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Crop Circle may have taken their name from the controversial 70’s phenomenon, but they have also managed to contribute to a more recent enigma: the earworm. Traditionally, this little beastie takes the form of a trite pop song (think Ms. Spears) and sticks in the head like a thrown hatchet. However, Crop Circle completely avoids the irritant factor by writing consistently catchy hooks that tend to inspire rather than annoy.
The band’s natural ability to churn out danceable tracks such as “He Said, She Said” really comes as no surprise. Crop Circle has been playing together in one form or another since they first picked up their instruments in junior high. The guys got their start much like any other group of fledgling young rockers by covering songs made famous by the bands they grew up with. From there, founding members Brian Garbet and drummer Ben Darbey felt that the time was ripe to start doing what they always wanted to do-write original material.
“I guess things just got kick started with ‘Mexican Cockfight,’ which was the first song we wrote”, recounts Garbet. “We just threw it out there and that kind of expedited things. Then, because of musical interests and directions it just ended up that Sean (McCormick/lead vocals) and Nathan (Zadworny, bass) came back into the fold. We were back together from the old days, so it just kind of permeated backwards to something that had worked.”
“The foundation, in my opinion, would be psychedelic British rock from the late 60s and early 70s”, suggests the conspicuously goateed lead guitarist. “Also, metal from the 80s had a big influence on some of us. But the big one that changed our sound the most might have been the music coming out of Seattle in the early 90s. It’s really a bit of a melting pot of all those things. A lot of the different textures that occur within the space of one song can be compared not only to early psychedelic stuff, but also to what a band such as Tool might do with their guitar sound”, adds returning bassist Nathan Zadworny. “They take you into different little peaks and valleys rather than it just being a one mood song - there’s lots of other stuff going on.”
“That’s a good point”, Garbet agrees. “When we were writing the album it wasn’t about just coming up with some parts and then playing them-the songs were composed from beginning to end. Dynamics are definitely something that we like to play with.”
The album Garbet speaks of is Crop Circle’s self-titled full-length debut, which had its official launch this past April 6th. After the album’s first single “Recent Stranger” grooved its way into regular rotation nationwide, the logical next step was to follow up with a supplementary music video. “Brian’s good friend Cody Zimmerman (the director of the project) is an aspiring filmmaker who is always kind of brimming with really cool ideas”, Zadworny explains. “Between Brian and Cody we managed to put together a professional project on a shoestring budget. We also had a free location, so ultimately it resulted in a much focused but very fun shoot. For a straight performance clip, Cody and the crew kept it very interesting and always challenged us.”
I recently had the pleasure of speaking one on one with Crop Circle’s lead vocalist, Sean McCormick over the telephone. A busy man and expectant father of twins, McCormick managed to squeeze in this insightful closing sentiment. “The only thing I ever wanted when I was younger was to be in a band. When things didn’t go the way I wanted them to I’d say things like, ‘Why aren’t things moving along faster?’ Then I realized at one point in my twenties that I wanted to be a singer in a band and now I am. I really just wanted to be in a band and I’m glad to be still in one. I’m grateful.”