Croak: Next wave of doom

by Tommy Calderon

Bellingham is no stranger to younger people starting up bands, but Croak isn’t any other younger band. Their heavy screamo and hardcore influenced music has caught the ears of concert goers in town and kept mosh pits in full supply.

From house shows to local venues, Croak has been playing in Bellingham for almost a whole year and has no plans to stop. For these young musicians it’s about the energy, the emotion and the love of music.

“We play music in hopes that it frees people to be expressive and mosh,” bassist Morgan Call said.

Drummer Asa Morris added, “As a result, shows have been that way and it’s been loud and awesome.”

The band initially formed as a few friends that loved music, guitarist Chandler Johnson said. Johnson joined with Morris and Call, formerly of Painters. They were almost the band they wanted to form but lacked a vocalist to accompany their fast and thrashy music. Without looking too far, Johnson asked his partner Madi Nupcharoen if she’d be interested in providing screams for their music, he said.

“He (Johnson) didn’t believe that I could scream but I didn’t know I could scream either,” Nupcharoen said, adding she had never done so before. “It was hard and kind of funny when I first started. I could only scream sitting down because I was anxious about it.”

While it’s typical for many heavier bands to be overridden with testosterone, Nupcharoen brings hardcore vocals that would most likely give any screamer a run for their money.

Croak’s sound has seen some slight backlash however, Johnson said.

“Some people think it sounds negative because it’s loud and screaming but we’re really happy people,” Johnson said.

The music Croak writes revolves around human emotion, and for Nupcharoen the lyrics are very personal, she said.

“When we write and play it’s all about letting go and feeling free,” Call said.

Croak released their first EP, Ocean Without A Shore, in August 2015 but are already working on new material, Johnson said. They’re currently working on recording with The Crawl and the band has been making some changes to their sound, he said.

“We really started with the idea of just playing loud heavy music but have found ourselves experimenting in other areas, especially with effects,” Johnson said.

The band said 90s shoegaze is a big influence for their newer and upcoming music. The writing process normally begins with Johnson and Call laying down a foundation of bass and guitar, then with Morris locking in a drum part and finally with Nupcharoen writing the lyrics, they said.

In looking toward the future, Croak wants to continue the fun they’ve had as a band writing and playing, and have attributed their growth to their deep friendship as a group, they said.

“If we have any advice to give to anyone it’s to keep a good relationship with band members is incredibly important,” Call said. “It makes it easier to communicate, be creative and be expressive.”

Live Show: Catch Croak this month on Nov. 20 at the No Hunks House with The Meridian Guide and Red Giant. For more about the band, follow them on Facebook.