By Nicholas Jason Lopez
They’re surely making a lot of noise.
Three languages, four different countries and five members make up Houston-based Crank Up The Silence, whom were formed by songwriter/lead singer/guitarist Leif Måsvær in 2018, as he recruited the best of Houston’s local music scene – keyboardist/vocalist Angie Ruth, lead guitarist Euan Mackay, drummer Johandy Ureña and bassist Steve Ruth.
With anthemic songs like “Can’t Take That Away,” “Just Keep Holding On” and “Amygdala” that were practically designed to be performed live, the band has taken full advantage of the return of concerts, having gotten to recently play with the likes of Saliva, Chasing Yesterday, Primrose Hollow, AV8 and Rotary Phones.
They’re set to play the 5th Annual Support Local Music Awards Show, which will be held on Nov. 27, 2021 at the Scoutbar, alongside other acts like Via Linda, Zombieface, The Weeds and Filero. They’ve also been nominated for the “Best Local Band” Award.
The Music Bugle had the opportunity to chat with Måsvær about how things have been lately and more.
Music Bugle – How did you guys decide the band name?
Leif Måsvær – So, we started with the name “Silence,” thinking that it would be a fun contrast to bring a loud rock band and basically saying, “Would it not be fun to have a room full of people chanting the band name loudly and screaming for ‘Silence’?” There is some wonderful irony in that scenario. Later on, on a more serious note, the “Crank Up The Silence” name spun out of the way we approach the songwriting. There is so much noise out there in the world – and we have become a society of loud voices often with nothing to say – also the title of one of our songs, so we wanted to not contribute to that noise, unless we felt that we had something worth saying, so the lyrics side is to us, an important part and the name “Crank Up The Silence” dwells on the idea that maybe we need more silence, contemplation and by cranking up the silence, we also turn down some of the unnecessary noise.
Music Bugle – Have you been working on any new music?
Leif Måsvær – Yes, we have 15 songs ready and keep writing continuously.
Music Bugle – How have you been affected by the COVID-19 pandemic?
Leif Måsvær – We were just starting to gig with Crank Up The Silence as the pandemic hit. With the restrictions that came with it, we made the choice to focus our time on recording and using livestreams and social media to keep building the momentum for our growing fanbase. In hindsight, we are super happy with those choices, because we are coming out of the pandemic in great musical shape and have turned this difficult situation into a very productive phase.
Music Bugle – What are you looking forward to the most these days?
Leif Måsvær – More live shows is definitely up there, but also to release more music. We are continuously working with our producer on the recording side.
Music Bugle – What are three of your favorite all-time albums?
Leif Måsvær – ‘Absolution’ by Muse, ‘Continuum’ by John Mayer and ‘Only Revolutions’ by Biffy Clyro.
Music Bugle – What’s the best piece of advice that you’ve ever received?
Leif Måsvær – Every day, play something you have never played before.
Music Bugle – Away from music, what’s something that people might be surprised to know about you?
Leif Måsvær – I grew up in Norway on a small island and had to take a ferry to get into the city. As a kid, I used to take the ferry to town and go to the library and make photocopies of Tabs in Guitar Player, take the ferry back and practice all the different guitar techniques from the copies I made.
Music Bugle – What is something that you wish happened more in today’s music industry?
Leif Måsvær – It is a new paradigm that we are all adapting to with the music streaming and social media now being some of the main drivers. There is a lot of opportunity in this new landscape, but it does also drive new skillsets to be adapted by musicians, maybe especially with it comes to social media. I would, however, want to see more festival live shows where talent could be showcased in its natural habitat, the in-person live shows. Playing live is what fuels the dream and scratches the itch for most rock musicians.
Music Bugle – Does a band need social media to be successful?
Leif Måsvær – Yes. Like it or not, finding your voice in social media and getting comfortable with that kind of exposure can be painful, but it is also great. You can engage with your fans on a regular and continuous basis and let them be a part of your journey, not only when you play live shows, but also as a support for driving the business side through sale of merch. This is more important now than ever with the payout for streamed music being challengingly low.
Music Bugle – Who are you listening to right now, music-wise?
Leif Måsvær – Right now, I listen to Orianthi.