INTERVIEW: CrashCarBurn releases new album, Headlights

Photo by Andre Badenhorst.

Today sees the release of a brand new album by seasoned rock band CrashCarBurn. We spoke to frontman Garth Barnes bout the album. The album, Headlights, can be found on Apple Music.

Today you are releasing your newest album, Headlights. How would you say this album differs from your previous work?

The biggest difference I think stems from our songwriting approach this time around. In the past we had all jumped into the band room and written very much by feel: i.e. how much fun is it to play this song? Nothing worng with that, it’s worked well for us in the past. For ‘Headlights’, the songs were written sitting down in the studio and so instead of focusing on how it feels to play the song, the only question we were asking was ‘does this sound good?’. As a result, I think we have experimented a lot more with tempos, synths and other instruments we hadn’t used in the past.

How would you describe the album’s overall sound?

Anthemic pop rock. There, just invented a new subgenre!

You’ve been involved in the music industry for many years. What are some lessons that you’ve learnt about the industry over the years?

Shoh, I would need to write a 12 part encyclopedia to have enough space for all the lessons… and we’re STILL learning! haha! The music biz is the school of hard knocks yo! If there is one overriding thing I have learned, it’s that, every time you think to yourself ‘right, I know how to tame this beast’, you get surprised and thrown a curve ball. At the end of the day, you have to be in it for the right reasons, you have to do it because you love making music. If you’re doing it for fame, for money, for anything else other than music, you will get kicked in the teeth!

You’ve noted that the album’s title track, “Headlights”, is very “un-CrashCarBurn”. What makes you think this?

Haha! Yes I was referring to the sound of the track. It’s a slow 80’s pop jam! Something you might find on The Karate Kid back when that was a thing. Compare the song to our first ever single ‘Serenade’ or a track like ‘Long live tonight’ and you would swear it was a different band. At the end of the day, we wrote the song so by definition it can’t be ‘Un-CrashCarBurn’…but it marks a departure from the norm for us. Funnily enough, it’s one of our all time favourite tracks.

Besides “Headlights”, are there any other songs on the album that have a special place in your hearts?

We get this question a lot, it’s like ‘which is your favourite child?’. You’re not supposed to have a favourite…but you do! For me (and the rest of the band will disagree here), ‘We Sing’ turned out great. I had to fight to get that demo made into an actual song, and I’m glad it did, can’t put my finger on it but that track does a little extra for me.

In 2017, the band visited Russia for a bit. How was this experience?

In a word: Mad! We were a little terrified at first because the specific area we played was the subject of a Russian military annexation a few short years ago, but we were pleasantly surprised! It was summer at the time, so, gloriously hot (I’ve never ever seen Russia portrayed as anything more than – 40 Celsius on TV), the people were friendly, the country beautiful and the festival we played was unlike anything we’d ever experienced before!