Interview with DC Crank

Where are you from?
Currently Montreal, but have lived all over the world, including hong Kong, Los Angeles, and Oxford.
Members and their instruments?
Darin Crosby. Everything. Guitar is my passion, but I am a one-person band, so gotta find ways to do them all….
What does your band name mean?
DC Crank. Although the electricity connection is obvious and intended, the DC part is my initials, and the Crank means “crank it up”. Works on both levels (I hope).
What genre do you consider yourself? Why?
Rock and blues rock
How long have you been playing?
I’ve been playing for about 35 years, started writing early on, but only recording more recently.
What drew you to music?
As a kid my house was full of music – mostly from my mom. She loved Elvis, Johnny Cash, Buddy Holly and so many other greats. Always great rock and roll music playing in the house. Then my two older brothers got into the Rolling Stones, The Who, The Beatles and other giants of rock and roll – and I was hooked bad. I was a music junkie as a kid. When I heard Van Halen’s “Eruption” for the first time (on the radio, in Alberta, if you can image that song on AM radio in those days!! A ballsy DJ, I guess) it completely blew my mind. I didn’t know a guitar could sound like that. I asked my Dad for one the next Christmas. We didn’t have a ton of cash, but he came thru for me — a Sears Harmony with soapbox pickups under the tree!!! OMG, the best Christmas any kid has ever had. Ever! Hehe. I remember the day after Christmas – at 3am I was still in the living room trying to play (absolutely horrendously. I didnt know a single chord.) until my Dad finally came out, unplugged his stereo I was using for amplification (I had no guitar Amp yet) and told me to go to bed. I slept with that guitar. I still have it – hanging on my wall.
What are some of your most influential bands? Why?
Rolling Stones are way, way, way up on the top of the list. The way they can set a mood is unmatched, in my opinion. How can a song be “menacing”? Yet hear Gimme Shelter, or Paint it Black, or Midnight Rambler and you go.. “ohh… that is indeed very menacing”. What have they done to get that feel? Then switch to an Angie, or Moonlight Mile, or Winter for such sweet, romantic, longing. Or I Got the Blues and Sister Morphine for just pure dark, foreboding depression. And then Cant You Hear Me Knocking for just incredible guitar riffs, They helped teach us a new vocabulary to where Rock and Roll could go — how it could communicate the lightest, or the darkest, of feelings with just the music.
What was your first song together?
Hmm. I think is was called Meagers 1868 (after the Rum). A really, really bad hard rock song with my teenage buddy keeping the beat on a single snare drum. Very fun for us to play, and we recorded it on a Sony Walkman or something… hearing it back was both inspiring (“Hey, we recorded something!”) and humbling (“Wow, we really do sound like shit!”). Hehehe. True.
What is your song writing process?
It almost always starts with a Guitar riff, or some guitar chord progression that sounds fresh. Sometimes these riffs stick around for years until a “song” finally emerges from it. Other times it is instant. I hear the progression, a vocal melody comes to mind, and it will be written in 30 minutes. The vocal melody is my blocker most often. Once I can get the opening line and an opening verse that strikes me as interesting (which may take years) the rest usually flows very quickly. Often times I just cant get a vocal melody at all — and a riff I love lingers for many, many years. I still have tons of things I think could be made into a decent song, but cant progress them. Their day will come, I suppose. I hope.
How has your music evolved since you began playing together?
It’s evolved quite a bit. Initially I played and wrote only hard rock. AC/DC, Kiss, Black Sabbath-type songs. The Guitar riff was everything to me, and it had to be complicated. If it was “easy” I figured I wasn’t much of a musician, so why would anyone listen? Eventually, over a very long period of time, I learned that a good song is a good song – regardless of how complicated or easy it is to play. If it is interesting and makes you listen to the story and tap your foot to the beat and smile…. that’s likely a pretty darn good song. So don’t mess it up. Don’t complicate things that don’t need to be complicated. Kinda like life, or relationships, I suppose. Hehe.
What songs do you perform the most often?
I am not a performer. I greatly admire performers. They put it all out there — even the mistakes. I have never been comfortable doing that.
Do you play any covers?
Only very recently. This year, in fact. I recorded Brown Sugar and Cant You Hear Me Knocking from the Stones. I didnt intend to record them, actually… I merely decided to hit record to help me learn them — to hear how well (or not well) that I am doing. After I heard the simple guitar & drum track back I went… “Huh, wonder how that would sound with a bass.., and some vocals, and better drums….”. So now I have a few that are indeed covers.
Do you have a set play list?
Is there a secret meaning in any of your music?
Yes, sometimes. Sometimes you write things in code because the truth will make someone else very angry or hurt. Being truly honest as a songwriter is a very difficult thing.
What is your favorite part of working in music?
Well, two things, I guess. That initial rush when you stumble upon something new that you think sounds great. A new riff is, for me, a tremendously satisfying experience. And second: when recording and mixing a new song— that moment when you first hear it back and instantly know you have new song. Often times it just doesnt work; sounded awesome as a riff, but boring as hell as a recording.
So when you’ve captured something, and you hear it back, and instantly know you can make sound alright – even if it’s just me that will feel that way – it is tremendously rewarding.
What is your least favorite part of working in music?
Hmmm. Sucking. hehe. Working hard all day on something, only to keep hearing the voice in your head going, “Sorry dude, it still sucks, toss it away and move on”. So there’s that. I tend to cling to riffs I love and try, and try, and try to get that damn song out of it — often times, most times, to fail over and over. Working on song for a week or so that still sucks is frustrating.
Have you ever dealt with performance anxiety? If so how?
Always. Which is why I don’t perform.
How old were you when you started playing your instrument?
I was about 12 or 13.
How do you describe your music to people?
Rock and Roll, Blues Rock. Although I do still step in hard rock and other variations
What image do you hope your music conveys?
That this is a Classic Rock band. It’s the music I love the most, the music I grew up with, and the music I most indentify with and want to emulate.
Where have you performed?
No where
Do you have any up coming shows?
What is your greatest achievement to date?
A decent sized band touring Germany asked to use one of my songs in their set. Said it fit their style perfectly. A producer also asked use one of my tunes in a documentary about biker gangs. That was cool.
What is the biggest challenge you’ve faced as a band?
Just getting heard. So many bands, so many outlets. How do you get heard these days?
Are you happy with the current success of your band?
What is the ultimate direction for your band?
More of the same… just keep making music I enjoy playing, and hopefully getting much better in all the areas I remain weak.
What steps have you taken to get there?
I’ve been learning more proactively about mixing, EQing, and theory. There are many things I can do to improve a song, and I am learning them one by one.
How do you feel about the internet and the music business?
The good and the bad. The good is being able to get your music out there. Without it, I would have almost no ability to have anyone hear my stuff. The bad is all the copyright theft. Everybody now believes music is either free, or comes with a super low monthly subscription that pays artists fractions of pennies for their work. More of the revenue from Spotify, Itunes, etc. needs to be flowing back to the creators.
What is your favorite concert you’ve attended?
I’ve seen the Rolling Stones about 4 times and loved each one. But perhaps the most singular moment of performing brilliance I witnessed was during a Dire Straits show — during their Brother’s In Arms tour. Good lord, they were magical that nite, and the crowd knew it, Felt it. We were witnessing something truly great. Even the band knew it had gone beyond “special”.. it was magical. I remember the reaction from the fans after the band finally took a break — goosebumps. The ovation was spontaneous and endless… it took the band about 5 minutes and 4 attempts to quiet the crowd so they could keep going.
What do you do besides music?
I’m VP Sales for a global high-tech company
What is something you would like to tell your younger self?
Go take some lessons, dammit. You don’t need to learn everything the hard way!
What is your favorite song? (not by your band)
Hmmmm. Gimme Shelter perhaps.
What do you wish you spent more time doing 5 years ago?
Having sex. haha.


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