Photo by Alex Kacha
Our fondness for San Diego’s Crocodiles has been well documented. With a new album scheduled for release this summer featuring production from Simian Mobile Disco’s James Ford we expect the upward trajectory of the band to continue. On the heels of the great new single, Summer of Hate, Brandon Welchez reconvened with us to talk about the current direction of the band and what fans can expect.
TDOA: Can you talk a bit about working with James Ford on the the new record and the “sound” people can expect on the new record? Did James get involved in writing and arrangement or was he there purely to capture the “sound”?
Brandon: The songs were all written before we met up with James, but he definitely helped with arrangements, especially on a couple of the songs we had just written that hadn’t been fully fleshed out yet. As far as the actual sound goes, we decided to work together after meeting up and talking a lot about music and production and a mutual love of dub and krautrock and a lot of the textures and production on those records. He is very talented and was capable of achieving a lot of things we could only hear in our heads and could only express to him in obtuse ways.
TDOA: We just heard the new Darker My Love record and it’s a pretty dramatic musical shift for the band. Will fans recognize the new Crocodiles record or is there a change in direction for you guys too?
Brandon: I guess that depends on what people hear in our band. We think of ourselves primarily as a band that writes pop songs, but pop songs that we try to wrap up in weirdness and experimentalism. I think for this record we definitely wrote better pop songs but I also think a lot of the weird bits are more interesting than the last time because of a combination of the equipment we had access to and James’ knowledge of analogue noise techniques and tape manipulation and things like that. We feel like it’s still easily recognizable as our band, but a better version. Who knows really though what people will think, everyone hears things differently.
TDOA: The first time I saw Crocodiles, it was just Brandon and Charles. More recently, you were touring with a full band, including a live drummer (yay!). Did you bring the full band into the studio and if so, how did that affect the writing process for you guys?
Brandon – No, it was just Charles and I, with James and our trusted friend Jon Greene engineering. The organ player from our live band, Robin, did come in for one day to play some of the organ parts. We aren’t good enough to not play ultra sloppily. She’s really good and we’re not so good at organ ha ha. We just fed her tons of mushrooms and set up a vox jaguar on the roof and let her loose. She also did some vocals, namely the harmonies on Sleep Forever.
TDOA: Brandon, somehow I missed that you were married to Kristin from Dum Dum Girls. Am I safe in assuming that you met while on tour together? How has “wedded bliss” worked its way into the lyrics on the new record?
Brandon – We met years before either of us were in our current bands, but yes we met as musicians. There are lyrics about her on the last record and there are songs about her on this one too. I think they’ll be easy to pick out.
TDOA: You’ve added even more great bands to the roster of groups you’ve toured with. Can you talk about your favorites and share any stories from the road? We’d be intrigued to here about your experiences with The Horrors.
Brandon – I’ve enjoyed all the bands we’ve toured with. Holy Fuck were particularly inspiring to watch every night. The Horrors were great too and super nice people. They were very generous with us and great to hang out with. Like all bands we’ve had our share of hilarious/frightening/dangerous/etc. experiences but all of our good stories are things I would never share publicly, sorry!
TDOA: The bands notoriety has continually grown in the past year or so. How do you feel about having to have a management company handling your affairs and bracing yourself for the onslaught of interviews and touring you’re about to embark on?
Brandon – It’s not really any different then it ever was, having a manager just helps us keep everything organized. Plus we’re away so much that no place of work would ever keep us on the payroll. He makes sure we don’t starve to death. Touring is fun, we’re looking forward to all the touring we’ll do for this record. Interviews are fine too because its the only chance we get to actually speak for ourselves and offset mis-truths or rumors or shoot back at the more vicious critics.
Purchase the new single via iTunes here.