“The future is female.”
I was lucky enough to get to chat with Ao Anderson: Producer and songwriter from Crashing Hotels. As a band, they’ve got a lot going on right now including a brand new single, “Never More,” which is set to release sometime this week. Ao and Tony have been keeping busy with shows, including recent performances in Los Angeles, New York, Portland, and San Francisco. Most exciting of all, they’ve got a brand new music video that they are releasing on February 19th at Piano Fight in San Francisco (get your tickets at NeverMoreVideo.us).
About the Band
“Do you want to go crashing hotels tonight?”
Ao writes and produces the songs for Crashing Hotels and Tony plays the drums. They met back in college at the University of Colorado where Ao was studying communications and astronomy. Eventually both of them moved out to San Francisco.
Crashing Hotels really formed from a particular night with Ao and Tony’s mutual friend, Maya, who moved here from Japan. Ao said that Maya spoke fluent English, but would sometimes get words out of order or say funny phrases. It all began with a typical night out on the town for the group. Their favorite thing to do was go into hotels and try and find secret rooms and passageways. Ao chuckled as he recalled those times and said that one day Maya called him up and said “Do you want to go crashing hotels tonight?”
Ao said that authenticity is very important to him when it comes to music and his band. That’s one of the reasons he loves the name Crashing Hotels so much. It isn’t just a meaningless phrase that sounds cool, but has a life, a story. The name means something to Ao and has memories attached to it.
“I’m not really a musician, I’m a daydreamer. I like to make art shit.” -Ao
Ao grew up in a small town in Colorado, but always felt the pulls of another city. He said he loves bridges and has always had a fascination with geology and earthquakes, which is what brought him to San Francisco back in 2008.
When I asked Ao about how he got started with music, he had a tough time pinpointing an exact age because he felt like music had always been a part of his life. He said his mom pointed out to him that he has a subconscious habit of clicking his tongue to a beat while he walks; he always has a rythym going on in his head.
The first instrument he remembers playing was saxophone in band when he was in 2nd or 3rd grade (School band is super important, so get your kids involved young!). From there he started to pick up more instruments and now feels like he is comfortable with any instrument he tries to play.
While Ao usually writes music on his synthesizer, he also enjoys playing guitar and bass. He also said that if he were to make or join another band, he would love to give the drums a try.
“Potential energy going kinetic…”
I would describe Ao’s songwriting process as nothing other than raw. He said that he doesn’t necessarily go into writing with an idea in mind, it’s more that it just comes to him. He’ll be hanging out with friends or out in the city and all of a sudden he’ll start getting fidgety and feeling something like a panic attack coming on. He’ll wish he was alone and starts to lose focus on what’s around him.
That’s when the composing begins.
As Ao put it, “When you think in terms of infinite energy, the unknown is where you find that raw, unique sound.” Ao doesn’t like to hide behind bullshit, which is why his music is such an honest expression of himself.
I made a point to ask Ao about my favorite song, “Don’t See It In the End” because I love his use of a loon call. It can be really difficult to add unusual sounds into music without it coming across as forced or unnatural, but Ao was able to do it in a way that evokes emotions in the listener. Ao explained to me that when writing music, he has a special kind of confidence that allows him to experiment in his writing. He said, “In reality, it’s just a song so you can try whatever you want.”
Ao stayed away from saying he had any particular musical influences because he tries to focus on producing a unique sound. He said when he was around 13 years old, he had the thought “I am my own person,” and ever since then he has lived his life to that mantra. He doesn’t listen to music because he doesn’t want to be influenced by other artists in fear of losing his ingenuity.
What does inspire him is the idea of making something out of nothing. “Potential energy going kinetic,” as Ao says.
I was lucky enough to be granted access to the new music video for “Never More” before it was released. While I can’t disclose too many details, I can tell you that you will definitely want to go to the release party to experience it for the first time with all of the other fans and the band.
If you haven’t checked out the 15-second preview, watch the clip below.
This song is all about being in a place where you don’t belong, in a chaotic environment, and still totally thriving. The music video is a complement to the song because it tells the story that the lyrics are speaking.
Ao was extremely involved in the making of this music video and that is very apparent when you watch it. It’s more reminiscent of a short film than a music video, since it makes the song more of an immersive experience.
He said that his inspiration for the video came about in a very similar way to how he gets in moods for writing songs. One day he was in his room and he just started to get the panic-attack-feeling and then suddenly boom!…the idea was there. He immediately called up his film buddy, Brian Chu, and told him what he envisioned and they planned it out.
They decided to film the music video in New York for two reasons. The first was that it fit well in their schedules. At the time they were playing a couple of shows in New York, plus Brian lives there. The second was that they really appreciated the chaos that the streets of New York offered in a way that no other city can really compete with.
So while San Francisco is Crashing Hotels’ hometown, they use the music video of “Never More” to pay homage to our east coast pals.
If you’re now dying to see Ao and Tony perform like I am, come out to the music video release show! The show is donation-based, so if you’re struggling for cash you can still attend and if you’ve got some extra dough, support these awesome artists and help them create more music and go on tour. Head over to EventBrite to RSVP and purchase your tickets.
Hope to see you there Friday night!