Photo Credit: Lindsey Blane Creative
Stuck between the real world and your dreams is one hell of a feeling. Some would even say it’s like your own personal horror story every night. While that sounds terrifying, the music of Croatia is anything but. Their latest, Half Dreams, is just what you need if you want to sonically be taken away during the day by futuristic pop with an edge. We talked with Justin (vocals) and Matt (guitar/keys) about the concept behind the new record, dealing with a new singer and more.
Kendra: You guys went from not really having a theme on your latest album, Half Dreams, to having one that could be a college thesis. When did the idea of capturing that state of mind between reality and sleep come into play?
Justin: The album theme unfolded pretty naturally. Maybe because I had already written so many damn thesis statements! I had just started writing with Croatia which was already a whirlwind for me as I had never jumped into an established group before as a musician. I was also finding myself experiencing some pivotal new beginnings and goodbyes at the same time. All of it really just felt like a strange dream that I wasn’t in control of which was equal parts terrifying and amazing.
Kendra: The whole thing reminded me of sleep paralysis. Do you have any weird sleep habits?
Justin: That’s the weirdest part for me in relation to the album because I never really have many problems with sleep. I used to sleepwalk though. One time I set off the security system at my family home, to my parents’ dismay.
Kendra: Before we talk more about the album, let’s talk about the fact that you guys got a new vocalist. Did it take long to find someone who felt right?
Matt: Our previous singer Tashiina Buswa was female so we naturally started looking for female replacements. After 20+ auditions and demos no one really felt right. It was clear she was not replaceable. We didn’t know Justin at all but he contacted us randomly to talk about starting a new electronic project. It was immediately clear that his vocals could fit in well with the Croatia style. He was able to sing all our old music well, so it was a really easy transition. We didn’t even really audition, just started drinking and writing like we always do and here we are!
Kendra: Back to the record, what song do you feel is the best representation of your sound? Like which would be Croatia’s audible business card?
Justin: With an outside view of the band before joining, I would say “Half Dreams” or “Dating Pools”, but I’m too biased now!
Matt: I’d disagree with Justin and say “Better Love” and “Cut Me Out.” We want to write songs with more groove, rhythm, or dance beat. Those songs work for me. I wouldn’t be surprised to hear much more danceable stuff in the future as it’s more fun for us to play live and connect with the audience.
Kendra: What are your plans for the coming months? Touring?
Matt: Writing new music is always our main focus. We’d also like to keep working on music videos for the album. Ideally, every song will have a video by the end of 2018. We’ll be mostly finished writing our next full-length album by then. Our goal is to release digital content more frequently which is exciting for us as we don’t have to wait for that traditional album cycle. We’re looking at labels, managers, and maybe some touring, but no plans other than a handful of west coast shows.