“I had my sister listen to it and she said, ‘This is like the chaos remix!’” says Sam Huntington of “control,” the first single from local Philadelphia duo Crooks & Nannies in five years, which dropped this Wednesday. The song is an older track, which Madel Rafter (the other half of the band) wrote for a previous project and which Rafter and Huntington re-recorded this July. “It goes a lot of places. It’s pretty fuckin’ weird,” says Madel of the Crooks & Nannies version during a recent phone chat with the band. In their most recent press release Rafter discussed the origins of the track.
“I wrote ‘control’ in 2017 while struggling with consistent intrusive thoughts. I wanted to capture the feeling of walking through an art museum and holding all of your muscles tightly because if you don’t you might give into some crazy impulse and do something really really bad like pull a painting off the wall and put your foot through it. The lyrics talk about wearing a mask for the world to try to conceal internal negative thoughts, and worrying about being ‘bad to the bone’ and ugly inside. On the facade the song feels humorous, but I often use humor as a way to soften the blow of darker sentiments. Sonically, we took an approach that feels almost sing-songy at the top, but gets progressively more chaotic, fast, and emotionally blown out as the song progresses.”
Although Crooks & Nannies are far from a household name, they’ve been at it for quite some time now. “We’ve been making music together for the past decade,” says Madel during our recent chat. And when I ask about some of the highlights of those ten years, Sam tells me that just lasting this long has been the biggest thing: “We went to high school together, and grew up in the same town, and moved to Philly together, so just being able to be like, ‘We’re doing this!’ has been a big highlight.”
In addition to the track drop, this Wednesday Crooks & Nannies also announced their signing to Grand Jury Music, joining PHILTHY favorites like Hovvdy, Jordana, and Samia. And the two seem very happy to be part of that particular family. “I’m very excited to be working with them. They’re very down to Earth, like we had beers with them,” says Madel, while Sam adds, “They were very immediately on board with what we’re doing.” And without giving too many details, Madel says, “We definitely have new music on the horizon.”
Crooks & Nannies are about to embark on their first proper tour, which will have them supporting Lucy Dacus for more than two weeks at mega-venues [mostly] along the East Coast. The tour kicks off with a hometown show on Thursday, September 29th, at the Fact… err, Franklin Music Hall (Madel and Sam admit that they haven’t gotten used to the name change either.) They tell me that they’re super excited for the dates, which will have the band performing in a new format. “It’s pretty Rock N’ Roll. We’re playing as a five-piece, whereas before it was almost exclusively as a two-piece, with backing tracks,” says Madel. And when asked what can be expected of the show, Sam tells me, “We’re all gonna stage dive, in unison, after the first song and all break our legs, except for one person, and they’ll play the set solo, but it’ll be a different person every night!”
*Get your tickets here.