Ballard VOX Interview: Supercrush

Andy Perkovich for Ballard VOX

Photos by Brandynn Leigh and Che Hise-Gattone for ig

If you’re anything like me, you have been having a rough time seeing the bright side of things this year.  With all the hardships and struggle that surround us on a daily basis, the battle to remain positive can feel seemingly never-ending. Like so many of you, I turn to music when I need a little bit of mental palate cleanser. Normally this time of year, it's much easier to lean in, throw on something doomy, and embrace that rapidly approaching melancholic wave. As tempting as that sounded, I figured that 2020 had filled my cup so to speak and I decided to seek out something a bit sunnier. One night while I was wading through Bandcamp, I stumbled across the new album from Supercrush, SODO PopBy the time I hit the first chorus on the album-opener, “Get It Right,” I realized that I found the perfect album to help me combat that seasonal despair. As the days get shorter and the weather grows colder, I find myself listening to this album more and more. SODO Pop has certainly hit the spot and is acting as a much needed mental bracer for the impending winter gloom. 

I was lucky enough to chat with Supercrush mastermind Mark Palm (Black Breath, Devotion, Go It Alone) and am happy to share our conversation below. Take a few minutes to read the interview and then go listen to the album here. I highly recommend you check out this album. Once you do, I hope your day gets a little bit brighter or at the very least, a whole lot more rocking.

This is the time of year where I normally start dusting off my Type O Negative albums and hunker down for the big long dark. Was there some sort of strategic plan for releasing such an upbeat and positive-sounding record during what is arguably the most depressive season of them all?

Well, originally we were shooting for a summer release to go along with a tour of theUnited States that we had planned. But of course that tour had to be cancelled and the record got delayed as well. You're right, it might be more of a spring time or summertime record in tone, but I'm just happy to have it out there, even if it is fall now.

Supercrush has been releasing singles for the last 7 years now, what helped you make the decision to put out a full-length debut album now?

For the first handful of years Supercrush was just a recording project that I did from time to time whenI wasn't too busy with all the other bands I was playing in at the time.  I favored the 7" single format because I wanted to make records in a fun and low pressure kind of way - kind of are spite from the ambitious, large scale albums some of my other bands were working on during that period.  But in2017 or so I started focusing on Supercrush exclusively and that's when I started planning for a full-length album. I finally had the time and energy to focus on a big project like that with Supercrush.  Making singles is fun, but an LP is nice because it gives you the space to try some different things and make some more expansive compositions that literally wouldn't fit on a 45 rpm 7".  As a listener I like a record that I can really dig into so I've always been a fan of the full length album format.   

The album strikes me as fuzzed-out punk mixed with a little bit of glam rock sensibility. It's almost as if The Sweet decided to release Desolation Boulevard on Sub-Pop in the early ’90s. What sort of bands helped influence your sound for this album or even Supercrush as a whole?

I love that description, that's great. The album was influenced by all sorts of bands. Lot's of 90's power pop stuff like Matthew Sweet, Teenage Fan club, Redd Kross, Super drag and whatnot. Some classic stuff like Cheap Trick, Big Star, The Byrds. A little Beatles here and there. A little Ramones. A little My Bloody Valentine. Screeching Weasel. TheWho... it's kinda all over the place. I guess the common theme among all those groups is they are all melodic guitar bands of one kind or another.

While many of your musical projects have stylistic overlaps to them they all manage to have vastly different sounds to them. This album is no exception, Devotion and Go It Alone this is not. Was this always the direction you envisioned yourself heading in or has it come to you over time?

Some of the earliest music I got into as a pre-teen were the alternative rock and grunge groups of the early 90's. Soundgarden were my favorite, still are, but I also got really into some of the more fuzzy melodic groups like Smashing Pumpkins, Sugar, etc. And I was also exposed to a lot of the alternative stuff coming out of Eastern Canada at the time like Sloan and Eric's Trip. So Supercrush is kinda a return to some of my earliest musical influences. It's something I had wanted to do for quite sometime.

Fans of metal and hardcore are often wrongly seen as stereotypically pretty narrow-minded when it comes to their musical taste. Do you find most who are familiar with your earlier work are generally supportive of the difference in style or is there sometimes push back?

I don't know anyone who only likes one kind of music.  Everyone enjoys different stuff and I'm no different. So it just seems natural that my musical output would reflect some of those different tastes.  There seems to be a big crossover of people who enjoyed some of my earlier bands and are now into Supercrush as well.  I'm sure there are folks who don't dig it, but in general people have been very supportive.  On the other hand, there are plenty of people who like Supercrush, but are totally unfamiliar with the other bands I've played in.  It's cool, I like that different people have different jump on and jump off points.  Some people only like Vacant State and NightProwler, some people only like Go It Alone, some people only know me from playing in Black Breath or the Modern Charms record or whatever.  And some people have followed my whole"career." I'm into all of that, I appreciate people supporting any period of my musical life.     

SODO Pop marks your first release with New Jersey-based label Don Giovanni Records. How did you end up connecting to the label and deciding to go with them for the release?

We funded the recording of the album ourselves and once it was all done we tackled the question of how we were going to go about releasing it.  I made a shortlist of labels that I was interested in talking to, one of which was DonGiovanni.  It just so happened that our booking agent Brian is old friends with Joe who runs Don G.  So Brian sent Joe the recording and he was enthusiastic about it.  Pretty simple.  Joe and I talked on the phone a few times and it was clear that we were much more on the same page than any of the other labels I had talked with prior. I think we both share a skepticism and distaste for many aspects of the record industry and the traditional model that most labels his size stick to.  It was really refreshing to hear that from a label.      

"On The Telephone" looks like it was super fun to make and marks yet another collaboration with director Ian Shelton. Can you tell us a little bit about the shoot as well as what keeps bringing you back together with Ian?

Ian is a close friend of ours.  I love working with him.  He is super motivated and determined to make things happen.  I think when we first started working together years ago on our very first music video it was probably quite a mutually beneficial relationship.  But in the intervening years he's made many videos for other groups, many of them much higher profile than ourselves, so at this point I feel like he is really doing us a favor by continuing to work on our little projects.  The 'On TheTelephone' shoot was fun.  Phil and I trained for a week or so in the evenings leading up to the shoot so we could at least sorta play tennis.  We had a handful of friends helping out on set and I think they had a blast pelting us with tennis balls.  The shots of the VWBug were done down in Tacoma with a cool guy named Randy who I found onCraigslist with a beautiful 1972 Super Beetle. He was a good sport.   

2020 has been one giant, constantly growing dumpster fire. With venues closing (some permanently) across the nation, what does the future look like for you as a touring musician? How has the current pandemic influenced and affected your approach to promoting this album?

I'm not sure exactly what the future will be like.  I don't feel like I have a lot of control over it so I don't spend much time worrying about it.  We'll get back to touring when we can, but in the meantime I've just been staying busy - making music videos for the album, working on future Supercrush releases, doing some press for the album, coming up with new song ideas, etc. 

Check out Supercrush’s new album SODO Pop here and on all other major streaming services. Don’t forget to pick up your copy from Don Giovanni Records here!

Andy Perkovich


Andy has lived his whole life in the Puget Sound region. Although he began photographing live music just a few years ago, he is a long-time local music aficionado. Andy’s passion is concert photography because he can capture a completely unique moment. When not at shows, he can be found with a crossword or comic in hand, and spending time with his cat, Hank.

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