This Calamity... Shelf-publicists (Img: Dom Moore)
Interview: This Calamity
Published on May 21st, 2012 | Jonny Abrams
Introspective Plymouth rockers This Calamity are set to follow up the release of their debut EP Animals with a mini-album next month, so Rocksucker fired some questions over to the band’s main singer/songwriter Martyn Crocker in the hope of finding out a little bit more about the whole operation. First, though, please enjoy this video taster of their lush, evocative sound…
What’s the line-up of the band? How did you all meet, and how long has the band been going for?
The line-up of This Calamity is myself playing the guitar and singing, Lucy Dearn on Piano, James Palace playing bass and singing harmonies, and Stephen Witty on Drums.
The band’s start is a bit strange compared to how I imagine most acts start up. It started out as a recording-based solo project. I knew that I wanted to record a load of music and initially started to jam a load of ideas with Lucy Dearn, a piano player who at the time attended the same university I did (Plymouth). Together, we worked on 9-10 songs that I demoed in my spare time. We auditioned loads of different musicians – we played with a cello player originally, then with a variety of different drummers, bassists and guitarists.
While this was happening, I had started recording the tracks ‘properly’. Lucy recorded all her piano parts and I recorded all the drums, guitars, vocals, percussion and harmonies. I also got a female voice on the tracks as well as cello and trumpet. I basically took all these musical ideas that I had in my head and created something new with it. These ten tracks were then released over two seperate releases – The Animals EP was released digitally in November and the new mini-album is out in mid-June.
I used to play with Steve in a previous band and James wrote and played all the bass on the two This Calamity releases, so it made complete sense to enlist them in the live band. Together, they are easily the best rhythm section I’ve ever played with.
So, it started as my solo project but has now changed into a fully functioning band of sorts. I’m incredibly excited about the band.
How would you describe your music, if pushed?
I guess we’re kind of a mix between Brand New, Anthony Green, Neutral Milk Hotel, Dashboard Confessional… These were the acts I had in mind when the music was written, but who knows what influences people draw from our music. We’re an acoustic band, but we have some pretty rocky parts, although it can also be a bit experimental and moody. We’re definitely beginning to solidify a sound with the material that we’re writing now, as a band.
Where are you based, and what do you use to record with?
We are based in Plymouth. I recorded the two releases on Logic. I had these massive, ridiculous projects that eventually couldn’t be played on my laptop. It was all mixed by James Bragg, who works at Pete Miles’ Middle Farm Studios, Devon.
Are you signed to a label?
We are not currently signed to a label. At this current stage, there is no need for us to be.
Is there a full album in the works? If so, what can you tell us about it? (Feel free to be as abstract as you like!)
Not as of yet – the mini album is just about to come out, which is 30 minutes long. I think the next plan is to record a This Calamity release as a band, but I can’t say when that will be. We still have this new release to promote.
Where can we hear your music online?
You can easily download the first This Calamity release from www.thiscalamity.co.uk free of charge. There’s also a load of stuff on Youtube, such as the “Moving Away” music video.
Which have been your most exciting gigs and/or overall moments so far?
Personally, simply getting the music out there has been massively exciting. Because I worked on all of the first two releases myself, it is really an amazing feeling to just have it out there. We’ve had over 600 downloads of the Animals EP, which is beyond what I thought would happen when I put it up for download.
Got any more coming up?
We’re about to do our first show at the White Rabbit, which is a great independent local venue that is really great to the Plymouth scene. We’re playing on a superb bill and we’re all very happy and excited about it.
Are there any obscure and/or up-and-coming acts that you’d like to recommend or give a shout-out to?
Locally, we have some superb independent bands that all have some really great stuff. You should check out Patrick James Pearson Band, Crazy Arm, The Deering, Brotherhood Of The Lake… There’s tons of great stuff down here.
Finally, if you were forced to spend the rest of your days in solitary confinement, but were allowed to bring the entire works of five different artists along to tide you over, whose would you choose?
You can be sure that as soon as I write this list, I’ll change my mind. Right now I’d take Tegan And Sara, Neurosis, Brand New, Faith No More and Nirvana. Maybe.
Martyn Crocker, thank you.
Animals EP is available for free download at www.thiscalamity.co.uk