Josh talks New Songs from Crossed Keys, Fave Philly Bands, and More!

Josh and I are buds. I like him. So, you’d expect me to – of course – say that I love his music… but here’s the thing: I GENUINELY DO LOVE HIS MUSIC. I can’t say which project is my favorite, exactly, but there’s a really good chance that if I had to decide, it would be this one, Crossed Keys.

I had the chance to catch up with him about their two latest tracks and a ton more. Check out what Josh has to say and make sure to check out their two new tracks, available today on Spotify.

It’s nice to catch back up with you to discuss one of your latest newer projects, Crossed Keys. Last we had you on the site, we were highlighting your solo album and a show you were doing with Summer Scouts and Jackie Thousand. Crossed Keys is a bit different. So, let’s start there… who are Crossed Keys and how would you describe your sound?

Man, it’s been a bit, huh? Crossed Keys is my favorite band; my perfect band of talented friends. It’s easily my most favorite band that I’ve been a part of because I’ve known the people in it for a really long time by now and I trust and love each and every member, both past and present. We’ve been around for roughly two years. We started out with me on vocals, Andrew Wellbrock on bass, Dave Adoff and Beau Brendly on guitars, and Brandon Wallace on drums. Brandon had to bail, so we recruited Steve Roche on drums for a bit and we recorded our first EP with him called I’m Just Happy That You’re Here. Then Steve left to pursue other endeavors and we now have Dave Wagenschutz on drums, bringing us to our current line up. I guess I’d describe our sound as a melodic punk band, but I was told today that we’re not a pop punk band exactly. We wear our influences on our sleeves and we bring our past experiences into this project, so I guess it only makes sense that we sound like a hardcore band with a pop sensibility.

The band is chock full of scene veterans, can you give us a list of some of the bands y’all have been in that folks may know you from?

Dave Adoff is currently in Jackie Thousand, as well as Crossed Keys. He was in a hardcore band called Step Ahead in the late 90s. They were one of my favorite bands of that era. Then we were in Hey Angel together for like a zillion years. Andrew was in Left Behind and Zolof the Rock n Roll Destroyer. Beau was in Knotwork, Kill The Man Who Questions, R.A.M.B.O., El Toro De Oro, and The Curse. Dave Wagenschutz was in all of my favorite bands, from Lifetime to Ink & Dagger to Kid Dynamite. I’d need a lot of room to fully essay his entire band resume, but one of the bands that he was briefly in was Halo of Snakes, a band that I sang for. I was in Belegost, Hey Angel, Halo of Snakes, Only Glory, Kochiyama, Solarized, and I’m currently doing Crossed Keys and another new project called Aspect Ratio with my friend Carly. I’m sure I’m forgetting something.

You’ve got two new tracks dropping today on Spotify. Tell us about the new tracks… how they came to be, what they’re about, all that jive.

This release is our first recordings with Dave Wagenschutz on drums, one brand new jam and one from our EP. The first song is called “Everything Breaks” and it’s about a conversation that I had with my friend and Only Glory/Kochiyama band mate, Brian “BK” Kantorek. I was going through a pretty harrowing time and needed a friend to talk to and BK, with his signature level headed thoughtfulness, helped me through it. That’s a theme throughout my lyrics, I write a lot about my friends and what they mean to me.

The second song is and old one called “A Single Action”. We recorded it with Steve Roche for our EP, but when Dave Wagenschutz came on, it took on an entirely different character and sound. We felt that it deserved a re-release and here it is.

You’ve got a few shows coming up and a really big holiday show. Tell us about what you’ve got coming up and where we can get tickets.

Actually, the only show we have coming up is the show on 12/14 at the Mill Hill Basement in Trenton New Jersey with Shades Apart, Erotic Novels and Lost In Society. We’re focusing on recording new songs now for an upcoming release, so we’ve taken a step back from playing shows for the moment. Once the record is done, we’ll be playing more.

Well, I guess that’s the show to be at, then! I also noticed you played with Bigwig earlier this month, a band I saw a ton growing up in New Jersey in the 90s. What bands that you’ve shared the stage with have been some of the highlights of your time in Crossed Keys?

We’ve managed to play a few shows with some bands that I grew up loving, which is always cool. We played with bands like H2O, The Lillingtons, Good Riddance, a few others here and there. We’ve also played great shows with newer bands that are putting out great music, bands like Sunstroke, Sneakers Award, Wax Wav, Early Riser, and Old Arrows. I feel like we’re in a good place, where we fit right in somewhere between the veteran bands and the new bands coming up.

I know you also have some other projects you’re involved with: a podcast, an associated website, other musical projects. Anything new coming out associated with those projects that we should be on the lookout for?

Well, I’m one of the founders of the Cinepunx podcast, so I’m constantly working on that with my friend and yours, Liam O’Donnell. We’re recording new stuff constantly. I’m also still writing for my solo project, quietly working on new songs for another release in the new year. I also am playing in a new band, as I had mentioned previously, called Aspect Ratio. It’s a band with my dear friend Carly, dedicated to our shared love of film. Hopefully new recordings of that project should be available before the new year.

As both a musician and a big fan of music, who are some of the other local acts out there right now that you’d tell people to make a point to check out?

Philadelphia remains one of my most favorite cities for music. Our friends in Restorations and Sunstroke both recently released monster albums, LP5000 and Second Floor/Seven, respectively. The Silence Kit just released an album of fuzzy post punk jams called Fall Protection that I adore. Friend of the band, Dave Hause recently put out a delightful EP called September Haze. My pal Jonny Clousson put out an ep called Trouble Comes. Dark Thoughts put out one of my favorite records of the year called At Work. It’s very rare that my movie critic life and my music life cross paths, so of course I have to show love to my fellow critic and rocker, Andrew Elijah and his band Baker Man, who just released a record called Skeptics, Observe!. There are so many diverse bands in this city that make me proud to be from here; bands like Legion 76 (my favorite oi band currently), Open City, Yowler, Victor Traps, Black Friday Death Count, Nothing, Ritual Earth, Please Die!, Nowhere Roads, just to name a few. I believe in my heart of hearts that this city is the epicenter of great music.

Thanks for stopping by. Let’s wrap up with some final thoughts on why folks should give Crossed Keys a shot.

For every show that we play, my friend, and tailor to the stars, Grace Kim makes me a custom shirt. Not like a screen printed t-shirt, but a glorious button up shirt that usually has some type of wild floral print on it. I’m not talking like an aloha shirt from Hawai’i. I’ve been told that I look like a floral linebacker when i wear them. You just have to see us to believe it. Also, it has been proposed that we write a ska song so you, Justin, would come see us. Because you love ska.

Haha! Well, take care, buddy, and I look forward to more tunes from Crossed Keys soon. Until then, I’ll be back and forth between the new Crossed Keys tracks and the Toasters, or maybe 90s Philly area ska-core giants, the NC-13s. Be well, my friend!

Stay tuned for more on next month’s show and more on the band, as well as Josh’s Aspect Ratio project. Also, you can and should grab the new 7″ flexi from foursixtymusic’s store by clicking here or on the foursixtymusic banner below.

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