PowerPopNews says: ‘Librarians With Hickeys combine keen pop sensibilities with lots of sparkle and jangle to create a guitar pop lover’s dream. You’ll hear glimpses of The Byrds, REM and maybe even Velvet Crush in their sound. I bet Mitch Easter would have loved to produce these guys.’.

Sweet Sweet Music Blog spoke to Mike Crooker (guitar, vocals) about songs that dropped out of the sky, Big Stir Records, Lisa Mychols’ backing vocals and sleigh bells.

What was the moment you knew you were on to something?

Mike: Immediately after the first song we wrote together “And Then She’s Gone” which was then confirmed by the second song we wrote “Until There Was You” (which became our first single). Both songs seemed like they dropped out of the sky with no difficulty. Having done this for a while I recognized that doesn’t happen very often and when it does, you’d better be prepared to run with it!

How did this record come together?

Mike: Christina and Rex from Big Stir Records asked us around November of 2019 if we wanted to put out an album and we couldn’t say YES fast enough! We already had the two singles (as above, and “Black Velvet Dress” b/w “Alex” also on Big Stir Records) finished, and we would spend time between shows recording in the gaps. We had most of the material recorded with the exception of some overdubs by the time of our last show in February when the lockdown hit. So, I had the time to really focus on the mixing (which wasn’t easy in the first couple of months), and it ultimately made for a better album. Though I wouldn’t recommend it as a motivational tool. 😉

Any ideas about how to turn this one into a million seller?

Mike: I try not to think in those terms – a million seller seems like an alien concept. Even a million streams (which would earn us very little) seems beyond the pale. Could we? It’s possible, but unlikely. 

Now, two million? Maybe. 😉

Band photo: Grace Carmen

When was the last time you thought ‘I just wrote a hit!’?

Mike: Well, to be honest I don’t know if that’s ever happened! When I finished the demo for the new single “That Time Is Now” there was an inkling that with the right vocals & lyrics it could do some business – and Ray nailed both. Then, adding Lisa Mychols backing vocals was the proverbial “icing on the cake” The response has been great!

Is recording a record easier than getting it heard nowadays?

Mike: In some ways, yes – the gear and technology that used to fill my studio has been reduced to a computer, an interface, a couple of good mics and amps. We did the whole record in my living room, so the recording was easier without looking at the clock. 

Getting it heard has also taken on a sea-change moving from broadcast to streaming. So in one way, there’s a ton of niche podcasts that fit whatever style of music you make, plus Spotify, SoundCloud, etc. The flip side of that is with the homogenization of the broadcast market in the US, the barrier to entry is even higher. But music wants to be heard, and it will always find a way. 

You can’t control the way people ‘hear’ your music. But if you could make them aware of certain aspects, you think, set your songs apart. What would they be?

Mike: I’d say listen with headphones on, there’s layers to the tracks that you might not pick up on the first time, maybe by the sixth or seventh spin you’d start to hear the little guitar harmony parts, the pizzicato strings, the harpsichord, or the hand percussion and sleigh bells, or the layered backing vocals. There’s a lot going on in a 3:15 minute song! 😉

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