Sweet Crude, whose appeal lies in their playfully quirky, energetic compositions – is made up of six young New Orleans musicians who knows how to have fun on set – with five people on the drums, ‘we’ve got everybody singing, shouting, and dancing’ in Louisiana French. Since their debut in 2013, Sweet Crude has been making rounds through the musical scene from NOLA to NY, receiving generous response and plays on international and national radios. You’ve probably heard them on TV too, read: FX’s American Horror Story: Coven.
Born from the idea of keeping Louisiana French alive through song, the band takes inspiration from their indie rock influences, blending it with a dash of folk, flair, Cajun French, and fun. We catch up with Sweet Crude in tandem with their hauntingly powerful music video (which drops today!) for ‘Mon Esprit’ to talk about their new album ‘Créatures’, whiskey enthusiasts, and collaborations that make them go giddy with excitement.
Can we put names to the six faces behind Sweet Crude?
Sweet Crude is, in ABC order by last name: Jack Craft, Sam Craft, Stephen MacDonald, Alexis Marceaux, David Shirley, and Skyler Stroup.
Describe your sound in three words. Where does your influence come from?
In three words: Drum-pop Louisianais. We are inspired by the vibrant production of Eno-era Talking Heads, of the polyphony of the Electric Light Orchestra, the quirky angularism of Regina Spektor, and the brass band music of the streets of New Orleans.
Tell me more about your new LP ‘Créatures’.
Making ‘Créatures’ was definitely the most intense thing any of us have ever had to do as musicians. It took about 3 years, 4 recording studios, a huge cast of engineers, and a producer to finally tie it all together. That said, we’re thrilled with the outcome. It’s bilingual, percussion-heavy pop with a salute to New Orleans.
Let’s talk about ‘Mon Esprit’. It really stands out in the album, why do you think that is?
‘Mon Esprit’ is special because it features the soaring vocals of Alexis Marceaux and carries a deep message of female empowerment, completely in a Louisiana French dialect. In the song, Alexis sings about being weighed down by traditional concepts of marriage and household roles and ultimately finds solace and agency in her own voice, quite literally. Most Sweet Crude songs are full of levity and mirth; we decided to imbue this one with a sense of upheaval and renewal, as conveyed by the lyrics and by Sonny DiPerri’s expansive production on the track.
Sweet Crude’s ‘Mon Esprit’ tells the story of a woman living a lifestyle she doesn’t desire yet she tries to remain optimistic, ultimately finding solace in her voice. The music video debuts today.
What’s the biggest difference between ‘Super Vilaine’ and ‘Créatures’? How have you evolved – sound-wise and band-wise?
The ‘Super Vilaine’ EP (2013) was a quick run-down of our message and overall vibe: We love a good dance party, but we’re not afraid to get weird in two languages. That said, we weren’t terribly concerned with sonic consistency. On the new album, we paid special attention to making sure all the tracks glued together nicely. The result has a definite beginning, middle, and end, something afforded by the length of an LP. Furthermore, we’ve gone through a couple lineup changes, so what we ended up in ‘Créatures’ is somewhat leaner and more dialed in than our previous work.
Do you have anyone you’d absolutely love to collaborate with?
We’d LOVE to properly collaborate with fellow New Orleanians Tank & the Bangas. What they are doing is pure magic. In fact, we actually we able to enlist the beautiful and enigmatic Tank to be in the ‘Mon Esprit’ video, a coup we are still giddy about.
Name three types of food that are always around a Sweet Crude jam session.
We are freaks about ramen (real ramen, not from a styrofoam cup), pizza, and thai food.
Who’s the most enthusiastic whiskey sipper in the group, and who’s the best dancer?
The most enthusiastic whiskey sipper is Stephen. Best dancer? Also Stephen.