By Chase Larson
We spoke with frontman Chris Crabb about the band’s formation, their recent Stadium of Fire competition win that will find them brushing shoulders with Kelly Clarkson, and what exactly the future holds for this up-and-coming group.
How did everyone initially come together to form The Strike?
Jake [Justice] and I met through corporate gigs and decided to try some songwriting together. We felt the songs had potential and because we are pretty well-networked in the music scene, we were able to pull together some stellar musicians.
Is it hard organizing and orchestrating such a big band?
It is. Not from a musical stand point, oddly enough. I would say rehearsals run really smoothly. We are lucky that everyone is so good at their instrument and that songs really come together and get polished quickly. The hardest part is communication and scheduling by far.
How does having group members from such diverse backgrounds affect your music?
I would say that everyone in the band not only has a diverse background, but a vast background. What I mean by that is we have all spent a substantial amount of time in a wide variety of genres and types of music. This really helps Jake and I as songwriters to never be afraid to pull out a genre that is significantly different from what we are probably known for — which is funk and jazz mixed with pop.
How would you describe your sound? Is there a certain genre you aim for or has it sort of come organically?
We definitely have a tendency toward funk/jazz sounds. That being said, I would say that the goal is never to pin yourself down to one genre. In the end, I think that a lot of the greats were able to avoid a genre and create a sound that was uniquely there own. I think that’s the difference between good and great, in my opinion. How do you categorize Michael Jackson, Billy Joel, or The Beatles other than to say that they sound like themselves? We want to be able to have artistic license to write in any genre and still have the end product be The Strike.
What are you listening to right now? Does that influence your music?
I personally listen to anything and everything. I use Spotify and consistently try to consume an album a day. I’ve never been a “hits” guy. I like to listen to albums [and] be exposed to more interesting chord structures that couldn’t be hits as they don’t fit the “hit” mold. Albums I’ve enjoyed recently include Modern Vampires of the City (Vampire Weekend), Jake Bugg (Jake Bugg), Victim of Love (Charles Bradley), Bankrupt! (Phoenix) and Random Access Memories (Daft Punk), among others. No doubt this influences our music. Everyone is really good about listening a ton. This is so key to the creative process.
You’re known for your high-energy on-stage performances (dancing, yelling to the audience, etc.). Do you more or less plan that to get the crowd involved or do you just kind of do what you feel?
We kind of feel it out. We don’t want to demand people get on their feet and dance or get involved. It has to be organic. There have been shows where everyone remained seated and just kind of observed and listened intently. To me, these types of shows can be just as gratifying as the ones where people are “losing their mind” as it’s more of an appreciation for the tunes and the execution of the sound. It’s a different kind of energy.
You just recently won a spot at Stadium of Fire opening for Kelly Clarkson and Carly Rae Jepsen. How does that feel and what does it mean for the group’s future?
I think it’s a huge resumé item. I think it adds legitimacy to the brand of The Strike. After July 4, we can say that we have played in front of 40,000 plus people and won a contest with thousands of entries. I think it will provide some opportunities that wouldn’t have been available otherwise. We just need to make sure that we continue to write good tunes and practice, practice, practice.