INT. BROOKLYN BEDROOM. NIGHT.
The boys of Secret Crush are over and the leopard print sheets are out. Featuring Greg Times and Matt Billington on lead guitar and vocals with Nick Rogers on bass and John Swanson on drums – they’re the kind of band you’d like to introduce to your mother. They’re so mysteriously disarming yet casually deceptive – what’s not to love?
Their newest video makes its debut below.
LF: First of all, thanks for the interview. I know how hard it can be to find a few minutes to yourself in New York City.
Greg Times: Time is money but we’re glad to be here in such a comforting environment.
LF: The new video is for Candlelight. Why don’t you start off by telling us about the song and what elements are consistent in the video.
GT: Candlelight is one of our more conventional songs with an accessible formula. The plot centers around a person setting off explosives at a bonfire party. The narrator (myself) survives and in the aftermath tries to put the pieces together of what happened.
LF: Very brooding, kitschy, and violent. I get it.
GT: That’s the face value narrative that moves things along. The lyrics get much more personal in that it’s about being under someone’s spell and a loss of control. Then when it’s all said and done – you’re desperately grabbing at straws to rationalize your actions in an effort to move on with your life.
LF: Cue the millennial angst. Do you feel that people can relate to these themes?
GT: It’s all a little convoluted which was the intention but I think I got my point across. Do people even listen to lyrics anymore?
LF: Answering a question with a question is always valid in the art form that is the interview. To answer: women and music journalists. But no one cares about them so…Let’s talk about the video:
GT: It was directed by Joe Wakeman and shot by Nikki Belfiglio (Bodega Bay) with a magnificent and colorful cast of characters – but enough of the credits. Joe had a lot of ideas going in but the foundation was an interpretation of the story within the song – a bonfire party gone wrong. Joe created a world within the world. Which gave the video a more stylized and refreshing point of view.
LF: There’s no point in dancing around the obvious, but I’m going to come out and say it. What is with your obsession with women killing you?
GT: It’s not an obsession – it’s a lifestyle. Everyone subconsciously identifies as a victim at some point in social interactions and relationships and that’s where I try to make that connection with an audience. I also enjoy painting myself as a villain overcome with desire. Being taken down by a woman with a sharp object is my way of going out in style.
LF: Then tell us, what turns you off?
GT: Bare feet, truth telling, and music journalism
Matt Billington: I’m a virgin, so I don’t really know
Nick Rogers: Non-tippers
LF: Besides a knife, what else do you like to see on a woman?
GT: Their intellect
LF: Despite the fact that Secret Crush is a collaborative endeavor – There is a noticeable distinction between the songs you sing and the songs Matt Sings. Do you find this alienating or disjointedly lucrative?
GT: Neither, but an audience might find it both appealing and alienating. Stylistically there are differences between our songs adding diversity and multiple perspectives. We’re allowed variety and that’s what you get with us. At least we’re not one of those bands where you hear someone in the back of the audience saying, “They’re okay but all their songs sound the same”.
MB: People have always told us that Greg’s songs and my songs are sound very different. I think it makes the band interesting. Lately, Greg might be listening to Phil Collins or Nancy Sinatra, and I could be listening to something like Pet Sounds or Loveless. I think we both like so many different kinds of artists from the 60s through the 80s and 90s that it’s hard to tap into why when we finish a song it can sound one way or another.
LF: You have prominently featured members of Bodega Bay in this video and in your previous video for the song KGB. Though the band has recently met an untimely demise, what would you say your relationship is to them and their label Capitalist Records?
GT: Like most local bands we are very supportive of their endeavors and all their members are a treat to work with whether we were playing shows together or they are making music videos for us. As far as Capitalist Records goes, we remain a neutral bystander. There are plenty of people in Brooklyn that express strong opinions for or against the bands on their roster. We are trying to carve out our own name for our own musical style and ourselves. We’d prefer to remain an exclusive enterprise even if that leaves us out of that conversation.
LF: Moving on…I won’t bother asking for a soapbox speech about Secret Crush’s style. Instead let’s use this valuable time to transition into a discussion about the Brooklyn music scene and let’s all try our best not to sound cliché.
GT: While there are elements of endearing camaraderie splintered between tribes and factions, it’s a literal rat race at the end of the day. Competition is friendly and unfriendly with envy and resentment all on the board. There’s bands you play with and becomes friends with, bands you want to play with that you try to become friends with, and bands that get buzz and stop playing the local DIY spots. People remain supporters or they become disenchanted. You’re constantly rolling the ball up the hill trying to create and play live. Because everyone’s always got the next big show coming up, or the new album about to come out, or the music video premiere *wink* *wink* – I hope this hasn’t turned into a diatribe…
LF: I think you’ll have to try a little harder next time. So I was half kidding about skipping the part about your style. May I throw a theory out? With the black veil you’re known to wear – are you hiding something or mourning the loss of your innocence?
GT: Yes, I guess you can say I’m hiding something. I’m mourning my loss of innocence in the way a young widow would at her husband’s funeral when she realizes he had a secret family and they’re getting half the inheritance.
LF: And what was the inspiration behind the wardrobe for the video?
GT: It was a mix-matched collage of mystic occult meets Greek mythology. Sometimes I wear a lab coat on stage, which was the inspiration behind the doctor scenes. A lot of my outfits in the video and on stage are things I would like to wear day to day but feel too self-conscious about. Society confines us to gender roles so I’m more comfortable expressing myself while performing and also developing my onstage persona.
LF: It certainly is a look and we dig it. Do you have any last words for someone considering the move to big, bad Brooklyn?
Secret Crush (in unison): Lock yourself inside your house until you turn 50 or move to LA. There’s no more room for you here.
LF: Thanks, guys. You’re welcome in my bedroom anytime.
Check out Secret Crush – Friday June 10th at Bar Matchless in Brooklyn where they’ll be playing some new tunes for Northside Music Fest.