Crooks on Tape – a Los Angeles-based band featuring John Schmersal of Vertical Scratchers, Enon, Brainiac, and Caribou’s live band – play Hotel Utah this Wednesday, September 30. Crooks on Tape’s sound is best described as quirky experimental pop – their songs are born from recording all improvisational sessions and later sampling and honing those sessions into the tunes that can be found on 2013’s excellent Fingerprint on Misra Records and 2015’s In the Realm of the Ancient Minor, a instrumental album on Pure Orgone Records that digs deeper into the experimental.
I was able to interview John, whose music I’ve listened to and loved for twenty years, over the phone as Crooks on Tape drove from Seattle to Portland. We talked about how the band translates their improvised recorded material to live performance, what the future holds for both Crooks on Tape and Vertical Scratchers, and what makes a place like Dayton, Ohio (a hometown he shares with bands like Guided by Voices and The Breeders) produce so many great bands.
Listen to the interview: