music / People

Cro Cro chats, part 2

21 March 2024

There’s just over three weeks to go until our Cro Cro Land Festival, so we wanted to chat with more of our awesome artists, to hear about their music, their thoughts on the festival, as well as their views on inclusivity in the industry. Over to Charlotte from The Subways, Maya Lakhani, Lori from Static Lives, and Charley from Charley Stone With the Actual Band.

Croydonist: First up, where are you from and if you could sum up your music in one sentence what would it be? 

Charlotte: The band is originally from Hertfordshire/Essex, but I’ve been in Sheffield for 14 years now, and I love living here! I’m going to say our music is melodic, high energy, pop rock!

Maya: I’m from Surrey. I would describe my music as dark, stylish alt rock.

Lori: We’re from Sheffield! Dance rock with dark undertones.

Charley: I live in an imaginary flat above an imaginary pub, called The Nascent Horn, which sometimes looks out over the palace of the north aka the Alexandra Palace, but occasionally looks out over the palace of the south aka the Crystal Palace. My songs veer from garage-rock to mellow indie-art-folk with layered harmonies, and lyrically they are all messages from that parallel world in which I live.

Croydonist: This year’s IWD theme was ‘Inspire Inclusion’ – what does this mean to you in relation to the music industry?

Charlotte: I think one of the key things on this topic for me, has always been for it not to be seen as unusual for women to be on stage or working within music. It’s very hard to feel included if you’re always referred to as the “female bass player” or to hear comments like “wow, you’re actually not bad for a girl”. I think if we can remove this sort of language and attitude, then I would feel a lot more comfortable and included in a still heavily male dominated industry.

Maya: I think it’s incredibly important to include and lift artists who are from diverse backgrounds, like myself. As an Indian woman, I really want to be seen and heard in the rock scene. It’s so important to have that visibility, for the next generation of women to see. I hope that I am able to Inspire Inclusion with my music and presence in this space.

Lori: I think in 2024 we still have a super long way to go for things to feel totally equal – it’s such an important message that there are resources and support to inspire women into roles stereotypically they wouldn’t aspire toward. There is still a long way to go, especially in the music industry but by keeping awareness at the forefront, and sign posting resources and education – I think we will keep stepping in the right direction.

Charley: Where do I start with this? Inclusion for whom, and how?

With rising costs of living (esp rent) and travel, with the low fees available for most gigs and the pitiful amounts generated by streaming, it feels like the music industry is becoming ever less accessible to those on lower incomes. I mean, sure, you can record quickly and cheaply in your bedroom, but developing your sound takes time, and rehearsing and recording with a band is expensive, and becoming a great live band means playing far and wide as much as possible.

So “inspire inclusivity” doesn’t carry much weight to me as a slogan when there are so many practical (financial) barriers to working class artists having the time or resources to rehearse and tour. Unless we have a meaningful change of government, to one with a strong commitment to investing in the arts, I feel that “inspiring” inclusivity is a bit ineffective as a concept.

Croydonist: What are you particularly looking forward to about playing Cro Cro Land?

Charlotte: The line up is so cool! There’s some artists I’ve never seen before, like She Drew The Gun that I can’t wait to see. I’m also excited to see our friends, Berries, play again.

Maya: I’m so looking forward to being part of this varied and awesome line-up! It’s so cool to be playing alongside some really exciting up & coming artists, as well as bands who I’ve loved since I was 14, like The Subways!

Lori: I performed at the first Cro Cro Land, when I played in Weekend Recovery – it was such an amazing, well organised and friendly festival. Not only that, but the level of bands is just unreal! For a new band – to already be sharing the stage with bands like The Subways, Gen and the Degenerates and Bugeye is such an unheard of opportunity!

Charley: I have a rule when playing that every set has to be different and that songs can also change depending on the vibe, so I’m always looking forward to seeing how the set unfolds at each gig – and being in a new (to me) venue like Stanley Arts adds to that. But I especially love playing festivals as it’s a chance to check out all the other acts. Cro Cro Land in particular has a really strong line-up, including many bands I already follow (e.g. Hurtling, Fightmilk, Berries, Deux Furieuses, Fraulein, Jemma Freeman & The Cosmic Something), but I’m also really looking forward to seeing all the bands I’m less familiar with.

Croydonist: What is the number one piece of music kit you couldn’t live without?

Charlotte: My bass – I’ve been playing the same Lakland since 2006 and I have a romantic idea of it following me everywhere throughout my whole musical life.

Maya:  My laptop! I write, record and produce all my music from my bedroom, so this is an imperative piece of kit for my music creation!

Lori: For me, as a singer, it’s my in ear monitors – it’s such a game changer to be able to hear exactly what you want to hear at all times – in the past I’ve sometimes struggled to hear my own vocals in the monitors – so I saved and saved to be able to afford my own in ears! I couldn’t do without them now!

Charley: The idea of something I “couldn’t live without” doesn’t really compute – I will make music with anything! and I quite enjoy the challenge of playing, writing or recording with gear I’ve not used before or which doesn’t quite work properly. But my Fender Super-Sonic guitar is my go-to for most gigs, because there’s something about the way it hangs on my hips that feels just right – the weight and balance of it, and the way it feels in my hands, including the upside down tuning heads. So probably that’s my “signature” piece of kit.

Croydonist: What’s next for you (after Cro Cro Land) musically this year?

Charlotte: We have some more festivals lined up which we can’t wait for. Cro Cro Land is going to be such a fun way to kick off the festival season though! We’re working on new song demos at the moment, so it will be super cool to hopefully get some of those recorded for real later this year.

Maya:  I’m currently working on my debut EP, which I’ll be putting out in 2024! I’ll also be playing my debut headline show on May 17th at Sebright Arms, presented by Get In Her Ears.

Lori: We will be continuing our debut UK tour, we’re also playing Tramlines (with a couple of other festivals) this year and of course our EP out toward the end of year – it’s super busy – but we’ve so hyped for it!

Charley: I’ve got an album coming out at the end of May, called Here Comes The Actual Band. There’ll be more gigs around that, hopefully a short tour at some point, although financial considerations apply there, as per my answer to Q2. And I’ve got about 2 or 3 unfinished solo albums on my hard drive, so maybe I’ll get around to finishing and releasing one of those as well?

Thank you to Charlotte, Maya, Lori, and Charley for chatting with us. Read our first artists’ chat from earlier this month here.

See The Subways, Maya Lakhani, Static Lives, and Charley Stone With the Actual Band and many more artists at this year’s Cro Cro Land Festival, at the wonderful Stanley Arts on Saturday 13 and Sunday 14 April. Get your day or weekend tickets here.

Saturday 13 April line-up: Mattiel; Desperate Journalist; Whitelands; LIINES; Deux Furieuses; Noah & The Loners; Berries; Fraulein; Hurtling; The Baby Seals; Pink Suits; Salvation Jayne; Third Lung; Safari Inn; SULK; Ms Mohammed; Ski Lift; I, Doris; Yuke; Lilith AI; and more to be announced. DJs include: Get In Her Ears. 

Sunday 14 April line-up: The Subways; She Drew The Gun; Buzzard, Buzzard, Buzzard; Fightmilk; Gen & The Degenerates; Bugeye; Static Lives; Jemma Freeman & The Cosmic Something; Flat Party; Dogviolet; Murder Club; Maya Lakhani; Gabi Garbutt & The Illuminations; Charley Stone with the Actual Band; Kat Five; and more to be announced. DJs include: Radio X’s John Kennedy and Get In Her Ears. 

Find out more about Cro Cro Land on the website, Instagram, X (Twitter) and Facebook.

Posted by Julia

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