INTERVIEW: Crooked Spies

Hi guys, welcome to VENTS! How have you been?

Hey Vents! Steve here repping the band, thanks for having us! We have been incredibly chill as of late, rocking a few shows here and there, releasing a couple new tunes, but mostly navigating the chaotic world of shift work and moving to new homes.

Can you talk to us more about your latest single “Pay It Mind”?

The premise of Pay it Mind is based on being trapped in a repetitive cycle or living out the same mistakes over and over again, and to instead acknowledge the fact that you’re in a destructive loop and to legitimately make a change in your life. It doesn’t matter if it’s big or small, just anything to get out of the repetitive cycle of bullshit you might be dealing with.

Did any event in particular inspire you to write this song?

Dylan works as a field geologist in northern Alberta on the beautiful and serene tailings ponds. The lyrics for the song came on his first morning back after a long shift away from home.

Dylan:  As I sat on my patio in a semi-soothing state of self loathing, I was reflecting on that old saying “pay it no mind” and thinking that it doesn’t always apply. Being a musician and being away from home a lot makes it pretty easy to develop some self destructive habits. For me personally it was “indulging” a bit too much and not really being present in my own life…if that makes any sense. Instead of not paying attention or dismissing things or putting shit behind you, it’s about actually recognizing that you or maybe someone you love has an issue. Acknowledging the fact that you’re fucking up can allow a person to take the necessary steps and actions to improve. At the very least it begins a personal dialogue of understanding. By focusing on the negative you can actually turn it around to be a positive learning experience. By paying attention you are actually present in your own life and the song is based on that idea. So “pay it mind” made more sense for me at the time.

Any plans to release a video for the single?

Dylan spent a day making a time-lapse/selective attention brain-buster lyric video for Pay it Mind and it’s available for your viewing pleasure on YouTube!


How was the recording and writing process?

Other than Dylan’s malicious attack on a speaker from his three-wheeled chair mount, the recording process was very laid-back and care free. Fortunately the only damage incurred was a hole in the wall (and Dylan’s pride). We were really excited to record with our friend Chris Fawcett again who produced our first album Treason. When recording our second album High Plains none of us were in the studio together during tracking, so it was honestly super refreshing to get back to the vibe of buds in the basement making tunes. We took our time exploring amp tones, the layers and arrangements of the tracks, and what to eat and drink on breaks. Vietnamese food and Driftwood Brewery’s Fat Tug IPA were the primary winners.

What role does Calgary play in your music?

We’re honestly so lucky to be in Calgary. The music community here is vibrant and full of passionate creators and audiences. The community received us with open arms and encouragement when we first started despite not being able to settle into one genre and performing like a bunch of elephants thrashing about on stage. Since then it has been a non-stop flow of meeting the absolute best people. Calgary has this refreshing mindset where if someone has something nice to say they just roll right up to you and say it, whether they’re a performer themselves or just out enjoying the scene. The people here want to be involved, they want to make human connections with the bands and the people enjoying them, they are excited about creating new opportunities in the future to bring people together, and so we hit the city jackpot in that respect.

Dylan: We are super fortunate to have some local staples in terms of venues that have somehow persisted through constantly changing economic situations and the social relevance of live music in the city. The Palomino, Broken City, The Ship & Anchor, etc. all have really been the backbone of our music community over the years and I think contribute greatly to the success of every band trying to cut their teeth here. Each of these venues has the best staff in the world and give artists the opportunity keep growing even when the business itself might be hurting. These spots value live music and without them we wouldn’t have the success we do now.

I think another aspect of this community that has helped us get to the place we are now is how fucking inspiring and motivating the wealth of local talent we are fortunate enough to see perform here on a nightly basis. In Canada it’s always about the bigger markets like Toronto or Vancouver but man the bands Calgary currently has to offer include some of the rawest talent around. I don’t know if it is an underdog mentality or that commercial aspirations aren’t as prevalent here but it’s a good time to be into live music in Calgary. It definitely makes you want to keep improving.

Does the new single mean we can expect any new material – how’s that coming along?

Pay it Mind was one of two singles we recorded early this year, the second of which entitled Chasing Light will be released on May 29th so keep an ear out! At the time of recording and in the following month or so we hit the lows and became a bit lost in the existential dread of how to carry on and which direction to take with our music and the band. Soon after we agreed that we wanted to reinvest in writing new tunes and in creating our next album, and so we’re in the early stages of writing and visualizing our next full length release.

Any tentative release date or title in mind?

“A Tribute to Puddle of Mudd” and “Kickflip Shin Buster” were two titles for our next full length that never made the cut. “Loud Chewer” is our current favourite, but seeing as the tentative release date is late 2019/early 2020, there’s plenty of time for us to brainstorm a righteous name.

Any plans to hit the road?

We’re looking to line up some dates out of town in October, mostly in western Canada, but as of now we haven’t booked any big tour jaunts for the remainder of the year. It’s a goal of ours to make it out east to Ontario, Quebec and to the Maritimes at some point, but that will most likely happen in support of our next full length release.

What else is happening next in Crooked Spies’ world?

We have some awesome shows lined up this summer including our Chasing Light single release on May 29th, the 4th Street Lilac Festival on June 2nd, and a really exciting show during July that’s still on the down-low. Otherwise we’ll be writing new tunes, crushing brews and BBQs, and hatching an evil plan to save the world in light of the inevitable rise of apocalyptic Canadian goose overlords.

Listen here:

About RJ Frometa

Head Honcho, Editor in Chief and writer here on VENTS. I don't like walking on the beach, but I love playing the guitar and geeking out about music. I am also a movie maniac and 6 hours sleeper.

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