Born and raised in Hawaii, the Benson sisters, Colby (lead vocals), Shelby (guitar), Carthi (bass), and Faith (Drums), have been working to make their dreams happen since they were just kids. After independently releasing their debut album Hello in 2015, Crimson Apple made the move from the islands to Los Angeles where they are now working with AMUSE Group (Perfume, BABYMETAL) to turn those dreams into reality. Drawing from influences as wide ranging as Ariana Grande, j-pop, and dark-indie bands like The Neighbourhood, Crimson Apple have no intention of being anything less than unpredictable. Their latest single “Can’t Get Out Of Bed,” just dropped last month with an accompanying music video that is both visually captivating and personally meaningful to the band.
Just finishing up their run on the High School Nation Tour, Crimson Apple are back in the studio preparing new material to release in the new year. We got to catch up with the sisters on what they are working on now. Check out our full interview below.
TYF: Thanks for taking the time to speak with me today! You guys are just coming off of the High School Nation Tour, how was that? What are you up to now?
Shelby: Tour was amazing! We got to play at different places everyday. The crew set up this festival style set up and we got to let the kids experience what a live concert was like. It was incredible, some of the students would come up and say “this was my first concert, this was so amazing!” It was really cool that we were able to bring that to the students and it was just a really positive experience. We’re really glad we were a part of it and maybe we’ll be part of it again.
We have a home studio where we’re working on our new music for our EP that’s going to be released in March. Right now we’re doing a lot of writing, a lot of demo work, and trying to figure out what music we really want to represent us on this new EP.
TYF: The video for “Can’t Get Out Of Bed” was your first music video and it’s stunning, how did you know that this was the song you wanted to make your first video for?
Shelby: When we were writing the song we just kind of felt a really strong connection to it from the beginning. The message of the song really spoke to us and the more we were writing the song the better feeling we were having about it. As we were writing the song, these images of what the music video was going to look like was already kind of popping into our heads just as we were writing the lyrics and arranging the music. When it came time to decide what single we were going to release and what music video, we instantly said “Can’t Get Out Of Bed.”
TYF: I read that “Can’t Get Out Of Bed” is about Colby’s personal experience with depression, can you tell me about what it was like putting such a personal subject on paper and then bringing that to your sisters as a song that you will all be a part of?
Colby: It was definitely very difficult because I had never really talked about it. I think my family might have suspected I was going through something but I had never been able to actually verbalize it to them. The moment I started thinking about “Can’t Get Out Of Bed” and the lyrics for it, it was a moment where I was so frustrated with not being able to speak about it that I just sat down and thought “this is the only way I can do it.” So I wrote some of the lyrics of the song and brought it to my sisters and said “hey, this is kind of what I’m going through.” I was kind of nervous but they loved the concept and the idea and were like “we’ll help you write this.” It was really comforting that they accepted it and they understood it. It was great that I had the support to actually talk about it.
TYF: As sisters as well as a band, is it weird to let other people in to your creative process after working as a group for so long?
Shelby: It’s definitely been an adjustment. Every producer works differently and for, I would say, 5 years we were working only between ourselves as sisters so we’re always on the same page and it was really easy so then working with different producers you’re learning a whole new person and I think getting over that hurdle of figuring out how it is to work with another person was a little bit difficult but as we started working with these people we were getting really excited about the music because they had this production aspect that we’ve always wanted. We’ve been paired with a lot of really amazing producers and we’ve had such a good time. Just being able to hear another person’s perspective on the music and just get their professional expertise into the songs was really amazing for us and we’re actually seeing our music being transformed into what we always wanted it to sound like.
TYF: “Can’t Get Out Of Bed” is more electronic sounding than your previous album, is this a hint to what your next studio project will sound like?
Shelby: “Can’t Get Out Of Bed” is probably as electronic as our music is going to go. It’s probably our most “pop” song. The rest of the album is a variation between that and more of the rock side so we have a wide variety of music on the EP, but it definitely all falls in the same vein and follows the same theme. There is definitely a unified sound, despite the different elements that we’ve been putting into each song.
TYF: Does the new EP follow a theme lyrically?
Colby: The Concept of the EP is really surrounding the idea of us moving from Hawaii to California. How we left our paradise to pursue our great dream and along the way we’ve had struggles, we’ve had heartbreak, we’ve met amazing people, we’ve met people who have betrayed us. All of our lyrics are about what we went through and trying to find our place in the music business and kind of in the world.
TYF: Naturally, as artists your influences and tastes are going to change as you grow up. How do you think your inspirations for songwriting both lyrically and sonically have shifted since your last album, Hello?
Shelby: When we released Hello, we always viewed that music as our growth period from when we first started as musicians to when we released that album. It represents us learning how to be a band and how to write music. Since then we’ve moved to California, we’ve been working a lot on our music. We’ve been changing a lot musically, our last album was very rock and we’re into more of indie-rock, like Paramore and those types of bands. But now that we’ve moved to California we’ve had new experiences and we’ve grown up, we’re all just inputting our different influences. Faith is really into K-Pop and really pop music like Ariana Grande, Carthi really likes Japanese rock and dark indie like The Neighbourhood, and Colby’s just into like everything. I still have that rock side to me so I think that now that we’ve grown up we’ve matured and we all listen to a lot of different music, we all bring that to each other. That’s really been an influence in our music.
TYF: What has the learning curve been like moving from Hawaii to Los Angeles?
Shelby: When we found out we were moving, it was pretty sudden. Within a couple of weeks we pretty much packed up and ended up in California. Since then, it’s just kind of been a whirlwind. California is way more fast paced than Hawaii, there’s much more to do here, so many more opportunities. When we first got here it was kind of like starting over. We didn’t know where to play, we didn’t know anyone so we would go online, find open mics, and we would literally just play anywhere and everywhere we could and eventually that led to us being able to book venues and eventually that led to being able to play at Disney and getting signed and the whole experience has just been a learning curve. It’s definitely forced us to mature a lot and we have had a lot of struggles along the way but it’s been really good for us. In Hawaii we were very protected and very sheltered and so being able to come to California and experience life more, we’ve definitely grown up.
TYF: What was the transition into having a working relationship with your sisters like?
Shelby: The whole formation of Crimson Apple just happened, it was really a natural progression. Colby and I were in a different band that we were with for like a year and a half and while we were doing that Faith and both got really interested in their respective instruments. Mine and Colby’s previous band had members that weren’t as committed and had other priorities and there came a point where we realized, “hey, we all make up a band, why don’t we just do this together. This sounds like an amazing idea.” And it really just transitioned straight into that. Looking back it seems kind of crazy that we all paired ourselves together and just started playing music but it felt really natural and as soon as we started we just knew that this was what we were meant to do so it wasn’t a hard transition. It actually brought us way closer together so, even though we’re working together and we have to have that business side— it really made our relationship that much better.
TYF: What is something you want to accomplish before the end of 2018?
Shelby: Right now we’re finishing up the EP and finishing up the writing so I guess our goal would be to keep writing the best songs that we can and to always stay true to ourselves and hopefully people will relate to that.
TYF: What were some of your favorite releases of the year?
Shelby: Mine has to be Trench by Twenty One Pilots, that album is amazing.
Carthi: Hard To Imagine by The Neighbourhood, that’s also a really good album.
Faith: Let’s all just talk about “Thank U, Next” please?
Colby: So good, I think those are all of our favorites probably…and Sweetener, we’re loving Ariana Grande right now!
TYF: What do you guys have in mind after the EP drops? Are you planning on going on tour?
Colby: The definite plan would be to go on tour, we’re probably going to do an EP release type of event. We’re not sure of the details right now but we’re talking about it and we’re really excited about what we’re coming up with. We’re just going to go out and promote and hopefully tour all of America this time around, that would be amazing.
TYF: Do you have anything that you would like readers to know before we wrap up?
Shelby: Thanks for reading and welcome to Crimson Apple!