This month, II by Crowhurst, which is sure to be one of the best albums you will hear all year, was released. In addition to penning my thoughts on the album in a separate feature, I had the opportunity to interview Jay about the new release:
First, how did the new lineup for this record come to be? Did you already have individuals in mind that you wanted to work with prior to beginning work on the album?
Jay: The lineup came to be when I was talking with Andy about the plans I had for II and he’d offered to be a part of it. I’m a big fan of him as a human being and musician, so it really made sense. Once that was in effect, Reuben seemed like such an obvious choice that it wasn’t something that required any hesitation. Once we locked it all in, we were good to go.
Given the fact that the band’s contributors rotate as they do, is it a challenge to reconcile vision with reality when it comes to writing songs?
Jay: The beautiful part about rotating contributors is that there’s little compromise, in the sense that I wouldn’t move forward with a collaboration if it wasn’t something we were both stoked on.
Are there plans in place to release more material with the lineup from I? Or this current lineup, for that matter?
Jay: My plans are entirely contingent upon the material I’m working on and the level of involvement people want to have, if any. I can confirm that Andy and I will be working with each other on III.
In my opinion, this album sounds more full, and for lack of a better term, more mature and realized. Would you attribute that moreso to the way this new lineup works together, or to the continued growth of Crowhurst as a bandand yourself as a songwriter?
Jay: The plan for the trilogy was to have kind of an arc. Working with Jack was a huge part of that raw sound and I knew that continuing with MWM on II would allow it to bloom into this big, rich beast. It was definitely intentional to evolve the sound sonically in this direction.
Similarly, you add more to your game vocally on this record, was that something you had been wanting to try, or something that was necessitated by the stylistic changes on this album?
Jay: Thank you! I actually am a classically trained vocalist and it’s what I feel most confident doing. I got some pretty positive feedback on the clean vocals from the last record, and to be honest – I wasn’t sure if anyone would like them. They felt right and were fun to do, so when the response was positive I took the chance and doubled down.
Your music tends to broach some heavy topics, from mental health and depression, to addiction and recovery, there is a sense of realness to the emotions you evoke when you delve into these subjects, far removed from the melodrama a lot of artists in similar genres tend to flirt with. Is there anything you can say regarding harnessing these emotions and themes in an effective way?
Jay: I touch on these topics because they’re what I know. Approaching it in any other way would feel pretty unnatural, I would imagine.
Do you ever feel the need to ‘come up for air’ as it were, when doing so?
Jay: No. I need to come up for air from a lot of other parts of being in a band, but that’s more because of the issues that I’m addressing and not the fact that I’m addressing them. That’s the cathartic, satisfying part.
I heard that there was a Gnaw Their Tongues and Crowhurst collaboration in the works. Are you able to share any information on when that will be released or what it will entail?
Jay: Mories is a super busy guy, but when he’s got a minute we’ll finish it up. There’s also a collaboration with Leo of Street Sects, John Shirley, Eugene Robinson and Terrence Hannum coming up and a Locrian remix. And a death metal collaboration with some pretty legendary Canadians. I’m not rushing anybody, I’m just honored he would be interested in working with me.
Any concrete plans for III yet?
Jay: Nothing is concrete until it’s stamped onto vinyl. Lots of tentative plans. Expect more guests, more drama, more blastbeats, glitch, coldwave and dub elements. There’s a potential producer. There’s a potential label. There’s nobody more excited to hear it than I am.
Jay was also kind enough to hook us up with some exclusive footage of Crowhurst at work on this new masterpiece for all of you guys to enjoy. Here is them working on the opening track ‘Cold Sweat’ from the new album: