Crime In Stereo

By paul

Hey, can you please introduce yourself and the role you play in the band!
-My name is Alex Dunne and I am a full time employee of the Crime In Stereo Independent Music Company, regional supervisor of shredosity, procrastination.

I’m sure it’s a question you’ve been asked a thousand times, but what’s the story behind the band name?
-No cool story, just some dumb name we came up with at one of our first practice’s in Scotty’s basement way back when.

If you had to describe your sound to someone who isn’t yet a Crime In Stereo convert, how would you sum it up?
-Yikes. We’re a hardcore band, but not in the Sheer Terror/Agnostic Front sense of the term. We definitely don’t have a typical hardcore sound, although a lot of our older stuff has a Dag Nasty/Lifetime slant to it. I would say we’re a hardcore band in the same way that Refused and At The Drive In and Fugazi were hardcore bands, although not sounding like any of those bands per se.

You’ve bounced around various record labels, why have you opted to switch and change for different releases? What attracted you to Bridge 9 for ‘…Is Dead’?
-As a band, we’ve always had a strong belief in what we did, and we’re always just looking for someone who shares that strength of belief. Bridge 9 fit that bill perfectly. We had wanted to be with that label for a long time, and they eventually came around to us, but we were under contract to another label. We found a way to make it work, and everything has been gravy ever since.

The name of the new album is interesting…would it be too obvious to suggest you’ve named the record ‘Is Dead’ to signify a change in sound and the birth of a new band? What are the real reasons behind the album name?
-That basically is the reason behind the album name. Congratulations, you’re clairvoyant.

Which brings me on nicely to the change in sound. The new album seems to have attracted some negative comments by your old-skool fans (at least a few on our forums anyway) about the fact you’ve slowed things down a touch. Why have you moved from the faster, more technical punk sound of your last few records?
-Well, it basically come down to the fact that as musicians, there’s really only so much you can do while playing at breakneck speeds. It gets to the point where you’re doing the same drum beat in every song, the same vocal style, same leads style. There’s no room for experimentation with drum beats or guitar tones when you’re going at light speed. Also, we’ve always been a lyrically oriented band, and it makes it next to impossible to get lyrics the way you want them when you only have a minute and a half to work with, and you have to shout every word at the top of your lungs. We love all our old fast stuff and we still play a bunch of it live. We just wanted to branch out as musicians and see what we could do.

Which bands/albums influenced you during the writing of the new album? On a similar note, for me there are elements of Long Island bands such as early Brand New that would appear to have influenced the songwriting, did you go back to those roots when it came to writing/recording?
-Well, I know there has been a lot of comparison to Brand New with this new record, but I wouldn’t say we’re really influenced by them. They’re great guys and ridiculously talented but we never set out to try and do what they do. However, we do use the same producer, the equally-ridiculously-talented Mike Sapone, and I think Kristian has that “Long Island” voice, which leads to a lot of the BN comparisons. I think Kristian, Jesse, John Nolan, Vin Caruana, a lot of the dudes around here have a very similar sounding voice, all of whom I think were heavily influenced in their early years by Silent Majority’s Tommy Corrigan, and that’s what I think shines through the most, the Silent Majority influence. But to be honest, being consistently compared to Brand New is a compliment, not a criticism. People have tried to criticize us on this record for “seeking out Brand New‘s producer”, but we’ve been with Mike Sapone forever. He produced The Contract and The Troubled Stateside with us. I think we all just grew together at the right time, as musicians, producers, people, whatever. I could never list all the bands that influence us because the 5 guys in this band listen to 5 very different styles of music. If you asked me, this album was influenced by Lifter Puller and Fugazi. If you asked Mike and Kristian they would tell you its Blacklisted and Hot Water Music. So I don’t know..take from it what you can.

How did the recording process go? Who produced the record and why did you opt to use that person? Did you do anything differently from your previous recordings?
-The recording process was actually kind of miserable. I was working and going to grad school at the time, so I would teach high school science from 7:30 to 2:30, go to grad school from 4:30 to 7:30 and then be in the studio from 8pm til like 2:30 am, and get up and go back to work everyday on like 3 or 4 hours sleep. It took us probably 10 weeks to record this record, but we were only in the studio for a handful of hours each day. Mike Sapone helmed the controls once more for this record, and in my opinion, he’s really the best producer on the planet. There’s a reason why all these giant Long Island bands who can afford a zillion dollar guy like Rich Costey or Butch Vig go to Sapone. He’s the best.

Crime In Stereo have always been known for the time and effort that goes into the lyrical content. On previous records much has been made about the political comments made within your songs – would you say you are a political band, or do you think bands don’t talk about politics often enough?
-I don’t like being labeled a political band, because we’re not Anti-Flag or Rage Against The Machine. However, we live in a highly politicized world and to me, it’s like, how can you not think about these things? So, I never set out to write something political, but I think my writing always takes on a socio-economic slant somehow. But also, for the people that know me, those are the kinds of things I’m inclined to talk about anyway. They don’t crop up for me just when I’m writing lyrics.

How do you see the music business model developing in months/years to come? Are you a fan of the MP3 and downloading? Do you think radiohead’s decision to allow people to pick the price is something other bands will consider?
-Yeah, the Radiohead thing was tremendous, as is that album. I think it’s incredible. Anyway, the problem with things like that is that Radiohead is one of the 4 or 5 biggest bands on the planet. You really can’t be successful with their new model unless you already have 5 million fans. So yeah, if you’re Radiohead or Nine Inch Nails and you’ve fulfilled your contract, then this is definitely the future. I think you might start seeing labels doing contract extensions on big artists like they do with athletes, so that they never achieve an independent status. Problem is if you’re not Trent Reznor or Thom Yorke, your small band DOES need the help of a label. Studio time is expensive. Ad space and marketing programs are not only astronomically expensive, but are in a finite quantity, so those front-of-store displays in Best Buy are fought over tooth and nail. Not to mention the industries worst kept secret, that Payola is not only alive and well, it never really went away. The major label model is unfortunately, just a symptom, not the problem itself.

The new record is also available on vinyl – was this important to you when it came to releasing the record? Are you all vinyl nerds?
-Vinyl is crucial. I don’t know what that means, but I heard some kid say it and it sounds appropriate here.

It’s getting to the time where the top 10 lists of the year come out, which records would be high up on your lists for 2007?
-Sheesh. I’m always terrible about these things because I can’t remember what came out more than a few months back. I’ll give it a shot though. I really enjoyed records this year from Nine Inch Nails, Capital, Lifetime, Interpol, Modest Mouse, Bad Religion, Against Me!, Tegan and Sara, Minus the Bear, Blacklisted, Radiohead, Attack in Black, Band of Horses and The Weakerthans. I’m sure I forgot a bunch. Oh yeah, there’s this band Crime in Stereo I’ve been hearing people talk about..

Try these three interviews

Interview: Greywind [Reading 2016]

Interview: Arcane Roots [Reading 2016]

Interview: Trash Boat [Reading 2016]