up & comer: cromwell
This week’s Up & Comers are Cromwell, a three-piece pop outfit hailing from Canberra. We caught up with frontwoman Becki Whitton to chat about the band.
Tell us a bit about yourselves!
The band started out with just Sam (Andrews) and me. We’d been involved in a couple of other musical projects together before, and then one day Sam emailed me and said ‘Let’s do a band. Come round at such-and-such a time.’ So I went over to his place and found him hunched in a corner playing these really tonally complex riffs in a time signature I didn’t understand, at the same time as he was smoking a joint and answering an email from Kitty Pryde or someone like that.
And I just thought ‘What am I doing here??’. But eventually I managed to find a spot in that mad stream of guitar where a nice vocal melody would fit. And that’s more or less how we’ve written songs ever since. Sam found Dave (Flutsch) a bit later on. I’m not really sure how that happened, but I’m glad it did.
How would you describe your music for a new listener?
Describing your own music is really hard! When venues ask for a neat description I’ve been telling them we play ‘Old Testament Pop’, which is partly just a joke, and partly a reflection of the fact that I’m fascinated with religion and that informs a lot of our lyrics. But Sam listens to loads of hip hop, as well as a bunch of modern classical stuff like Babbitt and Ligeti. And experimental jazz of the kind Ben Monder makes. It all goes into Sam’s melting pot. When all those influences get mixed with my voice it makes what one audio engineer described as being ‘like Kate Miller-Heidke, except creepy’.
Are there any exciting things happening for the band at the moment?
We’ve almost finished recording an album. It has seven tracks, and it’s mostly about plants. And William Blake.
If you could play a gig anywhere, where would it be?
It’s always cool when bands do tours around churches like Lisa Mitchell recently did, but I would consider it a one-up on that to play somewhere like Machu Picchu, or an Aztec site – something like that.
Tell us about your favourite moments as a band so far?
Recently we’ve played a couple of gigs with Sam’s younger brother, Matthew, on the trumpet. It’s been so great because Matt’s such a nice kid, and he’s so enthusiastic about our music. Plus he’s a total wizard on the trumpet.
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