Shepherd Express – Rainy Day Crush Feature
The Return of Rainy Day Crush
By Joshua Miller
Jan. 12, 2016
At one point everything seemed to be going right for the Kenosha, Wis.,-based band Rainy Day Crush. In the early ’00s they released an album on Minneapolis label Skywater Records, toured much of the country and won WAMIs for Best Rock/Alternative Band of the Year and Female Vocalist of the Year for singer Betsy Ade. That success was short lived, however, as struggles maintaining the band full time forced them to break up in 2004. Eight years later founders Matt Specht and Betsy Ade decided to bury past issues and forge on with a new lineup.
“We were able to put the past behind us and focus on the positive things,” Specht says. “We asked ourselves if we were going to play covers or be creative and move forward in a new direction. We decided we wanted to strike out again and strike out on our own and be serious in our efforts.”
They initially played as a duo called Candy Apple Crush, “in an attempt to acknowledge our history and move forward.” They switched back to Rainy Day Crush once they had the lineup solidified and were comfortable playing old songs again.
On Friday, they return with their first batch of new music, an EP called Calamity! Calamity is often thought of in the negative sense, but the band feels it has positive connotations as well.
“The first song on the EP is called ‘Calamity!’ and that song is about change,” Specht says. “But it’s about change from a cyclical point of view: Tides come in and go back out, the moon goes through phases, seasons pass. It’s easy to get bogged down by minutiae … Sometimes, you need to look at the big picture.”
Specht says that he has newfound appreciation for the band since returning to it.
“I got the sense from Betsy—and I definitely felt this way—that the band was a good thing. We had a good creative writing team,” he says. “When it was taken away from us and spent time away and got back together we started realizing how important and fun and creative we could be in the band. What we’re excited about this time is being older and wiser. We still feel we have energy and things left to say and songs to write and albums to record.”
They’ve focused on the things that work and avoided things that didn’t work the first time.
“We’re avoiding those mistakes because we value what’s going on,” Specht says. “We value the creative process and the performing process and recording process.”
One thing that works is their self-described “indie pop-rock.”
“We’re too catchy to be indie but we’re too honest to be pop,” Specht says. “Our songwriting process is our bread and butter and that’s what sets us apart. We spend a little more time on craft to be just pop. Indie gets a rap as being inaccessible but our music is accessible.”
Specht and Ade handle most of the songwriting duties. The band’s sound draws from its members’ diverse influences. The EP features an “acoustic stomping clapper type song,” a song with a jazzy feel to it, a story song about the wrath of a woman scorned and an “epic pop rock song.”
“The EP really captures the energy and excitement about being in a band and recording an album and writing,” says Specht. “I love our band because there’s different influences; people are bringing different things in and we have three vocalists on stage, as our drummer Mike [Wynn Jr.] sings. Bringing all these influences and different ideas stretches the song in different directions.”
The band recorded the EP with George Renner at Renwood Messenger Studios in Kenosha.
“It’s a world-class facility and George is a fantastic engineer. He’s mixed and produced albums we’ve heard on radio,” Specht says. “I really liked that they have a grand piano there since I play that a lot.”
Following the EP’s release, they’re looking forward to playing a lot of shows and earning enough money from the EP to afford the next batch of recordings. They’re unsure yet if that will be another EP or full-length.
“We have forward momentum now and want to capitalize on that,” Specht says. “It’s hard work but we love it.”
Rainy Day Crush will release their new EP at Shank Hall on Friday, Jan. 15 at 8 p.m. with opener Sunspot. There is a $10 cover.