By Brian Tucker
Last year Crusades played a rare show on Wrightsville Beach for the opening of Annex Surf Shop. The set blazed through material on their crazy good EP New Year Repeat. It was a rare show because both Crusades musicians stay busy with other bands. Singer-guitarist Jason Shi fronts ASG and drummer Johnny Collins plays with Thunderlip.
Crusades was a fun side project, one with a broad sonic tableaux in the hard rock genre. Even though the music sounded a little different, Shi says the approach wasn’t dissimilar to anything the two of them had done before.
“There were no pre-conceived musical changes,” Shi said. “Perhaps engaging in something without a sonic history, or expectation, was attractive to both of us.”
New Year Repeat is a soaring debut, a collection of songs worthy repeat plays. But as Crusades grew into something more than a side project they learned that band name was taken. So Crusades changed their name to Wildlights, stemming from the word “wildlife,” and perhaps a subtle nod to both musicians’ love of fishing.
“The worst part about being in a band, for me at least, is coming up with a band name,” Shi said. “It’s a very large/small world these days with a plethora of taken names and copyrights. So when it came time to get official, and put pen to paper, we needed a new designation.”
Shi and Collins landed on Season of Mist Records after they heard songs on the band’s Bandcamp page. They then set out to put together a full length album. That upcoming release will include the six songs from New Year Repeat plus six new ones. The evolution of the band is something the two of them didn’t exactly see coming or were working towards.
“We simply started jamming together when time allowed. But the songs turned out solid and interesting in our opinion, and perhaps the right ears heard them.”
Especially Matt Hyde’s ears. Hyde has recorded albums for ASG and Shi says that he loved the Crusades songs.
“He was willing to produce the album knowing full well that he would not turn a dime!” Shi said. “The budget was very modest. I’ve built a great creative relationship with him through the years with ASG and know what to expect from him. So I just had to convince Johnny that we should fly to California.”
So those Crusades New Year Repeat CDs will become local collector’s items now.
“I think you should hang on to any CD, as they will soon be fossils.” Shi says to expect a full length vinyl and digital release later this year.
“As far as compact disc? We shall see…..”