The Crayon Set’s new album ‘Downer Disco’ is the latest album that was recorded pre-covid to see a much delayed release, and will see the group expand on what they call their ‘hook-filled alt-pop’, a description perhaps as colourful and ambiguous – deliberately so – as the band’s name. They are, in short, morphing into something new.
“There is definitely more of an electronic and 80s synth-pop influence on the album,” co-frontman Robert Baker tells me. “The idea behind the band name was that it would be diverse and that it would keep evolving from one record to the next so that is important to us.”
“I think this album had more of a groove to it and less layers and less harmonies everywhere – I think when we started off we were guilty of over-doing it, a decent song shouldn’t need 50 tracks! Our last album ‘Lost Languages’ was more folky and acoustic so I think this one will be more fun to play live.”
The album also introduces, or rather reintroduces, Kate Dineen, who brings a vocal swirling between the two into the mix, a permanent expansion after Dineen and the band worked together more temporarily earlier in the band’s lifespan.
“The way we work is probably pretty much the same [with Kate].” Baker explains. “I’ll usually bring in songs which we’ll work up in rehearsal and then hopefully improve on again when recording them with a good producer. But I do think we’re a better band as a result since Kate joined.”
“On the last album I ended up doing most of the singing, after our original female singer moved on, and I think the band definitely works better with the mix of the two voices. Kate has also been playing more synths which is great in helping us get the new songs across live.”
“[In making Downer Disco], we worked with producer Stephen Shannon who did an amazing job in helping us realise what we had in mind, which was combining our fairly pop songs with a more lush, electronic soundscape,” Baker tells us. “We spent a lot of time in the mixing stage and doing over-dubs and tweaking things, including getting Sebastian Adams (Kirkos) to come in and add some strings. It was a long process but we are really pleased with the results.”
As well as the record, those results have also included a live performance streamed from Waterford, and working together with popular remix producer Gui Boratto on an alternative version of lead single ‘Summer Song’.
“We were obviously thrilled that he agreed and even more thrilled with the amazing job he did,” Baker recalls. “It was a lot more than a remix in the end – if you go on to his Instagram page you can actually see that he filmed himself re-recording parts and adding additional parts – it’s pretty amazing watching him work. So he went above and beyond the call of duty. The only minor downside was that with his schedule and the fact that he really spent a lot of time working on it, Summer was nearly over by the time we got it out!”
What with the gap ahead of release, there’s plenty on the horizon for The Crayon Set, too, including live shows and yet more recorded music. “There is a new album written and we’re really excited about how they are sounding,” Baker says. Watch this space.
Downer Disco by The Crayon Set is out now.