Today we have a Meet the Band with Rodney Cromwell. This album is full of political themes mixed together with all kinds of synths, moogs and other cool toys. Music to dance away your frustrations with the insanity of the industrial state. pretty cool stuff…..
from their bandcamp page…
‘Age of Anxiety’ is the sound of personal demons being confronted by the power of homebrew disco. Its ten tracks feature krautrock rhythms, melodic bass lines, toy instruments and a multitude of lo-fi moogs, ARPs and vintage synths. Despite its themes of postmillennial tribulation, it still retains an upbeat innocent pop sensibility. It is an album for fans of Factory Records, 80’s coldwave and those four guys from Dusseldorf who thought they were robots
Interview for 50thirdand3rd Blog
Hi my name is….
Rodney Cromwell. My real name is Adam Cresswell. Lots of people ask me why I record under the
name Rodney Cromwell, to be honest I don’t really know myself. Some people still call me Arthur
(because I was in Arthur & Martha) so I realise it’s all a bit confusing.
My sound is……
Some people have called it ‘retro futurist’; probably because I use old gear (a couple of moogs, a
Korg MS-10, an ARP, theremin, stylophone, etc.) but with an aim of making songs that sound a bit
wibbly and futuristic, rather than just a straight pastiche of old stuff. Even though, I think of myself
as following the trail left by punk rock, my sound is very much POP. I like simple chord structures
with loads of layered melody. So I suppose my sound is DIY retro-futurist synthpop that you can sing
in the shower…. or the bath if you prefer.
I am from……
Catford in South East London.
Who are some artists that have influenced you?
As a kid I was inspired to form a band because of listening to old punk and new wave stuff like Lou
Reed, Iggy, Buzzcocks or anyone and everything on Factory Records. I’m also massively into what
might be called ‘exotica’ Gershon Kingsley, John Keating, Claude Denjean, Marty Gold and so on…
anything that features a vintage Moog or a massive big-band set to ‘funk’. I was really saddened to
hear of the death of James Last this afternoon. His Voodoo-Party album in particular is a big
favourite of mine.
How old were you when you started to play and what do you play?
I was about 16 or 17 in a band called Cosmic Onion. Our set was mostly Joy Division covers and
mainly their less tuneful tracks like Warsaw and Ice Age. I was the singer – in the broadest sense of
the term. One day my guitar player handed me his acoustic and told me I needed to do something
useful. As I couldn’t play a note, he tuned all the strings to E and made me just strum one chord
throughout our whole set. It was both the start and end of my drone rock career.
Can you tell us about the process you use, from writing the songs all the way through getting the songs out?
In terms of song writing, I don’t have any rules. I often just need a spark of an idea and it just flows.
So for example on the new album, there is a track called ‘One Two Seven’. That came from
discovering the ultimate 1970’s disco beat is a strict 127. That really piqued my interest, so I fired up
the synths, set the drum machine to 127 and the track just came together in a day or two. Other
tracks, like the forthcoming single ‘Black Dog,’ I started in about 2004 and I didn’t finish it until 2014,
so it was bit longer in the making!
In terms of getting the songs out, I have one rule which is that I will only work with nice people. I put
out music because I enjoy it, it’s fun, so prima donnas and difficult people I’m afraid will have to
work with someone else. I run my own label Happy Robots, I have a great distributor in Cargo
Records in the UK, I have nice people helping me out with my promotion and the artwork and I have
friends playing on the record and in my band. So yeah, the most important part of the process is that
it is fun and that we can all get along. I realise that this sounds more hippy-dippy than punk rock.
What are some of the challenges you face as a musician and how have you overcome those challenges?
It’s a boring answer but the biggest challenge is time. Releasing indie electropop records on a
‘boutique’ record label doesn’t really pay the bills – so like most people I have to juggle music with
work, with my private life, with finding time to read, watch good movies, listen to records and all the
other stuff that fires the soul. I suppose I overcome these challenges by not wasting a second of the
day, by being meticulously organised and remembering to take my meds.
1st rock concert you went to and age….
My first gig was the goth rock band The Mission. I can’t remember how old I was, I remember my
best friends’ dad drove us, so we were probably about 14. The most enduring memory though is
how badly my ears were ringing afterwards and how much I smelt of patchouli oil, even the next
Coolest band t-shirt you ever bought…
The most insane concert you ever went to or were a part of….
One time when playing in London I hit a stage invader with a moog synthesiser. It was the most rock
n’ roll moment of my career. I feel pretty bad about it now, the moog could have been quite badly
If you could open for any Band right now, who would that be and why?
Probably Belgian pop sensation Stromae. He puts on such a great show; I could watch him night after
night. I wish I could dance as well as him too; but I’m sure no-one wants to see me try. I’d also love
to open for actress and singer Carice Van Houten; firstly because I really like her album, but secondly
because she is to Rodney Cromwell what One Direction are to screaming fourteen-year-old girls.
My youngest son is 13 and in a Band, what advice would you offer him…
Ignore anything your parents tell you.
Your thoughts on the state of indie music in 2015
A few years ago I would have answered this with a long rant but now, I have no strong opinion. I just
do my own DIY thing and try and distance myself as much as I can from the ‘industry’. In London new
venues seem to be popping up to fill the ones that closed a few years ago, also I’m enjoying the
‘revival’ in vinyl too. I never stopped buying LP’s, so it’s good that there are more indie shops
stocking them. So y’know things could be worse. I tell you what depresses me though, bands and
labels that use ‘click-farms’ to get ‘likes’ and listens. We know who you are people!
What are your plans for the rest of 2015?…..
I’m playing in London in the next couple of weeks, plus I’ll be performing at the brilliant Indietracks Festival at the end of July. My wife and kids are coming so I’m going to need to put on a good show.
Plus I’ve some radio performances and remixes in the pipeline. It’s all good!