The Cranes Celebrate
The Release of Future Songs
It’s very seldom that you hear of a band
continuing to maintain the quality and passion of when they
first began. The Cranes happen to be one of the select
few. Over the years they’ve written several exquisite albums
which contained their childlike female vocals over clever
atmospheric music. hybrid magazine caught up with founding
Cranes members Jim and Allison Shaw and asked
them a few questions about their current release Future
Songs as well as their future plans.
Justin Schneider: How did Future
Songs come about, and how would you compare it to your
Allison: Well we worked on it quite
gradually and we had a bit of a break after the last album.
We spent a lot of time just trying out different sounds and
things and rejecting a lot of music that we did. We worked
on the album in our home studio and after a while we had three
or four songs that felt like they were going in a certain
direction and we built it from there really until we had enough
songs for an album. I think this album is different because
the last album was more guitar based and we recorded that
album kind of as a live band. This album was pretty much just
Jim and I trying things out in a more studio-based album.
Jim: It’s more of the way we used
to do it initially when we first started with means of recording
them, so it’s really much more of a studio album, defiantly
more then the previous one. The roots of the album are more
back to how we originally did stuff when we first started.
JS: Now that you have your own label
(Dadaphonic) are you going to sign any acts or is it just
a outlet for your own albums?
Allison: We would like to work with
other bands, but these past few months have been quite difficult
with our own stuff, but we do eventually want to release other
groups, and we’re looking at a couple of groups at the moment
that look very interesting.
Jim: In real terms were just not
set up yet, it will be at least until our next album comes
out really before we’re in a position to be on our own. Lots
of stuff we need to sort out before that starts happening,
but yeah it’s definitely a big breath and we set up Dadaphonic
as a vehicle for the Cranes, and over the years we’ve come
across lot’s and lot’s of bands and we just figure a small
Allison: It is nice to do things
independently again after being on BMG for a long time, and
we thought we’ve been through that whole thing and we defiantly
didn’t want to be hooked up with a large company like that
at this point. We just thought we wanted to do something independently.
JS: I was wandering if any of you
have any side projects?
Jim: I’ve got side projects coming
out my ears (Laughs) it’s just about getting round to finishing
them. There’s always been talk of an instrumental sorta film-ic
score type of thing. But yeah, Alison does some songs with
other people and I do sing a little occasionally but my voice
is terrible so…
Allison: Jim works on film music
kind of projects a lot. I sang on two other things recently.
One thing was with a French producer who actually did one
of our remixes on our remix CD, the Submarine EP. He’s
called Dimitri Tikovoi and he asked me to sing on one
of his own tracks for an album that’s coming out in Europe.
The other song is with a singer called Michael J. Sheehy
and he’s playing with us in Philadelphia and New York on this
tour and he’s got a new album coming out and I sang some backing
vocals on one of his songs. It’s kind of a country type song
and it’s called "Dark Country Moment" and it’s a
little bit like Mazzy Star but with a male singer,
and I sang some backing harmonies on that one. It’s actually
quite nice to sing with another singer which I haven’t done
very much of.
JS: I know that the Cranes had a
lot of time in between this album and the last. I read that
you (Allison) were taking drama classes and the other members
were doing other things, I was wandering if you two ever figured
out what you would do if the Cranes never formed or if you
decided not to continue as the Cranes?
Allison: Yeah it was weird. After
we finished the Population Four album when we weren’t
really working as Cranes, it was weird because it was all
that we ever had done all of our lives since the age of 18
we’ve been doing Cranes. And it was weird when we hit that
spot when we weren’t doing Cranes, it was quite a shock, we
didn’t know what to do. So I had to think about what I wanted
to do and that’s why I did the drama thing.
Jim: I tended to walk just round
and round in circles in my room and bump into the occasional
Allison: It’s quite hard for us not
to do music because I think it’s kind of a natural function
just because we’re so use to it. But I think we’ll always
do music in some form or another even if we’re not actively
touring or whatever, but we’ll probably write songs.
Jim: It certainly won’t be 5 years
before the next album, more like one (Laughs). I think we’re
looking at January actually.
JS: I was wondering what current
music do you two listen to? Have there been any bands that
you discovered that you really like or recommend?
Jim: Well, the band that recently
played with us in Portsmouth was pretty good. They were called
Gillkegger, and they were a really great band from Portsmouth,
and we were really surprised to see such a good band. They’re
a really young band that just started out so I doubt that
they have any records out just yet.
Allison: I probably listened to dance
music more over the last few years then any thing else. I
like Boards of Canada; that’s one of my favorite bands.
I really like the new Neil Halstead album and we’ve
toured with him before. I’m glad to see he put out a really
Jim: I tend not to listen to an awful
lot of music, just generally when I put something on it will
be just whatever when people are around, but if I’m on my
own it would usually be something like classical music or
Tom Waits I guess all across the board.
JS: Yeah he has two new albums coming
JS: On May 7th.
Jim: Yeah we just did a photo shoot
and the photographer just photographed Tom Waits the day before.
(Allison to Jim): You’re a
big fan of Tom Waits.
Jim: Oh I’m a massive, massive, massive
Tom Waits fan.
JS: How would you describe a Cranes
show? And would you consider releasing a live dvd or CD?
Allison: They’re actually recording
the New York show at the Knitting Factory, but we’re always
a bit nervous about live recordings. For instance, say we
were doing a tour and every gig on the tour went well, the
one that wouldn’t go well would be the one being recorded.
So we’ve never actually had a recording that we thought was
good enough to release. We’re hoping that some of it will
be good enough to release and they might be showing some of
it on MTV.COM, we’re not sure.
Jim: I get the feeling that it will
be cool because I think the present lineup and crew is probably
the best we’ve ever been I think. And the gigs we’ve played
so far for the Future Songs album have all gone really
well. I think if there is a place to get live recording and
film I think it would be this time in New York basically,
so fingers crossed.
Allison: I think the shows are quite
atmospheric, at least that’s what people say we sound like.
Jim: It’s quite a mixture. We’re
playing quite a lot of songs off the last album on this tour
which we haven’t really done much over the years. This tour
is kind of an odd mixture of songs and we have to be careful
how we order them. But I’d say this tour we’re playing a lot
more of the last album then we ever had before. They’ll be
a good mixture of old and new.
JS: What are your plans for after
Allison: Well we’ve been asked to
play a show in the summer on July 27th in London in Hyde Park
and it’s with The Cure. We haven’t played with The
Cure for ten years, so it’s kind of nice that they asked us
to do it.
Jim: Immediately after the tour I’m
coming back here and hang out here for a week or so in New
York before I fly back. Then we’re going to start writing
new material and we’re also going to try and write while we’re
on the tour as well. It’s always a good time after a tour
to start writing new songs. Touring is the most fantastic
thing, especially in a country like America. I kind of always
feel inspired. So after this tour we can get back and start
The Cranes new album Future Songs
is available at most record stores. Cranes official site:
in the webboard
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