Interview: Crayon Jones

Crayon Jones is a glam rock musician from Berlin. Their androgynous, out of this world, alien inspired style is very similar to David Bowie’s. They’ve appeared in stage shows like Loving the Alien, which you can see a clip from the show below and is a host of Uke Boogie Berlin – an inclusive open mic event where no guitars are allowed.

2020 has been a busy year for Crayon, with three singles released, “The Nuclear Bomb” – a glam rock song with Ian Curtis like vocals, “Ruby Nicotine”, and the latest release “Creature of the Night”.

On their website they interview musicians similar to how I do it here in a feature called Crayon’s Questions. This time it’s Crayon’s turn to answer some questions! If you want to learn more about Crayon, keep on reading!

Angie Moon: How would you describe yourself to a new listener?

Crayon Jones: I’m just a simple glamdrogynous aliendoid trying to become a hyperstar so I can make it to Mars. I make trashy garage glam songs and noises.

Angie: How did you get into classic rock?

Crayon: At a very young age I stole my parents CD of Queen Greatest Hits II and became hooked. I listened to Queen religiously for years and then branched out through Hendrix, Zeppelin, Thin Lizzy and all the usual classic rock suspects. My Bowie and glam obsession didn’t really hit until much later.

Angie: What does glam rock mean to you?

Crayon: I know I can always turn on my glam rock playlist and be put in a happy mood. In terms of the style, it can be extravagant yet it is unpretentious because it’s so silly. It’s more DIY gluing tacky stars to a thrifted shirt than it is high fashion. There’s an immediacy and accessibility to it that I really love.

Angie: What do people in real life think of your androgynous style?

Crayon: I am very lucky to live in Berlin which is a very accepting place and it’s pretty common to see people with less conventional styles here. I am fortunate to say I haven’t had any negative reactions beyond a few stares.

Angie: Favourite Bowie era and why?

Crayon: I am really fascinated with the Diamond Dogs period. It’s a record so full of contradictions. You can hear the music moving from the Ziggy glam style more towards a Black American soul/funk sound. Lyrics that mix open-hearted drug addled fragility with semi-nonsense cut-up word strings. How somehow a concept album about 1984 is his most personal record. I could talk about it for weeks on end.

Angie: Who are some of your other musical idols besides Bowie?

Crayon: Little Richard, Nina Simone, Marc Bolan, and Iggy Pop come to mind. Generally I am drawn to people who put on a great show, and have that undefinable aura of magic around them.

Angie: What is the music scene like in Berlin?

Crayon: Berlin is primarily a techno/dance music city so rock music is a little niche but there is no shortage of bands to find. There is a lot of very good community organising in the band scene which can be a refreshing change to the more corporate feeling of bigger or more mainstream events. For smaller artists, this community aspect is so important and rewarding. Gentrification is becoming an issue though with a lot of venues being under pressure from landlords, property developers or uncool neighbours.

Angie: What makes your live shows magical?

Crayon: I really enjoy the ‘show’ element of performing and even if it is only a small event I put a lot of thought into ways to add a little extra glamour to proceedings. I really want the audience to have a good time. Also I’ll almost certainly be wearing something fabulous.

Angie: What and who inspires your songwriting?

Crayon: Very often I start with the song title. I will think “Wouldn’t it be cool to have a song called ‘Vampire of Mars’…” and then take it from there. I am always writing down notes and ideas and if a word or phrase sticks in my head then I’ll start to develop on that. I try to write quickly and not edit myself too much. I take a lot of inspiration from Iggy Pop in terms of keeping things short if you have said all you want to say. And with rock music being such an old form by now, I am very willing to embrace and have some fun with clichés.

Angie: What accomplishment are you most proud of?

Crayon: I was once on stage with Janelle Monáe and she said I looked like David Bowie which was possibly the greatest compliment I have ever received! But in seriousness, just making things and putting them out there has been so rewarding – even if my music is very DIY and rough around the edges, being able to say I am actually giving it a shot and not just dreaming about it has done so much for my self esteem. If there is a creative project you have been thinking about I really encourage you to just jump in, it’s always the right time to start.

Angie: How do you think your music has evolved over time?

Crayon: I am very much still figuring things out as I go along, so each new song is like a little document of my state of being at that given time. I have become more secure in just following my musical interests, so whether I want to put out a piano ballad or a punk song I don’t feel the need to stick within the glam, or even rock genre.

Angie: Any words for your fans?

Crayon: Danke kind humanoids! Don’t dream it, be it!

You can follow Crayon on Instagram, Facebook, Twitter, and YouTube.

Shoutout to my friend Patrick for supporting the blog!

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