by Silke Hartung

NewTracks New Artist: Cruze Control

by Silke Hartung

NewTracks New Artist: Cruze Control

Catching the wave of up-and-coming surfy indie pop artists, Ōtepoti quartet Cruze Control work hard to keep the local jangle alive and bring the good vibes. Their latest single When I Land featured on NZ On Air Music‘s NewTracks compilation this February.

So who are Cruze Control, where are you from and what instruments do you each play?

Cruze Control was formed in Dunedin, and is made of Tommy Meek on vocals and rhythm guitar, Cam MacFarlane on lead guitar and trumpet, Maxwell ‘Teddy’ Burt on bass and Liam ‘Dougie’ Douglas on drums.

Was any high school or other music training especially important to any of you?

The only member of the band to have any significant experience in music is Cam whose origins are jazz.

What’s the background story of how Cruze Control came to be? 

Teddy and Cam started jamming in Unicol, creating their signature psychedelic sound, until they bought a drum kit in second year with the aspirations of starting a band. Dougie, Teddy’s flatmate at the time, joined in on the jams regularly. Teddy went back home amidst Covid lockdowns and didn’t return for over a year which was an uncertain time, however come 2023 he was back and met Tommy. The pieces quickly fell together, and before we knew it we had an album created.

How did you settle on the name for the band?

Cam came up with the name in Teddy’s car one day, and it kind of stuck. If you’ve listened to our tunes I think you’ll be able to understand the name Cruze Control and how perfectly it fits in with who we are.

How has your writing evolved from your beginnings in songwriting to now?

I think we have all matured in our abilities and are settling into a really cruisy sound. However, at the end of the day we all just love to jam and see what happens. We all bring something different to the jams we have and we just bounce off each others energy to create new grooves and tunes. Any evolution as a group musically is probably due to our personal aspirations to all be better at our instruments and better at making dope music.

Aside from this release, what’s been the big highlight to date?

It was both rewarding and promising for us to see our debut single King Tide received so well by the people.

What makes When I Land stand out for you as a single?

It’s relatable. When I Land is a song that a lot of people can understand and relate to, and it really takes you on a journey, ultimately reaching an intense climax and then gliding back down to land.

What is the story behind When I Land?

When I Land is about being in a new city, not finding your feet, and becoming lost. Wanting to revert back to your roots. But then after the time settles in, you become used to the change, with the friends you make and the memories you hold.

What’s your favourite moment, musical or lyrical, of the single?

There are a few moments in this song that really hit home. The best moment is where the singing meets the guitar solo, it just elevates the song to a whole new level and really feels like the song is catching flight.

Who did you record/produce the single with and where? ,

This song was written by Cruze Control and recorded/mixed/mastered by Hendrix Grant at Albion Studios in Dunedin.

What would you like listeners to take away from this song?

A little bit of bliss.

How do you generally work out what song would make a good single?

King Tide was a bit of a no-brainer as it is so infectiously catchy. We are honestly still trying to figure out what makes good singles, as we feel most of the songs on our album will be hits. Honestly, we just really like this song so we thought everyone else might too.

Is there anyone else in your team? 

Cruze Control is a completely independent band. However, shoutout to the Pollen boys for the bosh.

Are there any other musical endeavours coming up that we should keep an eye out for? 

Cruze is just getting started and has a full album ready to record. We would like to release our debut album in November, that would be ideal.

Can you please name three other local tunes that would fit well on a playlist alongside your song. 

  • Flaxxies: Karma Goblin
  • Casper: Time To Waste
  • Ricky Baker

Have any previous NZOA applications not gained funding or been included on NewTracks? 

Nope, this is our first time applying for album funding. It was turned down as we just didn’t have enough music out to show that we are the real deal. We then applied for single funding… The criterion that we weren’t fulfilling in the application were mostly due to being so new to the scene. Despite not being around for a long time, we have a lot to offer.

Are there any musical blogs, Youtube channels or podcasts you’re super into?

Tiny Desk, Triple J’s Like A Version, Big Lez

Any last words?

Let’s cruze mate.