The Crawl: Noise for fun, noise for all

by BENNETT HANSON

Do you ever get bored with music and wish for a band that you can’t quite define without stringing together half a dozen genre-dash-genres? Well, look no further than Bellingham’s own The Crawl.

Making their way in the scarcely-populated world of experimental industrial post-hardcore cave-rock noise-gaze is The Crawl. Made up of Matt Cooper on drums and arpegiattor (a trippy function on a micro-KORG) and River Fleischner and Ian Christiansen (who alternate between the keyboard, bass, guitar and vocals), The Crawl is no stranger to maximum-volume levels and fire hazards.

When asked, “Do you like noise?” without missing a beat, Matt responded, “I absolutely love noise – I think it’s my number one sound.” In fact, it isn’t rare for the walls to shake when they’re playing, Matt added. I witnessed this balls-to-the-wall intensity first-hand during their killer set during Mobroll in May.

“There have even been some disastrous parts of ceilings kinda coming down too,” Matt said. “We’ve had to cut back on our amps – our last show at The Shakedown we had our amp levels cut in half.”

The band essentially practices in a room loaded with fire hazards. “If we need to get anywhere in that room we have to jump over like three or four cats (amps),” laughed Matt.

The band released their first demo, Crawlspace Demo, on June 6 this year. Featuring two tracks, “A.51” and “Call it Slang,” the demo is a solid example of the band’s wide range, unique sound and excellent use of layers to create catchy but not too catchy tunes.

“We tried to take as little time as possible on it to make a true demo – all of that is loud-room recording,” Matt said. “We just mic’d everything up in my bedroom and ran straight through the two songs.”

The Crawl plans to start recording for their first full-length release. “We’re going to take some time on it so we can get it absolutely perfect,” Matt said. The release will be accompanied by a poetry book and an art book, and may be split into three or four discs, he said.

After playing a bunch of shows in July, the band is sharpening their new material and thinking ahead for their next round of shows. “Now we’re going to back up and examine how to fuse other art forms into the music – we’re working on getting poetry, painting and other forms of physical art involved in our live shows – so we’ll have poets writing poetry or painters painting on a projector,” Matt said.

The Crawl began as a solo project of Matt’s about a year ago, until River and Ian offered to help him out and make some more textures to go with his rudimentary experiment involving a microphone, pedals and tons of feedback.

“Before, I started playing shows and they were of course a disaster, because people watching a guy playing with feedback is not super fun,” Matt said.

Originally a trombone player in marching band, Matt used that experience to teach himself the drums. “The snare drummer was behind me the whole time so I just memorized his part that year and learned how to play it,” he said. “I ended up touring professionally the next summer with a drum-corps and eventually I just decided a drum set was much louder.”

If The Crawl could play anywhere and with any bands, they would rock The Loud House in town with Swans, Gonzo and Melt Banana, Matt said. Well, good luck Crawlers, and I’m sure I’ll hear you practicing from across town.

Check out The Crawl’s newly released Crawlspace Demo on their bandcamp page at https://thecrawl1.bandcamp.com/releases. 

Published in the September 2015 issue of What’s Up! magazine