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Crawlers In Q&A Corner: Multi-Talented Alt-Rockers On Inspiration, Gear, and Future Plans

Crawlers In Q&A Corner: Multi-Talented Alt-Rockers On Inspiration, Gear, and Future Plans

Fearsome four-piece who don't take prisoners...

Crawlers are four misfits from the North West, bringing a heady alternative rock that encompasses everything from acidic and caustic to honey-sweet. Despite being a young band, they've already had plays on BBC Introducing, 6 Music and Radio X in a short yet stand out career.

We chatted to this fearless four-piece about streaming success, where it all started and how they craft their unique sound.

Hey guys, thanks for taking the time out to chat to us, how are you doing today?

Holly – We’re doing great - me and Liv just started isolating together and have been nonstop writing and doing CRAWLERS stuff, which has been so fab.

Liv - Yeah, it’s been great. Writing in person has been such a nice change from doing it over the phone.

Your latest single 'Hush' has just hit 100k streams on Spotify (congrats!), can you describe the track for our readers and what it means to you?

Holly - We love Hush, it’s very much a storytelling song about the first person who makes you believe you can love again after facing heartbreak alongside my battles with dissociation.

Liv - I remember being sat in rehearsal when we were first starting to write our own songs and it all just came together so perfectly. It was just one of those songs that happened so easily. I love songwriting sessions like that.

How is the writing process for you as a band, is it a collaborative effort? Do you tend to jam out ideas or bring something more concrete to the practice room and work on it that way?

Holly - I think it’s a bit of everything, sometimes one of us brings an idea into the practice room then we jam around that, other times we just jam or even (in covid) we give each other audio files and pass them around to form a demo of a song, which is fun.

Amy - Yeah, I’ll do a nice rough mix and play around with the song and structure on Logic X, definitely how we’ve been getting songs down during lockdown.

The video for Hush released late last year, was that something you'd held onto pre-COVID or did you have to work on it under government restrictions?

Liv - As you can tell in the video, we’re 2 metres apart, we even isolated prior to shooting just to be safe - the guys at Matchbox production were great at working with us safely and made us feel secure as we were shooting.

image of crawlers singer close up

Holly, when did you start singing?

Holly - I have been singing all my life, writing songs since I knew how to get words to paper. But I began classical singing lessons at 11, my teacher helped me to safely use my voice - singing opera and classical music was a very different experience to what I do now. I joined LIPA Sixth Form and began singing more popular styles while using my classical training to help protect my voice.

Who are your singing inspirations and what drew you to rock/alternative music in particular?

Holly - I have quite a few singers who I look up to of many different genres. I love Sarah Vaughan and her style. She's incredible, her melodies are so luscious, and the tone is great, and Amy Winehouse too. Rock wise I love vocalists who have a great snarl, or proper gusto, like Steve Marriot from the Small Faces, Courtney Love, Joan Jett and Mitski.

I was really surprised when you pulled out the trumpet during the WAM livestream for 'Nymphomaniac' a really unusual (and cool) thing to see from a rock band. Have you played the trumpet for a while? Where did you get the inspiration to use it on that particular song and how big of a part will it play in future releases?

Holly - Haha, everyone seemed very surprised! Which is funny, because around Liverpool we were known as the rock trumpet band for a while! I feel like the trumpet is a great addition however we do tend to use it more sparingly nowadays because our songwriting has developed a lot over this year. I have played trumpet for nearly ten years, again I used to play classical and now play around with jazzier stuff like Chet Baker.

image of crawlers band group shot

Amy, what was the first guitar you ever owned?

Amy - My first guitar was a Merida acoustic (Merida Extrema Diana DG-0A0M for the spec). I bought it from Dawson’s when I was 13 with some birthday money I had saved. I didn't know much about guitars at this point, and I could just about play a few chords, I bought it purely on the design. Luckily, it turned out to be pretty decent and I still use it today!

Who do you take inspiration from as a guitarist?

Amy - I take a lot of inspiration from Eddie Van Halen, Josh Homme, Dimebag and Jimmy Page. Crawlers’ music is heavily influenced by Queens of the Stone age which can be heard in ‘Hush’. I also take a lot of inspiration from vocalists like Amy Winehouse and Stevie Nicks, I love the tone in their voices, and I love trying to replicate this on guitar.

I'm always looking for new songs to develop my technical playing. Recently I have been getting into Guthrie Govan’s ‘Wonderful Slippery Thing’ which has been lots of fun trying to learn.

What's on your pedalboard at the moment? What's your go-to pedal for that 'Crawlers' guitar sound?

Amy - On my board at the moment I have the Boss RV6 reverb, Danelectro Milkshake chorus, StoneDeaf PDF distortion, Big Muff fuzz and a trusty Vox Wah. I use these pedals on most Crawlers recordings and at every gig. My favourite is the RV6 - it definitely defines some of our new music we have been writing over lockdown.

My Fender Stratocaster defines a lot of my tone. I love the Strat because it allows me to be versatile with my sound, combining soft tones from the neck and gritty tones from the bridge.

What amplifier are you intending to use when gigs finally start happening again?

Amy - At the moment I use a Fender Mustang amp, which I love. My dream amp however is a Marshall JCM-900 combo. I love the crunchy sound that Marshall has.

image of crawlers band group shot

Liv, the bass guitar seems like a focal point for you as a band rather than just sitting back in the mix. Was that a conscious decision or something that evolved as you played together?

Liv - It was always a feature of our sound right from the start. I suppose I’m quite stubborn really- bass is such a beautiful instrument and it has so much more to offer than just root notes at the bottom of the mix. Not that there’s anything wrong with that of course, however, it wasn’t what I wanted from our sound, so I was adamant that it would be brought up in the mix.

What's your go-to bass guitar for playing live?

Liv - Hands down my 5-string Alpher. I take it with me everywhere I go and couldn’t imagine playing a gig without it!

What made you opt for a five-string bass over the four-string?

Liv - I look up to a lot of bassists in the metal and prog scene such as John Myung and Justin Chancellor, so I got curious and tried out a 5-string. I spoke to the guys at Alpher Instruments at this annual guitar show my dad and I go to and eventually put in an order for one! I was also about to start studying music at university around that time, so it felt like the perfect excuse to try out something new.

What would be in your dream bass rig if money were no object?

Liv - I’d love to get a 6-string bass (much to Amy and Holly’s disappointment) and honestly, I’m still searching for the perfect head and cab combination, however, I really want to try out a GK MB800 head and their 410 RBH cab.

image of crawlers band on stage mid shot

Harry you've only recently joined Crawlers, how did it all come about?

Harry - I first heard of Crawlers when I wrote up a review for Hush on one of my blogs. I loved their sound, and I knew it wouldn’t take long before more and more people started to clock onto them.

A couple weeks after I did my review, word got round that they were looking for a new drummer, which was around the same time that I started thinking about joining a new band. Everything seemed to have timed itself perfectly! I dropped them a message letting them know that I was interested, and they got back to me straight away asking if I’d be free to come and jam with them and mess about, which of course I was more than willing to do. The next day I got another message from Amy asking if I could learn a set for the Friday that was coming up, which gave me a few days to learn the songs before we could practice together.

I was dangerously close to saying that I didn’t have enough time to learn the songs, but right before I was about to send that reply I had one of those moments where I was conscious of how disappointed in myself, I would be if I didn’t take the opportunity. So, I went for it and drilled the songs into my head over the following days. Considering how well the band is doing at the moment, I can look back and know for sure that I definitely made the right call in pushing myself.

Learning their songs is one of the most beneficial things I’ve done for my drumming recently - I’m used to playing punk, which means I tend to embrace more loud and messy styles of drumming. But above all else, I’ve met three new close friends that I love spending time with and look forward to seeing all the time and that’s always gonna be more important to me than any track we end up releasing or any gig we play. It really does feel like being a member of the Adams family.

What was your 'wow' moment with the drums where you knew it was something you wanted to pursue further?

Harry - Seeing Travis Barker’s drum solo at Reading 2014! He completely destroyed the drums for a solid ten minutes and I couldn’t look away for a second.

At the time I had about £500 saved from working at a butchers in my hometown in Surrey and for ages I had no idea what I wanted to do with it. As soon as Barker finished his solo, everyone was screaming and cheering whilst I was just standing there in silence thinking “Right then, I’m buying myself a drum kit.”

What was your first drum kit like?

Harry - God she wasn’t pretty. My parents obviously didn’t want me whacking an acoustic kit every day, so I had to get an electric one. I can’t remember the model, but it was a kit by WHD and it was the cheapest one I could find. It was right before mesh heads became standard for all electric kits, so I was whacking rubber pads for a good 5 years before I upgraded to an Alesis Command. That WHD kit was falling apart for years before I decided I needed to invest in a new one. It got to a point that I had to hold the ride in place by tying it to the rack with an old sock.

I do have a fancy acoustic kit by Pearl that was given to me by my uncle, but being a student means I don’t ever have a big enough space to put it (or patient enough housemates to let me play it).

Who do you take inspiration from as a drummer? Who are the players that make you want to try new things and expand your repertoire?

Harry - Travis Barker is my main inspiration for drumming. His style is rooted in punk so he plays mostly single stroke rolls, but the way he uses them just can’t be topped by any other drummer. His creativity when writing drum tracks is incredible - you wouldn’t have thought some of the grooves he plays would sit so perfectly in a punk/pop-punk song. He’s also the go-to drummer in the hip-hop scene, so that combination of punk and hip-hop in his repertoire makes his solo style have a very street/urban sound to it.

I’ve also been listening to a lot of Nate Smith recently. The way he plays is so mesmerizing and you can really get lost in listening to one of his solos. I’ve been working on my shuffle rock recently and he’s a really good inspiration for that. Like with any style of drumming your technique needs to be on point, but with shuffle rock, it’s just as important (If not more important) to have the ability to lose yourself in what you're playing.

Check out more from Crawlers...

Crawlers latest single ‘Hush’ is out now which you can find on Spotify and Amazon Music.

Find Crawlers on:

Instagram | Facebook | Twitter | YouTube

Check out the video for Hush below: