Portsmouth indie band Crystal Tides flex with new EP Side Effect and Wedgewood Rooms date | Interview

In these days where even the cassette tape can be (partially) rehabilitated and revived as a music format, perhaps nothing should surprise us.

Friday, 17th June 2022, 11:31 am

But hands up anyone who saw the return of flexi discs? These notoriously wonky-sounding pieces of plastic were often found on the front of music magazines or given away on cereal boxes back in the 1970s and ’80s.

But now it seems they’re having something of a comeback, and Portsmouth indie band have used them to release their latest EP, Side Effect, in a nice little package, with one track on each flexi.

As frontman Billy Gregory says: ‘We wanted vinyl, but there's a bit of a vinyl shortage at the moment, specially for smaller bands like us, if we'd wanted to release it on vinyl we would have had to delay releasing it for up to another year because of the waiting time.

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‘This tied in really nicely with the tour we had booked in, so we thought how can we make it not CD, but something that works on vinyl...?

‘Fitz, our manager, had the idea for the flexi disc. I won't lie, when I first saw them, I was a little bit, ok, are these guys going to work? I'd heard so many horror stories about flexi discs, but we did a bit of research and the quality of them now is really good and we've had loads of fans sending us messages with videos of them playing on their record players and they sound great.

‘We were a bit sceptical as well about how they'd sell, how they'd be perceived. It's not something you see these days, and a lot of people don't actually know what they are, but when we did the tour loads of people were interested in them and we sold a bunch.’

Crystal Tides play The Wedgewood Rooms on June 17, 2022

The band is now proudly signed to Run On Records.

‘It’s great – it makes a change, not having to front money yourself for everything for once!’ he laughs. ‘It's nice to be looked after and have industry contacts - it's definitely helped us because we've already had so much success with the EP.’

They are now also officially a five-piece, after long-term live guitarist Neil Cripps became a full-time member.

‘In all honesty,’ says Billy, ‘I'm surprised it's taken this long for us to pull our fingers out and ask him to join us officially.’

Crystal Tides play The Wedgewood Rooms on June 17, 2022

‘He's been in the live set up forever and we've always treated him like he is in the band. I think the only reason we didn't ask in the past is because we were worried he'd say no, and it wouldn't suit his lifestyle at the time.

‘We've talked about it since, and I think he agreed, if we had asked him really early on he probably would have rejected the offer.

‘But now, where he’s so involved anyway in terms of things we decide on, ideas for live stuff, ideas for songs, we were like: “Do you want to join?” and he said: “Yes, 100 per cent.”’

Three years ago Crystal Tides headlined – and sold out The Wedge – so they’re pleased to be back.

‘Before when we played there we were running around like headless chickens trying to get people to come, driving around to people to deliver tickets to guarantee the sales. I know a lot of bands do that, and I'm not knocking that, but we're now in a position where we're close to selling out and we haven't had to sell a single ticket like that, which is great.

‘We're competing with the Isle of Wight Festival weekend too, so we've had quite a few people who would normally be there but have messaged us to say they're over there!’

They’re also looking to future releases already.

‘Now we've released this EP, we're back at that stage of: what are we going to release next?

‘We've started the writing process again, but we've got a load of songs we wrote for this EP and we didn't use, and a load of half-ideas that we never really had the time to develop.

‘On the tour we’ve just done, when we were driving from city to city, we sat and listened through all of the demos we did and discussed, is it worth looking back at this song?

‘There were a lot of forgotten things where we'd done sort of half-songs, and gone: “This is so good, why didn't we use it for this EP?” So hopefully there's some ideas there.

‘But one of the most exciting things for us is always writing new songs, so we are also in the process starting putting together new songs.’

Crystal Tides are at The Wedgewood Rooms tonight, Friday, June 17. Go to wedgewood-rooms.co.uk.