Celebrity Crush are an indie band from Los Angeles, CA. The core band is comprised of long-time friends Jesse and Violet, with additional members Satchy, Zach, and Francesco on the strings. The band’s latest release, Anaphase, features three calming indie tracks that have an air of familiarity to them (EP streaming is available at the bottom of the article).
Jesse, Violet, Francesco, and I had a little chat that took some interesting turns. Read the full interview below:
How did you all meet?
Jesse: Violet and I have known each other forever. And we actually met Francesco on Facebook. We just posted asking if anyone knew a violin player and someone tagged him. It was really weird because when we first started hanging out, he would just randomly get out of the car when we were driving him home.
Violet: Yeah (laughs) he would just be like “this is good” and get out.
Were there any names that you almost went with before you landed on Celebrity Crush?
Violet: Well, we were called Soma for a while. It was based off that Smashing Pumpkins song.
Jesse: Yeah, it was based off of a Smashing Pumpkins song, and then we found out the it was a Brave New World reference too. And we were like “wow, Billy Corgan has some really strange ideas, maybe we should change the name.” Because he’s like a hyper-conservative and his new album just has like pictures of Native American people on it. It was kind of problematic.
But in terms of the name “Celebrity Crush” – it sort of represents having the obsession of an idea. It’s something that you see a lot of today, especially with social media and stuff.
Do you have a favorite song that you’ve written?
Jesse: I like any song that Violet sings in.
Violet: I guess my favorite is probably Crying at Disneyland. Just because it’s really pretty.
Have you ever cried at Disneyland?
Violet: I’ve cried at Disneyland once.
Jesse: Yeah, maybe when I was a baby, probably.
Violet: Yeah we have a joke with our friend Jennifer, it’s like “it’s not a trip to Disneyland if somebody doesn’t cry.”
Jesse: It’s also kind of ridiculous too, because that is like the last place you should be crying.
Violet: Yeah, I mean it’s the happiest place on earth.
Jesse: Unless it’s about those food prices, you know what I’m saying?
Some of our earlier songs, I feel like we tried to put in a lot of meaning into them lyrically and it was maybe coming from an immature point of view. It was one of those things, like why would you be sad when you have every reason not to be? Like as a young person, I guess.
And then Your Regress has a ton of stuff about my life in it. I wrote that song in Italy after a relationship ended in a not so great way. I’m not going to get into it – but the song is really about just acknowledging your circumstances, but not letting them define you. Hope that isn’t too vague.
No, that’s great. Does Jesse do most of the writing or is it split between you guys?
Violet: Yeah, well it’s kind of democratic. Usually Jesse will write something and then the rest of us will pick it up and build off of it. It’s easy to write with everyone because it’s really democratic.
Jesse: My thing is I’ll write like a demo of just a guitar thing and then it’s like “If you guys like this, then you can write parts and we’ll make it a song. And if not, then I’ll just keep it as my own thing.” And also anyone else in the band can do that, like if Zach or Satchel come up with something we go through the same process.
And also, sometimes we write each other’s parts in the song. Like if our drummer had a really cool idea for a bass line with his drum beat, then he can suggest that, too.
Francesco: What’s up guys.
Thanks for joining us! What’s the strangest venue / show that you’ve played?
Jesse: Well, our release shows are always horrible. Like the first release show we almost started a fire and burned down the venue.
Violet: We bought a floodlight and we put it on the carpet (because we are idiots), and in the middle of our set, it started smoking and we had to stop the set.
Jesse: Also, San Diego with the Spongebob thing.
Violet: We were playing in San Diego a couple of weekends ago and at the end of the set, they wanted to hear more music but we didn’t have anything else. So Jesse suggested that we play Spongebob in a minor key.
Jesse: Because we know it!
Francesco: You know that meme category on Youtube of like theme songs, but it’s modulated with software. Like the Godfather but happy, or Spongebob in a minor key so it’s creepy. So Violet and I were playing that in rehearsal so Jesse said “DO YOU WANT TO HEAR SPONGEBOB SQUAREPANTS IN MINOR KEY?” and somehow the crowd was so enthusiastic about it that they were chanting it.
Jesse: Like “SPONGEBOB! SPONGEBOB!”
Francesco: And it was so uncomfortable.
Jesse: Like 500 people chanting this at us.
Francesco: I was so embarrassed.
Violet: It was really scary.
Francesco: I did not want to play it. Every instinct in my body – when he asked that question – was like “no, they do not want to hear that.”
Jesse: But then they got mad! They were like “screw you, play Spongebob right now!”
Francesco: And then when we didn’t play it they were like “yeah FUCK YOU!”
Violet: Yeah it was really rough, but fun.
Francesco: It was still an amazing show.
Where was this at? This was a show in San Diego?
Jesse: Yeah, the Queen Bee’s venue?
Oh yeah, I was at that show! That’s an interesting venue. They rent that venue out for Zumba.
Jesse: What’s Zumba?
It’s like what housewives do to exercise? It’s like dancing.
Francesco: It’s like fake latino music used for exercising by white people, and it’s really funny.
Yeah and they also use that venue for quinceaneras.
Jesse: That’s cool.
Francesco: That’s bomb.
Jesse: For our next show, we should have the first half be zumba and the second half be a quinceanera.
That would be great, I would go to that. Are you guys from LA?
Jesse: Yeah, pretty much.
Violet: I’m originally from New York but I’m pretty much from here now.
Do you play a lot shows in LA?
Jesse: Yeah, a decent amount. We play like 1 or 2 a month.
Francesco: But we end up playing more than that, I feel like.
Jesse: It’s hard to know how many to do. Because if you play too much, people won’t come to see you. But if you play too little, people forget.
Francesco: Yeah we try to space it out and just do shows where there’s going to be a lot of people for sure.
Violet: And good vibes.
Francesco: Yeah, and that way a lot of people see us and we don’t have to play a lot and people don’t get bored of us. I think that we get really lucky because people always end up hitting us up for shows. Jesse and Violet have been playing forever and just know a lot of people.
Jesse: It’s still kind of hard sometimes, just finding the right show and venue.
Photo Courtesy of LA Record
Do you have any upcoming shows?
Jesse: We have an upcoming show at this notorious venue on November 3rd. Not sure if it’s actually notorious but it’s called Cool Ox. It’s at this spot in the Valley where there’s just a bunch of 40-year-old dads that go there to play music. And some of it’s pretty good but some of it’s so… Like you don’t even realize how music can be this way. Like my uncle was once in this band that exclusively did cover songs and movie theme songs but all of the lead parts were done on a melodica. Like this guy was really into playing the melodica and always wore sunglasses and Hawaiian shirts.
Francesco: And he has the tube on the melodica, so it’s not even the melodica that goes straight into your mouth. It’s like with the tube-shit.
Jesse: How do we describe a melodica to people who are reading this and don’t know what it is?
Francesco: It’s so weird. It’s like a mini keyboard, with a really long tube that looks like it’s for some fetish thing.
I almost didn’t want us to describe the place so that people would come and be like “what is this place?” Like there’s no chairs – it’s just all beds, and that’s the seating. And then there’s like bird cages with stuffed birds in them.
Jesse: And stuffed people.
Francesco: There’s no stuffed people.
Jesse: Yes, there’s stuffed people but you can’t tell.
Francesco: Please come. We urge you.
At this point, A guy in a wolf mask comes in the room and drags Jesse away. There’s a bit of rustling behind the door and he comes back looking like this:
So I noticed that there’s a lot of samples used in your songs. Where do these samples come from and how do you select them?
Jesse: We make all of those ourselves
Francesco: Yeah, like the one that sounds like a movie soundtrack. I played that myself – I layered about 8 or 12 violin tracks so it sounds like a string ensemble.
Jesse: That one’s between that and a synthesizer that I programmed.
Violet: And then the dialogue in Denial is Cole Haden from Model/Actriz.
Francesco: Model/Actriz is such an amazing band, I really suggest you check them out. Super awesome that he was down to collaborate with us. He basically just wrote that poetry and then recited it.
Do you prefer all-ages shows or bar shows?
All: Definitely all-ages.
Francesco: Yeah also, somehow, a lot of people that like our music are teenagers. I’m not sure why but it just seems to happen that way, and it’s cool.
Violet: And the all-ages vibe I feel is a lot better because it includes everybody, instead of being just 21 and over.
Jesse: We’ve only played one 21+ show ever.
Violet: And it was awful.
Jesse: It was just like two guys drinking beer.
Violet: And yelling “PLAY INSEMINATION ARMY” and I’m like “No, we’re not going to do that.” That was back when it was just me and Jesse without the whole band. Yeah, that was really rough.
Jesse: We do it for the kids!
Stay up to date with Celebrity Crush by showing them some love through the following social links:
And show even more love by purchasing their music on Bandcamp. Listen to their latest EP, Anaphase, below:
All proceeds for Anaphase go towards gene therapy and cancer research.
Be sure to check out their last full-length from a couple of years ago, The Halo Effect:
THIS INTERVIEW WAS EDITED AND CONDENSED FOR CLARITY