Every edition of this season’s Long Winter, we’re releasing a free split seven-inch, each side featuring a song from one of the night’s featured artists. To compliment the releases, we’ve issued a seven-part questionnaire to each of the artists involved, giving the subjects an inch (about 85 words) of space to answer each of our questions.
While Toronto/Halifax/Montreal’s heavy riffing, shape shifting Crosss won’t release its follow-up to 2013’s Obsidian Spectre until later this year, the group has still managed to quietly discharge newer work into the ether via a couple of split releases over the course of the lull. Smack dab in the middle of a brief tour of the East Coast, Crosss plays 99 Sudbury (8:30 p.m.) as part of Feb. 13’s Long Winter Fair, where their next release – our February seven-inch that also features tracks from Brodie West’s Eucalyptus project (LW-004) – will be available to the first 250 people through the doors at the Great Hall. In this questionnaire, singer/guitarist Andy March explains the evolution of Crosss’s “Bones Brigade” and lifts the veil on Crosss’ aesthetic reference points.
Long Winter: Who are you and how did Crosss come about?
Andy March: I'm Andy, I (kinda) started Crosss in 2010 as a way to collaborate with my friend Christian who is a rad drummer, that's also where I got the name. He is in Each Other, Lantern, and a bunch of sweet Montreal bands now, and sometimes plays with us too still. I have had a lot of different members and style changes, but the original thing was just inspired by drumming, and it was just drum, guitar, and voice.
LW: How about “Bones Brigade”? What inspired that?
AM: Bones Brigade is a skate crew from the ’80s (maybe even ’70s? I dunno), but the idea that is used in the song comes from the Early Christians, the idea that when Jesus returns he will resurrect all the dead, literally, from their catacombs, presumably as skeletons. That’s why early Christians were buried with their armour and stuff inside tombs that could easily be opened from the inside. Many of my early songs were about various takes on apocalypse prophecies – this is one of the good ones that survived.
LW: For lots of listeners, this will be their first point of access to your music. Where does this song fit into the rest of your catalog?
AM: It was one of the first songs we recorded, it was released originally in 2011 as a cassette single (different version, but same song). I guess it is the song that began the project’s switch into a recording project, and in a way, into being a real band rather then a kooky thing I did with my friend. We re-recorded it for our first LP, and so this song survived a long time, and it is still one of my favourites to perform.
LW: Once they’re turned on to this, what releases (songs, EPs, albums, or otherwise) should people pursue as logical next steps to getting to know your music?
AM: Our LP Obsidian Spectre is the main thing we have released, you can find it on Bandcamp.com. Our seven-inch “Spectre” is a cool release on Pleasance Records. It's a split with a crazy band called Astral Gunk who rule. The eight-inch lathe “Eye Seance” came out on Bruised Tongue Records last year, and it is a sneak peak at our next LP, and it’s a split with Soupcans, who are the best.
LW: When you think of winter, what’s a memory that stands out for you?
AM: For me winter is a time where it is almost impossible to have a good time, because I'm skinny as hell and I hate the cold, so I just stay inside and work on projects, and work on not giving up on the joy of life. Fermenting kimchee, sauerkraut, sourdough bread, and making wine and yoghurt are some of my favourite winter memories from years when I've been really go-get-em.
LW: How do you survive winters in Toronto?
AM: I try to walk a lot to keep sane, so I have a huge puffy coat and long johns that allow that to be a non-life threatening practise. I try to drink everyday at a bar so I at least see a few other people, and I make sure to get up at a reasonable hour everyday and work on projects. Winter can be so productive, so sit next to a sunny window, remember that spring is on the way, and remember how bad it feels if spring comes and you wasted the winter watching Downton Abbey and being depressed.
LW: What are you most looking forward to for the Feb. 13 edition of Long Winter?
AM: I am stoked for this seven-inch and just running around the backstage of the Great Hall. The lineup looks real cool, so I bet I'll just be running from one stage to the next, and trying to take in all the art and stuff at the same time. I hope our set is fun, and people take something from it, I am guessing there will be a lot of people there who have no idea who we are, which is always exciting.
To hear Crosss visit them at crosss.bandcamp.com
By Tom Beedham