Connell Cruise made his highly-anticipated comeback earlier this month when he dropped his new Charlie Finch-assisted collaboration ‘All Summer Long’. The single is something new and different from the star as he sets out to record his next studio album. As the single continues to gain momentum on radio stations across the country, we get up close and personal with the singer as he opens up about his new era.
What inspired the lyrical content of ‘All Summer Long’?
It’s about summer and love. Summer makes you so present. You never really think about what’s next, you’re just in it. You’re really living. Charlie and I wanted to bring in stories and memories of our summers growing up in South Africa. There are a LOT of Grease references. That’s the John Travolta vibe we wanted to tap into. Summer love is a universal truth and one we spend the whole year waiting for. It was a fun song to write.
You worked with Charlie Finch on the song. What drew you to creating a song with him?
Charlie and I wrote ‘All Summer Long’ a few months ago. We had jumped on a session earlier this year and that gave us a song we loved. It made us excited to work on another. Somehow, it took us a while to get back into studio (travel schedules) but when we did, you could tell there was this great energy about it. We’d met a bunch of times before because we have the same agent. We kept running into each other at shows, at the SAMAs and eventually we were like, “Let’s stop meeting accidentally and let’s hang out for real.” Charlie and his wife, Carmen, had just moved up to Johannesburg at that time so Sarah, my wife, and I invited them out. Before you knew it, the four of us were hanging out all the time so I asked Charlie if he wanted to collaborate on a song together. He said he’d never written with anyone before but he was willing to give it a go. That led us to ‘All Summer Long’. Working with him was a ton of fun so we decided to plan a tour around the country for the summer.
You step into a new sonic direction on this track. Talk to us a bit about this.
This was the kind of session that snowballs ideas out of every lyric, every melody change or added instrument. It starts to take on a life of its own and eventually felt like the song is leading us instead of the other way around. I think that kind of explains all the experimentation in the songwriting process I had with Charlie. How different we approach melody, lyrics and delivery and how different our music is from each other didn’t matter. On paper you wouldn’t say the two go together but it’s actually given both of us something really interesting to play with.
How important is experimentation for you when it comes to your music?
On the first day in studio we were tracking instruments with Sloani at David Gresham Records and the three of us picked up straight away that this was the kind of song you don’t get to make every day. It’s different, it’s big, it’s crazy and it’s like nothing we’d normally do on our own. You have to be brave with a song like this so we went all out on it. After we tracked all of Charlie’s and Sloani’s guitars we started calling friends all over Joburg, asking if we could use theirs, we were like mad scientists about it, digging for the tone we needed. We drove over to Howie Combrink’s studio to borrow his famous (but hideous) red Telecaster. At one point we had something crazy like 7 different guitars all tracking one after the other. I think we ended up using nearly all of them too. Experimentation is part of making of music. It’s the lifeblood. Without it, without moving, constantly moving, it kind of lies stagnant. I don’t think we’re wired, as music makers and music listeners, to settle for stagnant.
What else can we expect from you in 2020?
This has been my first release in almost two years. I’ve been taking some time to myself and my family but getting back into studio to put this track together felt it’s as if I never left. It feels like home. I want this to be the song people hear this summer. I want it to be a whole vibe. I want everyone who hears it to know that I’m back and that I take my gin with tonic and lime. Charlie and I are also hitting the road this month. It’s been a while since I’ve played any shows here, I’m actually really excited to get out there again. I’ve got some new songs that I’ve been itching to try out on stage. I’m working on something big for 2020. ‘All Summer Long’ is about me coming back and the album we’re releasing next year is about more than just being in the game again, it’s about owning the game. I’m not ready to talk about it too much yet, but it’s an album and it’s going to blow your mind.
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