How did you guys came together and created this band? After leaving my former band Rude Buddha, I decided I wanted to write a solo record… I really didn’t know where I wanted it to go with it, but I had a bunch of songs and ideas. So I called up a good friend and producer/musician Ken Barnum to work on the project with me. He loved the stuff and has been with it since the get. Then we had Mike Lilburn join on drums after most of the new record was done and he completed the puzzle…
What’s the story behind the band’s name? The project was originally a solo project under my name “Aaron Crawford”, but after adding members and changing directions sonically, I thought it felt more like a band, esp live. I’m a huge Bob Marley fan, and one of my favorite songs of his is “Badcard”. So we named the band Aaron Crawford & The Badcards after that. Alot of people think the second part of the band name comes from the amount of trouble I have been in in my life, but its really just named after one of my favorite songs….
What are your music influences? I have alot of influences that range from all genres. I think the ones that really helped me define what I wanted to do in music are Elvis Costello, David Bowie and The Clash. I listened to alot of my parents old records, and the old stuff has great soul and vision. Bowie was experimental and weird at times, almost electro ya know. I really dig that. Some of the more recent bands that I dig alot and may influence me a little are The Black Keys, and Jack White.
What’s your method at the time of writing a song? Songs just happen with me. I pick up my guitar or mess with my keyboard and start playing. Melody comes to mind and I start messing with it. If it gives me chills when I sing a hook, I know its dope and I need to write a song around it….
The Wager. How was the recording and writing process? The writing process was pretty straight forward. I wrote close to 30 songs for The Wager. Ken and I started work on the album in a studio just outside of DC with the help of good friend and drummer Nik Hughes, who’s the current drummer of Youngblood Hawke. We tracked 6 songs and we realized that we were creating something great. So Larry Ciancia was brought on to produce the rest of the record. He narrowed 5 more songs down, and had us do a little pre producion work. Then we went to Los Angeles and finished the record at Hollywood Sound Recorders with him on drums, Adam Macdougall from The Black Crowes on Keys and Joel Sheerer from Alanis Morrisette on guitar. Everything was recorded live on the spot, with only a few re-takes needed. It was so Rad. We then brought on Shawn Everett to Mix down the sessions, and had it mastered by Brian Lucey.
How you guys came out with the album’s title? The album title came from a bet made by myself and good friend Tommy Ritter while sitting outside of Red Rocks in West Hollywood. He wanted me to play in LA so bad, and he told me if I would come out and do a show and perform “Come on Eileen” , he would wear a T-shirt with Obama’s face on it (hes a hard core republican). If I didn’t come out to perform, I would have to go out with him in the future wearing a t-shirt with a Republican president on it, like George Bush or something. We shook on it. So I came out, did a solo show at The Viper Room, which was packed, but i forgot to play “Come On Eileen”, so neither party won the bet. haha That’s how the album name came about, a “Wager” made by two friends over drinks…
So you are working on a new album. Can you give us any details/insights about it? Any official release date, title in mind? Yes. The band started writing the new album a few months ago, and have already recorded one of the first singles “Rebel Hearts”. On the last record, we went for a specific Rock N Roll sound. On this one, I’m looking for a sound that is fresh and relevant, yet non specific to any genre, something that takes us back to our punk roots but also remains accessible to Pop fans and radio. I’m a huge fan of synthesizer’s and being experimental with beats, so that will show through on the new record as well. At the end of the day, the approach will be the same. Just write and record good songs. The plan is to release something in March, and the only name that has come up so far is “Bitchin Vangaurd” I love that!
How was it to work with Joshua Lopez and Adam MacDougall? Like working with geniuses. Both are the tops at what they do. Joshua is a beast at songwriting, and can write anything in any genre. One of the best out there for sure! I loved his work with Kanye on “American Boy” and all the stuff he did with Joss Stone is the shit. The song we did called “Next To You”, was originally written as a dance track, but I heard a rock version in it. So I put my own spin on it and wrote a bridge that flowed with a little more mystery. He was in studio while we were tracking it to give his insight, and we both love the way it turned out! Adam, who’s talents are incredible, also has the ability to write on the fly which shows through on tracks like “Bad Habit”, “Dont Stop” and “Breathe”. On “Breathe” his performance is beautiful and soulful. He really understood what I was feeling while writing the song and you can hear it on the track. On Bad Habit, his counter melodies are perfect and he also laid the drum machine section in the beginning and in verses. Cat is brilliant.
How was it to work with Brian Lucey? It was really awesome working with Brian. Alot of cats in the mastering game don’t take their work as seriously as they should. They just run songs through some pre-sets and that’s it ya know. Some of them even have assistants work the project and they just ok it and put their name on it. Brian actually does different things with different tracks, and really uses his great ears to determine how the track should sound mastered. I loved how the last 2 Black Key’s records sounded and when I found out he was behind it, I had to have him do the record. He is the best mastering engineer in the business, and nailed the sound that I was looking for in a finished product.
What’s the message you want to spread with your music? No message really, just want to write good songs that people can latch on too emotionally. I write about all kinds of things, from overcoming hardship to past heart ache. Just want the songs to be good and loved.
What has been one of the funniest moments you have been or took part while touring? We were in Raleigh North Carolina, I was on tour with my previous band Rude Buddha, and our bass player just had a baby. So we had some cigars and booze ya know, getting an after party started.. Our tour manager was so wasted after the show, talking smack and so fourth. So I had my girl at the time stick the cigar up my ass and wrap it back in the cellophane wrapper, which proceeded to fog up the wrapper. When he came out, we all had a cigar in our hand, and were like “hey man, we are having a smoke to celebrate Chris’s baby”. He was in, so we gave him the cigar. It was the middle of summer and hot, and we had played a long set that night, so that cigar was definitely spicy. The first thing he says is “you mind if I wet it”. All of us look at each-other just thinking hes not seriously going to…. And before we knew it, he was rolling the cigar around in his mouth, tip first… He then says “this cigar is really salty”. We were holding back the laughter, but tears were starting to roll down faces, one person couldn’t take it and started spitting his beer out his nose. Really funny. He then proceeded to smoke a little of it before realizing it had been messed with…. It was the funniest thing I have ever seen… He got me back a few weeks later with a shot of piss…
Are there any plans for the future we should be aware of? There is definitely some really cool plans and other things going on around the band, but cant really talk about… Lets just say its going to be a great 2013!
Where can we find more about your music? www.aaroncrawfordmusic.com
Do you feel you’re moving on the right direction? Absolutely! We are moving forward, which is the only direction to move in!