Breaking things apart, putting them back together and seeing what they've got
The day I speak with Crumb, the subject of luck is on my mind. I’m thinking about the way fortune coalesces sometimes, intervening in the trajectory of life, almost as if everything were fated – although we know, of course, that it probably is not. Dumb luck, like everything else, is random. Still, it’s difficult not to see divine intervention, especially when things are going well, or particularly badly. Indeed, how else to explain why the universe seems to poke us in precise ways, leading us to actions, until suddenly you have the story of a life – or, in this case, a band – that hangs together just so?
It’s sometime in the 2010s and four disparate souls – three from New York, one from California – enrol at Tufts University, a private research college on the outskirts of Boston, Massachusetts. One of them, Lila Ramani, has been writing songs, developing demos using the production software Logic, and writing lyrics to melodies on her guitar – or sometimes setting music to the lyrics of poems she composed in a high school creative writing class. The others (synth, keys and sax player Brian Aronow, bassist Jesse Brotter and drummer Jonathan Gilad) have their own music practice. All four of these Generation Z-ers are into music from the ’60s and ’70s, and by reasons of fate, or dumb luck, they find themselves sharing accommodation and listening to one another’s Spotify playlists.
“We became friends early on,” Brian explains to me, “and just played music with eachother, and then Lila brought in the songs, so we’d meet up and record them. We had the intention of just recording those few songs and moving on, and then… now here we are. We just kind of keep that process continuing.”
“Yeah,” Lila says, “music was the first connection between us, I feel like. We were all just trying to play music during that time, and that’s how we met each other and became friends and started a bunch of different projects, and that’s how this [band] came about.”