Crashing on the couch: Satellite Crush
A few weeks ago we got an email from Elliot Craig, lead singer and guitarist for Los Angeles band Satellite Crush asking us to check out his band's newly released EP, Arrows Of Eros. First we hit up the Myspace to do a little fact-finding. Turns out Elliot is from Ohio (we have a soft spot), spent time in London (as did we), and wrote most of the tracks on the EP about a girl (we can relate). It's a good thing the songs are awesome or else we'd feel really let down. (And of course by "us" I mean "me.")
Influenced by the Brit Pop sound of the mid-'90s, the music of Satellite Crush is clean, heartfelt, well produced and a nice departure from the deluge of cooler-than-thou post-punk emanating from LA right now. Check out our interview with Elliot below. You can also download the Arrows Of Eros EP from iTunes here, or purchase it in physical form here. Elliot was nice enough to allow us to post a tune, so grab it and press play while you check out the Q&A.
Ohio to London to Los Angeles is a pretty frenetic move. What kind of inspiration did you draw from each place?
Elliot Craig: Ohio was always just the place I was from, grew up, and where I was stuck until I finally got enough money to leave. I remember always thinking, “Why couldn’t my parents have just picked somewhere cooler to live!?” Then I moved to London and suddenly the world got a lot bigger. Up until this point I was following the “American pattern,” somewhat. Go to school for twelve years, graduate, and go to school some more, graduate and hello real world! I had this crazy idea of moving to London in my head for years during college, trying to quit every semester, but somehow talking myself into staying. Finally when I got there it was like, “Damn, what do I do now? Wait a minute, I can do anything!” It gave me an enormous sense of vulnerability, but I was able to embrace that feeling and write a lot of songs. Both Ohio and London brought me a lot of great inspirational experiences and definitely molded me into the person I am now, but I never felt truly in the right place at the right time.
I hear a nice Cure influence in “Lovesick Soul,” especially the little guitar solo at the beginning. How do UK bands inform the way in which you write music, and who are some of your favorite lyricists?
Elliot Craig: Just like any musician I draw from what I know, and over the years I have surrounded myself with mostly British bands, not by choice, but just by default. I have my sisters to thank for the Cure, being 10 and 12 years older than me. My taste in music was always ahead of my peers growing up. I was a huge Nine Inch Nails fan when I was seven and had a life size poster of the Red Hot Chili Peppers with just socks covering themselves hanging over my bed when I was eight. The older I got the more independent I became in seeking out different kinds of music that spoke to me. I always had this fascination with British culture, and for a long time it seemed like better music was coming out of the UK than the States. Richard Ashcroft and Travis are huge influences for me in how our songs are crafted, the melodies and overall song structures. It’s just a great formula for writing a great pop song.
What do you miss most about Ohio, and conversely, what drives you nuts about Los Angeles?
Elliot Craig: Seasons. LA doesn’t really have “weather,” unless you count sunny and warm, but I suppose that is the incentive to live in LA. Besides family, there really isn’t much that I miss about Ohio. I never truly felt like I was in the right place when I lived there, and I don’t think that is going to change much as I get older. I have my memories. As for LA, I absolutely love Los Angeles, which was an unexpected match since I had not even been here or thought about LA much before I moved here. I feel like I have finally found a place I can be comfortable and call home.
A lot of people don’t give Ohio a lot of musical credit, but places like Columbus and Cincinnati have produced some great bands. (Especially the indie hip-hop scene in Cincy.) Was there anything redeeming about the scene where you were, or was there just more of an allure in the UK for what you wanted to do?
Elliot Craig: There was always this great allure towards what else was out there. It wasn’t the music so much as just everyday life that had such a deep impact on what I wanted to do and where I wanted to go. If anything, Ohio only fueled that fire much more for getting out, but also gave me this intense work ethic and warm outlook on life. Ohio people are great, it’s the everyday American people. I was much closer to the music scene in Detroit than any city in Ohio, being only 45 minutes away, which in turn kept me close to the Canadian music scene as well. I grew up listening to a lot of great Canadian bands and have them to thank for my softer side. Aside from my fascination with the English, I was drawn to the UK because of my style of writing. I figured the Brits would understand my songs better than Americans, or at least embrace it more, so I jumped ship and went off to start a rock band in England.
Talk to me about “Should Have Been Killed in the ’60s.” It really stands apart a bit from the other songs.
Elliot Craig: I was always fascinated by the Son of Sam and Zodiac killers, and one night after watching Zodiac I wrote that song. I thought, “What more of a romantic way to die than to die with your lover being shot together in a cool car, Dirty Harry style?” Who wouldn’t love to go out in flames with the one they love?
So this girl that many of these songs are influenced by, is she aware of her “celebrity status” in the group?
Elliot Craig: As I wrote the songs in London, I would go to the nearest cafe and send them to her, so she knows about most of the songs, but honestly I don’t know if she has followed me or the band up to this point. That was the ultimate goal in the beginning of writing every song for me, to get the girl, but I am happy to say I got her in the end. It’s not the same girl, but that always makes for another story.
Are you planning on going into the studio to record a full-length? If so, when do you think that’ll be done and dusted for people to hear?
Elliot Craig: The Arrows Of Eros EP is a product of what has been constructed over the past three years. I wrote many songs during that time, and I think we ended up recording about twelve songs in our loft and only five made it to the record. Even though as a band we were writing a lot, I think we had some great songs that came out of my London experience, so I wanted to do them justice by putting out a proper record. We will be doing a couple of small tours to follow up, one being a Pacific Northwest tour in early spring. Then we’ll begin the process of recording another EP. I’m very excited about the next record, because as a band we have been writing a lot lately. Being a young band—only a year and a half together—the new material has allowed us to develop a distinct sound. With the Arrows Of Eros EP, the guys were stepping into my songs and what I had already done with them. The new material is being created together in the direction we are all happy and comfortable with.