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Franklin Hoier and Moselle Spiller met in the hallway of their Bushwick, Brooklyn apartment building in the late 2000’s, and immediately realized they shared an effortless musical connection. With Franklin on the guitar and vocals, and Moselle on drums and vocals, Crushed Out was born. The husband-wife duo gravitated to “the early, really wild and joyous, dance based rock ‘n’ roll,” with the musical energy of legends like Jerry Lee Lewis, Little Richard, and Bo Diddley. They didn’t see those types of influences showing through in the Brooklyn scene, and decided to begin making music to fill that void. They desired to be the band that “makes the cerebral Brooklyn kids dance and go wild” and since beginning their journey, they have not come up short on that front. Franklin spoke of the two types of music that, overwhelmingly, make him want to pick up his guitar: the early, soulful country blues as well as late 50’s and early 60’s surf guitar. He describes them as “transcendental, melodic, and mysterious,” and playing those styles really allows him to immerse himself in the music he creates.
Since their earliest release of Show Pony in 2010, they have developed their sound from self described “Quentin Tarantino, weird Brooklyn, industrial surf” songs with a slight proto-punk vibe to a more crafted art form. Their sound continued to develop between Show Pony; their 2012 album, Want To Give; and their newest 2014 release, Teeth. Franklin describes the tracks on Teeth as being “crafted recordings.” Much less like the first two albums where the songs were recorded like live studio takes, there was a lot of thought put into the making of Teeth. This is apparent as Franklin recalls the specific corners of Rock n Roll that influenced him when making this album including Chess Records, Buddy Holly, Roy Orbison, and some Spaghetti Western soundtracks. They even seem to mix in some Beach Boys pop, early 70’s buzz, along with surf rock. With this album, they make the statement that “we’re never going to be that one genre band. We’re just going to go where the music takes us.”
One of the coolest things about Teeth is that is was produced by Crushed Out, themselves. They recorded most of their album in a barn in New Hampshire. Franklin did the engineering, recording and mixing, and Moselle handled the artwork. They take pride in the fact that while they may not have the connections that the bigger indie labels have; the album really feels like it comes from true artists, which carries a lot of value in today’s music industry. Franklin and Moselle hope to expand their label, Cool Clear Water Records, in the future. They would love to help produce music for friends and other musicians to keep that true artistry vibe going.
In regards to their song-writing process, Franklin wanted to disclaim that the music can mean whatever the listener feels it means. He says “I can say what inspired me to create it, but if people find a slightly different meaning, I’m all for that.” Before he realized he was writing “Surfer Billy,” Franklin was toying around with different guitar riffs that he called “Surfabilly, like surf-rockabilly,” which he realized had a nice ring to it. This idea caused his mind to wonder back to his days growing up in Southern California. He described this “macho culture of dudes that look like surfers or skaters.” These guys are really territorial, and a little bit violent. Franklin described Southern California as being a rather explosive area at the time. He created the character of “Surfer Billy,” who would represent the archetype, macho guy he remembers. The song is written from the perspective of “Surfer Billy,” who is looking for any reason to “sink his teeth into the situation,” and maybe stir up some trouble. This notion brought upon the idea for the title of the album. The guitar riff in the song is extremely catchy and reminiscent of vintage slide blues.
Besides “Surfer Billy,” Franklin’s personal favorite track on Teeth is “Summer Sunset.” The song was reminiscent of his teenage years, “growing up at the edge of the world,” on the Pacific Ocean. He recalls the memory of being young, attending a bonfire at the beach, and looking out on the ocean to “so many unknowns.” It’s about “being at the edge of a huge change and you don’t really know that it’s coming.” He loves that he was able to explore more of his falsetto on that track. Another one of Franklin’s favorites is “To Sing True of Love,” which was created after an evening of watching Spaghetti Westerns with Moselle. Having been inspired by the “epic” soundtracks, Moselle said, “Play something Spaghetti Western!” Franklin played the first thing that came to his mind, and that ended up sparking the creation of “To Sing True of Love,” which he describes as his personal parable. Moselle’s favorite track on the album is “Early In The Morning” as she is a huge fan of Franklin’s slide blues guitar playing. She describes her experience of listening to music by feeling color, and that if she were to make a music video of any song on the album; it would definitely be “Early In The Morning.” One of her other favorites was “Two Lovebirds,” which she already made a music video for.
Crushed Out is all about going with your heart, staying inspired, and staying in love. This duo is full of personality and full of passion. When I asked them why they live in the Northeast when their music has such a strong California vibe, Franklin said something extremely insightful. He said, “I sometimes feel like it’s easier to write a song about the ocean in the dead of winter.” He describes “an extreme yearning” for the opposing atmosphere, and that “your imagination gets stimulated” due to that yearning. Because of their different backgrounds and means of communicating emotion, Franklin and Moselle are able to deliver a truly distinct perspective through their song writing. They want to create art to be a part of society’s collective art conversation. They aim to bring their uniqueness to the table and inspire some wild dance parties. Check them out at The Cake Shop on April 29!
Article: Alex Feigin