Over the years, bassist Mikal Cronin has been a vital cog in a variety of bands, perhaps best known as the McCartney to Ty Segall’s garage-rocking Lennon. But he’s also made a name for himself with three excellent self-titled solo albums, including this year’s terrific MCIII (stream it below). Out on the road in support of it, Cronin (below, performing “Made My Mind Up” for KEXP FM) comes to Brooklyn Bowl on Saturday night. And before getting here, he answered some questions for Knockdown Alley.
Which band have you seen play live the most often (excluding bands you’ve toured with)? I did tour with them, but before I did I would
go see Thee Oh Sees any time I could. Same with White Fence.
I never toured with Grass Widow but saw them every chance I got when they were around, so I’ll go with them.
What’s the best part of playing New York City? And what’s the toughest part of playing New York City? It’s always fun and usually the biggest crowd in the country for us. Great food and lots of friends there. Driving a van around and parking isn’t fun.
Do you notice if your music is received any differently in
New York City than it is elsewhere? And does performing live here have any special significance? I couldn’t say that I notice a
different reaction, but I will say that the first time I played a show in NYC, it seemed like a huge deal that our little band traveled all the way
across the country to play in the cultural hub of the U.S. I think my first show was at Death by Audio (RIP).
Is touring in support of one of your own albums any different than when you go on the road for someone else’s? (Like for Ty Segall?) Yeah, it is. It’s nice to alleviate some of the pressure when you’re playing in your friend’s band and not taking lead duties. It’s also satisfying to spread my music around. Both have their advantages, yeah.
Your most recent studio album came out earlier this year. How often do you come up with new material? Do you already have any new music in the pipeline? And do you ever road-test new music live before recording it? It takes me a while to finish music because I have the bad habit of abandoning ideas that I think won’t work before I follow through and complete the song. So, yeah, songs can come pretty quickly or I’ll work on them slowly for months. I’d say I started formally writing the songs for this record a handful of months before I started recording. I’ve got some stuff I’m excited to work on after all the touring this year. Have more big ideas than actual music at this point. I don’t think I’ve road-tested material before recording it with this band ever … because I typically teach my live band the songs with my recordings.
Do you have any crutches when writing a song — are there certain words or styles you feel you lean on too much? I absolutely do,
but I’m not going to list them out just in case nobody has actually noticed before, haha. Both lyrically and musically, it’s frustrating and
I try to catch them before I commit to them. But at the same time I’ve found that most musicians and artists in general have their particular crutches, and those crutches over time turn into a distinctive style. Or maybe I just bullshitted that. Cool.
Do you have to be depressed to write a sad song? Do you have to be in love to write a love song? Is a song better when it really happened to you? I’ve noticed a lot of the time it’s the opposite actually; I’d write depressing songs when I’m OK and upbeat songs when I’m depressed. I think it has something to do with having enough distance from the thing you’re writing about to fully contextualize it and think about it critically. I’ve written dark songs when I’m down, definitely, and some work out well … but then others seem narrow-minded and unintelligent because I’m too deep in the hole to fully understand what’s going on. Maybe it’s just me. —R. Zizmor | @Hand_Dog
Thursday, Dec 8th
Win a Pair of VIP Lounge Tickets to Jim James of My Morning Jacket at Brooklyn Bowl las Vegas SAT, DEC 10!
Jim James of My Morning Jacket’s stunning, long awaited new album Eternally Even celebrates our need to come together for the greater good of humanity through love and respect. You NEED...
Wednesday, Dec 7th
Have a friend or loved one that lives and dies for live music, but you don’t know which show is the perfect gift? We’ve broken down our upcoming shows by...
Monday, Dec 5th
The Hold Steady celebrated the 10th anniversary of Boys and Girls in America, acclaimed as the 5th best album of 2006 by Pitchfork, for four remarkable nights at Brooklyn Bowl last week....
Thursday, Dec 1st
The #STANDWITHSTANDINGROCK Benefit Concert is set to be one night of incredible music to assist the situation in North Dakota with the help of Immortal Technique, Kyp Malone (TV on the...
Thursday, Dec 1st
Trying to get down with the one and only Anders Osborne for two nights? You could be in luck! We’ve teamed up with Bud Light to give one lucky winner...
Tuesday, Nov 29th
Enter To Win VIP Lounge Tickets to Living Legends on Wednesday, November 30 at Brooklyn Bowl Las Vegas
Enter now to win a four pack of VIP Lounge Tickets to the 10th Annual How The Grouch Stole Christmas FT. all original Living Legends members, Evidence and Grand Tapestry. What better...
Monday, Nov 21st
Neal Casal of Circles Around the Sun and Chris Robinson Brotherhood let us into his magical world of music and beyond. Read this incredibly inspiring interview and prepare to get...
Friday, Nov 18th
Wyclef Jean brought incredible energy and lots of love for New York to the Bowl this past Thursday. From singing classics like Gone ‘Til November to unveiling new singles from...
Thursday, Nov 17th
Win the ultimate Asking Alexandria VIP package including a meet and greet signing with group photo, early access to our venue and crowd-free merch shopping, exclusive 11X17 poster, commemorative tour...
Wednesday, Nov 16th
Yearning to get down with the electronic rock and blues combos of BoomBox and Horizon Wireless on November 18 + 19? You’re in luck! Enter below for your chance to...
Wednesday, Nov 16th
Dark Star Orchestra took Brooklyn by storm the last two nights, transporting us back to the early 70s era of the Grateful Dead. Monday night saw the band revisit the...
Tuesday, Nov 15th
Can you believe it’s over?! We had a blast this year with three nights of The Disco Biscuits, two Greensky Bluegrass shows including a matinee of rock staple covers Phish has...