Interview: Casey Crawford of Emo-Punk Band Virginity Talks Self-Deprecation and Healing Through Songwriting

Posted: by The Editor

People can’t believe that Casey Crawford is the person behind Virginity’s debut release, With Time. No, they really can’t. It’s almost insulting. But, in some ways, Crawford himself can’t believe it. What started as his habit of writing a song or two a year and recording it with his friend Jim Nefferdorf snowballed into what is now an actual band. “Oh See See” impressed Nefferdorf enough that he suggested Crawford write an EP. Once there, he was only a few songs away from an LP. Then Jordan Shroyer expressed interest in becoming part of the live experience, offering to use his connections from his other band, Teen Agers, to book Virginity a few shows. And, finally, members of Dikembe caught wind of the album and offered to release it via Death Protector Collective.

Virginity is a band with its heart on its sleeve and Crawford told me that is partially a result of his work as a stand-up comic. Comedy as an art form is often very intimate, addressing specific situations and behaviors in an earnest way. Writing and performing such honest comedic material served as training for his lyrical approach on these songs. Additionally, John K. Sampson of The Weakerthans was a major influence on Crawford. The way Sampson is able to describe personal circumstances that no one else could possibly relate to, and that that somehow makes the music more relatable, is something that Crawford finds beautiful, and he wanted to mirror that methodology on With Time. Musical influences came from bands like PUP and blink-182, the latter of which Crawford credits for showing him early on how well music and comedy can fit together on The Mark, Tom, and Travis Show.

The words in these songs aren’t just extremely personal reflections on life; they are real-time progress. As the song turned into an EP turned into an LP, Crawford used his writing sessions as therapy sessions. With Time is a mostly chronological journey through Crawford’s headspace and development during the writing of the record. What started as a need to create led to a confrontation of depression, which then turned into anger at his step-father. By the end of the album Crawford concludes that he will be okay in the end, probably.

On the record, Crawford discusses his base instinct to create. He sometimes sees it more as a burden than a gift and was nervous about writing an album considering the fact that he hadn’t actively pursued music in many years. When I asked whether this need to create had more internal or external roots Crawford admitted that it was a bit of both. Of course he loves the praise and the fact that people have come out of the woodwork to congratulate and compliment him on his work, but is even more appreciative for the experience of writing. Virginity may not have blossomed the same way if Crawford was operating in a vacuum, but the music would have made its way out of him in one way or another.

“This Is Why” is the album’s grand finale, featuring the triumphant chorus, “Everyday I’m a little bit better / Even if it’s hard to tell / Though it sometimes feels like an uphill battle / I’d rather fight than live in hell.” This sentiment stems a lot from the issues Crawford has with his step-father and the way he was raised. Becoming a father himself helped him better identify these spots of pain and anger and also realize that he does not have to be the same way. Both as a parent and a human Crawford seeks continuous forward momentum. He can always improve, always be better.

With Time is available now via Death Protector Collective.

Scott Fugger | @Scoober1013

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