Written by Charles Lawrence
Crywank bundle together modern feelings of anxiety and isolation, tying it with a bow of anti-folk. Known for their poignant and beautifully crafted lyrics James Clayton and Dan Watson have built an avid fan base around the globe. Having recently released their 6th LP Wearing Beige on a Grey Day, Crywank have expanded their signature sound. Whilst in some areas their songs launch into musical absurdity there are still touches of genuine sincerity.
We caught up with Crywank recently with some questions about touring and what lies ahead for them in the future.
What book are you currently reading?
James: I can’t remember the book I’m reading! I’ve left it at my house, I’m currently at my parents but it was a book on the history of the penis and kind of like penis insecurity, penis envy, penis worship, different standards of penis in different countries but I can’t actually remember the name of the book. Also I’m about three chapters in and I think the guy who wrote it is a bit racist.
What do you think is the worst trend from 2019?
James: Fascism is pretty crap. I’m gonna have to go with that one probably.
Outside of the musical sphere who do you think are your biggest influences as artists?
Dan: I’d say, I dunno. Probably my friends and family I think.
James: That’s a really cute response. I’m really inspired by the writer Charlie Kaufman. I take a lot of inspiration from him and how meta he gets and I enjoy that a lot. I enjoy Jim Tozzi’s involved with so like Javier Renegade Angel I really liked and had weird elements of inspiration from that.
You’ve toured Australia before are there any locations that stood out to you?
James: Doonside is one of my favourite locations of all time. I really enjoyed the community there, it just felt like a really perfect house show. I’m kinda scared going back because the first one was such a good memory I’ll probably end up making a complete fool of myself and ruining any good memory I have of it. We’ll see but I really fell in love with Doonside.
Dan: Yea, I reckon that.
And what’s your general impression of touring? Do you enjoy it?
Dan: Well it depends on the logistics of how you’re doing it and what kinda things you’ve got to make it comfortable. A lot of the time James and I are just touring on a mega bus or just like a big bus but not a fancy tour bus. So like I don’t know. sometimes you do a lot of the sleeping you know - it’s good to have warm clothes.
James: I book a lot of the tours myself so when we tour around Europe and the UK I book the tours. Dependent on how far in advance they are they’re normally on varying quality of organisation because I book all the tours whilst travelling on my phone. Sometime it is a case were we rely on public transport to also be our hotel. When we go to Australia we work with Stiches Music who take very good care of us and a lot of the things that normally would be logistically my consideration will be done for us which is nice because we wouldn’t be able to do it otherwise whatsoever.
Dan: Sometimes it’s hard, sometimes it’s not. You’re a bit like oh I really shouldn’t complain like it’s a really privileged situation to be in.
James: It’s kind of overwhelming and fast, it’s very easy to have me and Dan arguing all day to then having a real moment of elation to just being exhausted and feeling like you’re going to pass out and then the next day you see something life changing. All of a sudden you’re in a van or a coach for 12 hours and it’s a pretty quick fluctuation which is emotionally hard to deal with.
You’ve recently announced that you were going on indefinite hiatus in 2020, when did you decide to make that call?
James: I don’t know, me and Dan have been mutually speaking about our struggles for ages and then earlier this, because me and Dan bicker a lot, we ended up blowing up and starting saying we were going to break up and then when we saw each other in person we said, well let’s not, let’s do these tours. We’re both kind of, with the knowledge that we have an ending date, having better feelings towards the band. We’re both trying to take a lot of the energies that come from the stress of touring and trying to do this full time and use that as the main writing focus and energy with what’s going to be our last album.
What can we expect from your last album?
James: It’s going to be a lot more conceptual, the whole album is going to be based on friendship and relationship with the band. The first half is probably going to be very traditional Crywank but probably go to the most technical level we’ve done. The second half of it is going to be the most experimental content we’ve had on an album. Dan’s going to have a lot more presence on this album, we’re going to share a lot more of the vocals and where I’m doing a lot of song writing for the first half Dan is taking the lead in the second half.
Dan: My time to shine.
You also talked about going onto new music ventures after Crywank, do you know what form this will take yet?
James: I have nothing completely figured out in my head but I have long terms goals that I wanna do. A musical based on a concept album we never really finished is one thing I’d like do over the next few years.
Dan: I think over the last two years I’ve just been living in our rehearsal space so I’ve just been making music most days so just getting in the process of making things rather than doing a performative thing is something I’m finding more rewarding.