Written within the walls of his home studio in Tokyo, Australian singer-songwriter Tex Crick's latest album Sweet Dreamin' revolves around a stripped-back collection of sunshine-soaked piano pop arrangements that throw nods to '70s piano-led pop greats like Randy Newman and Harry Nilsson while also offering a charming glimpse into Crick's richly poetic and enchanting world. I recently caught up with Crick through email to delve deep into the intricacies of his latest album, the wonders of discovery since moving to Tokyo, and the one time he got to play onstage with Iggy Pop.
Hi Tex, first tell me what have you been up to as of late?
Tex Crick: Hi, I've just got back from Okinawa, Japan. I played a show there. Hmm… I also spent a lot of time snorkeling … it's beautiful down there.
What has it been like residing in Japan over the last couple of years? I read that you don't know the native language well, but do you find that strangely relaxing?
Yeah, I definitely feel relaxed having no idea what is going on 90% of the time [laughs]. I am trying to learn slowly…
Take me through what a writing session is like for you. Has your writing style evolved since your debut LP Live In… New York City?
When I wrote that record, I had no idea what I was doing, so things have streamlined a little now that's for sure. I was experimenting with sounds a lot back then. Now I sort of have my palette ready to go and its easier to pull ideas together. There's no real method to it, ideas can come from anywhere.
What's your go-to routine if you're stuck on a song? I bet there's a lot of beautiful spaces to walk around in Japan to help clear your mind.
If I'm stuck, the only thing that really works for me is to give it time. Give it some space then come back with fresh ears. Yeah there's nice places to walk but right now in Tokyo it’s freezing out… I prefer the heat.
Do you still have a close relationship to music circles in Australia and do you visit Coledale, NSW much these days?
Yeah definitely. I was just back there in December for a tour and it's always nice seeing old friends. I love the area I grew up in and I'll take any excuse to head back. I make sure to visit a couple times a year at least.
Your latest LP Sweet Dreamin' captivates dreamlike sunshine piano pop with its themes of love and sentiment. Take me through the recording sessions for this new album. How did it all come together in your attic studio?
It's basically a continuation of Live In… New York City except I had just moved to Tokyo. We moved into this old house that had a nice attic, so I set up my studio there. I basically just sit up there and write until I'm happy with an idea.
Did you draw from any specific inspirations when making the new album?
The record references dreaming all throughout — night dreams, daydreams, lifelong dreams. I'm a dreamer. There isn't much more to it. Keep on dreaming.
My personal favorite from the album is "All I'm Dreaming Of." What can you tell me about how this song came together?
I like that one too. I found an acoustic guitar thrown out on the street late one night — when I got home I tried it over the chorus. It's a simple little melody, but It sort of makes the song I think. The universe delivered that guitar right when I needed it.
I really enjoy how "Easy Keepers" came out as well. What can you say about this one?
The narrative follows a suspect lover claiming they're like a donkey — an easy keeping animal. The chinks in the pre-chorus are my chopsticks hitting a couple glasses. "Easy Keepers" and "All I’m Dreaming Of" use the same chords … that's probably why you like them both [laughs].
With this new album, was there anything that you wanted to accomplish that you hadn't on your earlier records like Live In... New York City and Between Cruel & Tender?
Basically just hone in on the songwriting. I really appreciate well crafted songs .. I'm still figuring it out.
Do you enjoy watching '70s sitcoms at all? Some of the songs here remind me of the theme song to Soap and I mean that in a good way!
Never heard of that, but in Australia the 1990's were basically the 1970's. There would always be really old shows on TV whenever I got home from school. I'm talking MASH, Get Smart, Thunderbirds, Gilligan's Island, etc. All had great theme music.
I love how the music video to "Silly Little Things" came out. What can you tell me about the making of that?
My friend Luke Casey directed it. Just me and the guys playing heartthrob troublesters. I dyed and sewed the frills on the shirts myself … took forever… I have a lot of respect for the costume makers out there.
What are the origins of you playing alongside Iggy Pop in Hawaii? Going back to that memory, was there anything he said that still sticks with you?
My buddy Creed McTaggart asked me to learn some Iggy Pop songs on the organ and fly to Hawaii with his band. It was for a private party at the Billabong house, Pipeline. Billabong were doing a collaboration with Iggy. No one actually knew if Iggy Pop was going to turn up. The whole trip was pretty ridiculous and we were going to play his music even if he didn't show up… Iggy stumbled on stage halfway through the set so we just played everything we knew. I met him after the show but I don't think he even knew I was the keyboard player [laughs]. I think there's footage on YouTube.
Do you plan to play shows in America soon?
Working on my visa right now… I hope so.
Lastly, what's on the horizon for you this year?
I have another show back in Sydney at Phoenix Central Park, March 26th… there's some other offers, but I can't say yet. Other than that, I'll just be in the attic.
Sweet Dreamin' is out now on Mac's Record Label.