By Nicholas Jason Lopez
Somewhat unsatisfied with an old song called “By The Beach” that he thought deserved a much better job, lead singer Torin Craig was focused to make things right the second go around when his Ontario-based psychedelic act Pretty went in to record their new album.
In one live take to a 16-track tape, Craig felt the new “By The Beach” exemplified everything he hoped for when he formed Pretty a few years back – a “crazy,” yet focused sound.
In addition to Craig on vocals/guitar, Pretty also includes guitarist/backing vocalist Eliot Rossi, bassist/backing vocalist Will Macquarrie, keyboardist Brian Hayes and drummer/percussionist/backing vocalist Jay Crafton.
The Music Bugle had the chance to talk with the band about “By The Beach” and more.
Music Bugle – What inspired the name “Pretty” for the project?
Torin Craig – We used to be a bad grunge band that played very ugly music and had no better ideas.
Music Bugle – Out of the shows you’ve played, which ones stand out for you?
Torin Craig – Last February, we took a trip up to Bracebridge and played two full sets. Rehearsing for that show was probably the most work we’ve put into a single show yet. In August ’19, we did a show at Handlebar with a funky light show and a full house. Brian – our keyboard player – wore makeup for the first time. Good vibes only.
Music Bugle – What has been your biggest challenge lately?
Eliot Rossi – Not being able to perform is a huge obstacle. Our live show is the biggest part of the band and what we spend the most time on, so it’s extremely difficult to keep up the momentum in light of that.
Music Bugle – Who are you listening to right now, music-wise?
Torin Craig – Skip Spence, Maitreya Kali and The Monkees.
Music Bugle – What was it like making your single “By The Beach”?
Eliot Rossi – “By The Beach” was recorded for our album ‘Sertraline Dream.’ We recorded the whole album live to 16-track tape, which was a decidedly intense experience. We recorded the song in a single take. We didn’t even need to listen back after because we knew we’d nailed it. It was very rewarding.
Music Bugle – How have you been affected by the COVID-19 pandemic?
Torin Craig – We had planned to push our album ‘Sertraline Dream’ to labels and were hopeful it would attract some attention. As a result of COVID-19, all of our contacts at labels lost their jobs, which severed our connections to the broader industry. We released the album anyway, but it certainly hasn’t attracted as much attention as we would have liked. It’s very difficult to see an immense amount of work – and money – put into something you care deeply about not amount to much. At least there is always next time.
Music Bugle – What do you hope for in 2021?
Will Macquarrie – Anything, but what we have now. We’re pumped to get back on stage, make another record and just be a band again, in any capacity.
Music Bugle – What’s something you wish happened more in today’s music industry?
Torin Craig – We wish it was easier to make a living in music. Not only are you not going to get paid as much because of the emergence of streaming, but there is also a real reluctance by the industry to invest in new artists and bands. It makes gaining any real traction very difficult.
Music Bugle – Where do you go when you need to escape?
Bryan Hayes – The Frodis Room.
Music Bugle – What’s a quote that motivates you to keep doing what you do?
Jay Crafton – “You never blow yr trip forever!“