brothers haha…
TDOA: Seemingly everyone that sees you live raves that you’re even better than on record. Can you tell us why you think people say this and if this changes how you may approach your next album?
BW: Do people say that? That’s quite flattering. I know that a lot of bands I go to see end up being pretty boring live, maybe that’s in the back of my mind. Also, i’m naturally a pretty shy person, so the idea of being a free standing singer on a stage with just one other person can be kind of terrifying. I’ve gotten good at psyching myself out and just having fun. If I consider what I’m doing too much I’d be racked with nerves.
TDOA: Delicate question: When Stereogum wrote you up as a “band to watch”, the comments attached the article make some pretty hildarious reading. There are some comments accusing you of changing your sound a few time and of having some issues with other bands you’ve played with. However after every negative comment, there’s a comment defending you and then a retraction a couple of comments later! Is this just the typical local band jealousy that has existed forever or is there a more entertaining explanation? We’re hoping for some sort of “Crocodiles Mafia”, that has their ways of quieting down dissent.
BW: Charles and I have been playing music together for 10 years, from the time we were late teens. I think it’d be pretty weird if we were in the same band over and over. Our next band will be different from this one. A lot of criticism could be people from San Diego. Ugh… I try not to pay attention to that stuff.
TDOA: The Crocodiles, The Soft Pack and a bunch of other good bands are all coming out of San Diego lately. A lot of the great scenes in America (Athen, GA, Seattle, etc.) sprouted because there were great record stores or other entities that nutured the scene. What’s going on in San Diego that is spawning all of this great music?
BW: It’s a pretty boring place to live so there are a ton of bands. People play music to alleviate boredom in san diego.
TDOA: What are your favorite albums of 2009?
BW: Hmmm.. My favorite bands of 09 would be Woven Bones, Past Lives, and Dum Dum Girls…
TDOA: You’ve got a two-album deal with Fat Possum, the new album coming out next month, extensive touring and a lot of blog buzz…..and you’re not the first. Do you guys think about how you’re going to deal with the “Vampire Weekend backlash” and build a lasting career?
BW: I don’t think we’re as heavily hyped as that, but again, we’re just having fun and doing what we do. We’ve already dealt with criticism and we try and ignore all of it, the positive and the negative. We’d be doing this even if not a single person besides us cared, so if we suffer some huge backlash, we’ll just keep doing it.
We’re throwing in a bonus “video” here. As always, we search for good videos to link within our articles. This is from a live show last year and you can’t see a freaking thing. But….the music is so good and gives you such a good taste of what they sound like live, we had to post it. We’ll await word from the Crocodiles legal team asking it to be removed. Hope not!!!