Singer, songwriter and producer Crywolf, also known as Justin Taylor Phillips caught up with Respect My Region after his show in Los Angeles at the Moroccan Lounge. Unlike many other artists, Crywolf unapologetically crosses many different genres when creating music. In short, it’s difficult to categorize him in just any particular genre. He’s constantly challenging the traditional box that artists are usually put in; because of this Crywolf has fans naturally gravitating towards him. With new music on the way stay tuned for the second half of his recent double album, OBLIVIØN and in the meantime, check out our exclusive interview with Crywolf below!
Exclusive Crywolf Interview
*This interview was edited for clarity*
How are things going right now?
I’m in a really interesting place in my career. Spending lots of time evaluating what I spend my time on, trying to make sure I’m creating from a pure place, a place of authenticity and genuine flow. As any professional artist knows, in this industry there is a *constant* pressure to create based on trends or based on whatever sells. Even when you’ve established a career of creating whatever you want, it can still be tempting to try to make something more “accessible” in order to appeal to a broader market. I never want to fall into that place, so I have to regularly check myself and make sure that I am staying true to myself.
What are you currently working on?
Right now I’m working on the second half of my recent double album, OBLIVIØN. I’m also working on a lot of stuff that leans more acoustic, which I love.
Looking back on 2019, how was it? Was it what you expected?
2019 was a wild one for me. I took a pretty big step back from my career and focused primarily on personal growth. I spent most of the year reading like a maniac, studying a ton of depth psychology and somatic therapy, unraveling a lot of trauma from my past and just getting to know myself in a much deeper way. I’ve always been a proponent of the idea that you have to become before you create. If you want to create meaningful music you need to embed deeply meaningful ways of viewing the world and your self into your mind.
What was a major highlight for you?
One would be in May when I pretty spontaneously decided to move to Bali. I spent most of the year there. Another would be in December when I went to Vietnam to participate in a Vipassana, which is a completely silent meditation retreat. You sleep in tiny dorm rooms, you can’t read, you can’t talk, you can’t write, and you meditate for nine hours a day, for 10 days. It was a pretty insane challenge for me personally because I get bored super easily. I also can’t sit on the floor for longer than 30 minutes without being in a lot of pain, so doing it for 9 hours a day changed me physically and mentally.
What things do you look forward to in 2020?
I’m excited about what I’m creating right now. I feel like a lot of it is a return to my Cataclasm-esque roots. Lots of personally recorded sounds, more of a glorious and brilliant sound… versus my last album, which was a lot darker and harsher, more like a trip deep into the void.
What does your creative process typically look like?
I usually write music in song-a-day periods, using a system I made about five years ago. It starts with an inspiration period, where I spend two weeks or so just digesting art that I love. Writing, images, movies, music. Sort of filling the well, so to speak. Then I do a 30 day period where I write and produce one song per day. I choose my favorite 8-10 tracks and spend the next two to three months reworking them and finishing them.
Is there anyone that you haven’t worked with, that you would like to work with?
I haven’t worked with many people at all, ’cause most of my creativity has been very solitary up until this point. I’m looking forward to working with more people in the future though. Vancouver Sleep Clinic and I have thrown some ideas back and forth. I’d love to work with Novo Amor too. I have some dream collars: Alt-J, Glass Animals, Bon Iver, Sigur Ros, Sufjan Stevens. Maybe someday….
We interviewed Emilie Brandt as one of our first music interviews a few years ago, how did you two connect and how did she have the chance to open for you at the Morrocan Lounge in DTLA?!
I was introduced to Emily through my management and I thought her acoustic performances would be a perfect fit for my show.
We thoroughly enjoyed our experience there, but when are you going to visit Seattle for a show?!
I can’t wait to come back to Seattle. It’s one of my favorite cities to perform in. One of my favorite shows was in Seattle, at the Crocodile Lounge a few years ago. It was sold out and everyone was screaming along to pretty much every song. So exciting and fun.
Crywolf – widow [OBLIVIØN Pt. I]