WORDS BY THOMAS FREEMAN
With a new fun single and the promise of even more music coming soon, I caught up with Chester and Harrison from Newcastle-based artist Craterface to see what they’ve been up to recently, what it’s like in their local scene, and all about their latest track BIG WHEELIN’, and their upcoming mixtape.
Here’s what they said:
Where did the name Craterface come from?
Chester: “We were trying to make a name for a long time, and the most important thing is that, simply, it just sounds good. I heard it in passing on an episode of Futurama, and I was like ‘that’s actually kind of tight; I think we should use that’, and Harrison liked it. There’s no deeper meanings or implications, just a good name”.
How would you describe the music that you make?
Harrison: “Probably just like experimental rap. That’s the easiest way to describe it”.
Chester: “There’s definitely a few pop elements in there too occasionally; it’s just kind of a cluster of everything”.
What is the overall goal for Craterface?
Chester: “Our goal is to work on projects in their own space and make the best products we can, but not a massive goal for the future. We’re always in the now and what we can do now, and that seems to get good results for us”
Harrison: “We just know that we’ll always be making music in our own little set up”
Chester: “We’re happy with how things are going and just focusing on ‘the now’
Do you guys make all your music in your bedroom?
Harrison: “Yeah, all in our little shitty studio thing, which is just my bedroom”
Chester: “I think it just adds to the authenticity in the sound and the project”
How would you describe the current music scene in Newcastle?
Chester: “Bad. I mean, it’s a tough time to comment at the moment with venues not being open. But I think the direction it was in wasn’t great and a lot of talented artists got put to the side for a bit. There were a few standouts like Romy and E4444E, but nothing great is happening”.
Harrison: “It was more sounds and genres that was overlooked. Everyone wants to make Triple J sounding music and all that shit”
Chester: “Everyone seemed to cater for that type of thing and neglected to make music for themselves, I think”.
How has Covid-19 affected your plans for 2020?
Chester: “We had just gotten off tour with Shady Nasty when everything started to get real. Coming off that, we were just feeling so good about everything in terms of touring and live shows, especially with where our live shows could go. Obviously, we can’t do that now, but that’s really the only thing that’s affected us, because as we said, we make our music in our bedroom so we can still do that. I think people are too worried about the limitations put upon themselves and as musicians that they’re not really trying to take advantage of a situation where they could be making really moving music in this time”.
There’s a good reputation around your shows being killer. How would you describe them?
Harrison: “High energy is what we try and strive for”.
Chester: “Yeah, try and have that high level of energy the entire time, and a relatively short set so we can keep building that energy without tiring”.
Harrison: “And minimal talking…”
Chester: “Yeah, no tomfoolery either on the stage; just come on, tear it up and then go pretty much. We do miss playing – well, I do at least. Harrison, what’s your take on missing live music?”
Harrison: “Yeah kinda, probably not as much as you, but yeah”.
So, you guys just dropped a new single called BIG WHEELIN’. What’s it all about?
Chester: “We have a new project coming out called Burn After Listening. This single’s off it, and it just feels like the most appropriate one to drop first. It’s basically just a feel-good song; there’s no deeper shit going on really. It just sounds good and we like the way it turned out, and we liked the influences we drew off to make it”.
Harrison: “When we made it, we were listening to a lot of older West-Coast stuff and old 50 Cent and stuff, but also Lil Ugly Mane and stuff like that. That’s kind of the sound we were striving for, production wise”.
Chester: “It’s just a feel-good song, honestly.”
Harrison: “Yeah, it’s about driving around in your shit little car… smoking weed, that’s about it…”
Chester: “I guess also making the most of not having a luxurious car and still feeling luxurious in it; and just like an ode to the city as well, and how with adolescence you can do all that”.
You guys did a lot of sampling in the song. Where did the different samples come from?
Harrison: “We took like a few classic rap and real trap shit samples because we just love that whole wave of shit. I have, like, folders of stuff that I can just, like, splash into the songs. But for the bulk of the song, like the beat and all that it just all our own instrumentation. Overall, it sounds sampled and that was the idea behind it, like it sounds a bit dirty”.
Chester: “Yeah, I’m really happy with how [Harrison] is able to make it sound sampled. It’s good that people would think that it’s been sampled because that’s what we were trying to achieve”.
What was the process for making BW?
Harrison: “Yeah, it was right in the middle of making our next project. What we would do is we’d get together every week, especially when we were in go-mode, and I’d just be making beats every day, pretty much. I’d send them all straight to Chester and he’d just lay shit down.
Chester: “We’re consistent with our process, so that being the case, we can surprise ourselves with something a bit new sometimes, and that’s what happened with BIG WHEELIN’. We weren’t trying to make it at all actually; it was a complete accident that song. We were focusing on more boom-happy type shit, and then we stumbled into this little pocket where we found ourselves doing well, and we stayed to it”.
What were some of the challenges with making this track?
Harrison: “None really. This one came together pretty easily actually. We do have challenges with songs usually but this one came together really organically, I think because the whole energy of the song is to not do much. Once we got the initial loop, like, that was it, and then we just recorded the vocals on a 57, like a little mic like that. Yeah, it just worked”.
Chester: “We didn’t have any road blocks, really. Once we knew what we wanted to do, we did it and we were happy with it, so it was probably the easiest song to make on the whole tape”.
Harrison: “Yeah, I agree”.
Chester: “We didn’t have to think about anything; we just did it. And as I said, we were happy with how it turned out and we had to do something with it”.
What else can we learn about the Burn After Listening mixtape at this point?
Chester: “It’s set for release later this year, and we have another single coming out next month with a feature that we love, which is so exciting, and we can’t wait for that to happen. It’s hard to say, but it’s objectively the best song we’ve ever made, but we have some soft spots for some other songs on the tape. We can’t give away too much, but it’s incredible and we both love it so much”.
Harrison: “We put everything into it. It’s pretty dirty sound-wise, and it’s pretty honest”.
Chester: “It’s very different to our first tape Don’t Be Confused. It took a long time to make the sound that we make, but now that we’ve got it down packed, we’re super happy with it and we can’t wait to just show people. It’s so excited to think about it coming out soon. We worked extremely hard”.
What makes BW different to the other songs you’ve released?
Harrison: “A lot of the stuff we’ve released, especially our last two singles, have been pretty big-sounding, have a lot more clarity in the mix, and are a bit more pop-y, I’d say. We’re just trying to show our love a lot more for rap music, and especially that West Coast shit”.
Chester: “We really wanted to show our range by stepping back from the more expensive sound, I guess”.
If you could describe your track as a colour, what would it be and why?
Chester: “That’s a crazy question. Because the cover’s red and the cover works so well with it, I’d have to say red”.
Harrison: “Yeah, red’s cool, but I’d have to say like herb green. Nah, I don’t actually know, but maybe like a sunny, like, sunshine”.
Chester: “Yeah, I mean the track’s just about riding around in the sun, you know”.
Harrison: “Yeah, just feeling good”.
Chester: “Like over-indulging”.
Harrison: “Yeah, it’s probably one of the least sad songs we’ve made”
Chester: “It’s probably the happiest song we’ve ever made, so it’d have to be a brighter colour”.