A Conversation with … Crocodylus

Crocodylus are hard workers. In just two years, the band of Sydney rockers have toured and gigged prolifically, all the while recording and releasing 2 EP’s and cultivating a massive fan following. These childhood friends are in it for the long haul, bringing their intense passion to the stage with some of the most intense and exciting live shows around.

Backyard Opera had a chat to guitarist Stephen Sacco about their latest surf-drenched single ‘My Love’, fictional relationships and the freaky things that have happened in their live shows.


BYO: You guys have just released a new single ‘My Love’! How has the release and reception been?

STEPHEN: Pretty good actually! It’s been 2 or 3 weeks since it’s been released and its had a bit of airplay on triple j and we’re getting a bit of feedback through press and our mates and stuff. So it’s been well received, we really like it!

BYO: What went into the making of this song?

STEPHEN: Not much really. As far as writing it, it was just our usual Crocodylus rehearsal where one of us writes and we all add our little flavours each. And then we went in to record it in one day, mixed it not too long after that. It was pretty quick!

BYO: What is Crocodylus’ song writing process like?

STEPHEN: In the past we’ve written all our songs individually. So how its worked is, whoever writes the song sings it. So you kinda get that idea when you’re watching us play. The other members add a bit of what they can into it – Mikel’s drum beats, Josh’s bass lines or my guitar lines, so yeah.

But we’re trying to write more of a collaborative style, heading into the new album.

BYO: How is “My Love” different to your previous singles?

STEPHEN: I don’t know really! I think the fact that it’s collectively our favourite song, in that writing it and recording it was just fun. And because we did that, just one song, rather than the EP where we’d just be slaving over 6 songs in the recording process and getting sick of it in the process, it was just a real breeze. We still love the song and love to play it live; so I guess that’s the difference. As far as sound goes, it’s just classic rock.

BYO: Does your love for the song change the way you play it live?

STEPHEN: Yeah! There’s that spark with it being our favourite. We still enjoy every song we play just as much, but that one, like I said collectively is our favourite, it’s just a real fun song to play along to and listen to I suppose.

BYO: Does Crocodylus have plans for the future? An album or tour?

STEPHEN: We’ve got a single tour for My Love, which is just 3 dates. I think May 17 at the Lansdowne in Sydney, May 19 at the Bearded Lady in Brisbane, and then the next, I think it’s the Saturday, we’re playing at the Tote in Melbourne. So we’ve got that tour coming up.

And then we were supposed to write an album around this time of the year, but it got a bit busy between all of us with work, and Josh was filling in with The Ruminaters for a bit, so we’ve pushed that back for a bit.

But we actually just started doing demos on Saturday. So we’re in that process now, especially now that we’re not playing as much. We’ve got a 4-week break between our last gigs and the Lansdowne one coming up in May. It’s given us time to jam out a few songs. We know what we want for our upcoming album, which we can hopefully get out at the end of this year, or maybe early next year.

BYO: Do you have any messages you like the music to tell?

STEPHEN: It’s definitely more for the enjoyment. The things we write about lyrically, it’s not too deep. It’s just about girls, relationships, mostly fictional. In fact always fictional in the songs. And then, not encouraging too much of that beer drinking type of party culture, but there is definitely songs about that.

But with the stuff we’re writing now, because of all these tours we’ve been on – at the end of last year and start of this year we went on 3 back to back tours, our own, the one with Skegss and one with Rumies, so there’s a lot of stories to tell in that and a lot of stuff we’ve heard that’s gone into the pot that we’re mixing for just new influences and new writing styles. And it’s starting to show in our new songs and demoing.


BYO: What have been some of your favourite gigs/experiences as Crocodylus so far? Any crazy tour stories?

STEPHEN: Oh, I don’t know! There’s a few questionable moments, but we always like to say ‘what’s on tour stays on tour’, but I mean there’s been some great shows we’ve done. One of our all time favourites is one with Skegss, we played at San Remo and there was about 750-800 people there, and it was the biggest show we’d ever played. The crowd was so into it, we played a really good set. Also just the stuff that happened during that set. During one song, on the last note, the power went out, the whole building went black on the last note, and then the power came back on as we started the next song; it was really strange. Such a cool moment, it looked like it was part of the show.

BYO: Did you expect the great reception you’ve had to your music, with your popularity on Spotify and growing reputation on FBi and Triple J Unearthed?

STEPHEN: It’s great for us as a band! It’s good to have encouragement and that backing and support to let us know we’re on the right track now. The thing is, we just play what we wanna play, we don’t want to just deliberately please people. So it’s great to have that support of what we come up with organically.
We always stay humble; we’re terrible when people give us compliments, we just say thank you. We don’t wanna sound too, you know. We totally appreciate everything’s that’s happened, especially the reception on that new single. We’re just gonna take that ball and roll with it I suppose!

BYO: Who inspires Crocodylus’ sound and music?

STEPHEN: Um, that’s a good question. We get asked that a bit. Because there’s the three of us, we all listen to different stuff. Mikel and Josh listen to a lot of the same bands and everything, but I bring more of a classic influence. I like bands like the Beatles and the Rolling Stones, all those old time bands. Josh and Mikel are really in with what’s going on in the garage scene now and across the world. They listen to a lot of Ty Segall and all that type of music. We also share tastes in music as well; so there’s just that big mixture of old and new. We get told we have like a real 60’s surf sound, so I think that might be why. But yeah, as far as influence goes, it’s pretty mixed across the board.

BYO: How did you guys meet / form?

STEPHEN: Josh and I went to high school together. We became pretty good friends in Year 8. We’ve just been in and out of bands through high school, playing assemblies and whatever. When we got out of school we thought we’d give it a crack. We originally started Crocodylus as Josh and I. One of us would play drums and the other would play a bass line, like a bass riff, kind of like Royal Blood style without singing. And then over time it morphed into guitar and singing and drums, and Josh and I would swap, like I said, with what songs we wrote. So like, I would play guitar and sing if I wrote the song, and he’d play drums, and vice versa.

We played a house party at one time, and we’d always thought that we needed a bassist to round out the sound a bit more. And so we were at a party one time and it was so empty, the sound. It was outside, and just escaping. So that’s when we thought we’d get Josh on bass and singing, and I’d be on guitar and singing, and then we got our friend Mikel on. We’d knew him here and there over the years, since about year 9 or so. We got closer and closer and then we asked him to join the band and we’ve all been best friends ever since.

BYO: Where did you get the name Crocodylus from?

STEPHEN: I don’t know, Josh came up with it. He was just playing with animal names, and he just – I think it’s just crocodiles in Latin. And it sounded cool so we went with it.

BYO: You have a reputation for crazy live shows! Is there any planning that goes into your shows?

STEPHEN: There’s never a plan, it’s just passion really, as corny as that sounds that’s all it is.

We just the play the songs. I don’t know what else I’d be doing otherwise. It’s got to that point now that I want to do it every weekend, and when we see a show we’re not playing, its always in the back of my mind like ‘I wish I was up there’. We’re just so eager to play all the time because we love it – so that’s where our energy comes from.

We all work full time, but I think it’s more or less to support this. I suppose everyone’s gotta work. It’s definitely not below work for me personally, and I don’t think it is for the other boys either. We definitely want to make something out of it for sure.

BYO: Who are Crocodylus in a sentence?

STEPHEN: Oh, one sentence, um. Crocodylus; I’d just say, um, 3 words. Just fun, energetic and … attitude I suppose. Actually not attitude, I don’t know! I can’t do that, I can’t do those questions!

Crocodylus will be touring in May, hitting the Lansdowne in Sydney on May 17. Hit up their website for more details of the tour, and to get your tickets before they sell out.