A while back I received an advance copy of Minneapolis based Crimes new LP Thin Sunlight. I was beyond stoked because of the genre it encompassed; there were guitars and beautiful boy/girl droning vocals. In short, garage rock returned to Sirens of Decay (and coincidentally my iPhone). Over time, I had the chance to exchange some e-mails about the project with Andrew Jansen from the band. While we didn’t get to talk as much as we had planned, there was still some interesting stuff discussed.
You can catch up with Crimes below.
Sirens: When you began Crimes with only yourself, was your intention to flesh out the tracks or did that happen organically?
Crimes: The songs were pretty soft and un-concrete moments of harmony, beats, and noise with mumbled lyrics and rhymes. The drums were mostly drum machine and I had just gotten this deep Danelectro Baritone guitar. It was mostly that guitar that inspired the songs as I learned how to play it best. The tone is so low on that guitar that I learned to not strum from bottom to top, but to pluck most things and play the registers separately. I was really just having fun and learning. It mostly became a band because of friends liking the demos. They were the focus group.
Sirens: I read that some of the original Crimes tracks were posted alongside Minneapolis Crime Statistics. Is this true, and where/why were you posting them in this manner? Did any of those tracks survive to be included on the previous LP?
Crimes: Even before I posted them online when I passed out the demo cd-r inside of a paper collage of crime headlines from newspapers (obviously no lack of those.) Incidentally, most papers have the word crimes in it, often in large print. But the original lyrics of the songs were usually criminal in nature. The first song I wrote was about a murder in a public park where the criminal then hid swimming in the middle of a small lake nearby (we have lots of those here in Minneapolis) while onlookers pointed at him from the shore. It sounds morbid, but most of the first folk and blues songs were about crimes. “Somebody stole the southbound train”, “I shot my baby by the river”, “Stagger Lee”, “Jesse James”. People are obsessed with crimes, especially counter culture. I mean what else is there to talk about other than love and crimes. Usually the two go hand in hand.
I would say 8 out of 11 or so tracks made the first record.
Sirens: As a band, what are the three most essential tracks to quantifying your sound?
Crimes: Our ethos tends to be slow, dynamic, broody and spacious with occasional tonal noise… but often we will spike into something loud. We tend to listen to pretty slow patient garage.
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wU1_FG-bpRA – “Gilded Cunt” by Thee Oh Sees
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3SA0zuG_SMM – “Tea Lights” by Lower Dens
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=aeIeqGA-Ogc – “Moby Octopad” by Yo La Tengo
Sirens: You’ve been away on tour, or not playing live for some time. You decide to play a last minute show for your biggest followers in Minneapolis, with the catch being it’s under a pseudonym. Where would you play in the city, and what name would you guys play under?
Crimes: Lakewood Cemetery. (Tiny Tim RIP). We would be called Boy Revision.
Sirens: Crimes does two covers for a 7″. Which songs would you tackle?
Crimes: “Time of the Season” by The Zombies and “Cosmic Dancer” by T-Rex.
Don’t be a cloud creep – head to bandcamp and grab your own copy of Thin Sunlight. It’s better in the dark. In the meantime, check out a choice track or two below.