Wonderland.

PREMIERE: THE CROOKES FT. MISTY MILLER – “EX LOVERS”

Our favourite singer-songwriter turned guitar goddess, Misty Miller has teamed up with The Crookes for their B-side single, “Ex-Lovers”.

Sheffield four-piece The Crookes are making dreamy guitar-pop. We were warned about the death of guitar music a couple of years ago, the NME mourned and moaned but all the while, championed a fresh crop of six-stringed soldiers. Now on their fourth album, George Waite, Daniel Hopewell, Tom Dakin and Adam Crofts certainly aren’t showing any signs of stopping. Their latest single “I Wanna Waste My Time On You” is a light, singalong-ready ode to youth.

What we’re most excited about though is their B-side. Often overlooked, B-sides are for the diehard fans and The Crookes’ doesn’t disappoint. They’ve enlisted mini-punk Misty Miller from Sony Music’s Relentless Records to feature on “Ex Lovers”. Misty is our dream girl, she can sing as sweetly as she can scream ferociously and on this track she’s stuck to the former. George and Misty croon to each other on the stripped back song which they recorded sat on the floor of The Nave Studio, so appropriately poetic. We teamed up the pair once more for a chat about their experience making the track together, highlights include Sainsbury’s brekkie, being Burberry buddies and tattoo guns.

George Waite: Hey! So if you’re ready, let’s begin (feels like sharing time in school, this!). My favourite part of making “Ex Lovers” was probably the first time we sat down to sing it together. We had been talking about it for a while, and I was a bit nervous to see if it would work, so it was the best feeling on that first chorus when you came in with the harmony and it sounded exactly like it had in my head. You sang it so well I just wanted to stop singing and listen to you! What was your favourite bit?

Misty Miller: Yeah, now you mention it that was a great moment. I had been listening to the song a lot since I first heard it and it felt like ages ‘til we could get into the studio together to actually record it! So singing it together for the first time was great. It’s such a beautiful song, it was always gonna work out! My favourite bit was recording it though. We only did about 5 takes didn’t we? The atmosphere was so relaxed. I remember we went into the live room and I just sat on the floor. Something in me just wanted to be down there. And so you just followed, which I loved. And that was that, the mic was placed on the floor and we recorded it live.

GW: The recording was great. We were right in the middle of making our album and everything was pretty intense, so to have a moment like that – a bit of calm I guess – was really refreshing. We didn’t agonise over it too – we left the mistakes (all mine!) in and that makes it for me. To me it’s a very raw song to start with – I couldn’t help picture certain people when we were singing it. Was it that way for you? It feels weird actually that “Ex Lovers” is going to be out there now. It’s kind of been a secret for months and now other people are actually going to hear it. We first talked about it in The Riverside in Sheffield when you played that solo show which blew us away. I remember thinking we’ve got this tune that you’d be great on, but fully expected you to say no. You had to drive back to London that night and I remember feeling really bad for you! I’ve done that 3am M1 journey so many times – I think it’s my least favourite part of being in a band!

MM: Yeah definitely. I could take myself back to that feeling when we sang it, which I’m sure is something a lot of relationships go through. That was a long drive! It was such a shame my band couldn’t be there for that gig but it’s good to do solo shows sometimes and having you guys there was such a nice surprise. We’ve known each other since I was 17 or so, back in the Burberry days. So there’s that connection there. As soon as you asked me I was on it! I’d wanted to do a duet with a guy for ages, so it was perfect timing. Did the song turn out the way you expected? I imagined it being a full band song like the demo you originally sent, but in the end we totally stripped it back, which I love by the way. It was a surprise and a brave choice I think. I almost wish we filmed the recording of it, it was so special. But we did, I guess… just the sound! ha.

GW: Songs never turn out exactly how you plan I don’t think, which is a good thing ‘cause otherwise it’d be really boring and predictable. I love what we made – it’s a recording I’m proud of. Yeah, you’re right – it’s very bare but I think any other layers would have killed that rawness. That [Burberry] Serpentine night feels like ages and ages ago now. I guess it was! We’re both pretty different now – in terms of style and the music we make. I admire how you’ve navigated your way through everything that goes with the ‘industry’ and major labels etc. on your own terms. I imagine it would be easy to become something you’re not in that situation but you’ve got your own style – I love all the DIY fanzine artwork for the new tour. I’m hopefully coming to the Brudenell. Are you excited about your tour?

MM: Sorry for the late reply, my mate came round with a tattoo gun and we got carried away. Ah yeah come to the Brudenell that would be wicked. Tell me about it, the industry can be very difficult. Especially if you’re a young girl. I could have done what they wanted me to do and had ‘success’ with that, but I wouldn’t have been happy and it’s really important for me to keep my integrity and stay in love with the music I make. I find venturing out and collaborating with other artists really therapeutic and can be super inspiring, too. So it was real fun to work with you guys. Tour should be fun. I love playing shows with my band. Performing is the main reason why I do this. You can release so many demons up on stage. Are you guys planning a tour soon? I’d love to see what “Ex Lovers” is like live. I’m sure it would be killer.

GW: No worries! That happens to me all the time too… What’s the latest addition? (If I can ask that) Completely – everything else is just a means to getting on stage. It’s been so weird for us this last six months – with making the album, getting a new drummer, and starting Anywhere Records, there’s been no chance to actually go out and play! We have some seriously itchy feet at the moment. We’ll be back in the van once the record is released though. It’d be so cool to do “Ex Lovers” live together at some point – we’ll have to try and figure something out. When’s your record out?

MM: Latest edition… well, I got loads. Give me a tattoo gun and I treat it like a pen. So I have a new little alien head, a few little words and a blue tit on my leg. Did some on my mates too. Very addictive. My record is out early next year. A long wait since I recorded it but that’s major labels for you. It’s gotta be done right I guess. This album means a lot to me. I’m really proud of it but I can’t wait to work on the new one. You got a title for your album yet?

GW: We have – it’s named after a track on the record which is very Cure-y. We’ve pretty much got everything set though – Tom’s done the artwork, videos are ready, tour’s being booked – there’s no going back now! Out of interest what was the name of that song about never getting married that you sung to us in Leeds? P. S. I just remembered my favourite part of recording “Ex Lovers” was actually when we had breakfast at that big Sainsbury’s in Hillsborough. Good times.

MM: Oh it’s called “I Never Will Marry”. I don’t know who it’s originally by, but Joan Baez sung it and that’s when I fell in love with the song. My fave song of yours is “City of Lights”, a pretty old one I think… I also loved the one where in the video you dressed as a woman, “Play Dumb”. I thought that was really fucking cool and brave of you to do! Everyone talks the talk but people rarely walk the walk.

“I Wanna Waste My Time On You” is out now, get the track instantly when you pre-order ‘Lucky Ones’.

PREMIERE: THE CROOKES FT. MISTY MILLER – “EX LOVERS”

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