Q&A with Tower Crane Towers
Mar. 13, 2022
Tower Crane Towers are a five-piece art/music collective who are currently based in the Netherlands. They have just released their second musical offering, “Cloudy Skies, Clear Intensions.”
IndieMix recently sat down for a quick Q&A with this enigmatic group of guys.
Where did you grow up and where do you call home now?
At this point in our evolution, the band / collective has several incarnations - and thus, dual nationalities. Although we are based in the Netherlands, several of us hail from the USA.
So far the studio albums have been recorded by 4 Americans, and one Dutchman…but the live lineup will consist of 4 Dutch and 1 American.
Do you make music by yourself, or collaborate with other musicians? Who have you collaborated with?
The first ep was only the core 5 artists, but on our new record we’ve collaborated with several other artists from different genres.
To begin with, we reached out to Jimmy Doom, who is an infamous musician / spoken word artist / writer from Detroit, MI. He did a spoken word piece for one of our songs…and we were really stoked on how it turned out.
Tim, for local Limburg hardcore outfit HOWLETT also sang on one of our tracks. His vocal style is different from what we usually use, so it was a nice dichotomy.
We also asked Joost from Nijmegen-based punk band INKBOMB to play bass on a track, as well as local scene legend Henri Hendrix.
Finally, we collaborated with a couple of graphic artists for our cover art and merch. Tamara De Roos @niatsigu (a local Limburg illustrator) did the cover of the LP, and Kirsty Todd @marmaloid.on.toast (a London-based tattoo artist) created the artwork for our shirts, as well as a skateboard that is being released by ICON skates @iconskate
Overall, this diversity of styles adds a unique flavor to TOWER CRANE TOWERS, and serves to show that we are not just a music making entity, but a sensory experience that should be approached with eyes, ears, touch, and occasionally even nostrils…
In what genre would you categorize your music?
Overall, the music could be categorized as “melodic punk rock,” but there is definitely a lot more going on in the mix - especially in the new LP.
The keen listener might catch fragments of TOWNES VAN ZANDT, or RHETT MILLER and that sort of American folk vibe. However, there are also lead lines that sparkle with an 80’s Brit Pop sensibility ala ECHO AND THE BUNNYMEN, or MIGHTY LEMON DROPS.
Finally, there’s a definite hardcore influence in what we do - always fans of moshy breakdowns and group vocals. So there’s a lot of that…
There’s just so much good music out there, and we can’t deny being inspired by some things that aren’t standard “punk” fare.
What can you tell us about your latest release?
“Cloudy Skies, Clear Intentions” is a two-part piece. Side one could be loosely called “The Inevitablity of Leaving.” And side two could be called “The Geography of our Flawed Hearts.”
While we don’t like to lead the listener / experiencer with descriptions of exactly what the subject matter in the songs is, sometimes everyone wants a contextual guide.
So there it is…
Also, we have used the ARTIVIVE app to animate the pictures and graphics in the layout to try and tell the story of why the vinyl is colored the way it is…why there is a book of matches on the cover…etc.
As mentioned, we enlisted the help of several other artists and musicians for this LP…and the results were a very diverse sounding batch of songs, and a diverse artistic presentation. It’s rare that you can do something that embodies all of the interests and inspirations of the people involved and still have a cohesive sounding release.
I think we achieved that.
What does your band name mean?
TOWER CRANE TOWERS is the story of a young man who once snuck into a construction site and climbed a tower crane.
When he reached the top and walked out onto the crane arm, he watched a storm approach from one direction, and a train approach from another. A force of nature, and a force of man’s will - both closing in on him from out of the night.
It might be a story that reflects how we are -all of us - confronted at one time or another with the forces of nature and our society closing in on us. We choose at that moment whether we will be dragged to the ground, or rise up and transcend.
The question, then becomes “what if you grow wings, but they are made of cast iron?
“Sometimes you just can’t find the answers that are clean…”
What is your creative process like?
Of course, it can vary. Sometimes a smell brings lyrics to mind, which inspire a melody - or a beat. Sometimes the rhythm of pedaling a bike, or the sudden jar of crashing into the pavement on a skateboard, and the subsequent ringing in the ears can inspire a lead line.
The human body is the supreme instrument, and the blood, the lungs, the voice, the senses, are all keenly tied into the creation of music. Anybody’s music, not just ours…
Maybe we just think about the process a little more abstractly…and try to present it like that. The important thing is, the chemistry between the creators - and we are very fortunate to have that in abundance.