INTERVIEW: CRUX | NARC. | Reliably Informed | Music and Creative Arts News for Newcastle and the North East

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One of their new singles has the gloomy title Living in Dystopia but life seems to be working out rather nicely for the lads of Newcastle rock band Crux.

They’ve been working with some of the biggest names in the music business ahead of a trio of imminent releases. You might remember that last summer Crux attracted attention with their song Bigg Market which prompted a call for video footage of fun and games in Newcastle’s famous party street.

We got some bits and bobs,” says Max Houghton, the band’s 24-year-old singer, songwriter and guitarist. “There were various antics, like a guy and his mates wearing traffic cones.”

Some of this has been incorporated into the new Crux video made by film-maker David Kenny.

The main part of it is the band playing at Cluny 2 but as it progresses this footage appears and it becomes more colourful and exciting,” says Max.

Max explains that exciting things have been happening with the band over the autumn and winter. “We recorded two new songs with producers based in London. We were very fortunate to be able to get in touch with them through Z Management who manage producers.

One of them was Jim Lowe, who has worked with Stereophonics and won a Grammy, and the other was Max Heyes who has worked with Massive Attack and Paul Weller. We recorded in some amazing places: Lynchmob Studios with Max Heyes and RAK Studios with Jim Lowe.

A lot of our influences have worked in those studios and it was very humbling to be there. I said to the others, ‘This might be the last time we get to work in places like this so let’s make the most of it’.”

Max says it was the culmination of a long process which began with demos being made and sent off. Then they had to choose two songs which they wanted to record which also appealed to the producers. “It was a very intense experience but very rewarding. All their advice was invaluable and we feel like we’ve gone to the next level in our new songs. Both Jim and Max were complete perfectionists which is understandable because it helps them if bands they work with release songs that are successful. But they also said it was important that we got recordings we were happy with.”

Max recalls being told by namesake Max Heyes to stand apart from the band in a room with a microphone and make improvised noises to be added to the mix of Living in Dystopia. “It’s a bit of a grungy sound but that’s good because the song is like a combination of Nineteen Eighty-Four (George Orwell) and Brave New World (Aldous Huxley). I think it reflects what quite a lot of people our age are feeling. They have a dystopian view of how things are going with climate change and how the country is being run.”

Slaving Away, the other new number which was produced by Jim Lowe, reflects the so-called gig economy with its zero-hour contracts, explains Max. “But the music is quite upbeat with its 12-bar blues rhythm and I quite like the irony of that.”

Max, himself something of a perfectionist, is looking forward to Crux gaining a higher profile in 2020. As well as the painstakingly crafted new songs and video, a new website and merchandise have been designed.

But despite his love of music and dedication to the band, Max can’t imagine he’s going to be able to give up the day job any time soon. The same goes for fellow band members Jake Waldock (lead guitar), Hallam Press (bass) and Elliot Ormston (drums and percussion). But in the music business anything can happen so who knows what the future might hold?


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