CH.89: If you were to categorize or describe the style of your music, what would it be and why?
C: The music I release is generally low fidelity rock. Within rock music lots of stuff comes through, it’s a huge world to work within. Generally I’m defined by the instruments I’m choosing to play and working around the pop structure of verse x chorus x bridge variations.
CH.89: Where do you draw your inspiration from?
C: My brain repeats riffs I either wrote before or am hearing until I deal with them. I get excited thinking of a weird name or feeling I want to express. I love nature, science, putting my weird/dark stuff out in the open, trying to get at something tender or huge. Relationships fuel a lot. My releases are all versions of diary entries, a little more censored, but I’m trying to not censor myself. At times I feel whiney or not classy/artful enough to express things I’m nervous to say or do. It’s a tightrope there.
CH.89: What made you want to start a music project and how did you come up with the name?
C: I’ve made music since I was probably 7. I used to write raps based off beer commercials at super bowl halftime and perform them for my parents. I struggled in early adolescence coming to terms with life, until I heard some really ‘good’ music and then magnetized to that world. Started jamming with people around 13 years old and always had bands since. Crusasis (crew-say-sis) is a word I invented in 2011 to title a song I wrote. The song sounded like a triumphant army marching, led by men atop elephants. It feels like adventure. Crusasis – Adventurers Disease def: those compelled to explore, even at risk of their health.
CH.89: Can you talk a little bit about what your creative thought process is like when starting a new album?
C: When I get into writing a series of songs, where I am and how I’m recording is going to color it. Those elements create a glue, and I’ll pick and choose what seems to work from that for an album. Sequencing for me is very, very fun. The transitions into and out of songs is at least as important on an album as the songs to me. Will it be abrupt, will I hint at the next song, will I leave some space or not.. all those questions I love toying with. Getting levels and sounds right is so much less fun for me, and I’m sure it shows in the recordings.
CH.89: What would you want people/ the listener to take from your music?
C: I’d like people to enjoy it, or relate to it. Thats all music can really do, and its very special when it does. The way music helped me when I was 12 is still what I’m trying to do for myself and hopefully others, but I can’t control that. I can only keep playing. I release stuff just to say it’s done and move on. I hope people enjoy it but I’m 32 and have spent a long time putting stuff out to a day of ‘dig the tunes dude’ and then silence. My gold star is if someone hits me up a month/year after the release and lets me know they’ve listened to something in a rotation. Then I know it got through.
CH.89: Can you talk a little bit about your lifestyle as an artist and what that is like?
C: I’ve worked very flexible jobs to be able to play, and I’ve lived in really cheap places. Lots of my jobs would be work like crazy for a period of time then have time off to play. I’ve traveled like crazy, by myself or on tour with a band. Traveling solo isn’t necessary for an artist but it’s part of my life as an artist. I’m definitely one who’s seen peers ‘grow up’ into the own a home and start a family realm, so I feel like I continue to sacrifice security and certain lifestyles to keep this up. Actually it’s not really a sacrifice because I am not willingly giving it up, it just keeps happening. It makes me feel crazy when I think about their lives and me caring about my new album where the first track is called “Milk Dirt” and I recorded it all on a 200$ interface with 2 microphones. How ridiculous is that? Maybe it reflects my true feeling towards how absurd life is and maybe why I neurotically put making music before other things. Either I’m broken, an artist or ‘its fine, live your truth’? I have no idea.
CH.89: When starting out an artistic task, do you think it is better to have a particular direction/set plan guiding your way? Or, is it better to act on impulse and go from there?
C: I don’t think there is much controlling it. When I start bashing my head against a wall because a song isn’t working I just give up and try a different one. Then maybe next week or in 3 years I’ll try that one again. Writing music is always playing catch up with the old ideas I wanna do, balancing that with fiddling on guitar and making up something new. I never have enough time to figure it all out, and I get burnt out after trying too hard. Any plan I have going in is at the whim of the energy I am able to give to it. If it starts getting weighed down and I’m getting frustrated I’m gonna get angry and bury that idea. Lots of times that anger will help jump start the next new idea.
CH.89: What is one major lesson you’ve learned as an artist?
C: Nobody is right about anything. They can’t be, because they’re not you. Take what you want from others and leave the rest, and set the compass internally. I’m not very good at that but I think it’s true and helpful for a happy life as an artist or anyone.
CH.89: Do you regard personal style & taste to be of highest importance?
C: I see a lot of successful people with refined style and taste. I don’t always like them as people so it’s tricky. There’s another tightrope to walk, of being a nice, good developed person, and a selfish artist who knows what you like. No one walks that line perfectly, some better than others. Some people just have no desire besides career ambition, that happens a lot in art. I don’t like that.
CH.89: What do you consider to be the hardest thing about being an artist?
C: Probably the indifference. Pouring so much into something and it dying in a corner of the internet. I don’t blame people though, I realize my stuff is hard to digest for whatever reasons. Still it’s a nagging sadness.
CH.89: What is one thing you love about being an artist?
C: Creating. Creating something new, you know no one has ever thought of or said exactly and it’s there now to be heard.
CH.89: Is there anyone in particular, any artists that inspire you in any way?
C: I like the movie Pollock a lot. Emil Amos is a guide of mine. My girlfriend Melissa (band Francie Moon). Opeth always blow my mind. Authors writing about the writing process I love, especially Bukowski. I love abstract painting.
CH.89: What do you think of technology in terms of being a useful tool for artists today?
C: For me it’s a love hate relationship. The computer has allowed me to create so much, while also distracting me too much. I generally like really old school stuff and I can’t stand staring at a screen all day. I have never had a healthy relationship with online technology to promote my art. Lots of people embrace it and shamelessly promote at all hours. It’s definitely embedded in everything so I’ll always be trying to find my way in that world. The electric guitar was new technology once, and I’m sure lots of people hated it and didn’t embrace it, would I have been like that then? I try not to be a complete ludit but I have been called that before. Had a flip phone till 2019 !
CH.89: Do you think being an artist allows you to view the world differently from those who don’t follow creative paths?
C: Yes, though I am still surprised when constantly encountering other worldviews. When you care about something other than money or a job that makes money or your kids, it makes you different I guess.
CH.89: Do you enjoy traveling? If so, do you have a favorite city?
C: Oh yeah. Budapest stole my heart when I lived there for a few months in 2016 thanks to a friend who let me rent his apartment. I spent a summer working in Alaska off the Glenn highway near the Matanuska glacier. That was one of the most beautiful places I’ve ever had the luck to live in.
CH.89: Do you have a favorite author or book?
C: No favorites. I just read Anna Karennina this year and truly loved it. It amazes me how much I can relate to a book from the 19th century. Reading Plato grew my mind to relate to stuff over 2000 years old. That’s incredible. Bukowski poetry helps me stop beating myself up when I feel like shit.
CH.89: Any future goals or plans for your music?
C: Keep writing, keep playing and performing. Getting more nuanced and interesting as time goes on.
CH.89: What does being an artist mean to you?
C: It means searching and digging and coming to terms. It’s an obsession to get at something and get it as well as possible. I don’t think of artists with capital A. Just because I’m obsessed with music doesn’t mean it’s more special than a mechanic who is obsessed with their puzzle, or a scientist obsessed with their field. It’s all puzzles. I don’t understand people who aren’t curious. If you’re curious you’re probably in the same realm as the artist. When I hear something in my head I’m searching for the next puzzle piece to fit, the next kernel of understanding. That’s all I know about it.
CH.89: Any last words on the aesthetic of your music?
C: I guess I choose to keep writing the way I do with the equipment I do for two reasons. First, I believe if the song is strong enough, the quality of the recording doesn’t matter. The parts have to be heard, but it can be grainy or harsh. That’s true for some music I like. I think it’s a test for myself I keep choosing. If I write a good enough song, people will want to listen to it even if it sounds bad. Secondly, I haven’t found anyone I feel comfortable with in a real studio. I’ve tried a dozen times. Its difficult for me to let my censor down and not feel pressure or time or money. Maybe I’m not professional enough to rise to that stress, and so my aesthetic is this. Or maybe its just a money thing, and if I could blow 5 grand for a week in a pro studio with a great engineer I would have something magical. I’ll probably try that down the road just to see.