Crushing is the musical moniker of Brighton-native Jason Cavalier, perhaps better known for his much admired drumming with the likes of ONSIND, Personal Best and Honey Joy. Continuing the theme of very busy musicians, Jason is currently joined in the band by Laura, who plays with Colour Me Wednesday, Chorusgirl and many more, and Luke, also of Muncie Girls. As well as being in lots of other good bands, Crushing are thankfully also very good in their own right! The band recently released their debut album, Slug, the result of 18 months of hard labour, to make a record that began life as an EP, swelled to a 16 track monster and settled out at a perfect half-hour of pop.
Slug is something a pick and mix of musical styles, from the shimmering 80’s indie stylings of Sticking to the melancholy country-tinged wonder of closing track Born Again. The whole record is given a constant thread courtesy of Jason’s gentle vocal style, his half-spoken delivery recalls the much missed Trust Fund, as he seems to muddle through a series of tales of everyday living, broken hearts and carrying on believing your dreams can come true. It might not be a record of grand crescendos or theatrical melodramas, yet Slug has something better than that, it has a winning realness, an honesty and truth to it, this Jason’s life on a tape, and it’s a quiet delight.
FTR: For those who don’t know who are Crushing?
Crushing is an alternative/bedroom pop music project that I’ve done for about 6 years now under a couple different names. I play the music live with an ever-rotating full band of good friends, it’s a wholesome experience. Every show we do now is with a fresh line-up which keeps it interesting – our last show was our first full band set with 2 guitars, before that we did just guitar and bass and a drum machine. I feel very proud to be part of a community with so many talented musicians, some of whom want to play my goofy songs with me.
FTR: What can you remember about your first show?
I mainly remember being full on terrified the entire time. The band at the time was me and my friends Kerry and Alfie. It was Kerry’s first ever live performance and I hadn’t played guitar on stage for a long time. I felt like an awkward lanky tree for most of the set but we played pretty well and the rest of the show was lovely. It was with Just Blankets, Milk Crimes and Happy Accidents who are all great bands. I still get really nervous playing guitar and singing live. For someone that played a whole lot in various bands over many years I’d say I’m still a very nervous performer.
FTR: Why do you make music? Why not another art form?
For as long as I can remember I’ve always wanted to play music and I never really stopped to question why. It’s all I’ve done since I discovered Green Day at age 13 and got an argos guitar for my birthday. I went to the local punk shows growing up in Watford and seeing those bands play and seeing people dancing and singing along, and me being the horribly awkward and shy teenager I was, looking back I think I felt it was a way I could connect with people. I soon moved onto drums so I could play in a band with my friend, but the guitar has always been my thing even though I’m pretty shit at it. I play drums in about 5 bands and this is the only time I play guitar which maybe says something about my playing. Or maybe that there’s a drummer shortage? Start playing drums!
Today is my 30th birthday and I got a spontaneous lecture from my older sister about quitting music and doing something more worthwhile with my life, and it made me realise, it’s really all I’ve known for my entire adult life and to quit – I don’t think my brain could handle it. It’s simultaneously been the cause of and remedy to a lot of problems in my life, but I think without it things would be a whole lot less interesting.
In school I enjoyed painting and “digital art” but was diagnosed with colourblindness which kind of killed my enthusiasm, and that is what I blame for my lack of colour coordination to this day. I guess that shifted my focus to the aural arts rather than the visual.
FTR: What can people expect from the Crushing live show?
A new band member every show, long terrible silences between songs and awkward audience interaction. And no merch because I always forget to bring it.
FTR: What’s next for Crushing?
I guess let the album stew for a bit, get a full band together (we need a drummer!) and do a weekender or two. Might put the album on a cassette tape. I’ve also got some other ideas in the pipeline – I really want to do an EP of Lucinda Williams covers.
They Listen To…
Bobby – (Sandy) Alex G
I’ve had a quiet obsession with everything Alex G has released since I discovered him on bandcamp in 2014 – I was working what I can now call the worst job I ever had – doing admin for a crooked PPI claims firm. Getting to know his music was one of the few things that got me through it. There’s a rare originality to Alex G that inspires me to no end.
Right in time – Lucinda Williams
I first heard Lucinda Williams a few years ago on a road trip from Florida to Indiana seeing the states for the first time. I get strong flashbacks every time I listen to it. Her music has this stripped back simplicity that really cuts to the chase, I’m really into it.
Sleepwalkin’ – Better Oblivion Community Centre
Connor Oberst has been a big influence since I discovered I’m Wide Awake It’s Morning on an indie torrent message board in the mid 2000’s. I really dug Bridgers’ Stranger In The Alps when it came out and when I heard they started a band together I lost my tiny mind. RIP music message boards.
Elvis is in the freezer – Ratboys
Super chill alt-americana pop, Ratboys’ entire back catalogue is flawless. Saw them in Brighton a while back and it was everything I hoped for.
Crossed out – The Goodbye Party
Silver Blues has been on special-occasion rotation since it came out. It’s one of those albums that you don’t want to spoil by overplaying, which is so hard because every song is lush and sad and uplifting and rockin’ all at the same time.
Slug is out now. Click HERE for more information on Crushing