**INTERACTIVE ALBUM at Kroakers’ new site - name yr price, get custom-mixed trax, help decide what trax make the record in final mix - http://kroakers.bandcamp.com (please feed the artists - min $.25 track/2.33CD/dig d/l)**
“YOU get to decide what makes it! An astounding level of interactivity! We also will turn your poetry or song lyrics into music, like a custom T-shirt, only much better, and nothing’s off-limits. This is still our album; we’ll decide on mixes, will be primarily our content for final release after mixdown, but your song will be your song, and you can customize the band’s sound for your CD; i.e. “bring the bass up on that” or whatever…it’s experimental, and we’re trying to blur the line between artist/audience in a way which we’re not aware that anyone’s done quite this way before. Visit the site and email, turn your words into dreams - they may even make the album, or at least compilations/remixes!”
The story of the band Kroakers is a true rags-to-riches story (and no, it’s not one the band would describe as the mythical, intangible and always-elusive so-called “American Dream”), from experiencing homelessness on the street donating plasma and working day-labor to survive, to pulling off improbable tours (at first on the West Coast, eventually expanding to 38 out of the 50 states plus Canada and a few shows in Mexico, all on the grimmest of budgets but helped by enthusiastic new fans who, after the shows, offered places to crash and a bit of change to get to the next destination), to getting their own crash/jam pad (the first being in Colorado, then L.A., then San Diego, then Olympia, WA, finally settling in Vancouver, B.C.), to acquiring some recording gear and studio software to empowering themselves on Last.fm as a sort of group of digital ‘street musicians’ - (excuse me, Mr. and Ms, can you spare some change by visiting the band’s links and maybe drop a few coins into our hungry guitar cases? :o) All for the love of music and the wanderlust that often accompanies it by the will to meet like-minded souls and share a bit of theirs in the process. The band has no interest in signing with any major record labels; their ethics are similar to the K Records/Kill Rock Stars in terms of keeping commodification to a minimum, retaining full creative control, having nobody dictate terms to them creatively or otherwise, yet still be able to eke out an existence doing something about which they are passionate. Mic Morose is a huge fan of horses, and often asserts that horses he knows play a critical part in the songwriting (yeah, insert bad joke or critical comment here, he’s self-deprecating to the extent that whatever you say about him or his music, he’s probably thought and said much worse). The key is freedom, self-actualization, and communicating, declaring your existence and shouting into the void, whether that be with your voice, a guitar, drums, or some other instrument. When Mic was young, his first instrument was rubber bands stretched across a Frisbee, so there’s just about nothing he hasn’t played at least once. A bit reclusive, the band lays low in terms of their personal lives, but turn on the presence, charisma, and entertainment at the shows, leave it all out on the stage, and channel everything into the recordings. The band dislikes labels (even well-meaning ones), preferring not to prejudice or convey expectations of any particular ‘sound’ to ears upon which their music has yet to fall.
The band are not particularly political in their lyrical content, but can be considered progressive thinkers—feminism? yes. Dictating someone’s sexuality? No. War…why? Human rights, animal rights—why not?
Anything you can contribute via the interactive content or any other tracks you like will go towards improving not only bands’ creative output (studio time, etc) but also health care, which even if you’re a major-label band in this industry is a dire need, as the band’s relocation to Canada doesn’t qualify them yet for universal health care…and naturally, as fond as they are of most Americans they’ve met personally, do not have what most civilized countries consider to be a fundamental right in their native land either. They are also at the point which they can donate, play benefit concerts, and/or speak articulately and from an educated perspective on issues such as the above-named topics as well as environmental issues, decriminalization of “drugs”, homelessness, and other issues from a progressive standpoint, often with the ability to cite not only ‘scholarly’ sources, but anecdotal and personal experience as well.
As far as the sound represented here, Kroakers are all about making do with what they have, but some things do sound unintentionally quirky when you jimmy/Jerry rig things together. We love our sound, but would like to improve and change and evolve, as all artists do. Money isn’t the key, but it helps us survive the drudgery of the 9-to-5 and gives us hope that there’s something else out there…that we can possibly spend time doing what we love and getting what we need at the same time. They band are certainly not, nor will ever be, ‘conspicuous consumers’ - like all DIY artists/songwriters, they do have a need for mixing/mastering, distribution, etc. etc., and some new band equipment due to J.Skream’s departure to start his wife and 2.5 kids thing…in the process, they’d like to bring as many indie artists as they can with them, make a bloc of excellent compilations along with their album, get some touring partners and see what happens - with ‘fan’ input in the form of interactive lyrics (again, think of it like a customised T-shirt or bumper sticker…or a song as unique as a diamond, as there will be only one like it on this earth if you write poetry, lyrics, or even instrumental parts and receive a dig d/l or a physical CD to present to a partner, family member, or…hay, does your gang have a song out yet, homie? Your high school need a fight anthem? You want a dis song for an enemy? As the Kroakers have said of their unique release, “We’re your band—we’ll write and sing whatever you want, as ridiculous or offensive as it may be, from Abortion to Zoophilia!.
Here’s some further bio information sourced by Mic Morose from some past interviews, articles, and other associated band info—it’s sort of all thrown together, so some may be dated, but is worth a glance if you’re interested…:
Currently, the Kroakers are based in Olympia, Washington USA and Vancouver, BC Canada, The Kroakers is a band primarily focused on recording/studio work, having temporarily suspended what once was an endless tour of the Western USA and Canada. Mic Morose is the sole remaining founding member, having chosen to continue with the music after the other member left to pursue a more comfortable, safe, conservative-approved family-friendly life. Life in a band isn’t for everybody - innit?
Formed in 1994 in Colorado Springs, Colorado USA by core members Mic Morose and J. Skream, the band has had a storied history, although economic and socioeconomic hardship has led to an on-again, off-again ‘career’. They did manage to tour the West Coast, focusing much of their time playing small venues and house parties on the I-5 corridor from San Diego to L.A. to Frisco to Portland to Olympia to Seattle to Bellingham to Vancouver (dizzy yet?), with an occasional foray back to Colorado, once making it as far east as Detroit and Cincinatti, albeit on less per week than most bands spend on beer or Starbucks in a day—a shoestring budget for sure, which was supplemented by selling their blood plasma (which inspired the song “Centrifuge”—the thing that spins and separates the plasma from your blood as it’s sucked from the needle into a tube, then returned to you minus the yellowish-looking liquid…and yes, although we encourage people to make their own meanings, there is an intentional double/multiple entendre with the uranium-enrichment stuff that can be used either for peaceful purposes or for war) and other…err…bodily fluids. The band made the best of the hard times by adapting, with both members learning to play guitar, drums, bass, keyboards, and whatever else happened to be around—when instruments went into hock, the band played boxes, rubber bands on Frisbees, and overturned horse feed buckets—such was their hunger to create.
Recording equipment was often limited to cheap boom boxes with internal mics. However, this ‘limitation’ led to some interesting sonic aesthetics, inventive use of available tools, surprisingly good sounds that tricked many a listener into thinking they were layered on some expensive, ‘legit’ gear, and allowed the band to develop recording techniques that would serve them well when they later acquired better equipment. As with many bands, the advent of affordable personal computers with recording software revolutionized The Kroakers’ capabilities, and as the band began to experience some measure of success after moving to Southern California and eventually to Olympia, Washington, they put recording ability together with a full set of instruments. The result of this conjunction together with years of improvising and honing skills is some amazing music. Their latest work, “Ruined…and Going Downhill” is full of lo-fi and experimental but nevertheless groovacious tunes which range from mad dance numbers to one-of-a-kind hard rockers which stretch the limits and challenge the conventions of the recording media - the Kroakers render the ‘too-perfect’ critique of digital recording irrelevant with their unconventional approach to recording which re-introduces interesting glitches, crackles, and pops that were previously reserved for the more ‘hyooman’ vinyl and tape media and makes them part of the polyrhyhm that make up the songs. The band does delve into odd, very radio-unfriendly territory which is likely to be perceived as amateurish assault on commercially-developed ears, but after a few listens, the songwriting is strong enough to transcend any limitations and manages to achieve organization out of improbable dischord. A fine line between genius and insanity…the band does capably write more ‘friendly’ and accessible songs, but many do sound like Sonic Youth and Beat Happening thrown into a blender and regurgitated into a porcelain throne, then flushed and mixed with the sonic outflow of both sonic neighbors and total strangers.
No longer limited to rubber bands stretched across Frisbees (flying discs) and overturned horse feed buckets, The Kroakers have been steadily producing compelling sounds that are being captured with the intent of spreading their musical virus around the world. Thanks, Last.fm!
Edited by arabhorse on 13 Aug 2010, 18:22
Sources (view history)
Mic Morose, founding member of Kroakers, the band themselves - straight from the horse’s mouth!
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