AVA Mix Series: Cromby
Really excited to kick off the first instalment of our monthly mix series with Potency Records label head and one of the original AVA crew, Cromby. Each month we’ll aim to focus the mix and conversations around a theme, and recently we caught up with Cromby to chat around his creative work with his recent move into the painting world with Cromby Paints, as well as his upcoming work on his Potency label and more.
Lots of ups and downs this past year for all, obviously. How have you been doing?
All things considered I’m doing well, thank you. Very lucky to be here in Berlin where the German government have been a great help throughout the pandemic. I’m just trying to stay positive and creative until we eventually get back to it.
You seem to have a really strong crew with you out in Berlin, with lots of good friends of AVA too. What’s a typical week / day look like for you at the moment?
Yeah, there is a whole bunch of us out here, it’s a family vibe. My typical week at the minute is consisting of studio, painting and a bit of exercise here and there. I’m meeting the odd friend here and there and going on cycles or walks. I’ve found the odd red wine is also essential for getting me through haha.
You recently picked up a paintbrush again and are sharing your work via @crombypaints. When did you first get into painting? Is it therapy, expression, catharsis or all of the above for you?
I first got into painting when I was a child. I have an older sister who went to art college and she got me into it. I rekindled the love of it during lockdown and found it very cathartic. In fact, yeah, it’s been all of the above. It’s been a way to express frustration and I found it very therapeutic.
Who are some of the painters / visual artists you admire and take influence from?
I actually didn’t have much inspiration from other artists when I began the Cromby paints thing. It was more just a side hobby to use as a release mentally. But the more I’ve got into it, I’ve been reading books on abstract expressionism and found a lot of different work inspiring. Following different artists and abstract art pages on instagram has also helped with seeing inspiring work in a time where galleries are closed. If you’re interested to delve further, I recommend checking out these pages:
How does visual art connect with the sonic world for you? Are they their own contained thing? Or does music creation also fuel your painting and vice versa?
It does, I’m still working out its role together, to be honest. But it is something I’m trying to bring together with a friend and visual artist, Chris Martin, who does the art for Potency. He is working on some animations to go alongside the next EP which should be very exciting.
In terms of painting, it’s been a nice release and refresher; sometimes if I’m making a track and I feel a little stuck, I’ll nip away from it for an hour and paint a little, then inspiration will strike and I’m back finishing the track, I like how they feed into each other.
Tell us about the mix you did for us?
I wanted to present a smooth listening mix as we come into the nicer weather to play whilst anyone is chilling out being creative, or in the park having a beer or whatever. But as always, it still has the party element there and racks up the tempo as the mix progresses.
Generally speaking, how have you found creative pursuits during the pandemic? Did you have a dip in inspiration or creative flow at any point? If so, how did you work around it?
It has definitely come in bursts for me. I have had big spouts of inspiration at times and I know then I need to cancel my plans and get into the studio and work through that and be as productive as possible. As it doesn’t come around all the time. When I’m not feeling it, I don’t force it. Rather, I just relax if possible and do other things. I’ve learned that trying to force it for me personally is counterproductive and makes me more frustrated and less creative.
How have you found living in Berlin during a 12-month period without clubs? How’s the fabric of the city changed without this outlet?
I feel like it’s been a much-needed rest. I don’t think the fabric of the place has changed much at all. There is just a sense of pause at the minute, but it will come back as big as ever.
You launched Potency in 2020, a big move for you. Tell us about that challenge and the thinking behind it. What do you have planned for the label in 2021?
So, I had a lot of music stacked up from a creative spurt at the beginning of the pandemic and found my releases that were already scheduled in with other labels were being pushed back due to the climate. I found myself wanting to get this new music out and have control. Also, with the newfound free time, I was able to formulate a plan to get the label together.
As I touched on before, my friend Chris who is working on the artwork has some cool new 3D animations for the second release, which I’m very excited to see the outcome of. Expect at least two more releases on Potency this year. I’ve got a lot of music to share which I’m very excited about.
What else have you got coming up we should know about?
I’ve got a few EPs on their way this year. The first one is via Rekids which is out on the 12th March, titled ‘Twisted Future’. Check a Bandcamp preview here.
Then you can expect two more Potency releases before the year is out, as I mentioned. I’m also a monthly resident on Refuge Worldwide, a new online radio station in Berlin. Likewise, I have Hör residency and have streams set for May 11, September 14 and 1 December.
It’s all go here!