For my latest Spotlight Chronicles interview, I headed to Amnesia in San Francisco’s Mission District to watch Hush Crush, an SF-based indie pop band playing original music. How have I lived in the bay area for 20 years (10 of which in SF) and not been to Amnesia before? What a great live music venue –small, intimate, but with elbow room and a small dance area.
Sadly Amnesia is closing soon, but possibly will be reborn as a different type of venue (to be determined by its owners).
Amnesia was the perfect place to enjoy the original music of Hush Crush. And judging from the packed crowd at Amnesia, many other fans and music lovers felt the same. Hush Crush is a five-member band influenced by disco, funk, Brazilian samba, and 80’s synth sounds. I interviewed Kirby Lee of Hush Crush last week and was looking forward to their show, and they did not disappoint with an hour long set filled with their original songs.
Here is my interview with Kirby. To enjoy Hush Crush’s music, check them out on Apple Music.
Their latest music video can be found here.
SC: What genre of music do you most identify with?
KL: It’s indie pop but we do what we want and we are always experimenting with our sound. It has disco and funk influences, Brazilian samba, 80’s synth sounds, even taking notes from performers like Christina Aguilera, Britney Spears. There is high priority on writing quality songs and letting the song decide what it wants to be.
SC: Describe your style of music.
KL: We want to create music that puts people in a good mood and makes them want to dance. Think cool, vibe-y nightclub dance music. We want people to feel comfortable dancing. In terms of age range of our appeal, like our genre, we want it to cross thresholds and be ageless. We find that we have kids 13 and 14 and younger dancing around when we perform at a wedding, right along with folks in their 50’s and 60’s, so we appeal to a broad age base.
SC: What’s your role in the band?
KL: I am lead vocalist and do auxiliary percussion. We are a 5 piece band: guitar, lead vocals, drummer, keyboard, and bass.
SC: Do you write your own music and lyrics?
KL: Yes. Cameron typically writes, composes, engineers and records the music. He is the primary songwriter/composer but I help with writing. When we started off, we did lots of covers, but now we play mostly originals. We have 5 songs on Spotify and our new album is coming out in a few months. This will be our first full album.
SC: How long has the band been together, what brought you together?
SC: Where are you based out of, where do you play, and in what type of venues?
KL: We are based in SF. We play local SF spots like Madrone Art Bar, Milk Bar, Regency Center (we shot a video there). The venues currently are mostly bars and clubs and corporate events, but we are looking to do a small tour. We would like to start playing larger venues, perhaps by opening for more established bands.
SC: If you had to identify with a famous musician or band, who would it be?
KL: I love Fleetwood Mac, if I had to say just one I’d say them. We have some 70’s guitar rock in our sound. People say they hear Prince, Stevie Wonder, Jamiroquai, Childish Gambino, Gary Clark Jr.
SC: What inspires you as a band?
KL: Feeling like we are contributing to the local artistic community. We love seeing other local artists, artists that are growing on their own. When people discover us and tell us they love our music that really sets our hearts on fire.
SC: Is the SF bay area a good place for you to promote your unique sound?
KL: As artists we fall in and out of love with the city. There is always an entrepreneurial spirit here, and artists need that spirit. We find that it can be tough to get attendance at shows due to various reasons. When the band is unknown people are particularly unwilling to take a chance. We find that people aren’t very interested in live music in SF in general unless it is at one of the massive venues. We always make sure they end up happy they do come however.
The local artist scene is supportive though. In terms of sharing space with other bands, there is always space in the bay area music scene for bands to co-exist and support one another. In general, artists are excited to meet other artists.
SC: When people leave your show, what is it that you hope they will say about you?
KL: “Why aren’t they playing the Shoreline [in Mountain View]!” We want them to walk out of our shows and tell everyone how much fun they had. We often treat the shows as a party, a themed event with a name, and invite other artists such as a body painter to collaborate. We did that at Madrone Art bar and brought in blacklights, everyone was painted and showing lots of skin, painted like glow-in-the-dark cheetahs, everyone had fun as whatever animal they chose. At the end of the day you want everyone to have fun. Someone said to me after the body painting show that it reminded him of ‘old San Francisco’.
Thanks Kirby, for the interview and to the rest of the band for a great set at Amnesia. I hope to be able to see you all live again soon!