Bri from Crumb had a conversation with DJ Psyched about Crumb’s second full-length record “Ice Melt.” The independent psychedelic rock band Crumb says this record is their “Come back down to Earth” as Bri says. They share how the record came together conceptually and how the current state of the pandemic shaped the recording process. Bri also shares their favorite moments on the record and some behind the scenes on how the it came together.
DJ Psyched: I’m DJ Psyched, and today I’m super excited to be interviewing Bri from Crumb, the independent psychedelic rock band that just released their second full-length album “Ice Melt.” I’d love to learn a little bit more about how this record came about and what it means to you. So before we get started, I just want to say congrats on releasing the second full-length album. And for anyone listening, can you let us know, Bri, a little bit about you and what you do in the band.
Bri Aronow: Sure, I play keyboards and synths and saxophone. Yeah, that’s my, my band role.
DJ Psyched: Alright, well let’s just dive into it. When you were working on this record, what came first for you in the musical process? Were you involved more in the lyrics and the concepts? or how did the music fit into that for you?
Bri Aronow: Sure. Yeah, I think, um, I think I was definitely brought towards like the more abstract, maybe sonic universe of it. I definitely, my own process is I kind of hear different textures and sound and stuff in my head and try to like, when we’re in the studio, there are so many different instruments to pick from, and trying to just, like, consolidate those ideas and bringing out a lot of Lila’s lyrics. And yeah, and working with the whole band, I feel like I, for painting, painting colors in the background is kind of what I had fun with in this album.
DJ Psyched: So how did you feel when you first started hearing the lyrics and the concepts of this album? How did it resonate with you when you started to work with it?
Bri Aronow: Yeah, so some of the songs like the lyrics would be already written, or sometimes we would have a demo. So it’s, kind of breaking the arrangements open. And some of them, we would work on, like building up the music for first, and then Lila would write lyrics on top of that. So it’s kind of cool that both are influencing each other. I’m not like a very lyrical person, I feel like I kind of understand, you know, we’ve been working together for so long, and Lila, and I’ve known each other for nine years or something. And I feel like there’s a certain level of like, I know what she’s saying, as she’s saying it, like even the lyrics later. I’m like, Oh, this could be that this could be this story. But we also, you know, I just toured, all of us have toured together for three years. So there’s a certain, like cohesion that just starts happening, where you’re kind of finishing each other’s sentences, I think it’s a good way to think about it.
DJ Psyched: And did you have like, a sound that you were going into this album with? Or did you kind of just build off of it when the samples came to you? Is there anything in your mind that you wanted to bring out this time?
Bri Aronow: Yeah, definitely like wanting to play around with the ideas of like, bringing in more abstract instrumentation in the sense of like, not being able to maybe distinguish what is being played, but trying to carry that over, through the tracks in a way of literally like, I think this album is a real, there’s a real story, there’s a real like arc to it. And personally, writing it kind of after and during touring and then getting into the studio after all that and I was pretty, pretty overstimulated with sounds and with music. And with so much hearing so many new bands and all this stuff that it felt very, like I was working much more abstractly and off of like, I went through a period of time, I think with this one where I was like listening to less music, and more like jotting down tons of ideas, I was really interested like started getting really interested in like, different sounds in my environment and how they interact with each other and, combining with just like trying to express what, you know, a lot of the emotions that were going along with touring and being maybe ungrounded during it and trying to use like more acoustic instruments, more keyboards, more things like rooted out of physical objects, and to really like, you know, we talked about kind of bringing the album, like returned to Earth and I think that that was like, an important thing both lyrically and instrumentation was just like really having the parameters of what we had there to work with, but seeing how far we could stretch it.
DJ Psyched: Yeah, I’ve heard you all talk about that bringing it back down to earth. And so I’m wondering when it came down to the world changing it’s state, and there being this whole life change in the last year, while you were creating this record, did that start to influence you, everything that was happening? Like, how did that impact the creating process for you?
Bri Aronow: Yeah, I mean, honestly, I think with like, the actual reality, the pandemic, like we all we did record seven or eight songs, and then went on like a two-month break, and then came back and sort of, that definitely influenced the, especially the mixing and the art and all that stuff, I think that, um, our lives leading up to the pandemic have been ungrounded, in a way of that almost felt like when the pandemic came. I mean, as crazy and as, like, dystopian, as this whole year has been, it feels like it was like another event in a way that is hard to put into words. But if we’re just trying to, like, you know, onto this album really express things that we’re feeling in our bodies for the first time, what it’s like to tour for consecutive years, what it’s like to see new places, hear new sounds, experience, you know, trying to stay strong within ourselves, and our own values and all that and so when the pandemic came, it was kind of like, logistically, it gave us time to, like, work more on the album, and not have to worry. It was a nice slow down, like, we weren’t playing any summer shows or fall shows. And I think it was time to process like three years that we actually hadn’t gotten to process. So I think that a lot of processing happened on this album. And I think that that’s kind of the return back down to earth like, yeah, that’s about it. That’s what I have to say about that.
DJ Psyched: Okay. So did that concept, did that come first and it just really worked? Or did it build through that process?
Bri Aronow: It’s interesting because I feel like when we started working on the album, we all had individual ideas. The cohesiveness of like, the album concept actually feels like it came later, which honestly kind of happens with all of our works, because I think we’re like, you know, we’re making music, we’re expressing what’s not so easy to talk about. And so I think it’s like, that happens first. And then, you know, we’re all spending days in the studio together. And I feel like in the last couple months, as we, as we’ve been getting ready to, like, put it out, it’s been that’s when the stories are coming. And sort of like, you know, Lila, when you say this, I was feeling the same thing. And you know, like all of our own, we are four different people, we have all different versions of what’s going on. And it definitely, like even the title, “Ice Melt,” which, like, you know, is named after just, you know, the bad movie. Ice Melt, like Lila found is also like, has some really deep meanings to and I think that that’s kind of like what these last few years have felt like. Big transitions, big shifts, deeper shifts, and also like clinging on to, like, super ordinary, everyday things that like, you know, when you’re traveling so much, I think especially it’s like you find what are the consistent things? And what are the consistent sounds and smells and things you can buy and things. It’s, I think that both those things together is kind of what we were working at.
DJ Psyched: And there’s another aspect of your music that I think really makes you guys shine as a band and that would be the visual elements. How does that play a role in the creative process? Do you like kind of make the music first and the visuals are like the last thing you think about? Or does that work its way in because they, they do like coincide to tell the story?
Bri Aronow: I think the music definitely comes first. And then someone has an idea and we develop it for the music videos. We worked with our friend Abe who did all the album art in the single arts and all that stuff. And that like that was such a cool process and definitely new for this specific album. And getting to really talk through you know, I think all of us are really interested in not only music, but like so many different kinds of art and visual art and it’s really cool to see these ideas develop but it’s really hard to you know, to say exactly how it happens. But yeah, I think coming off of like a shared, someone has a vision and everyone can kind of jump off that and relate to it. And, you know, it’s a really fun thing to develop. We had some extra time this year, I think that that’s what was really nice with not without playing shows is that we got to like, spend a little more detail and time collaborating with people for different visual stuff.
DJ Psyched: Yeah. So would you say that your process is looser to help you stay true to just expressing yourself, like you don’t keep yourself, I guess boxed into a process? Like you just kind of let it flow the way it happens?
Bri Aronow : Yeah, I think that that’s like, idealistic. I don’t think that like all four of us also have different musical processes. Like I think the constant like discovery part of it is like learning how we all can work together with that, and how, you know, when you when you play with and travel and make music with three other people you start to lose track of where the ideas are coming from, and it all kind of blends together. But I think that like, yeah, just trying to like stay more and more grounded, taking time to process what’s happening, the changes, shifts, transitions and like, and just listening to that, and taking a break when I need it, shifting to a different art medium when I need it. Collaborating with different people learning, learning, learning, like, it’s cool. It’s nerve-wracking. I think in the beginning, it’s nerve-wracking. When you don’t know what’s going to happen, then after a certain point, you know, something’s gonna happen. And then it just becomes fun.
DJ Psyched: Yeah, so to end it off here. Is there one moment to you personally, that it’s just like a highlight on the album, maybe a moment that’s special or stands out to you?
Bri Aronow: Like in the songs?
DJ Psyched: Yeah, or even in the creative process, just a moment in the album that really meant a lot to you.
Bri Aronow: I definitely think the end, the last two or three tracks, for me, is a good summary of what we were feeling during the time. I think like the arc of “Balloon Tunnel” and “Ice Melt” and recording those songs, and the different energies of those songs and like I feel very close, emotional connection with those few.
DJ Psyched: All right, well, thank you so much for talking with me and sharing.
Bri Aronow: Yeah, thanks.
DJ Psyched: I really appreciate your time. Alright. Stay psyched.
Bri Aronow: You too.