10 January 2016

Interview: crumbs

crumbs (L-R: Stuart, Gem, Ruth, Jamie. Photo: James Robert Birtwhistle)

Stuart, Gem, Ruth and Jamie are crumbs, from Leeds. I first saw them supporting the Spook School at the Wharf Chambers (my band, Grubs, played too) and totally loved them. They write no nonsense indie pop songs with post-punk influences and it's very good.

I sent them some questions about being in the band crumbs, being in Leeds, other bands they're in, other stuff they do, other bands they like, and the stuff they having coming up. They were kind enough to send their answers back to me and here they are below.

Hello the band crumbs. Who plays what instruments in your band? 

Stuart: Ruth sings, Gem plays drums, Jamie plays bass and sings, and I (Stuart) play guitar.

Who writes the songs/how do the songs come about? 

Stuart: Ruth writes all the lyrics, and the rest of us write the music, but we all come up with the song titles because we like puns and dad jokes. Ever since the beginning the music just kind of happened, usually just starting with a beat, and usually develop very quickly, then Ruth puts words/stories over the top.

Which two or three bands did you bond over most/aim to be similar-ish to when the band was starting out? 

Stuart: Myself and Gem used to cover Beat Happening and Vaselines songs before we met Jamie and Ruth. Then we didn't really aim to be similar to anything, but our influences can definitely be heard. When we all first got together we talked about Shopping and Antelope I remember, because we liked them and noticed some similarities.

And how do you think you compare/have changed as a band since then? 

Stuart: As our confidence and ability have improved we try out new things, I think the songs have become a lot more eclectic, and on stage we talk and joke more and that interaction with the audience is more fun than just shivering with fear like before!

What's good about Leeds? 

Stuart: The d.i.y music scene is so fertile and welcoming, and seems to get better every week. Oh, and the market. Gem saw a woman with a cat stuffed down her coat drying her socks under the hand dryer in the toilets. They also do cheap crisps.

Gem: The Brudenell. I base everywhere I live on it being within walking distance. It is really that good!

What's bad about Leeds? 

Stuart: All the corporate and consumerist elements that seem to be fuelling the gentrification of the place. But that stuff is avoidable if you are able to create your own world within it, and the d.i.y music scene is one such world, hooray!

Which new bands from Leeds and beyond should people be listening to? 

Stuart: Not sure how 'new' new is! Buttttt Commiserations from Leeds, Dirty Girl from York, and also Hilary and the Hate Crimes from Leeds are some of my favourites.

Ruth: I am very excited about the new band from the former members of Dauntless Elite (Leeds). I've not even heard anything yet but Dauntless Elite are one of my favourite ever bands! I am also constantly playing the demo from Bloodbuzz (Hampshire). It's so bloody good!

Jamie: I am a large fan of Dirty Girl and Syslak, who are both reasonably new and unreasonably very brilliant . And I saw Pale Kids’ [Members of No Ditching, T-Shirt Weather, Martha, and Ferret Legs] second gig in Durham recently and they were a dream. A deeply perfick dream. I strongly advise keeping your eyes peeled for them (not literally; it might sting a bit).

Gem: Milk Crimes are super great! I also saw Golden Meat for the first time this year. It's really exciting electronic music with a live drummer. They are both Leeds/Yorkshire based. I put on Arkless recently and fell in love. They are London-based emo. Nice!

Do any of you play in other bands or do stuff outside of music? 

Stuart: I am in another band called Molars, making kind of krautrock, indie-pop influenced stuff, and I draw posters for gigs and bands and make zines. I used to make conceptual art, but the compulsion wore off!

Ruth: Crumbs is the start of the end of a musical hiatus for me (mostly due to moving cities twice then becoming a teacher and having zero free time.) I had been in bands in Manchester and been pretty involved in putting on gigs and I am so jazzed to be making music again. Thanks, crumbs pals! I am also working on my first zine at the moment. It's a mixture of exciting and scary. We'll see.

Jamie: I play solo indie-folk as Travels by Telephone which I’ve been doing for 7 years now (cripes), and is currently having one of its periodic hibernationary dozes. I’ve recently been helping out various friends’ bands playing live which has been lots of fun; playing keyboard/bass/glockenspiel and a percussive plastic yellow egg for Mama Lips, and bass for Dirty Girl the once (again please!). I also put on house shows in York as Owls Owls Owls.

Gem: I want to start a Nope tribute act with Hilary Cowtown. It's going to be called Yep. But in all seriousness, no – this is the first band I have been in ever! I have been putting on DIY gigs for nearly nine years now, though, under the guise of Fancy Claps!

What stuff are you hoping to do in the next 12 months? 

Stuart: With crumbs, we just want to keep playing, and we are close to being ready to record an album, so pretty excited about that. Other stuff, I dunno, I'd like at least one other cat, and maybe a mini pig. Yes.

Thank you, Crumbs!

In October, crumbs released a split cassette with Dirty Girl. You can buy it on bandcamp here. They also have a five-track demo release on bandcamp, which you can listen to above.

They play a house show in London in 6 February, Wharf Chambers in Leeds on 26 February, and at the Fox & Newt in Leeds on 5 March.

Facebook | Bandcamp

(Photo stolen from their Facebook, taken by James Robert Birtwhistle).

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