By Nicholas Jason Lopez
Crooked State – the Colchester, Essex-based rock duo comprised of vocalist/guitarist Charlie Bland and drummer/vocalist Jessica Howlett – dropped their debut album ‘MK Ultra’ – produced by Alan Jones at Black Cactus Studios – earlier this summer.
Since their inception, they’ve opened for acts like Slaves, Lydia Lunch and Shonen Knife and have garnered praise for their energetic live performances from outlets like BBC Introducing and iHeartRadio.
The Music Bugle had the chance to talk with them about ‘MK Ultra’ and more.
Music Bugle – How was the name “Crooked State” decided?
Charlie Bland – So, before we landed on our name, we were called “Grandma’s Waffle Velocity” and we decided on a change. We both wrote words that we liked on a piece of paper and stumbled across “Crooked State,” which we instantly fell in love with for its ambiguity.
Music Bugle – Where do you go when you need a break?
Jessica Howlett – I like to take a bike ride out into the countryside and smoke a fat joint. Then, I’m inspired to write and record.
Music Bugle – What do you wish happened less in today’s music industry?
Charlie Bland – Shit music.
Music Bugle – Who are you listening to right now, music-wise?
Jessica Howlett – My last playlist included Justin Bieber, Foo Fighters, Katy Perry and Muse.
Music Bugle – What makes you the most proud about where you come from?
Charlie Bland – Independent venues and studios in Colchester, such as Coda, Brew House, The Three Wise Monkeys and Black Cactus Studios. Also, the countryside!
Music Bugle – Which of your songs were the hardest to write?
Jessica Howlett – Nothing really comes to mind from ‘MK Ultra.’ The album consists mainly of the first songs we wrote together as a unit. If anything, the new material that we’ve been working on has been a bit of a challenge, as we are really pushing ourselves musically and will be jumping into the studio again as soon as possible!
Music Bugle – What do you hope for by the end of 2021?
Jessica Howlett – World domination, free acid supplied by the NHS and an alien invasion.
Music Bugle – How have you been affected by the COVID-19 pandemic?
Charlie Bland – I think it’s affected us just as much as most other bands. No live shows, rehearsals or recording during the lockdowns, but it’s made us appreciate things a lot more, like family, friends and even the small things in life.
Music Bugle – What’s a quote that motivates you to keep doing what you do?
Charlie Bland – “Keep on truckin’.”
Music Bugle – What was the moment that made you want to become a musician?
Jessica Howlett – When I watched MTV as a kid and saw all sorts of bands like Guns N’ Roses and Metallica.