Halloween will be upon us this weekend and one of the top costumes, even after all these years, are the maniacs who’ve ruled horror movies for decades; Jason, Michael, Freddy. It’s all fun and games when it’s on screen but in reality those types of people aren’t the business. That’s why Crocodile’s Gianni Sarmiento doesn’t bother learning the bad guys’ names anymore. He knows how ironic it is since he went and made an album all about – well you’ll soon see what it’s all about and know why I wanted this up this week over any other one.
Kendra: Where do I begin with you guys? Your latest, Love During Wartime, is about a and I quote, “a suicidal maniac who murders his girlfriend.” Did you set out to make a concept record like this, or did the songs just form into a story naturally?
Gianni Sarmiento: Haha, it is a little startling. So I used to do a little back and forth video blog with my friend Mat Wojcik (of Servant Girl Annihilators, you should check him out) where we each wrote a song and uploaded it every other week. It was a fun way to keep each other productive and it felt very intimate, showing off songs so early in the writing process. Anyways, during this time I wrote “For the Press” and I really liked the tone of it. I liked how, even though the perspective it’s being told through is a dark and immoral one, there’s still some room to sympathize with at least what he’s going through. You know, the confusion of falling in love and all that. It inspired me to write this album as an attempt to make the listener understand or connect to someone they knew was inherently wrong. Kind of like a backwards love song or something.
Kendra: Hearing the idea behind the record, one may assume this is some emo or metal album. When in actuality, it’s got this light sound that I happened to love. Do you like playing around with irony in that way?
Gianni: I hadn’t thought about it as ironic but yeah, more or less, that was the idea. The concept for me was something a bit separate from the music. Sonically, I wanted to get out of my comfort zone and play around with more sounds and styles (specifically, keyboards). The sound is probably my favorite part of it, as it’s usually the first thing people latch on to. From then on, they start to pick up on lyrics and think, “Wow, this is not what I thought it was about at all,” (or so I hope). It definitely helped to give the album a little more depth, and I think some sense of reward for digging deeper.
Kendra: One of my favorites was “Candy Can’t Cope” mainly because it made me think of sweets. With that, what candy can’t really cope with you, like what’s the worst treat out there?
Gianni: Oh man, honestly, hard candy. I’ve never really had much of a sweet tooth anyway, but probably most types of hard candy. Or dark chocolate, because regular chocolate is so amazing. Dark chocolate takes the fun out of it. It’s like candy for adults, it’s a conceptual oxymoron.
Kendra: For a little fun, can you please draw a “Portrait Of A Friend,” meaning please draw your band members so we can see how you see one another.
Gianni: I tried my best. Sorry Ray, for your head being so big. It has nothing to do with how I look at you. You were the third one I drew and I was getting into it.
Kendra: I was checking out your influences and saw The Unicorns. Having just did an interview with their former frontman – what about them do you like to bring to Crocodile?
Gianni: I love their ability to make a few instruments sound like a great band. I like their heavily stylized sound. Their lyrics are often simple and underrated, and their energy is so unique it’s almost disorienting. They were one of the first bands I listened to that I would categorize as “weird” and they helped to open up my tastes. They wrote really strong songs really early on and made me realize that I don’t have to take the writing so seriously.
Kendra: Will you be heading out of Texas for some shows soon?
Gianni: We are looking to do a tour in February! Probably a joint venture with another Austin band I play drums in called “Old Soul.” Details are scarce but stay with us…
Kendra: One of the biggest names when it comes to crocs is Steve Irwin and with his daughter being a part of the latest Dancing with the Stars cast, if you had to make a mixtape for her to dance to on the show, what five songs would have to be on it?
Gianni: Not knowing anything about her, here are some songs that come to mind…
“Wraith Pinned to the Mist and Other Games” by of Montreal, because it’s dancy.
“The Greatest” by Alabama Shakes, because how do you dance to that? I don’t know.
“Motivation” by Delta Spirit, because I’m listening to it and fuck yeah, this song rules.
“Last Nite” by The Strokes, because my inspiration can only last for so long.
“Hallelujah” by Leonard Cohen, because I think that would be funny.