It’s a bit of a strange thing that a band can be signed to a well-known label, have over twenty tracks licensed for various compilations around the world, been played by throughout Europe and the UK via Gilles Peterson on BBC1, but still be relatively unknown in their home country. Crackpot’s debut album Shelf Hypnosis is about to change all that as the funk-fuelled threesome bring their unique sense of music and humour home to Australia.
Each of the members of Crackpot; Martin ‘Moose’ Lubran, DJ Phil Ransom and Jade D’Adrenz, have had stunning careers. Lubran composed and produced music of some great Australian TV shows such as The Late Show, Funky Squad and films such as The Castle. Ransom has 2 DMC championships to his name, has performed at many of the major Australian Festivals, and toured, at the request of the Beastie Boys, with all Grand Royal acts visiting our fair shores. D’Adrenz, the singer-songwriter of the group has worked with acts such as Groove Armada, The Mad Professor and Tim ‘Love’ Lee.
Speaking from Melbourne, D’Adrenz talked of how the band formed a little over 6 years ago. “Moose and I had had been writing some tracks together and were programming drums, and couldn’t find the right sort of sounds. We’d been trying to find drum machines that sounded like old 50s Jazz kits with 70s subsonic kick drums,” she explains “and everything sounded stilted and programmed. Then one day we hooked up to write some tracks for another artist, and we met Phil (Ransom) and fell in love musically, and been together ever since,” she giggles.
The first thing you notice about Crackpot is that not only are D’Adrenz vocals beautiful, but very quirky. “Quirkiness comes naturally,” she enthuses. “The thing about Crackpot is all three of us had been frustrated previously about where we fitted in musically, so the whole point of crackpot is that we could all do whatever we wanted. But because of the way we all were, we didn’t offend each other too much in doing so,” she laughs.
Along with this come some quite outrageous samples, provided by Ransom. “If the song has a certain theme, I’ll talk to Ransom about his samples and have my input, but part of the fun is to let him do his thing… He often surprises me and I find them all funny!” she chuckles. On the album you’ll hear bizarre samples from people like physicist Steven Hawking. Being so strange and identifiable, I had to wonder if they any problems clearing them. “Tummy Touch takes care of the sample clearing, that’s their domain, so we have no problems at all!” she laughs. “We’re actually using less and less, and sampling ourselves… sampling our voices, and moose plays 10 instruments.”
Speaking of Tummy Touch, it’s quite a sweet deal they gained, as Tummy Touch is very well renown. “We didn’t really go banging on doors looking for deals,” D’Adrenz mentions. “We just were offered one about the time we were looking for one. It’s all been a fairly effortless ride as far as that sort of thing is concerned. We’d made a short list of 5 companies that we thought had put out a cool product, had a diverse and interesting music, and good packaging, and that kind of thing. We were delighted when Tummy Touch approached us!”
Their other projects have now become side projects, well and truly. “Crackpot’s always been the main thing for us, we’ve just been waiting for it to become the main thing in other peoples minds,” as D’Adrenz laughs. “We’re all pretty committed to it. We’ve had vinyl out overseas, and that’s kept us going. We had 27 tracks licensed around the world. We’ve played in Melbourne, but we’ve played interstate, ummm… never I think! I think the live scene is very important in Australia, but we’ve managed to stumble along our way, and yet still feel appreciated”, she chortles again.
No doubt Crackpot will surely endear itself to the Australian audience, as their clever lyrics, quirky samples and infectious beats travel across Australia Crackpot to follow up their debut. “For this tour we’re hooking up with a drummer, Leroy from Plutonic Lab, because we don’t want to play with too many backing tracks. It’s pretty hard for Phil (Ransom) to be laying down all the beats as well as samples and doing backing vocals. At times we’ve put our beats on vinyl and he’s cut them in, but it’s pretty exhausting. So it’s going to be good playing with a drummer and a bass player.”