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Tex Crick's World of Kaleidoscopic Wonder

From misty-eyed love ballads to sunshine-soaked piano pop, Tex Crick, the first artist signed to Mac DeMarco's record label, released a seamless collection of softhearted classics on his debut album Live In… New York City.

Photo provided by Tex Crick

This Friday, the Coledale-born, New York City-based artist Tex Crick will release his debut album Live In… New York City on Mac DeMarco's new record label simply called Mac's Record Label. Even though he's been a bit under the radar here in the states, Crick has been making music independently since 2013 while holding a modest reputation as an adaptable collaborator, working with the likes of Iggy Pop, Weyes Blood, Kirin J Callinan and Connan Mockasin. Crick first met DeMarco after an accidental yet odd encounter on the streets of Greenpoint, Brooklyn where Crick was wearing faux silk pajamas. After a few email exchanges here and there, DeMarco offered to mix and release Crick's debut album.

"I've known Tex for maybe seven years now," DeMarco said via email. "I've always loved the music he's sent me and released over those years, and now I'm able to lend a hand in sharing his newest joint. I helped mix this record, and have heard it probably one thousand times at this point, and still love it."

Crick wrote and recorded the debut album entirely on an 8-track recorder within the walls of his NYC apartment over a span of four weeks in the winter of 2018. Across the ten-track album, Crick's versatility shines over the quirky, but sentimental piano-led tracks that imbue a laidback mood and romantic charm while expertly embracing the bustling organic sounds of the Big Apple. Right before the album rolls out this Friday, we chatted with Crick who tells us all about hauling junk pianos off the streets of NYC and what it was like collaborating with DeMarco through email for the making of his debut album.

Paperface Zine: What's your earliest musical memory?

Tex Crick: Shakin' my rattle in the crib.

PZ: What was your involvement growing up around various music scenes in Australia?

TC: I grew up in Coledale, a little further south of Sydney. I'd catch a train up there after school and sneak into venues to see bands play. There was always great music getting around... still is. Something in the water.

PZ: Are you working on any music with your friends from Australia?

TC: Not at the moment. From time to time, I'll lay some keys down for friends. I worked a lot with Kirin J Callinan by just mainly hanging around the studio. I've played with a bunch of other bands, but had no real input in writing. It's just me right now. I enjoy writing alone, but open to anything if it feels right.

Photo provided by Tex Crick

PZ: From your music, I get a mixture of Syd Barrett, Kevin Ayers, Randy Newman, Juan Wauters, and Zak Olsen's Traffik Island. Especially Zak's music, I could totally see you guys doing a split 7" in the future. Lay on me some of your biggest influences.

TC: I actually played piano on "Sunday Painter" from Zak's Traffik Island record Nature Strip. I like Zak's music a lot, he's a sweet guy. I respect a lot of artists, new and old. The people I'm closest to are the most influential. I'll always hear what they have to say.

PZ: In just a few words, how would you describe your approach to making music?

TC: Long-winded emotional rambling [laughs].

PZ: On your 2017 collection of songs, Between Cruel & Tender, you took listeners on an adventurous psychedelic detour with your bittersweet brand of piano-driven pop. Looking back now a few years later, what was it like putting that record together?

TC: I had a lot of fun making that record. I'd just bought a baby grand piano and Alex Cameron had given me the mixing desk he used for his first solo record. We loaded up my gold '85 Cadillac and I was headed to build my first home studio. I'd planned on making an instrumental record with that release, thought some of the tracks ended up with vocals —it's all over the place. It was also recorded on a 8-track and I learned a lot from recording that one — wouldn't be where I am without it.

Photo provided by Tex Crick

PZ: You wrote and recorded your upcoming debut album Live In… New York City entirely on an 8-track recorder with a junk piano you found and repaired in your NYC apartment. What was the recording process like and how was it different from your previous projects?

TC: I love that 8-track, I take it everywhere. The piano was real junky, but cleaned up pretty good. The recording process was essentially the same: write the parts, press record, if there's more than eight instruments, I'll bounce them down to two, then I have another six, and so on. I can do this process all with my eyes closed. I couldn't do that with a computer.

PZ: Tell me a bit about how you bumped into Mac DeMarco in Brooklyn and how that encounter led to the collaboration for your debut album. I can definitely hear some minimal parallels between your guys' music, especially with his most recent album Here Comes The Cowboy.

TC: That's a great album, I respect what he does. Mac and I met on the streets of NYC years ago. We kept in touch and I sent him an early version of my record and he offered to mix it. Later on, he asked if I'd want to put it out on his label. I'm grateful to be the first artist signed.

PZ: What was it like mixing the album with him?

TC: We mixed it all via email. It was a little tricky with the time zones, but he's up all night anyway. He's got a good ear and understood my vision. He really glued it all together and that's how you do it.

Photo provided by Tex Crick

PZ: What songs stood out the most during the recording and why?

TC: I tried orchestral arrangements over the whole record. Strings, horns and everything. Changed my mind last minute and scrapped it all. Except the horns toward the end of "Sometimes I Forget." Tree Palmedo improvised that trumpet solo first take and it really stuck with me.

PZ: I know a lot of musicians have been recording or playing virtual concerts during the pandemic, but as a musician, how have you been navigating through these difficult times?

TC: I'm really just in the attic writing and recording most days. However, there isn't enough hours in the day.

PZ: If people could take away one thing from your music, what would you hope it’d be?

TC: Live, laugh, love.

Live In​.​.​. New York City is out now on Mac's Record Label.


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