Hello people of the Internet!!! On today’s ‘Monday Memos’, we have an AMAZING new interview with rising band Crossley Hunter (you can check out my 1st blog post about them here: Monday Memos: Crossley Hunter…the newest band on the rise that YOU need to know about | celindareyesblog). In this interview I got to speak to Justin Hammond (who is the vocalist/guitarist in Crossley Hunter), about how the band formed, where they got their awesome name, and so much more! Please remember to look out for the band’s 1st full length album, which will drop later this year (don’t worry I’ll keep y’all updated on the release date!), and support Crossley Hunter by checking out their newest song ‘Devil Smiling’ (you will be ADDICTED to it, trust me!). Also remember that if you’re in the area, definitely check out Crossley Hunter on April 23rd at the Rancho Relaxo in Toronto, Ontario & on May 4th, at The Rockpile in Toronto, Ontario. Ok are y’all ready? Let’s jump into the interview!
Celinda: Let’s start off with who/what inspired you to pursue a career in the music industry?
Justin: To be honest, I just decided I wanted to try playing guitar when I was younger because I was never huge into sports or anything. So my uncle took me out one weekend and helped me pick out my first guitar, and then I started taking some basic lessons. I soon realized that I had the most fun experimenting and trying to write my own stuff, and after about ten thousand hours of that, I started to kind of get the hang of it.
Celinda: Cool, so how did Crossley Hunter form, and what inspired your name?
Justin: Crossley Hunter essentially started a bit after Michelle and I started dating. We had met at a local show that my old high school band was playing, and started dating soon after. We had been together for several months before I even knew she played music, but I was pretty surprised to find out she was a classically trained pianist. She had given up playing when she was younger, but I sort of convinced her to start playing with me and experimenting with some of the music I had been writing. After we had a few songs written, I found out that her brother Jay had played guitar in a few bands growing up, and that he was also a pretty talented drummer. So he started playing and writing tunes with us, but we were still short a bass player. That’s when we got the idea to go out and buy a bass guitar for their other brother Joe (who also happened to be very musically talented). We jammed with various lead guitar players under various different band names over the years, but we eventually settled on the name Crossley Hunter for no other reason than it being the name of the road that Michelle, Jay, and Joe grew up on, and where we jammed at the time.
Celinda: That is such an interesting story! So which artists/bands would you say have influenced your sound?
Justin: I can’t speak for anyone else in the band, but some of my biggest musical influences growing up would have to be Matthew Good, Third Eye Blind, Our Lady Peace, Alien Ant Farm, Saves the Day, Weezer, the Pixies, Boys Night out, Radiohead… but that’s just to name a few. I listened to a variety of different stuff over the years.
Celinda: Staying on the topic of influences, which artists/bands have influenced your sound that might surprise your fans?
Justin: Well, listening to our music, most people probably wouldn’t think of The Doors as being a huge influence. But I’ve always been a huge Jim Morrison fan…. his vocal style has had a huge impact on mine.
Celinda: Now let’s move on and talk about your upcoming album. First of all I just want to say that ‘Devil Smiling’ is an awesome song that I’m completely addicted to. Is this song a good indication of the vibe of the rest of your upcoming album?
Justin: First of all, it’s so great to hear that you dig the tune! Your review of Devil Smiling was more than generous, so we’d like to thank you for that! To answer the question, I’d say that song is a pretty good representation of the album as a whole – which is why we’ve decided on it as the first track. I think the majority of the album has a similar feel… however there are a couple curve balls in there – just to keep things interesting! I mean, we really wanted John Wozniak to agree to sing on a song on the album, so we ended up writing a tune that kind of catered more to his brand of folk rock song writing. So in short: we do change up the pace and feel for a few of the tracks, but they all sound like Crossley Hunter.
Celinda: I’m so glad that you enjoyed my review of Devil Smiling! Based on what you’ve just told me, I’m honestly even more excited to hear the album! So, I know it’s probably hard to pick favorites, but what’s one song off of the upcoming album that you’re really excited for fans to hear? If you can’t give us a name, then can you say whether it’s a more upbeat song, or a ballad?
Justin: Umm, there’s a few that I’m pretty excited for people to hear. The song that John sings on called “Stomp, Clap, Drink” is a really fun tune, and it’s something different for us, so I’m interested to hear what people think of it. Another one I’m pretty proud of is the album closer “Aphelion” – it’s just got kind of a dark, raw feel to it that came through really well during the recording process.
Celinda: I’ll definitely look out for those songs. So what’s one thing you wish you had known about the music industry before entering it?
Justin: Well… it’s hard to choose just one thing, but I’d say what probably stands out most to me, is the ridiculous amounts of effort that independent musicians have to put in to get even minimal recognition. I don’t think the average person realizes just how hard aspiring musicians work, and how much of their effort ends up being entirely in vain. I know that in recent years especially, I’ve personally been feeling more and more cynical about the idea of ever accomplishing the goal of becoming an established musician – but then I have to stop myself and realize that that’s not really the reason I write music in the first place. The real value of writing and playing music lies in catharsis. Without this outlet, I think I’d be pretty spun.
Celinda: I love that answer, it’s very insightful. So I know that you guys have some live performances coming up, do you have anything special that you do either individually and/or as a band to prepare for a live performance?
Justin: Besides lots of practice? Nothing really comes to mind, other than maybe having a drink or two beforehand to help take the edge off!
Celinda: Cool, so what advice do you have for anyone who wants to get into the music industry?
Justin: I think this is a good place to pick up where I left off earlier: any aspiring musician should be prepared for years and years of hard work that may ultimately go entirely unappreciated. But again, if you’re just ‘in it to win it’, then you’re going about it the wrong way anyways. The only reason anybody should be wasting their time on music is if they truly enjoy it. Besides, the sense of community that comes with being involved in some of these local music scenes is worth all the effort alone. Some of the best people I’ve ever met came into my life as a direct result of my involvement in these independent music scenes, so for me, that alone has made all the effort worth the while.
Celinda: Lastly, do you have anything else you’d like to say to any of your fans who are reading this interview?
Justin: I’d just like to say that we all really appreciate anyone and everyone who gives us the time of day, and everyone who has, and continues to support us by coming out to shows and such. We’re extremely excited to release our first full length album this summer, and we really hope that everyone enjoys listening to it as much as we enjoy playing it!
Celinda: Thanks so much for taking the time to speak with me today!
Justin: Thank you for having interest in our music, and thanks again for the thoughtful review you did for us!
Keep up with Crossley Hunter:
Instagram: @crossleyhunter • Instagram
Reverbnation: Crossley Hunter
Facebook: Crossley Hunter | Facebook
If you haven’t already heard Crossley Hunter’s new song ‘Devil Smiling’, then check it out below