Stock Market Crash lights up Oklahoma
I bummed a smoke to Derek Knowlton, lead guitarist of Stock Market Crash, and set up shop for an interview outside Size Records before the band’s tour kickoff show in Oklahoma City.
The indie record store, which neighbors the Conservatory where the band was headlining a show that night, was swarming with young hipsters.
“Nice specs,” one bypasser commented to Knowlton as we sat down curbside for the interview.
With unique threads and “specs” like his, it’s apparent why, when I asked Knowlton about what he does when he’s not doing the band thing, “shopping” was the first word to slip out of his mouth.
“I have a lot of flourescent clothing. I really like neon clothes… and neon underwear,” he said. “I also love Nike high top sneakers. There is like a whole underworld of collectables. Our manager’s really into them, too… he knows all the lingo,” Knowlton said.
His obsession with neon clothing (and neon underwear) works well with the Stock Market Crash outfit, that includes the forgotten art of including a strictly singer frontman (Matt Bacon). Bacon’s equally hip counterparts Knowlton, Jonathan Martin (bass), Collin Shotts (guitar) and John Curtis (drums) create a standout sound on the Oklahoma scene.
“A lot of people are surprised we are from Oklahoma with the kind of music we play. I think a lot of the music that comes out of here is either like Hinder or metal, or real indie, artsy stuff. We are into indie rock, but we also have an 80’s influence,” Knowlton said.
I suspect he’s implying that Stock Market Crash’s new wave/rock sound distinctly clashes with the indie sounds (think Kunek, Stardeath and the White Dwarfs, or Colourmusic) that have been recently emerging from the state. Although the band, who has been consistently touring for the past couple years, does not have the a big management team backing them, they have still joined the ranks of these locals. Their success, however, not come without some strain.
“Matt and I are both recovering drug addicts. We were out in California, and we thought we were rock stars. What better way to finish that off than with the old heroin?” Knowlton said.
With the road life that comes with touring, it sometimes becomes a daunting task to stay clean.
“Last time we were in New York we really struggled because there all these cool underground parties where it’s like the new Studio 54. We go out, and it’s the who’s who of New York City. Everyone has the privalage of taking the edge off with alcohol. You want that sometimes and want to be not so inhibited by self-conciousness,” Knowlton said.
Overcoming these addictions has allowed the band to continue on with success. One of the band’s latest accomplishments was playing South By Southwest, which was just a week before our interview.
“We saw tons of tons of cool bands. We went to the Arts & Crafts tent, which is a Canadian label that has Broken Social Scene and Stars. They had a sign that said they had a special guest. We asked who the special guest was, and they said the Dears, which was weird because they are one of my favorite bands. I didn’t believe them, and we walked off. We came back a couple hours later, though, and we got to see the Dears with just 150 people. We also saw Robbers on High Street. We saw this new up and coming band called Ra Ra Riot, too,” Knowlton said.
Some of Knowlton’s other favorite bands include the Films, the Warlocks, Black Rebel Motorcycle Club and Mew. These are some of the other influences that helped shape the new EP the band has been wrapping up in the studio with local sound engineer Matt Buckley.
Stock Market Crash recently took a break from their day-to-day working lives to record at a lake house.
“It was a really cool experience. It was nice being away from everything. Once we came back to the city it was like ‘Oh, I have to work tonight.’ When we were recording at the lake, we didn’t have that. We would just wake up, eat breakfast, and then record ’til five in the morning,” Knowlton said.
The recording experience also proved to offer some obstacles.
“Matt, our singer, threw a fire cracker down by the lake where there were apparently a bunch of dried leaves. He came upstairs and said ‘I think I started a fire!’ We go outside and there are like 15-foot flames. We called the fire department. We had little fire hoses with little guns and then there were actual fire fighters next to us. It was hilarious,” Knowlton said.
Fortunately, the damages were minimal, but the band was just asked to leave the lake house.
Stock Market Crash is finishing up the EP and is on tour in the U.S. through April.
2009 Update: Stock Market Crash is now Pretty Black Chains.