A recipe for fantastic, unique music: 7 well-seasoned musicians, a cup of fresh ideas, one large desire to be different, and a big pinch of Cajun French spice. Stir it up with some enthusiasm and you've got a pot of hot, delicious Sweet Crude. This new band has the enthusiasm and wild energy of adolescents with the confidence of musicians far beyond their years. Sweet Crude's brand of horn-strewn, drum-filled Cajun soul rock is clearly eclectic and the freshest Louisiana folk-inspired music you'll hear this year. They are just beginning work on their first full-length album, but are playing around town as if they had five albums under their belts.
WYAT: I've noticed that you sing in English and sometimes French. What's the reason behind that?
Sam Craft: We're at a critical time because our grandparents' generation can speak French, but our parents' generation cannot, so we're the do-or-die generation where we're able to make the link with people of the French-speaking generation.
Jack Craft: They're not going to be around in 15 years.
Sam Craft: We've taken it upon ourselves to put that language into the music of our generation. It's a bit of a cultural mission, and a mission just to make good music we would listen to and want to play. It's not entirely selfless. But if not now, pretty soon, it will be too late.
WYAT: Are you from Cajun country?
Jack Craft: Genealogically, yes.
Sam Craft: But we're all born and raised in New Orleans.
WYAT: Do you sing in regular French or Cajun French?
Alexis Marceaux: It's just Louisiana French. We don't do standard.
Sam Craft: There's a lot of overlap, obviously. But we sing in the Louisiana dialect; pronunciation, vocabulary, all those things.
WYAT: How did the band get started?
Jack Craft: Four of us in Sweet Crude had a band before called Glasgow. When that started to peter out, Sam had this idea codenamed Megaband; it was a band with all the people we wanted to be in a band with. We wanted to have a rotating lineup, but, it naturally formed.
Sam Craft: Alexis and I have our own duo called Alexis and the Samurai, and we were starting to do Louisiana French music. So we took what we had been doing with Glasgow, and added this Louisiana French we were doing in Alexis and the Samurai, added some people, mixed it all together, and we got Sweet Crude.
Alexis Marceaux: We all just wanted it to be big in terms of lots of drums, lots of vocals…
Jack Craft: Lots of harmony, and lots of unison singing; just big sound. On top of that, Tom Waits has this theory that you write your best music when you're doing something you're not quite comfortable with. That's why a lot of us play our secondary instruments. Like, I'm on keyboard but I'm not a trained keyboard player. We do use our strengths to certain extents.
Sam Craft: I play violin which is my main instrument, and I also play drums which is not my first instrument.
Jack Craft: We come up with stuff we wouldn't normally come up with. And there are no guitars. We've all been in bands with guitars.
Sam Craft: We're getting out of our comfort zone. So the two part genesis of this band is us wanting to start something new and bring in the French Louisiana, so we blended the two ideas into one. We're trying to explore new stuff, leave no stone unturned.
WYAT: Is there anything you'd like to add?
Jack Craft: Every show, we pick out two colors to wear. Keep your ears open if you want to come to a show about what colors we're wearing because you can wear them with us. It's a thing that helps us feel together as a band. With seven people, we're a big, ridiculous band. We're super obnoxious, and we have a lot of fun together.
Sam Craft: That goes along with what we're trying to do musically; we're not afraid to all be playing the same thing at the same time or everybody singing at the same time, not necessarily in harmony. We're hoping it will translate into the audience in terms of all being connected and everyone having a good time.