Sacramento post-punk band Creux Lies’s highly anticipated new album The Hearth is now available via Cleopatra Records!
These guys put on an incredible show at Out From The Shadows IV this year. They were one of the very few bands I hadn’t listened to beforehand, and once their set was over, I didn’t hesitate in buying one of everything from their merch booth and kicking myself for having slept on this amazing band! “Portals” is the track most fans are familiar with, as it became available with the pre-orders. I was lucky enough to get to dance to this song with a crowd of enthusiastic fans, a moment I’ll cherish forever. Really, though, every track on The Hearth sounds like a hit. Creux Lies’ unique blend of dancey post-punk and sophisticated darkwave truly comes full force on this album. Listen to it and fall in love!
Without further ado,, here is my interview with the band!
David Wright = DW
Kyle Vorst = KV
How did you end up with the name The Hearth? Wasn’t it going to be Two of Swords?
Ean – At first, the symbolism of Two of Swords, the tarot aspect, was on point, and there was this feel of mysticism, spellcraft kinda coming through the words and feel of some of the tracks. The Two Of Swords card demonstrates a woman in confusion, blindfolded, can’t see the problem or the solution with clarity. The swords show both sides of this dilemma’s need to be sort of confronted. This concept spoke to deep levels of my own life, reflections on my connection to trauma and my need to work through. However, after spending some time bouncing the concept around, things started unfolding. I always loved the lyric “the hearth,” on our track “Virginity,” and this phrase lands in a more centered way to cover the whole feel of this record for me. Although I live in constant duality, I am finally finding peace, a home in my skin, I think, haha.
Can you speak on the album art? It actually does some similarities to the Two of Swords card.
Ean – we actually really lucked out with this one. We were searching for new cover art, as the tarot thing is kinda, well we’ve seen it. I was hunting for a feel of duality. I came across this artist, Alex Kanevsky’s piece, “J.F.H. with Her Portrait,” and was just stunned. I looked up Alex and discovered he was this world-renowned artist based out of Philadelphia, and felt that the price for licensing would be way out of our league. But, I decided to just contact him and ask how much we would be out, I really wanted this piece to work. Before we knew it, he was in touch with me. He requested the album, and he apparently enjoyed it very much. He actually simply offered us the rights for an true artist’s deal… I probably shouldn’t divulge the details but, Alex Kanevsky is THE real fucking deal and we appreciate the perfection that this painting brought to my personal represented expression and how it conveys all the duality that lives in the songs on this record.
What was the writing process like for the songs on The Hearth?
DW: It was a lot of experimenting. There was old unused Number Station material we toyed around with reworking but it all eventually led into whole new songs being created at the end of the day. We have a lot of that material still set aside and may revisit it on a rainy day. Some of the best tracks spawned out of little more than a riff Barry was playing around with or a simple synth melody Ean showed everyone.
Ean – there was a lot of grinding on melodies, tones, building platforms for the drums and synths at home, then presenting some tastier parts to the group, and a lot of Californian red wine.
What influenced the lyrics this time around?
Ean – I’ve been writing these songs for over a year, so obviously there’s some shades of experience weaving in and out of these tracks. I suppose, out of all the projects of my musical past, these songs at times infiltrate my perspective on my identity and the
What was it like working with Patrick Hill on the album?
DW: Pat is our secret hidden member of the band. He has a great ear for things to add or subtract from songs that didn’t even cross our minds. Its safe to say he was a pretty strong player in helping shape the sound we have today.
Ean- I’ve been playing in bands and creating strange music with Pat Hills for over a decade. He’s certainly one of my most rare and creative friends. The beauty of working with him, besides earning the odd, hilarious, often flat, and genius-novel Pat phrase, he is a chameleon of sound. He can really shift and twist a concept in ways that even stretch my vision; which has lead to a perfect match for our sound. He can also be honest with me, and that helps disarm my bullshit, paving the way for more real takes.
Barry – Pat is essentially an honorary member of our band at this point. We’ll come to him with a song that is 80-90% there, and he will approach it with a fresh perspective that is desperately needed when you’ve been sitting with something for too long and lost sight of what it could be.
Who are some of your main musical and non-musical influences?
Ean – it’s clear the obvious leanings, anyone could pick ‘em out, the cure, Depeche, … but, musically I’ve always been very much inspired by terrible music. I recently started making some playlist called “the best of the worst of the 80’s, 90’s, etc.” There is something very telling in a band’s worst songs. I think, maybe like life, I learn how to shape my best me through the pain I get, and when Kajagoogoo launches into “Ergonomics,” a literal song about how “all across the land,” things are made for the hand, I am left thinking, Jesus fucking christ I now definitively know exactly what not to do.
Barry – Aside from the obvious post-punk legends, my guitar playing takes influence from bands like Swervedriver, MBV, Catherine Wheel, Slowdive, as well as from surf guitar bands like the Ventures, Dick Dale. In terms of pure songwriting, I’m a huge fan of Steely Dan, Bruce Springsteen, Ryan Adams, and Bob Dylan just to name a few. I will also argue that Third Eye Blind’s self-titled album is one of the greatest records ever made and has shaped so much of my love of music and songwriting.
How did you guys evolve from the original band Number Station?
DW: For my side, I actually wanted to join as the drummer but reached out just shortly after Topher was brought on board. My musical background is more on the rock/industrial/metal side and was really into the couple of Number Station tracks I had heard. I kept in touch with Ean after the fact and he mentioned they wanted to get more synth and electronics going on with the band, something I was familiar with and offered to help. Long story short here I am as the synth player / IT guy for the band! The overall sound and direction of the writing at that time moved away from the heavier more rock oriented sound that Number Station had so a rebrand was in order to match the new direction.
KV: I was brought on right before the direction shifted. I was at a show in SF and had run into David and Ean. David and I had been in band together previously and he had apparently already spoke to Ean about bringing me on to play bass. Came in for a try out and almost 2 years later here we are.
Ean- basically one day, barry and I realized we had been riding a horse named compromise too long. And, I was like, let’s just do this other band, no compromises, focused, and whoever wants to get off, please do. The good news is, by then, we had a great lineup that was primed for our re-birth. We all saddled up, and we are heading into the sunset now
You guys seem extremely comfortable as a band. What do you love about it? Can you see yourselves doing this forever?
Barry – I think the unifying factor is that we all just like to have fun and laugh. The chemistry is so easy when you don’t have a wildcard dude freaking out in the van or always bailing on practice.
Topher: his has been one of the most fun and comfortable groups of people I have ever been around. It reminds me of when I first started playing music with my friends. When it was just an excuse to hang out… Now it’s that and more.
DW: I came into the band not knowing any of the existing members so I was a bit of a stranger. After one or two sessions with them I knew things were going to work out great. Our humor and energy just all seemed to click. Jump ahead to today we’re able to speak about the good and bad things going on and we do a good job of keeping our heads level even when someone’s stressed or frustrated. I’ve never had as good a chemistry as a whole unit as we have here than any prior band I’ve been apart of.
KV:I knew we were clicking by the end of my first practice with them. Between our love of film, podcasts, music and an impromptu 90’s pop song cover I knew this would work. I love creating and as introverted as I can be I love creating with a group.
Ean- we are a bunch of nerds. It’s easy to be among your kind.
What do the members have going on when they’re not working on Creux Lies? I understand Ean Clevenger is also a DJ and runs Lull Presents?
DW: I also DJ from time to time around Sacramento, not as much as when I was a regular at a local club but still something I enjoy doing. Other musical items that keep me busy are doing remixes for other bands.
KV: I have a hair salon that I am also a stylist at.If I’m not doing hair then I’m probably Playing one of my Synthesizers or watching old horror movies.
Topher: I am a father! My daughter was born in July and I didn’t know love like this could exist.
Barry – I’ve been a graphic designer professionally for about 7 years, which is another great creative outlet for me when I’m not making music.
I also enjoy road cycling, going on trips with my wife, Erin, and collecting vintage guitars.
We all love craft beer, and listening to podcasts like Comedy Bang Bang, How Did This Get Made, Pistol Shrimps Radio.
What’s next in store for Creux Lies?
Barry – I feel like this next year is going to be a huge year of growth for us. Having a record come out that actually speaks to the vision Ean and I have had for this band since before Kyle, David, and Topher were on board is so inspiring and makes me want to push even harder, and dig deeper to see what we can create.
DW: We would really like to get into interpretive dance.
KV: Tours, videos, write and prepare for our yearly Voight-Kampff tests
Ean – We hit some west coast dates in sept/oct for “the hearths” promo, and we have already started writing LP #2. See ya around the US and Europe 2019.
9/14 – Los Angeles
9/15 – Modesto
9/28 – Sacramento w/ Actors
9/29 – Oakland
10/12 – Nevada City (CA)
10/13 – Reno (NV)
10/25 – Portland (OR)
10/26 – Vancouver (BC)
10/27 – Seattle (WA)