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Interview & Photos: Cry Babi

Interview & Photos by Keira Zhou

When did you guys start playing music?

Greg: I started when I was 4 years old. I played violin at the school of music in Manhattan. Then I moved to guitar when I was in high school and never looked back. The guitar was easier to company myself to create songs and music.

John: I started playing guitar when I was 5 years old. Firstly on classical guitar for a few years, then I moved to electric guitar around 8 or 9 years old. 

Are you mostly self-taught or did you take lessons?

Greg: I’m self-taught. Everything.

John: I’m formally trained. I had private lessons growing up and then I went to school and played guitar and studied with guitar players. 

When did you guys form the band and how did it get started?

Greg: We started actually at work. I first saw John performing at a roof top party with his band. It was with Johnny Murrell. It was raining on the roof in Harlem. And I said if that guy can shred that good in the rain, I couldn’t wait to see what he could do in the studio. So when we were bored at work, we didn’t have anything to do, we started to exchange ideas and build from there. 

John: Yea and it’s been 2 years now. 

How does the song writing process look like? Do you come up with melody first, lyrics first? 

John: It’s always different. 

Greg: Yea every song has been different. Either John would write the music, I’ll write the lyrics and melody, or John will have all the lyrics and melody idea and I’ll come up with the music. It all varies.

John: Literally he’ll (Greg) sometimes walk out of the bathroom and be like, plays this riff and sings me something, and then I’ll play it and that’s like the song right there, or like an idea and a phrase, like a really big phrase and overarching idea.

Greg: Very organic and spontaneous. And we try to just capture the inspiration moment in a bottle and then come back to it and refine it and make it better. 

Who are the inspirations of your music?

Greg: I think what is interesting about our band is we actually talk about our influences for about maybe 4 month before we ever played together. So we discussed music at great length and we discussed what each other liked. And we showed each other a lot of albums that inspired us. 

John: We refined the sound in advance before we even started. Cause we knew that we wanted to amalgamate all our influences and they all so different. We share so many common ones but we also have different ones. The bands we both like are Eagles, Tom Petty, and lots of classic rock.

Greg: Obviously The Rolling Stones, influences everyone I think. 

John: The Beatles. 

Greg: All the big ones but definitely a few side ones as well. I come from a big passion for reggae music and funk, and those kinds of things.

John: We listen to a lot of metal too. We like to get heavy once in a while. 

Greg: So it’s kind of a blend of all of those things. We just really cognoscente about creating stuff that we both enjoy. And as long as we both enjoy, that’s what Cry Babi is. 

John: And telling a story. 

Are you guys recording a new album? Could you tell us a little more about the album?

Greg: The overall theme is Americana for sure. Just like creating a classic alternative rock album with a really heavy focus on the overall fidelity and how things are sounding, and recording it as properly in as much integrity as we can ourselves. Everything we do is self-mixed, self-recorded. We write all the songs. So it’s definitely a big passion project for us. 

John: We get to see everything through. Beginning to end. 

Greg: With really no outside influences. It’s really nice to be able to do that.

John: Lots of going back and forth and conversations and trying new things. 

So what are the inspirations for the songs? 

Greg: I think that we want to do something that we both grew up listening to on the classic rock radio.

John: The 90's vibes. 

Greg: So we just want to do something in that world, because it doesn’t really exist in mainstream way anymore.

John: But make it sound modern production wise, and be competitive with anything that is 2020.

What are the song lyrics about?

Greg: We draw from different things. A lot of them have to with the rougher side of life. We do tend to reference drinking and partying and that kind of thing. We want to bring back that sort of energy of Rock n’ Roll in our lyrics. And I think we both love the country music and how it dictates the sort of lone wolf narrative. That’s what we both respond to and enjoy and we want to put that into the music.

John: Just telling stories and being specific at times when it’s appropriate because sometimes that’s the coolest stuff. It’s what actually happened. 

Greg: Drawing from our own life or experiences. People we know, maybe things didn’t necessary happen directly to us, but things that we were surrounded by.

John: Creating a captivating story based on anecdote evidence of our lives

When should we expect the album to be out?

Greg: Definitely by the summer.

John: Yea spring or summer 2020.

Any fun memories you wanna share while recording the album or just playing the music together?

John: Recording for us is honestly pretty meditating. It’s very utilitarian. We go in and we do what we have to do. Because we’ve thought out every part that we are gonna play, every harmony we are gonna sing ahead of time. And if there’s spontaneity, so be it and embrace that. But it’s always good to have a game plan. Anytime we’ve written a song in our old work place, which is a very unique environment, writing a song and working.

Greg: It’s all about just refining and being open and enjoying the process. And just enjoy it, we love it, and it’s a gift to be able to do anything creative on any level. We both are just really happy with that we are doing it. We look forward to this record and we have a lot of great songs even coming out after that, so it’s gonna be a good time

. What’s your favorite food?

Greg: Pies ‘n’ Thighs. Chicken biscuits sandwich.

John: Just a real nice expensive steak. 


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