SXSW preview: Crocodile

Showcase info: Crocodile performs at 7pm on Wednesday, March 18 @ Wave Rooftop (408 E.6th St.)

Duffy emailed me last week with a link to Crocodile’s profile on the SXSW site. “Check it out, this is one band that we need to go see,” he said. Duffy knows I’m a sucker for female-fronted bands, especially those that use synths but don’t overdue it. I’m not sure I listened to more than 30 seconds of “August is Over” before I emailed him back and said, “I’m SO there.”

DOWNLOAD: “August is Over”

Crocodile hails from Oklahoma and, to date, has only released an EP (The Great Depression) which can be purchased at all the usual online places (iTunes, eMusic, Amazon). Derek (synths, guitars, vocals) and Raechel Brown (synths, guitars, vocals) are married and Derek’s cousin Dusty Nelson plays drums in the synthcore trio – a nice lil’ family affair. Derek, as it turns out, has a pretty healthy resume, playing with artists like Steve (Blues Clues) Burns, the Starlight Mints, The Chainsaw Kittens and Liz Phair and has been involved in the music industry from a marketing and concert promotion side of things as well.

All three band members took turns answering the questions I sent.

Scheduling is the luck of the draw. You’ve either got the best spot or the worst spot by playing at 7pm on the opening night of the music festival. Do you have any feelings one way or the other about the spot you were assigned?

Derek:  It is pretty funny that we have the earliest possible time slot.  Who knows, maybe it will work in our favor.  We have to just roll with things like that though.  They’re completely out of our control.

Once you get the gig out of the way, will you be sticking around Austin for the remainder of the week or is it “get out of Dodge before the masses roll in”?

Dusty:  I’m looking forward to the madness and the sea people in the streets.  I want to get good use of out of my wristband, so I’ll definitely stay as long as I can.

If you’re sticking around, any bands you’re excited to see?

Raechel:  I am excited to see Echo & The Bunnymen.  (Derek and I saw them a few years ago at SXSW and they were the bee’s knees).  Passion Pit, Dinosaur Jr., New York Dolls, and Steve Burns are definitely on my list.

Derek:  Nite Jewel, Chairlift, Gil Mantera’s Party Dream

Dusty:  Lykee Li.  I want to take her out for coffee.

Do you have an agenda (Hit day parties? Catch up with friends? Play any day parties?)?

Derek:  I’m sure we’ll see lots of friends and friends in bands.  The SXSW experience is really so cool like that.  As long as we get to partake in some good Mexican food and beer somewhere in there….

The song that you’ve got up on the SXSW profile page is “August is Over”. For those people who are filling out their schedules and happen to land on the page the way we did, would you say this 4 minutes and 37 seconds does a good job of encapsulating your sound?

Raechel:  That was the first song we recorded and it’s been the song that most people latch onto.  We are definitely a pop, synth band, but we’ve written a lot of songs since then that we play live now and they bring something different to the table I think.

When you put in a submission to play SXSW, do you have any goals in mind (Find somebody to put your record out? Catch the ears of influential bloggers who will write about you? Etc) or is it just a good chance to get out of town and be able to throw in “Played at SXSW festival” on your band bio?

Derek:  Getting out of town is always good and saying you played SXSW is nice.  Of course, we’d love someone to be interested in putting out a record or maybe just turn on some new folks, but as long as the show goes well or we have fun with it, we’ll be good.

What’s on the 2009 horizon for Crocodile? Your EP came out in early ’08, are you working on something new?

  We are in our studio recording like maniacs for an LP.  We stopped playing live for a while to just record, then we found out about SXSW, so we thought we better book some shows to prepare for it.

How far of a drive is it from where you’re at in Oklahoma to Austin? Do you make the trip often?

Dusty:  Our drive is only about six hours, so not too bad.  I always jump at the chance to go to Austin. Later in my life I would consider having babies there.

I noticed in your MySpace photos a picture taken in Austin (maybe before or after one of your shows?) with Britt Daniel standing in the background. Did he come to see you play? Are you a Spoon fan?

Raechel:  He was at a show we played at the Beauty Bar, but I’m pretty sure he was not there to see us.

Derek:  “Everything Hits At Once” is a great song.  It would be a good song to listen to while driving off a cliff.

Derek seems to have a lengthy resume of playing with other Oklahoma bands. Two questions – what was it like playing the “Blues Clues guy”? And, what does Derek (or anybody in the band for that matter) think of For Love Not Lisa (R.I.P.)?

Derek:  Playing with Steve Burns was good fun – he’s one of those people that gets recognized almost anywhere from Wal-Mart to strip clubs.

Steve is a classy guy.  He and Steven from the Lips took good care of me in Scotland once when I think I had alcohol poisoning.  Maybe I owe them my life?

I honestly don’t know much about For Love Not Lisa, other than there were a couple guys from the Chainsaw Kittens in the band, but they were two of the guys I never got to meet.

Finally, I wouldn’t be a good journalist (who says that I am????) if I didn’t ask for your best Wayne Coyne/Flaming Lips story.

Raechel:  We were at dinner one night with Wayne and a bunch of other people – it was before we started playing live and we were trying to figure out what to do with our keyboards.  I was talking to him about how spray painting them would be a pain.  He was like, “You should cover them in duct tape.”  So we did.

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