Hailing from SUNY Purchase where they all went to school, Ryan Galloway, Elaiza Santos and Nick Corbo took the stage Monday night at the Music Hall of Williamsburg ready to shake up the crowd. From the beginning of the set, Santos controlled the room in an introverted way, hunched over with her baby doll dress and oversized sweater billowing over the microphone and her quiet voice pouring out emotion. Galloway, stage right, rocked shorts in this December cold as well as his guitar while Corbo pounded the drums with ferocity while giving some winning facial expressions. You could feel the connection of the three friends creating a harmony through all of the crazy noise that they were creating.
The one thing that stood out the most was the sound that their synthesizer made, or should I say, their Gameboy. The bleep-bloop sound of the Gameboy mixed with the rock sound of Crying’s instruments and Santos’ dreamy voice was a sound that I was unfamiliar with but instantly grew to love. Crying took what was once the Music Hall of Williamsburg and turned it into a video game where whoever jumps the highest and sings the loudest, wins. Once Foxing’s lead singer, Conor Murphy, came out to share the stage and help Santos sing a cover of Rage Against the Machine’s “Testify,” I was certain I didn’t want Crying’s set to end.
I was lucky enough to hang out with the band next to their black tour van after their set and talk about life.
So to start, when did you guys meet and how did you become a band?
NC: Are we approaching two years?
ES: I think it might be one and a half.
RG: We just went over one, one and a half you’re right
ES: 50 years! haha
RG: I was trying to start a band. I had already known Nick and we all went to the same college and I knew Nick through a few people because he was in music. He was doing a lot of music things at the school. There was a really cool music scene there, a lot of cool bands came from it, like Porches, Porches kind of has it’s roots there. I wanted to start a band and he ended up saying he wanted to play drums. Then a friend was like, hey Ryan I know you want a singer, this is Elaiza. Elaiza had a side…well not a side project, a regular project, a full all-of-Elaiza’s-time project called Whatever Dad at the time. Then I emailed Elaiza, hey to do want to play in this band?
ES: It was “Hey Breh,” I think that was the subject
ES: I think so, I don’t know, it’s funny now
RG: Because you’re definitely more of a “Broo”
ES: Yeah, “hello brooski!”
RG: You’ve liquefied a bit; fermented into the broo that you are
NC: Yeah we played in my basement
RG: That was last May, 2013
How did you come up with the name Crying?
RG: We were coming up with names and all of them were really stupid. One of them was really good but we decided against it. Then [our friend Megan] was like, you should call it Crying, because whatever and we were like, that’s cool because that has nothing to do with video games which was cool because we didn’t want to call ourselves something like Mario Zelda. We went on Last FM and no other band has been called [Crying], no other band that people listen to on a computer ever
I heard the video game aspect of your music, where does that come from?
RG: What produces it is there’s a Gameboy involved and the Gameboy basically acts as a synthesizer that you program called LSDJ. It’s a sick program. A lot of people, especially here, use it. It’s usually used for dance music. There are a lot of rock bands that do a lot of different stuff with it. I think I started using it because I had always used MIDI and what happened is I just started using that.
NC: It’s a huge thing
RG: Yeah it’s a huge underground thing. I don’t know how huge to be honest but there are shows here that happen a lot and there are a lot of monthly shows and a lot of festivals but the people at these shows aren’t expecting it and are new to it. Some people have come up and said, you guys are the pioneers of that music but we are not. We are the last or the latest in a long line of people
ES: On pioneers is the word I was looking for. I said pilgrims the other night
RG: I feel like “pilgrims” puts a darker edge…
NC: A darker black hat on the whole thing
Where did you guys first hear the video game sound?
RG: It’s one of those things where I played old games, I mean we all are familiar with old games. I don’t remember if was this band called Anamanguchi or Depreciation Guild – both of those are rock bands from New York that used Nintendos, old Nintendo systems and that’s where I heard about even doing that. Then my friend who was in a group called Chalkboards was like, I’m using the Gameboy and it’s really cool and I was like, well I guess I have to try that.
What is your favorite part about performing?
NC: I get into a crazy zone. I’m wearing these headphones because I have to listen to the Gameboy. We tried to not do that for a while but when I can’t hear it, it’s like really, really, really bad and everything can kind of fall apart so I wear these isolation headphones that are really muffled but also have speakers in them so I can hear [the Gameboy] but I can’t hear anybody else. It’s very strange. I can only hear my drums, definitely can’t hear Elaiza, can kind of hear Ryan but mostly can just hear the Gameboy and it lets me just focus a bunch and I just kind of like wake up at the end of the whole thing. It’s really easy to focus. It feels really nice focusing on something.
ES: I’ve been thinking recently about what constitutes a satisfying set. For me; performing live is just something that I haven’t really experienced in anyway outside of Crying because my solo stuff is very quiet and I focus a lot on getting the audience to share and indulge in the silence and that’s completely different for Crying because everything is noise and it’s really hard for me to hear anything…but I think I at first started really selfishly love playing with my two friends and people that I respect and appreciate a lot. It’s all very kinetic for me.
RG: I don’t know. I don’t really like live music that much. As the three of us we don’t really practice that much so that part is cool, just the playing. I was watching what Nick was doing during the [set]. Just connecting the three of us.
What’s been your favorite part about being on this tour and touring with Modern Baseball?
RG: After the first couple of days, I think it’s been very easy, because everyone does things for you. There’s a tour manager – we’re not used to this so if an established band is reading this they would just be like, yeah we know. But our last tour, we just weren’t used to this guy getting everything organized and making sure everybody’s fine, we usually have to do it ourselves
NC: On other tours it’s just like, are people going to come tonight? Am I going to be able to make enough money to put gas in the car tonight? There’s like these questions, is the show going to be good? All of these shows it’s like, there are going to be a bunch of people there, which is so strange for me to not have to worry about that at all. To kind of know that it’s going to happen has been very strange but cool. It’s nice playing in front of a bunch of kids.
ES: This particular tour I think is the most surprising and I haven’t been on so many but I feel like a lot of us had preconceptions about what it would fold out to be and things have just proven otherwise. So we’re proving us wrong. I feel like I have this really strong sense of teamwork or something. It’s not like every band fends for themselves. I have a lot of affection now for these people.
Favorite whiskey, go!
ES: There’s one whiskey that’s been on the rider that I liked and it’s Jameson.
NC: I worked at a bar before this tour and I started drinking a lot of Buffalo Trace.
RG: I’m going to say that every time I have whiskey, I’ve only had cheap whiskey.
* props go to Elaiza because Jameson is Merissa’s favorite whiskey
Article by: Merissa Blitz