Crocodyle On Decade-Spanning Influences & Their Feel Good Music

With a new EP dropping today, a quickly growing fandom, and the most infectious camaraderie, these Crocodyle rockers are well on their way to making their mark in the music industry.

Few bands have a cooler sound than Crocodyle, which says a lot in the days of modern media, where talent is found within every crack and crevice of the Internet. Consisting of Hays Thompson on drums, Victor Pacek on bass, and Huxley Rittman on guitar and vocals, this clever, offbeat, and oh-so talented three piece is making music for the ages. Every song thus far has been a delectable mix of alternative rock and power pop with a dash of sixties singer-songwriter and a sprinkle of nineties grunge. There is a genuine passion and an elusive energy radiating from each member of this rising band, which makes the release of their new EP all the more thrilling. AQ sat down (virtually) with two-thirds of the charming rock outfit to chat about it – and so much more.

Your EP, Sharing a Twin Bed, is right around the corner from being released into the world. What do you hope listeners get from this collection of songs?

Huxley Rittman: I hope they just worry about less in general. I don’t know, really… I feel like it’s been so long since these were written.

Hays Thompson: I feel like there’s a good mix. There are  some that are super upbeat, like “I Feel Good” and stuff that are like anthems. The kind where you’re kicked in the face with being told to feel good. Then there’s a lot of slower things, like, “Let Me Cry” or “Moody Boy Hours” type stuff. 

Hux: I don’t want to say it’s not that deep, but like I think all the EP is trying to say is just like, “Hey, take it easy. You’re good. We’re all good.”

Absolutely. I felt that as well. I also think, as a whole, you have such a dynamic sound that can truly fill a room and fit different moods. What is your process for creating music and just getting together to work on your art, style, and songs? 

Hux: I think it’s just pretty instinctive. Usually I’ll come in with just chords and lyrics and stuff. Then we just take a stab at it, and more often than not, we’re kind of on the same page from the jump about where the energy should be. It’s usually only ever a matter of “Are we going to give this one a bridge or a solo or not?”

Do you find that your sound comes together organically? Do you set out to have this really authentic style or is it just what comes naturally to you all? Because I feel like your sound is so unique, but everything I’ve heard so far just feels so simple and nice to listen to.

Hays: Thanks! I think on my end, at least, it comes naturally. My style of drumming and his style of playing and singing, I think that they just naturally kind of mesh well together. 

Hux: Yeah. I think if anything, it’s just a product of the fact that we listen to a lot of different stuff. I think my own bones are like classic dad rock, like bluesy stuff. What I listened to growing up and what I would learn on guitar, though, was all this like nineties and 2000s stuff. I was a shredder for a second, too. Hays’ drumming always, I feel, brings a fresher, more modern, kind of tightness than I would have maybe given it my own. Where in times where I would take the dad rock root, Hays will give it something new. I don’t even know how to describe it, but with him it just creates something cool because we’re coming from like different decades of discipline. You know what I mean?

For sure! Even just from my own time spent diving into your releases, I found  quite a few notes of like Nirvana, the early days of like The Killers, and even almost a little like Aerosmith style musicality. That’s just my perspective, but you did say that you have all these different influences. Do you think that having a mix of them has been beneficial to your sound?

Hux: Of course!

Hays: Yeah, for sure. If we’re making a rock song or something, being able to pull elements from other genres where we’re like, “Oh, well I like this over here, let’s try it. Why not?” Sometimes it doesn’t work, but sometimes it does.

That perfectly leads me into my next question. You know, we live in an era where genres are kind of being blended or almost just being forgotten about. What is your perspective on kind of being maybe boxed in as kind of this one sound. Do you just strive to be outside of that?

Hux: I expect that we won’t. [Laughs] I mean, like right now it’s been heartening to have people call us all kinds of different things. I’m not crazy about people calling us pop punk, but I’ll take it. There’s some pop punk I like, but really I just like that after our shows and stuff, there was never just one same band. Everyone was always saying, to us, “Oh, you sound like this,” or “You should like that!” It was always just that somebody was really excited about us and our sound. I once heard The Beatles, I once heard the 1975, I once heard like Weezer, some Green Days, – which I will take honorably. I think my answer is I’m not worried about it.

Hey, that’s a good thing. I wanted to ask because I talk to a lot of artists who are like, “Well, we really want to come across as this. We want be able to be put on a playlist about this,” and I feel like we don’t live in that era as much as people think that we are.

Hux: Yeah, exactly. There’s not much I wouldn’t be excited to be labeled as – and I think that with the way that we create, we’ve been pretty good about not writing the same song over and over and over again. I’m just kind of excited to make music we like and let the world call us what it will.

It’s very important to be a fan of your own work. On that same note, what is one song that you would want someone to listen to of yours if they had never really heard Crocodyle before?

Hays: Ooh, I still think my personal favorite is kind of like the little brother of the group. It’s “Let Me Cry,” but that’s also like the most left field for us. That’s the weird one of the group. That’s the odd one, but that’s what I would say.

Hux: Yeah, right. I almost want to give them a twofer of like “Party Jam” and that or something, but “I Feel Good” is the most…

Hays: The most on the nose for us?

Hux: Yeah!

I have to also say that your latest single “Passenger Seat” is spectacular. It’s almost like a surf punk track that even though it’s only two-and-a-half minutes long, it really tells such a pure story. It’s pretty emotive, it’s fun, it’s really honest. So why did you guys choose this to be a single for this new era and this upcoming EP?

Hux: Everyone just said it was really good! [Laughs] I don’t know, honestly, like I love the song and I think it’s great, but it used to be under two minutes long. It was just this quick little powerhouse on our set lists. I don’t want to say this, but I just never took it all that seriously as a part of our repertoire, but that is one that people after the shows would be like, “I love that one!” I was kind of talked into it like, “Sure, yeah, let’s put it on the EP. Oh, it’s a single? Yeah, ok!” The positive affirmation from the universe, I guess made it what it is, honestly.

I, for one, am glad that it got chosen because I think it sets the stage for who you are perfectly, but that’s just my opinion.

Hux: I think it’s a pretty good one for that. Yeah.

I know that Lincoln parish from Cage the Elephant who is oh-so-very talented produced this upcoming EP of yours. What did Lincoln bring out in this record that you loved or were even just surprised by?

Hays: We did two big sessions with him – one for a few days a few years ago and then another few days last year. I really enjoy working with him. He has a great energy where he’s down to try anything and is really there for the song. On some songs he would add some keys in the background and other just very subtle things, that I think bring up the tracks as a whole. I had a great experience working with him. 

Hux: He’s the first person I’ve worked with, and that’s not to talk bad about anyone in the past…. But in the past there have been a lot of great people we have worked with, but like who have maybe been more “Yeah, sounds good, cool, let’s do that,” whereas like Lincoln wouldn’t hesitate to throw out all kinds of specific ideas and even suggest that we omit sections of a song altogether. I was glad that everyone in the room, us and him, both had a “Let’s try it all!” approach. I think we all shared a similar sense of what was better and worse. It was a perfect little match, because he has ideas, he has very similar musical interests to us, and just all kinds of experience to help make things happen.

I’m glad it was so immersive with him and his own background, there’s so much to take from. That level of collaboration is awesome. Now I know we talked a little bit about “I Feel Good,” but it had a really wonderful response online since its release – and rightfully so. It’s a clever and introspective song that’s a little alternative and very engaging. What about this song do you think made it one of your most successful to date?

Hays: Thanks!

Hux: Well, in addition to all of those wonderful things you just listed [laughs], I think it’s just got a refreshing kind of feel. Fun fact, before it came about, I was actually – have you ever watched The Blues Brothers? Do you know that Peter Gunn theme? 

Yeah, of course!

Hux: I was just in my car grooving to that and trying to think of words for it that could replace that sax vibe. What could lyrics be instead? I realized very quickly, I was just kind of straying far from the Peter Gunn theme, but I was like, “Whatever I’m working on now is still pretty cool!” It was also one of the first times that lyrics and melody came before sitting down with a guitar, but I guess I had that blueprint of kind of a fifties riff; very steady and something you’d want to drive to. From there, we just took it in a very modern rock and roll direction. I would hope that people are digging its unique kind of sound. Sure, it’s a rock song, but it’s written like a fifties song, and also orchestrated like a 2000s banger.

I think that you made a good point: it truly is good driving music! It has that vibe that you could just roll the windows down, listen to it, and vibe – regardless of anything else.

Hux: Yeah, that’s what we want – I would hope that people simply enjoy it. The chorus is just “I feel good,” there’s that.

Hays: That’s a good message now and always.