Crushed Beaks
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Crushed Beaks

London, England, United Kingdom | INDIE

London, England, United Kingdom | INDIE
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“Fucking noisy, fucking messy and fucking loud!” It’s a sentence that should get even the most disheartened music fan excited and that’s exactly how Crushed Beaks described their debut show. OK, so that might sound like a pull quote destined for the NME, but judging by their one and only fully formed track to be aired so far, Sun Dogs, any nagging thoughts of delusions of grandeur are dispelled as soon as the swelling guitar and incessant beat kicks in…
How did you get together, where you from and why did you decide to make music together?
Matt: I know Alex from school and we both went to Goldsmiths but kind of lost contact with each other until our final year when we ended up going to the pub with a mutual friend. I had some songs that I’d recorded (badly) in my bedroom that had somehow got posted on some blogs and stuff so I thought about making it into a live thing. I don’t think Alex was that into what he heard but I managed to persuade him to come and play the drums at a rehearsal. It ended up going really well…
What’s behind the band’s sound and how did you come to it?
Alex: It sounds different to how it used to. The more we have written and the more we have played shows the more ‘minimal’ the set up has got: less cymbals, less pedals. We have tried to strip it down as much as possible but still keep it thick and noisy.
Matt: I’d been in a few bands before that had had four or five other members so it was really refreshing to strip all that right back to just drums, voice and guitar (I only use one pedal at the moment). I think the two way dynamic is pretty important to us at the moment.
What equipment are you using for recording, and is there any particular reason behind the choice?
Matt: It basically came down to whatever we could lay our hands on. For the session in the church where we did the drums, a bunch of people had said they’d lend us some stuff and then let us down at the last minute. My friend Nic (from Torches) has loads of stuff that he kindly agreed to lend us for the day, which pretty much saved our skins. Everything else was done in my shed on my laptop with my housemate’s audio interface and one of Nic’s condenser mics.
Where was the band’s first show and what was it like?
Matt: My mate Fred (or his twin brother Ralph, can’t remember which) asked us to play with their old band Kurtz at St.Moritz, which is a basement venue in Soho. It was a Friday night and was a decent club night so we actually had a pretty good audience. We got a really good response from people, which was really nice. I think that early response gave us a lot more confidence to carry on playing live.
Alex: It was fucking noisy, fucking messy and fucking loud! Went down so well though and we have kept the contact with the people who got us the show.
Sun Dogs by Crushed Beaks
What’s been your favourite gig you’ve played?
Matt: Me and some friends put on a show in our downstairs neighbours back garden in the summer called Awesome Saturday Day. We hung a huge blue and orange banner (made by these guys) out of our front window to advertise it for a week. Our neighbour built us a stage and we had a giant eagle in the trees with a strobe light for an eye, it was fucking rad.
Alex: Mine was a gig we played in an underground venue in Deptford with our buddies La Shark. It was a fantasy themed night and there was a lot of dragons in fetish clothing.
What bands/artists are you into at the moment?
Matt: I went to End of the Road Festival in September and saw loads of amazing artists: Drum Eyes, HEALTH, Wooden Shjips, The Fall, White Denim, Daniel Lefkowitz & Herman Dune, amongst others. I saw Ariel Pink’s Haunted Graffiti recently – they were fucking brilliant! His new album is really good too. Also, R. Stevie Moore is a total legend.
Alex: Perhaps not what you would expect but I am listening to a lot of hard drum and bass and gabba: Current Value, Mindustries, The Outside Agency, Donny Bryan Fury, Matt Green. As a drummer I’m drawn to heavy and fast pounding drums and I think this is something that is reflected in our live shows.
What can people expect when they come to your live shows?
Matt: The sound guy at our last show said we were ‘irresponsibly loud’. Not that we’re proud of that or anything…
If you could get one band to reform who would it be?
Matt: It would have been good to see Pink Floyd with Syd Barrett, but I guess that’s not going to happen anytime soon.
Alex: Anal Cunt…it’s been too long already.
Do you have any confirmed plans for an album yet and if so what can we
expect?
Matt: We don’t have any plans for an album just yet, but there’s already some stuff in the can for an EP.
What’s up next for the band?
Matt: We have our debut single ‘Close-Ups/Sun Dogs’ coming out on 21st November on Too Pure Records and there’s loads of shows lined up until Christmas. We’re also thinking about plans for a tour in March/April next year… - Addict Music


Debut singles need to make a statement and Crushed Beaks spell our their abilities, influences and potential for all to see, within the space of two momentous tracks, ‘Sun Dogs’ and ‘Close Ups’. Showcasing the close-knit nature of this two-piece - a pair who continually bounce ideas off each other - the songs outline an illustrious future for Matthew Poile and Alex Morris. DIY catches up with the two to talk the previous twelve months and the many years that lie ahead.

Being in a two-piece must be quite fun, considering you're used to playing in bands with a few members. How easy is it to meet up, record, play shows in comparison?
Matt: It's so much easier. We practice in my shed so we can rehearse pretty much whenever we want. A little and often is the way forward. It takes a lot of the stress out of making music, I mean in terms of logistics, we don't have to phone round a bunch of people trying to find a date that everyone can do and then drag all our gear to an expensive rehearsal room, it's all just set up ready to go. I spend a lot of my time in that shed. A few weeks ago I decked it out with posters and stuff. We even have a fridge in there.
Alex: It's not a shed, it's a Wendy house. Yeah, before we used to practice in the spare room of my old house, we can fit in wherever really. It's the same with gigs, our sound checks are always super-short. Not like all the disco biscuits who have dozens of DI’s.

Could you tell us about 'Sun Dogs'? Was there a particular sound that you were going for or a particular theme or concept within the song?
Matt: I wanted to make a huge pulsing sound wash, a panoramic sound that envelops the listener. I wanted people to feel like they were listening into the distance to this endless noise that goes as far as you can hear. Sun Dogs are these halos that form around the sun when conditions in the atmosphere are just right, I read about them in an encyclopaedia of the universe around when I was writing the song, so I was thinking big, cloudless cold skies...
Alex: ...hence the church. I think it definitely did the trick, the drums sound crisp but with reverberations, and there are points, especially in Close-Ups, where you can hear the snare ring out for ages.

What led you into deciding to release that song along with ‘Close Ups’? Did you have a few to choose from?
Alex: Yeah we did but, rather simply, we chose those tracks because they work well together and we really like both of them.
Matt: We're writing new songs all the time so we had plenty to choose from, but we chose three to record that we thought best represented where we were sound-wise at the time. Also we knew we were going to record the drums in the church, so that probably had an impact on the songs we chose. Sun Dogs was originally the one we were going to leave off the single, and Close-Ups was always intended to be the lead track. It was only when I started adding guitars and vocals to Sun Dogs that we thought it would sit much better alongside Close-Ups. The third track from that session will emerge at some point though I'm sure.

It's a mundane question but which bands influence your sound and your set-up?
Alex: I don't think any bands influence our set-up, it's just something we tried that seems to have worked. With regards to sound, I think there is a lot of difference to the stuff we listen to (I listen to quite a lot of electronic music, if you listen closely to my drumming live, I'm sure you will hear an Amen break here and there). However, there is an overlap, and I guess this is the influential part.
Matt: I wanted to have a totally stripped down set up, the bare minimum, to keep the focus on the songs themselves and not to get too sidetracked worrying about what effects pedal to use or whatever. It also makes things a lot less stressful when you dont have to worry about remembering loads of stuff and carrying it all to a show. It also gives us room to expand in the future, if it made sense at some point to add something else to the mix, then there's room to do that.

Was the band always a serious project or did it just end up that way after playing rehearsals and shows?
Matt: I had some songs recorded, and I wanted to try them out with some proper drumming. We booked a rehearsal to see if it would work, and it did. I don't think we take ourselves too seriously, although we are definitely better organised these days, especially when it comes to chasing up opportunities and stuff.
Alex: It was our show at St. Moritz I think and the fact that we'd had a small amount of press around that time which spurred us on. Prior to playing in Crushed Beaks I'd largely given up drumming, it's not easy when you live in halls of residence and shared housing to play drums without seriously pissing people off.
Matt: Yeah, I think getting press early on gave us a lot more confidence to carry on doing what we were doing. I know how easy it is to get downhearted when you put loads of effort into a project and you don't get anything back. So yeah, hearing from people that were liking the demos and asking to play shows definitely gave us the boost that we needed.

Tell us about the best show you've played so far.
Matt: We put on a show with some friends in my neighbour's garden. He built us a stage and we had a giant golden eagle in the trees with a strobe light in its eye. It was totally rad. We were blessed by the weather gods with glorious sunshine and we had bands playing all through the day, including Torches doing their second ever show. I think we were pretty shit to be honest, I was pretty drunk by the time we played but it was a beautiful day. Playing at La Shark's club night in Deptford was also a lot of fun, the theme that night was Fantasy, and Lewis (La Shark's bass player) was dressed entirely in pages from porn magazines, that was special.
Alex: Yeah, I mentioned that in a job interview a while ago, and it may not have gone down too well.

Can we expect any changes in sound/direction on the new EP?
Matt: The songs that we've been writing since that are from a different bag, so yes, they will sound different. It will still sound like us though, we're not going to write a jazz odyssey any time soon. I think there will be greater emphasis on the melodies this time round, they won't be quite as buried. But you'll have to wait and see.
Alex: I think the stuff we've been writing recently will have a totally different sound to the single when it's recorded and, to be honest, some of the really new stuff will inevitably change a lot before it's even recorded. I think it usually takes a few shows before a song feels 'right' and finished. It's good that we have got a lot of shows coming up I guess!
- This Is Fake Diy


Formed in 2010 by Matt Poile and Alex Morris, Crushed Beaks aren’t your average fuzz-loving bedroom guitar heroes. Their beginnings stem from a mutual love of Italian horror films and their debut single was part recorded in a church – New Cross’ Zion Chapel to be exact. Maybe that’s why ‘Sun Dogs’ – the single’s b-side – has a spectral air woven into the fierce distortion; a lo-fi tapestry buzzing with mystery and allure. - Abeano


This song could have been a b-side on My Bloody Valentine’s Loveless. Beautiful waterfall of sound. - Yvynyl


Scuzzy pop punk drenched in genuine church-hall echo. - The Independent


I saw Crushed Beaks live recently, playing a very enjoyable set at The Macbeth in Shoreditch, where they flew through a collection of songs each of which had a great hook. But I couldn’t escape the nagging doubt that the joy their performance brought wouldn’t translate to record. In my head, I imagined they’d go for a rickety lo-fi sound that wasn’t very pleasing at all. Thankfully, outside my head their recordings have a much louder and fuller sound, so it all worked out well in the end.

A duo comprising vocalist/guitarist Matthew Poile and drummer Alex Morris, they are due to release their debut single next week through the Too Pure Singles Club. The two tracks on the single, ‘Close-ups’ and ‘Sun Dogs’, were apparently described as “irresponsibly loud” by an engineer at Abbey Road Studios where they were mastered. I’m not sure about that, but they do feature some pretty noisy guitar, with echo-y, layered vocals fighting to cut through to the front. - CMU


Bored of pedal-gazing two-pieces obsessed with drones and 'Loveless'? Look away now, then, 'cos London-based Crushed Beaks are the latest export in lo-fi swampiness. With a hefty wodge of the industry going loopy over them, they'll release 'Close-Ups'/'Sun Dogs', their first single proper, through Too Pure on November 21. - NME


In 2010, British guitar music was ailing. It started to forget its own name; occasionally it would convince itself that one of its children had died, and it moved into sheltered housing. Around the first half of 2011 it started experiencing little shooting pains up its left arm, but it soldiered on regardless while its friends gradually forgot about it. Then, some time around July, it slowly keeled over with a heartbreaking little sigh, collapsing under the weight of its own irrelevancy. No one really noticed.

It turns out, though, that the six string corpse may yet be reanimated. Just to complete this tortuous metaphor, if guitar music is in its death throes, Crushed Beaks sound like its final, guttural groan. The London duo make scuzzy, half-yelped pop that sounds simultaneously rapturous and petulant; like an elaborate religious service in a tiny, damp basement. It’s fantastically tuneful and yet almost totally unhinged – and all the better for it. - The Line of Best Fit


Crushed Beaks are fairly late contenders to the ‘Ones To Watch’ party, coming to the attention of music bloggers everywhere in the last couple of months – but it’s certainly a case of better late than never with these guys.

Hailing from good old London, the duo (consisting of Alex Morris and Matthew Poile) has had a handful of demos making the rounds. There’s the sharp and energetic ‘Close-Ups’, a track that’s vocals are rushed into an indistinguishable haven by deadly combination of guitars and drums that become utterly raucous, as well as the completely hypnotic and spellbinding ‘Sun Dogs’. It all sounds a bit like if Weekend stripped things back even further than they already do, and smothered their bread in lashings of melody (who wouldn’t want a bite of that?). These guys will be pioneering the garage rock scene in 2012 and you’d be a fool not to follow their journey. - The 405


Discography

Single - Close-Ups/Sun Dogs released on Too Pure Records
http://www.discogs.com/Crushed-Beaks-Close-Ups/release/3230258
This single is available to stream on-line and has been played on numerous radio stations including Radio 1, 6 Music, NME Radio, Amazing Radio and Q.

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Bio

Crushed Beaks are a duo from London, comprised of Alex Morris and Matthew Poile. Fuzzy walls of noise meld with pounding drums and swirling melodies to create a sound that is much larger than its constituent parts. Starting life as a bedroom project in 2010, they bonded over a shared love of Italian horror films, and a handful of hastily recorded demos quickly developed into a ferocious live show that always maintains a balance between noise and the melodies that underpin it. Tipped for success in 2012 by several influential websites including Abeano, Yvynyl, The 405 and The Line Of Best Fit. Their debut single was released on Too Pure in November 2011.