Album Premiere: Crozet – Suburbia

By Ryan G

If you’ve been with us for awhile, you know we have a special place in our heart for synthwave and all things epic sounding. So, we leapt at the chance to premiere an album from Crozet. I mean, look at their influences: M83? Toro y Moi? Washed Out? Irresistible, right?

Funny what can happen when a couple friends from Philly decide to dive into a passion project and indulge their love for synth, movie scores, and 80s power ballads (looking at you, Bryan Adams).

Not only are we premiering the record, but the band graciously agreed to provide a track by track commentary. Listen to the record below, and read their thoughts while you do so. Dim the lights and put some neon on if you can.

Suburbia – The intro to the new album is actually a recording captured the night we photographed the album cover. The suburban neighborhood on the cover is where I grew up in West Deptford, NJ. Sean and I actually borrowed my Grandmother’s Oldsmobile, bought a Taxi sign for it and had my Dad sit in the car while we had the photoshoot. The audio you hear in this track is us in the car pulling up to a friend’s parents house (the photographer Ben MacMaster’s Mom’s house) with the last track of the album “The Way We Used To Be” playing on the car radio. You hear us get out of the car, open the trunk, pull our gear out, and close the car up. As the car pulls away you hear Sean and I walking towards the house bringing the neighborhood crickets back into the foreground of the audio track. Trying to create a visual space, an environment and a feeling for you as the album begins.    

Summer Nights – This was our first single off the new album. The lyrics are about love and loss. Remembering someone, whether it be a friend, a relative, a partner, that you lost over the course of time. My own experience of this specific feeling was at it’s peak during the height of the pandemic over the summer while I was living alone in Philadelphia and being stuck in my thoughts most of the day not being able to do much to distract myself from old memories. For this track we tried to write a song that blends lyrics that aren’t necessarily upbeat, but is backed by music that is a driving force of emotion trying to pull you out of a hard time. I hope it’s a song that people can relate to.

Got Your Number (Featuring Biet Simkin) – This track was our first collaboration with our friend Biet Simkin. Biet approached us while we just happened to be recording the new album asking us if we’d be interested in writing new music with her. Being knee-deep into the new album we felt like it would be a great opportunity to bring her into it. We went back and forth on demos for potential beats and chord progressions for a while. What we landed on is actually the only track on the album that features a drum machine. The rest of the album is actually Sean playing drums. Biet recorded her vocals at a studio close to her, sent them over to us and allowed me to add whatever I wanted to the track. I didn’t want to intrude my vocals anywhere really. What I added were low harmonies throughout and a back-and-forth part during the bridge. I’m hoping we can play this track live with her one day. Biet is a world-wide known meditation expert that brings lyrics to this track that are uplifting, supportive and energizing.

Where We Belong – The initial idea/riff of this song was written on a cell phone voice memo with Sean playing the chord progression on a small midi keyboard with a fairly basic synth. We honestly really liked the way that demo recording came out. What the song turned into was definitely a full blown polished and produced track. There’s something really enjoyable about the original demo recording though. The lyrics of this track ended up allowing me to vent some previous relationship struggles I’d dealt with not long before we began writing the album. Not long before Covid hit and we both went into isolation with the rest of the world. The vibe of this track, like others on the album, walks the line of feeling upbeat when it comes to the music, but can feel like a bummer if you read the lyrics haha. This track featured many of the instruments we love playing. Yamaha CP80, fretless bass, Yamaha DX-21, Roland Juno 106, huge drums and soaring guitars.

My Racing Heart (Featuring Carl Cox) – During the height of the pandemic I dealt with the worst anxiety I’ve ever experienced in my life. I never expected to be living in the city again with nowhere to go, nothing to do, and no one to see. I know I wasn’t alone in feeling that way. I was in fact fortunate enough to have the creative outlet of “Crozet” to allow me and Sean to continue collaborating on music remotely. During that time period I was listening to a lot of music produced by Jimmy Jam and Terry Lewis in an attempt to keep my spirits up. Producing a track in this style was definitely a new experience for Sean and I. We tried to keep the sounds of the synths, guitars, bass and drums true to the style of a Jimmy Jam and Terry Lewis track. Lyrically this was one of those songs that kind of wrote itself once I started getting into it. Speaking literally of my anxiety taking over during the height of the pandemic. 

Little Lies – This track’s drum beat may sound oddly similar to another huge track popular in the 80s….we’re not ones to hide our inspiration. Tears for Fears has and always will be a huge source of ideas for us whenever we write. Both Sean and I love to jam cover songs whenever we rehearse, and playing along to the drumbeat from Tears for Fears – “Everybody Wants To Rule The World” is an absolute blast to play really any riff to. We really tried to create a completely new song and experience for our fans from an iconic drum beat. We did something similar to this on our first LP “We’ll Be Gone By Then” with a track called “On The Line”, which utilizes another iconic drum beat from Price “I Would Die 4 U”.  

Keep Waiting – Sean and I used to play in indie rock bands back in the early 2000’s together and this song brings back many memories writing music during that time period. The drum beat, the amount of guitar tracks, the whole vibe of the song is somewhat a departure from the normal Crozet playbook, but it still holds onto the sound of us. Probably the most up-beat rock song we’ve written to date, this is definitely a killer live song. I also think it’s the first song of ours to use a key change halfway through? Definitely a song I sing a TON on. Again, not something you typically hear from on a Crozet track. I’m excited to hear people’s thoughts on it.

The Way We Used To Be – This song started life as an idea I got from listening to Dam Funk. Specifically from his alternate project Garrett. A longer synth pad, almost meditative intro that I could have just listened to for hours while I work. Bringing a drum beat to this idea was harder than I anticipated. Initially a drum machine beat in my demo, Sean really brought it to life by playing it live for the recording. Lyrics bring me back to a past life I lived that I thought would have lasted forever. I think listeners could possibly interpret the lyrics into all different types of relationships they’ve had, not necessarily one with a partner. The final chorus and guitar solo was heavily inspired by guitarist Keith Scott who is best known for playing with Bryan Adams. 

Summarizing our new album, this is the first time we put the vocals way out front, trying to expand my vocal capabilities both physically and lyrically. Collaborating with other artists to bring our music new life. Experimenting with new recording methods, new gear, and pushing ourselves to be better musicians and artists to get out of our comfort zone. I want fans to relate to our music and to show people how much our music means to them. Crozet is an enormous part of my life, Sean’s life, and allows us to disconnect from reality when we make time for it. Something we try to do as often as possible. I hope this album continues to do that for our fans. 

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Follow Crozet on Instagram and check them out on Bandcamp. The album drops everywhere July 1st!

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