CRYSTAL buckles down to narrate the struggles of navigating the world alone and the frustration of succumbing to societal pressures in her new four-tracked sophomore EP, ‘Dead Ends.’
2023 saw New Zealand-based singer/songwriter CRYSTAL line up the release of her second EP with a series of pre-release singles ‘Break,’ ‘Expectations Suck!’ and ‘Skin.’ The singles wade through the common theme of failing to meet personal and societal expectations as an adult, which culminates with the final track, ‘Pressure.’ “Dead Ends is an exploration of difficult situations I’ve faced in the last two years,” explained the artist about her new EP.
Laid amidst the theme of facing her insecurity head-on, ‘Dead Ends’ opens with the indie, introspective penultimate single of the EP titled ‘Break.’ It follows through with CRYSTAL accepting the rut that she is in on the upbeat, peppy track ‘Expectation Sucks!‘ and finding hope in the repetitive throes of life in ‘Skin.’ The EP closes out with ‘Pressure,’ a jungle-inspired collaborative offering with London-based writer and producer Oscar Sharah.
“I knew when writing Pressure that I wanted to encapsulate this idea of being a dead-end – of feeling stuck between dreams and reality, and trying to break past that,” Crystal explains about creating the last track of ‘Dead Ends.’ “It’s been my own comfort song to get me through my day job as a barista. It has this cool girl, fake-it-till-you-make-it energy, which you kind of need to manifest when you do feel like a dead end.”
Within the walls of these four songs, CRYSTAL branches out to explore multiple genres that, in the end, capture the poignant nature of the EP. “Naturally, I listen to a lot of genres, and sometimes I get overwhelmed by choosing a sonic direction for a specific track because I’m in love with so many different styles. For me, I’ve always felt my “sound” fits somewhere in the crossover between electronic, indie and pop music,” the artist told us.
“As this project was over two years in the making, I went through different phases of what I wanted to sound like, and I guess the sonic shifts throughout really show that. I never want to feel like I have to put myself into a box, so what felt right in the moment, is what stuck, and what didn’t feel right, was changed. The EP showcases different parts of my musicality I’ve been eager to explore, and has made me appreciate my own ability to be more versatile and try new things.”
Now that the EP is out, CRYSTAL is gearing up to prepare for her EP release show in Auckland with local alternative hip-hop artist Fable. Speaking about the upcoming show, she reveals, “I’ve got a few unreleased songs on the set list and I’m going to be performing a cover of ‘Easy Easy’ by King Krule. It has a lot of sentimental value because it’s a song I idolized as a teenager and one which lyrically inspired the EP.”
With ‘Dead Ends’ released worldwide now on the back of her successful debut EP ‘Garlic Ice Cream’ (2022), CRYSTAL looks forward to taking her time, relaxing, and exploring at her own pace. She winds up the conversation, saying, “I have a few singles in the pipeline and a music video I’m currently planning. But right now, I’m trying to focus on rehearsing and refining my live set, and just living my life a bit more. I’m trying to take a bit of a break to figure out what I want to say next, and what the next project could sound like. I’ve been trying to watch a lot of movies, and go to more gigs to really immerse myself in art and get inspired again.”
Listen to ‘Dead Ends’ by CRYSTAL: HERE
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