Music Interview: Jay Crocker matures with style

Every day we’re getting older. We accept it because we have to, it’s as inevitable as it is unpleasant. To make the idea palatable we disguise it as maturing, as if each day makes us wiser. When constantly in a university, the idea of maturing can be hard to believe–we’re still surrounded by the slutty girls and greasy-haired boys in baseball caps from high school–luckily there are people like local singer-songwriter and guitarist Jay Crocker to prove we will get better with age.

Some might know Crocker from his young care-free days with Recipe from a Small Planet, but his modus operandi has changed since then. Once a member of a precocious four-piece, Crocker took a year to write Melodies from the Outskirts, an album for himself and 10 piece band The Electric Apes.

“It’s just different than what I’ve done before,” he says. “I’m older now, using the experiences I’ve had in music. The ideas are more concise, cemented.”

This sentiment comes after a period of personal musical upheaval. Indeed the act of writing itself helped him find a centre.

“Sometimes writing’s easy, sometimes it’s hard, at times quick or slow, but it’s something I really love to do,” Crocker explains. “Even if it does take a lot out of me, it’s really cathartic and so worth it.”

Despite the level musical ground he’s found to stand on, Crocker’s perception of the world becomes at times a little more fluid. Whether it’s a side effect of aging or a reaction to his new-found maturity, we may never know, though it may be a product of touring for so many years.

“The weirdest thing about touring is everybody gets a bit detached from reality,” Crocker reveals. “We’ll go in to eat while we’re on the road and not understand what other people are saying, we just speak our own weird little language. Everything just seems from a dream.”

This is what you can expect from his live show, surreal, fantasy-inducing tunes, with just enough big band horns to keep your feet planted firmly on the ground and little details to keep your mind on the music. It’s a precarious balance, but it’s Crocker’s goal to walk just such a tightrope.

“The live show is very true to the album,” admits Crocker. “But bigger. There are lots different things, little intricacies, to pick up on, that I want people to experience. Really I just want everyone to have a good time then go have sex.”

It seems, despite being an old soul, Crocker is still young at heart; channeling at times the age-old storyteller, but also the spirit of teenagers everywhere.

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