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Super star volunteer and celebrity interviewer Olivia Wood dazzles us with another insider look at a local band, this time featuring LA’s own Celebrity Crush!

Want to see more? Check out Wood’s last interview with French Vanilla!


What are your names, where are you all from, and how long have you been making music together?

Jesse: Our names are Jesse, Nick, Yali and Violet. Nick and I live in Valley Village, Yali lives in Mar Vista and Violet is from Sunland.

We started playing music together in fall of 2013. It originally started out as Soma, a project between Nick and I. I started seeing him at shows, and he told me he was in the band Slow Hollows and invited me to their next show. I went, I saw them and was blown away by how talented he was. I asked if we wanted to jam and he was down. We had this strange shoegaze jam and both loved it.

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Something that I immediately noticed about your music is your use of complex and interlocking guitar lines. What’s the process of writing these like?

Yali: Usually Jesse writes a cool bassline or lead part and then I’ll play along, often using my own looper at home to come up with harmonies.

Jesse: Well, I’m a big fan of bands that use interlocking single note guitar harmonies, so when I write I always keep that in mind. I usually start my writing process by using my looper and seeing what I can get out of it. But also it’s just what comes out naturally when we write together. Yali is always creating these wonderful guitar harmonies.

You have a song called “Crying at Disneyland.” Is it based on a true story?

Jesse: It’s a metaphor for the times in my life where I have every reason in the world to be happy but I still feel terrible. Specifically, it’s about being rejected and reaching a certain breaking point where things need to change. I come from a pretty hyper-conservative background. I felt completely alone in social, religious and scholastic circles. I remember the people I grew up around wanted me to join their church; I tried but I couldn’t do it. As soon as I graduated from high school, I broke away from all of them and never turned back. I needed to shed the things in my life that simply didn’t work, even it they were people.
So it’s about finding myself along with being severely heartbroken. I know a lot of other people have felt that way. It’s a little cliche, but it’s an honest song. I wouldn’t have written it unless I felt it.

Danger Collective is distributing your debut album The Halo Effect, and they’re associated with a lot of great up-and-coming bands in Los Angeles. What has it been like working with them?

Jesse: It has been really fun working with Danger Collective because they’re just all of our friends who have similar goals in mind. It’s really comforting being around people you know.

Another thing I love about Danger is how they really nourish each band they take on. They really pay attention to how things are going with everyone and they benefit from that because their management honestly works for everyone.

Nick: It’s great, all the dudes are nice and talented musicians and hard working guys and they do their stuff well.

Who are you influenced by in terms of your sound?

Celebrity Crush 1Jesse: Some of my well known influences would be Smashing Pumpkins, My Bloody Valentine, Elvis Depressedly, American Football, Alex G, New Order, Teen Suicide, Joy Division, Slowdive, The Wake, Owen Pallett, The Drums, Atlas Sound, The Smiths, Sonic Youth, The Velvet Underground and especially Arcade Fire. I’m also influenced by bands around here in Los Angeles like: Michael Vidal / Abe Vigoda, Ghost Noise, Current Joys, R.L. Kelly, Slow Hollows, Roses and Moaning. The list could go on and on.

The thing with the local bands is that not only have they inspired me musically but they’ve really inspired my standards for being an artist. Seeing these guys grow their bands and work so hard makes me want to push myself and support them.

Arcade Fire more recently inspired me with Neon Bible. I could relate to many of their concepts dealing with ethics, truth, being a good person, trying to help humanity and solutions for all of the big picture insanity in the world. If our band could ever inspire someone to go out and do something about the world I would consider us a success.

Jim Smith and The Smell play a very important role in our music. The Smell supports so many young artists in LA and is a huge influence on our band. Jim really puts his all into that place and it’s just because he cares about what it stands for. There’s no status or clique to The Smell, just music, and that’s beautiful.

The last thing is probably one of the most important inspirations for my music: actual life events! I feel that if songwriters only write about music it’s like pointing two mirrors at one another so the concepts of the songs get lost. You kind of actually have to live a little bit of life to write something good and relatable.

What are your plans for 2016? Can we expect new Celebrity Crush music?

Jesse: We’re in the process of writing our second album right now and we’re halfway through it so you can definitely expect new music! We’re booking some really great shows coming up and will be filming more music videos. We really want to start having some performance art on stage but it’s still just an abstract idea at the moment. But expect good things.

Celebrity Crush can be found on Facebook and Bandcamp.