Grateful Web Interview with The Crystal Casino Band

Article Contributed by Candice Dollar | Published on Thursday, March 30, 2023

The Crystal Casino Band, a four-piece indie rock band originally formed at George Washington University in 2015, has been making waves in the music scene since their debut album in 2021. With their latest album release, Maryland House— produced by Kyle Downes and Jay Nemeyer (Color Palette)— the band showcases their artistic growth and pays homage to their lives as young adults in the DC/Maryland/Virginia area.

In this exclusive interview, Grateful Web sat down with band members Pete Stevens (guitar, vocals), and Jordan Mullaney (bass) to discuss the making of their latest album. Read on below to discover the insights behind one of the most promising indie rock acts to come out of the D.C. area in a long time.

CC: You got Jordan from the band. I know it says Chris, but you got Pete and Jordan. It is very nice to meet you. Thanks for having us.

GW: Yeah, of course. Where are you guys located?

CC: We're both in Washington, D.C. I originally grew up outside Chicago and Jordan grew up outside New York, but the band all gathered at the George Washington University in D.C, and  so we've been in the D.C. area for like 8 years at this point now.

GW: Oh, nice! So you guys have been playing together for 8 years?

CC: We’ve gone through some lineup changes, but Joey, who couldn’t make it on the call, and I started the band 8 years ago during freshman orientation. We met each other and formed a band before classes even started. And then, as college went on, we were able to poach Jordan from another band, because we thought his bass playing skills were so incredible that we had to have him in our band. So Jordan has been playing with us for like 6 or 7 years. And then Jared was the final member to join. We had another guitarist before, but he moved to L.A. after graduation, so Jared took over that spot. But the current line up has been around for about 4 years now.

GW: So what do you guys have going on right now that you're excited about?

CC: The album being released on Friday was such a big deal for us. It is something we've been working towards for like 2 years at this point. We're just so thrilled that it’s out there, and we're also preparing for our biggest show to date at the 930 Club in D.C., which holds about 1,200 people. So it's a huge step up for us to be performing there, and we're really grateful for that opportunity. It is a lot of hard work, but we're really excited for that.

GW: And you guys are probably balancing jobs and families on top of working on a new album, so I know how tough it can be to have enough time for your creative endeavors. You know it's rare that you find an artist who's able to get some kind of residency where people pay their way. I have always had to balance both. To have a  “real job”. I would like to get to the point where I can pour more of my time and energy into what fills me up.

CC: I would say the same is true for us. Since graduating we've all had jobs, and now being remote has made it a lot easier to balance both, but it's still a lot of time and effort. After we log out at 5:00 or 5:30, we'll be focusing on this until we go to bed.

GW: Yeah, I get that. So would you guys say that the ability to collaborate remotely outweighs the cons of the disconnect that technology creates? Do you do a lot of collaboration remotely, or mostly in person?

CC: I feel like Covid did change the way we approached the record, because of restrictions and because of the situation. We went into the studio every Tuesday. Not all of us were there all the time, so we did have to collaborate remotely at least a decent amount of time. I don't know, I'm not sold yet on remote being the answer. I think it's convenient, and it's afforded us to be able to do our 9-5 jobs, but I do think you need to have human interaction. It's a different thing that hasn't yet been replicated.

GW: So this leads to me what is always my burning question. Where did you produce this album? Do you have a producer? And if so, who is that?

CC: We actually have 2 producers. They go under the production name of Sunday Coffee, but they're two guys named Kyle Downes and Jay Nemeyer of Color Palette. We actually met Jay through Color Palette way back in 2016, and kept in touch with him over the years. During COVID, with all the extra time on our hands, we really wanted to make our music sound a lot better, and step it up a bit, and their production helped so much. We were all self-producing these songs, and the amount of effort that Kyle and Jay put into the songs to make them pop even more. It's just so worth it. We're all truly proud of these 13 songs, and how great they sound, because of their help as well.