CRUISR Interview: On Touring, Advice to New Musicians, And New Music
Words and photos by Jennifer Nguyen
After a year off, CRUISR is back and touring again supporting Matt and Kim. CRUISR is an indie pop band based in Philadelphia consisting of Andy States (vocals, guitar), Jon Van Dine (drums), and Bruno Catrambone (guitar). I got to sit down with the band and talk about how touring is, advice to new musicians, and what we can expect from the band themselves this year.
Hey guys! How does it feel to be back on tour again?
ANDY: It feels incredible. We’ve been working and isolated a little bit in our process of writing. It feels nice to be back on the road. It is starting to feel like home to us. At first, when you start touring, it can feel jarring and uncomfortable. By the end of tour, you feel tired and beaten and ready to sleep in your own bed. Right now, it feels nice to be back on the road and it feels a little more active. While in the writing process, you can feel stuck in a rut and you can hit walls and feel isolated. This for us feels like momentum.
JON: And we finally got Andy out of the house.
ANDY: Yeah, I’m very much like a hermit crab in Philadelphia.
What are you looking forward to experiencing or seeing on this tour with Matt and Kim?
JON: The arch. I’m excited to go back to Austin for the barbecue. I know we’re in the barbecue belt. Going west is awesome. Salt Lake City is one of the best cities that we’ve ever played.
ANDY: I think we get excited to revisit some of our favorite things that we already done before. While it is always great to explore new places, we think about certain places. There’s this small taco place in New Mexico that Jon is always like “let’s go!”
What is your favorite Matt and Kim song?
JON: The one with Mark Hoppus. The new single “Forever”.
ANDY: I love a lot of stuff off their first album. I love “Daylight”. It was my introduction to them.
BRUNO: There’s a cool innocence to that song and it represents the fun that they have and do. I listened to that whole album recently front to back.
Is there a song that you personally like to perform live?
ANDY: For me, it’s the stuff that gets a response from the crowd. So, it’s like “Throw Shade” and “Kidnap Me” are some of my favorites to play live.
JON: I like to play “Go For It” and I still don’t know why. I just do.
BRUNO: I like “Go For It”. For this tour, the new stuff had been fun for it.
ANDY: We have three new songs that we push into the set. So, we’re really excited to share those.
Talk to me about the process of producing your music. Who creates the lyrics, the melody, so on and so forth?
ANDY: I tend to be a control freak about everything and take too much of the songwriting runt and not share it. It’s the truth. It’s something that has been difficult for us to figure out. We started out just as a solo project. I’ve had a lot of trouble transitioning these guys into the writing process effectively. The truth is that I do a lot of the writing and then I rope them in once there is sort of a song idea there. Jon helps out with a lot of the drums. It starts as a demo idea and then I send it out to them to fill out the little spots and stuff. In the future I hope to have a more collaborative effort.
Cool! What's your favorite part of the music process?
ANDY: I go in and out. I think definitely touring and playing a song to a crowd is probably the most fun part of it lately. For me, it definitely changes. It goes from loving recording/ writing to touring. It just depends on current situation.
BRUNO: Definitely the preforming. As a musician, the recording is going to be the little kid part where you’re like “oh, this is cool!”. It always feels the same way and there’s always that little bit of excitement when you’re in your nest doing stuff. The performing is like “oh, cool. It’s this prize at the end”.
JON: I love recording drums, but it’s the most stressful thing. Live is just confidence and knowing that I know these songs.
ANDY: I think recording is a more social experience which makes it inherently more fun.
JON: That’s what got us into it, seeing bands perform. When I was younger, seeing Blink 182 live was like “oh my god, I want to do this!” And here I am.
Would you say that it is harder to break into the music industry now than ever before?
JON: It might be easier.
ANDY: I think it’s easier to get started. It’s a lot easier to build a small project.
JON: You can put stuff out without a label, but you’re also competing with way more people. There’s a lot of noise to get by and differentiate yourself.
ANDY: What I kind of experience is that, it used to be people being exposed to a small number of artists and you didn’t have computers or tools to rely on to make your end product better. A lot of recordings would never sound like anything natural. There’s a lot more music and it’s a lot harder to stick out of the crowd.
As that is the case, what advice do you have for aspiring musicians and bands?
ANDY: To understand that it really takes hard work and at the end day everything you do comes down to hard work. It’s not hard work at first then smooth sailing, its constant hard work. If you really want to become successful musician, you have to work hard on every aspect and not only in creating your music, but also promoting it and trying to get people to hear it. I think getting it to people’s ears is as difficult as making the song. If you have a really good song, it’s going to enable it to get to more people, but nothing tops hard work. Everyone here and on stage has made a ton of shitty music. Through making all of that shitty music, we find gems and make good music. Never underestimate how hard everyone works to find the songs they end up putting out. You have to get through a lot of hard years of making music that you don’t care for and not good enough to get to the point where you make a few songs that you’re really proud of.
JON: When people don’t respect your music or don’t want to hear it, that’s what makes people want to stop doing it, but you just have to fight and keep going at it and never give up.
What are your guilty pleasure songs to listen to?
JON: No such thing.
BRUNO: I just have this playlist I just made. It’s not guilty and I’m not ashamed, but I love pop music right now. I tend to drive a few times a week and I’m always on the radio and I’m always searching pop songs. I was listening to Troye Sivan the past week and Dua Lipa’s stuff. It’s hard to call it a guilty pleasure because I actually enjoy it.
ANDY: I guess if we were saying guilty pleasure, I would maybe say Charlie Puth. He’s pretty cool and he does a lot of production stuff and I kind of admire that. We’re all over the point of caring about what people think about what we listen to.
JON: Andy just listen to Good Charlotte on repeat in our van.
What can the fans expect from you this year?
ANDY: A whole bunch of new music. We got a lot of stuff up our sleeves that we’re finishing up. We have one song that’s ready to go and will be out in a couple weeks. We have a bunch of songs to follow up every few weeks. We’re looking to put a song out every month. We got our album which was originally supposed to be a mix of songs we already released and a few new songs, but now it’s going to be all new songs. We’re going to be putting that out sometime this year.
Check out their new single “Mind Eraser” now streaming everywhere.