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CRASHCARBURN COMES DOWN TO EARTH

Posted by radio On November - 8 - 2012

[By: Chloe Smith]

 

CrashCarBurn can easily be seen as a local favourite. Formed in England in 2006, the band returned to South Africa in 2007 with an EP to their name and set about distancing themselves from their former band-identity, Tweak.

Band members Garth and Brendan Barnes started Tweak while in high school and quickly became famous among South African teenagers, getting airtime for their songs on radio and being thrown into the underground Hall of Fame headfirst. When Tweak went their separate ways, the Barnes brothers headed to London for a year with CrashCarBurn in mind. “We went from being known everywhere we go to literally playing in empty clubs with maybe one or two people,” said Garth Barnes (lead singer, guitarist and frontman) on stage at their album launch on Tuesday.

Fabian Sing, supposedly residing on their couch at the time, originally acted as their live sound engineer and later joined the band as lead guitarist when Ian Broekhuizen emigrated to Australia. Etienne Janse Van Rensburg (bassist) and Brendan (drummer) had been friends for years – according to Garth, he wasn’t even auditioned for the band. “We just called him up, asked him if he had a bass, asked him if he could play and he was in the band.”

 

Hitting the music scene under a new name with catchy, powerful rock anthems, the band quickly rose above their former levels of fame. CrashCarBurn also became the first South African band to be invited to the Vans Warped Tour, where they played sixteen shows across the East Coast of America and two in Canada, opening them up to an international market. Other tours in Asia and the UK only increased their global fan-base.

 

I had the opportunity of spending a few minutes with CrashCarBurn after their launch for Gravity, their third studio album, on Tuesday night. The launch was unique in more ways than one – the venue was the NuMetro Cinema at Monte Casino, a very comfortable and relaxed way of enjoying a live show. The band also screened a fifteen-minute documentary of behind-the-scenes footage for fans to glimpse a more personal side to the band and its members. The on-screen graphics during performances mirrored the album art, focusing on triangles in an ever-changing slideshow of patterns. The band itself performed incredibly, often sounding the same live as they do recorded, if not better.

 

CS: Thank you so much for giving me a few minutes of your time. I really enjoyed the show. I have to ask – why do they call you Bugsy?

Brendan ‘Bugsy’ Barnes: Bugsy? Embarrassing. When I was small, a little baby, I used to be really fat and my parents called me Bugalug because I kind of bug-a-lug-a-lugged around. And that apparently evolved into Bugsy. It’s not a very rock ‘n roll story.

CS: I really enjoyed the album. You mentioned that it is your most bi-polar album to date. What did you mean by that? Do you mean that you explored new sounds as a band?

Garth Barnes: No, I think what we were trying to get at is that this album has the hardest ever CrashCarBurn songs but also the softest every CrashCarBurn songs. We’ve got Monsters and Angels, which is basically a metal song and then Get Up and Fly, which is straight off an Adele album. And then everything in-between.

CS: On your Facebook page it says that you’re Pop-Punk. What does that mean to you as a band?

Garth: We need to update that. I think we’re more Pop-Rock now, to be honest.

Fabian Sing: Power-Pop.

Brendan:  You know, we make rock music. It’s rock music that’s like pop-music.

Garth: Bit of Hip-hop. You know what, you can call it whatever you want. People always try to put themselves somewhere – are we Indie, are we this, are we whatever. You make music and some people dig it and some people don’t.

Fabian: I think in a broad sense, we would be Pop-Rock.

Brendan: I think Dubstep’s pretty big right now. New album – Dubstep!

CS: So you [Brendan] directed the documentary. Do you do that a lot or is it something that you do occasionally?

Brendan: When I’m not playing in the band, I’m a cinematographer. So I work on a lot of music videos, TV shows, short films, films – stuff like that. Basically, we’ve been filming behind-the-scenes stuff for the last ten years and so we decided well look, we’ve got all this cool footage, let’s put something together. Little bit of a behind-the-scenes insight to who we are. So I got a bunch of my mates that I went to film school with and a friend of mine edited it, another guy did the special effects and it was like a team of close friends put it together. I think it turned out really well.

CS: Do you plan on doing more documentaries?

Brendan: I think it’s a really cool window into the world of the band and that people who listen to the CD like seeing it. So if we have time and cool stuff to show people, we’ll definitely keep doing it.

CS: Did any of you feel that, when showing the documentary to a cinema full of people, footage that you thought was really cool suddenly seemed quite private?

Garth: Yes.

Brendan: There’s more personal stuff than what ended up in the documentary. That was the borderline for how far we could push it. I’ve seen a lot of bands do EPKs that are like, “check us out, we’re really professional and we’re the coolest band you’ve ever seen”. I wanted it to be a little more like, “see all the stuff we’ve done and we are a cool band” but also this is Garth standing naked in Holland and this is Fabian dancing drunk on stage and this is Beth [Etienne] with a hickey on his neck. I wanted it to be something that fans could watch and be like, “cool, these are real guys”. It’s fun to see. Not like, “these guys are unattainable”. Which is all a joke anyway. All of these EPKs that make bands look like super-mad rock stars – I film that and I fake it. None of them are super-mad rock stars so I definitely wanted it to be closer to home so people could really connect.

CS: Did you guys decide to do the show in a cinema after making the documentary or did you want to do a show in a cinema and made a documentary to go with it?

Garth: Chicken and egg.

Brendan: I think the idea to do a documentary/EPK came first and then we thought about the best place for people to hear the album. In album launches, no one knows the songs and it’s more about getting press to actually hear the album. We didn’t want to do it in a sweaty club with bad sound where no one knows what’s going on. So we thought let’s do it in a cinema where the sound will be banging, we can show this awesome documentary on screen and people can sit and actually listen to the music.

CS: Did you enjoy playing your new stuff for the first time?

Garth: Definitely. It’s always scary playing new songs for the first time because you know that there are a bunch of important people there. At the same time, the pressure’s off because no one knows what the songs are supposed to sound like. You can play anything really and people will just say, “wow, that’s an interesting jazz chord that he threw in there” and meantime, it’s a cock-up.

Brendan: I think we did okay.

CrashCarBurn’s latest album Gravity is in stores now.

 

 

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