After wrapping up their first-ever independent tour, Florida-based Gentlemen’s Crow is keeping up the momentum with their latest single “Quandary.” The single comes from the band’s upcoming album Apparitions, which is set to release early next year. “Quandary,” with its wailing guitar solos and groovy beats, exemplifies the unique psychedelic-rock sound of Gentlemen’s Crow.
We spoke with vocalist Cameron James about the single, their upcoming LP, and what Gentlemen’s Crow has in store for the future.
What inspired your latest single, “Quandary”?
Cameron James: I wanted to write a tune about a mystery love. Neo-noir style love chase sorta thing. There was so much that went into this one over the course of a year. I think I started writing it right before Covid hit. It’s just a kind of timeless lyrical content that anyone can relate too. We’re all chasing love, and it’s usually a warped, twisting road with lots of ups and downs, lots of confusion, and to me that’s a Quandary.
Why is “Quandary” one of your favorite tracks from your upcoming album?
C: This is one of our favorites because it mixes all of our styles really well. My vocal content is so comfortable to sing and perform, the guitar lines are smashing and huge, the drums are danceable yet heavy, and the bass is carving its own path through all the other tracks. There’s also some tranquil falsetto layers moving throughout the whole track. It’s really quite fun, and one of the songs from our live set that always hits home with our crowd. This song also pushed me into some new styles with the vocals. When I first wrote it I knew that I wanted to slide into falsetto high notes in the chorus, but I couldn’t do it perfectly at first. It really pushed me into new territory, and the result gave me a new tool in my vocal kit.
What did the writing and production process look like for “Quandary”?
C: The writing process started with just the chords and some melody ideas. That was pre-covid. During the pandemic I traveled home to visit my parents and took my home recording stuff with me. I made a full demo out of the song, and had my old band mate Kevin (Kevin Buckley of Modern Nomad) lay some drum tracks down on the demo. I think I still have the file for it somewhere, it really was raw but a ton of fun and feel on that early demo. Fall of 2020 we started rehearsing again and working on new material, and this one of the tracks that survived the writing processes during Covid. The song was really born and turned into what you hear on the record during our live sets late in 2020. That’s when we really hammered this one out. The production for this one came out pretty easily. I think we had this one down so tight that it was a breeze in the studio. Brok (recording engineer) loved the guitar melody on the chorus, and helped in creating some of the backing vocals that are present.
What has been your favorite reaction to the new single?
C: Someone commented “It’s definitely an amazing song, the intro lick and then the chorus is catchy, but it also rocks your face and haunts your dreams at the same time” on one of our posts on Instagram. It was like a mini review. I loved it, and it kind of encapsulated everything we wanted out of this song when we wrote the tune.
Who are some of your musical influences?
C: This one is all over the place for us. We are a melting pot of genres, and I think that shows in our album. Everyone of us seems to pull from multiple genres and the subgenres of larger genres. There’s hard rock, stoner rock, indie, alternative, some hints of world music, metal, nu-metal, post punk and even a rockabilly/folk/indie mashup on the song “Comical.” I think you can pin-point some artists that had influence on the songs, but I prefer to let that show through the songs rather than naming artists. I will say that we listened to a good amount of The Cure, Deftones, Papooz, Dillinger Escape Plan, Type O Negative, Every Time I Die, and the late and amazing Her’s before and during the recording process of the album.
You just wrapped up a Fall tour a couple weeks ago. What was your favorite part of the tour?
C: The Fall tour was an amazing ride. We got to travel to a bunch of new cities we’ve never been to and play our music. The best part was losing a mirror on our RV in rush hour Atlanta traffic. From there we rigged a small blindspot mirror onto the mirror post, and had someone sit in the front seat all the time and stick their head out to check the blind spot fully. It created this wild sense of surreal adventure and also showed us that life on the road as an independent band can be terrifying and challenging. Probably wouldn’t seem like something that you would say was the “Best Part” but it taught us all a lesson and kept it all interesting. Otherwise we had an amazing show in Philly, probably my personal favorite of the whole tour. It was at the Pharmacy in Point Breeze. A vintage pharmacy turned music venue and coffee bar. The owner Bill was so cool, and he sold me some awesome thrifted clothing they had. The performance was destructive and the crowd was there for it, we gained a bunch of new fans and sold out our merch. It was bliss.
What are you most excited for with the upcoming release of your album Apparitions?
C: Honestly, I am not sure. It’s our first album release and it feels like there’s so much that could happen, good and bad. There’s a sense of feverish excitement in not knowing what to expect, and trying to have zero expectations. Every small independent band releasing music probably has that same sense of “Is this the one?.” None of us ever know and most of the time it isn’t. But I think I’m just excited about the fact that we made this thing; together (my band is my family), putting our heart and soul into every part, then spent 6 months preparing the merchandise, the video content, the photo shoots, the marketing plan, going on tour to pre-promote, all pretty much on our own because we do not have label support, because that’s something to be proud of regardless of the impact the album has. We do have a pretty amazing show set up on the same day of the album launch, and post release tour to continue to market the album in March. Which is all exciting because doing all the business stuff is fun when your doing releases, but it kind of traps you into this web of: “Ad creation, we need playlist support!, more photo shoots for content on socials!, How are the streams doing post release?, did you respond to that guy about that thing we need to do!?” At the end of the day we just want to play our songs live in new places, and we are excited to get back to doing that.
How does “Quandary” and the songs on Apparitions showcase your unique psych-rock sound?
C: I think the new single, and the album as a whole, showcases our sound because it’s “Us.” Nothing more and nothing less. We get coined so many different genres, “Psych Rock”, “Stoner Alt rock”, “alt hardcore”, ” a mix between Highly Suspect and Cage The Elephant”, “alt/indie punk.” It’s great that people care enough to put us into a category, but it’s all subjective opinions. Someone who listens to soft indie music will hear us live and think we are a dark scary metal band, then someone else who liked really hardcore metal stuff will hear us live and think we are just an alt rock group. I’d like to think our sound will continue to grow and develop as we gain more traction and experience, but for now this album truly shows everything we love about rock music, new and vintage, angry and sad, happy and nostalgic, brooding and depressed, frustrated and hopeful, which is all we could ask for.
Be sure to stream “Quandary” on Spotify and more.
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