INTERVIEW: Josh Williams (CROCODYLUS)
Springing to life on Sydney's Northern Beaches before finding themselves in hot demand at home and overseas, devout noise-makers Crocodylus are well-versed with climbing the ranks swiftly in the musical realms. A trio equally at home selling out headline tours as they are causing havoc on festival stages, Crocodylus have evolved alongside fellow rapscallion alt-rockers like Dune Rats, Skeggs and Hockey Dad, injecting psychedelic, surf and vintage rock into their modern tones, seen most recently on their new tunes Camouflage and Social Climber.
With 2020 continually trying to outdo itself on the disaster front, the start to a new decade perhaps wasn't one this rollicking trio would've predicted. But while live shows were indefinitely off the table, the Crocodylus lads got cooking on the finishing touches for their debut album due out next year; and in news that will delight Crocs fans in their home state of NSW, the lads will also be embarking on their Social Climber Tour starting later this month. But before the riffs roar back to life for some lucky east coast fans, we grabbed bassist Josh Williams (aka Jooz) to chat new tunes, live shows and more. Interview below.
TIANA SPETER: Well hello, and thank you so much for chatting today! And I genuinely couldn’t be happier to hear the news that not only have Crocodylus just unleashed some new tunes – but you’ll be hitting the road in NSW starting next month too! You guys are certainly ending this atrocious year on a high, how pumped are you all to be releasing new tunes and planning a tour?
JOSH WILLIAMS: We are beyond stoked! I wrote ‘Social Climber’ years ago and we only recorded it at the start of this year, so to see it finally out is pretty wild. All bands are in the same boat, really missing playing live and connecting with people at shows.Even though these shows coming up are sit down, we are beyond excited to be playing again.
TIANA: Speaking of one of the most recent tracks, ‘Camouflage’ is not just a word I keep spelling incorrectly when I type it…but it’s also one of the catchiest and punked-up odes to recurring eye infections I’ve ever heard! It definitely has all the hallmarks of a classic Crocodylus song, as does ‘Social Climber’. How does a typical Crocodylus song usually come to life, do you guys have a pretty standard writing recipe to bring these jangly tunes to life?
JOSH: So whoever sings the song writes it. Most of the time me or Stephen (Stephen Sacco - Guitar and Vocals) come to the band with a song pretty much done and give each other parts. But recently we have to started to ask each other for suggestions and sprig ideas from little riffs.
TIANA: And I read you guys mention that ‘Camouflage’ in particular was influenced by bands like The Saints, The Damned and The Clash, and there’s certainly always been varying levels of raucous throwback vibes on your tunes in the past. But how do these new tracks sit in the greater debut album that you’re planning to drop next year? Without giving all of your secret away, are they a pretty good indication of what to expect?
JOSH: I’m not really sure haha. I feel we don't really have a structure or a genre we really aim for. We just write songs and put them out. Each release has had a different type of production and I think we are gonna do something a bit different again for the debut!
TIANA: On the topic of the album, it’s not your first release by any means, but something about an album always seems to hold so much more investment, creatively, emotionally, financially…and other words ending in “ly”. Did you find anything significantly changing approaching an album this time round? Was there a feeling of having to reach certain expectations, or did you just lean into it and just let it all happen?
JOSH: Yeah there was a little bit of an expectation vibe, especially with COVID everyone's saying stuff like “well at least it’s a good time to write music” and all that. We did go off recently for a writing trip and bounced ideas off each other real well, which was surprising. I had a feeling we’d come up with 2 songs each but we came out with 20 or so. Now it’s just time to cut down to our favourites and really polish them up.
TIANA: And as I mentioned earlier on, some incredible news in the Crocodylus world is your ‘The Social Climber’ Tour kicking off around NSW in November and December. You guys were actually one of the lucky few who got some COVID-friendly shows back in August, so you aren’t totally out of practice…a seated Crocodylus show just seems delightfully wholesome. But what can fans expect from these coming shows and what are you most looking forward to about getting back onstage?
JOSH: As I said earlier we are just excited to be playing again. We will bring the same sort of energy as we would to a standing show. We’ve got a new set list playing a couple new ones just to test the waters and if people don’t like them I think we will continue to play them anyway.
TIANA: On the topic of live shows, you’re certainly no strangers to playing alongside some pretty stellar fellow bands and, of course, you’ve jumped onstage at some epic festivals along the way as well. BUT! Take me back for a moment here to the first ever Crocodylus live show ever. You guys formed back in high school I believe, did you first bust out a Crocs show at school? Who was there, where was it, and would we legally be able to label it as a success?
JOSH: Me and Stephen always played together at school but never whipped out a Croc jam in front of everyone haha. Our first gig was just down the road in Mona Vale at a now closed venue called La De Da. It was a pretty small room and we were the support but it did pack out so I guess you could call it a success.
TIANA: While even being in the same room as people seems like a foreign concept for a lot of people - in keeping with this year’s certain themes of isolation, if Crocodylus were hypothetically stranded on a desert island with only one other band for company (living or dead): who would it be and why?
JOSH: Jeez thats so tough. Been on tour with so many bands now and have made so many funny memories and friends. Maybe I’ll have to say our brothers Le Shiv (formerly The Ruminaters) as we’ve lived and toured with them and we get along like a house on fire.
TIANA: And to finish up today, in honour of the recent Crocodylus new tune ‘Camouflage’: if you’re retreating from the world and hibernating for a few days, what are your three essential items to ensure it’s a good time? To make it fair I’ll also share mine: Nintendo Switch, pillow fort and a bottle of “emergency” whiskey.
JOSH: Netflix, PS4 and Uber Eats? Says alot bout me
CROCODYLUS WILL BE HITTING THE ROAD FOR THEIR SOCIAL CLIMBER TOUR FROM NOVEMBER 20. TOUR INFO BELOW, AND FOR ALL OTHER INFO HEAD HERE.
BY TIANA SPETER