There was a time when Evan Crowley never thought he’d live to see thirty. “I have always battled with mental illness, but music saved me. When I was fifteen, I started making music and playing shows, and it gave me a more positive outlet than my earlier self-destructive patterns.” Now under the moniker Saint Loretto, Crowley’s alternative pop music oscillates between dark and light, exposing the darker realities of his experience while the melodies float atop danceable pop/rock beats. Drawing influence from ‘80s new wave music like The Cure and merging it with modern, scrappy MP3 bedroom production, Crowley arranges, performs, and engineers nearly all of the instruments in his recordings. He works with other musicians to perform the songs live, fusing their charisma and energy with his to bridge the gap between the stage and the audience. “There’s something about feeling as though you’re a part of the show, like we’re all in it together. I want my audiences to feel like they’ve landed in some DIY venue that’s throwing the biggest little party you’ve ever been to and everyone is invited, no matter who you are.”
His sophomore release, PASSAGE/S, is a window to Crowley’s transitionary period. He found himself living on the floor of a dilapidated house after leaving an eleven year relationship that ended in divorce, and began writing and recording the album between the house and an abandoned office building next door to his then workplace. “The building was located downtown, and sometimes I would leave a recorder on overnight to capture all these strange sounds of urban nightlife that I could then sample,” Crowley states. By utilizing actual audio snapshots of his challenging environment, he hopes to offer fans a more visceral connection to what he was going through at the time.
The last song of the record, “Passages,” was recorded on the day Crowley moved out of the unfinished house in Oklahoma City. Later that day, he left for Austin, TX. “Moving was exciting but terrifying, it was like starting completely over. I was in a new town trying to support myself and continue working on the record, pulling countless all-nighter’s experimenting and trying to fine tune my approach to the songs.” Crowley’s challenges adapting to life in a new city while processing the fallout of his failed relationship turned to creative assets as he sought to translate his experiences to music.
The album boasts several singles based on this time of transition, the first of which, “Head Over Heels,” is a turbulent song about finding yourself in a new relationship. With lyrics set atop a modern beat with washy synthesizers, the video for this song was shot in an old rollerskating rink in Norman, Oklahoma, chasing 80s nostalgia and the romantic neon glow of first love. Another, called “Aisles,” is a warmly anthemic vibe song, pushing and pulling between catchy choruses and uniquely compressed guitar production. Its music video was shot by Austin-based filmmaker, Bradley Beesley (The Flaming Lips, Heartless Bastards) on the back of a flatbed trailer. While the crew drove down South Congress Avenue in Austin, bustling with weekend nightlife, Crowley did his best to perform the song without falling off the back into the crowds of gaping onlookers.
But for Crowley, this is nothing new. He has been doing whatever it takes to write and perform music since he was fifteen, from performing out of loading docks to parking lots full of fellow teenagers, to touring across the US in sold out venues with an alternative rock band signed to SONY. In 2016, the release of the PASSAGE/S prequel and Saint Loretto’s first record, DEPTH/S, documented the experiences that ultimately led to the end of his relationship.
With 2019 set to be a big year for Saint Loretto, keep an eye out as he and his band announce shows and live sessions to support his new record.