The Urban Crowley Collective’s cinematic debut album is a cosmic tribute to Bowie’s ‘Blackstar’

The Urban Crowley Collective’s cinematic debut album is a cosmic tribute to Bowie’s ‘Blackstar’

Words by Marnie Vinall

We chat with Tegan and Sean Crowley ahead of the release of their debut album, Born Of A Dying Star.

The Urban Crowley Collective, comprising siblings Tegan and Sean Crowley, are about to release their debut album, Born Of A Dying Star, a composition of cinematic, psychedelic, orchestral rock and pop.

The pair recently released their debut single, ‘A God I Can Relate To’ followed by ‘Oh Lord, Please Bestoweth Upon My Son His Daily Dose of Dimethyltryptamine’, ‘She’, and ‘It Starts With…’.

Tegan comes from an acting, writing, directing, and performing background, working in film and theatre, while Sean has always had his hand in the music world, working as a musician and behind the scenes in production.

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Tegan says they grew up listening to Pink Floyd, Led Zeppelin, The Beatles, and The Beach Boys and she always wanted to make music but was “too scared.”

Then four years ago, Tegan approached Sean about putting something together.

“One day, I just sort of got the courage to start writing music, and I kept sending everything to Sean saying, ‘Hey, let’s make something together’.”

Sean already had a demo of the original album and so the pair re-recorded and re-wrote a lot of the tracks to feature Tegan’s voice and restructured a couple of songs. Then, they recorded it old school style in an amphitheatre with a few session musos.

The pair recorded the skeleton of the album in one day and “then spent about three years doing overdubs”.

But the journey of getting the album together has worked in the pair’s favour, according to Tegan.

“It’s just it’s so dense, there are so many different sounds in there that it kind of evolved over the years,” she says.

“What we tried to do is take a lot of sort of quite dynamic songs that were very different from each other, composition-wise, but play them in one space, with one set of instruments so that there was a coherence to it,” adds Sean.

He says everything is based around a live drum, bass and piano melody with guitar, vocal and orchestral pieces building onto those foundations.

“That was the rule of the pace,” says Sean.

“It was done in one session with one group of musicians, but dynamically, the music kind of flows from light to dark to really kind of insane, morbid, cantankerous, crazy stuff. Then it’ll switch around, it’ll be beautiful, and really sweet and really petite, and sentimental and really stripped back.”

The record was designed to be listened to in one sitting.

“We tried to make an album that has that sort of cinematic start to end feel,” explains Sean. “Unfortunately, no one listens to music like that anymore… but if you do, that’s the best way to listen to it.”

The album takes listeners to various places, with songs that are soft and delicate and others darker and more twisted.

“A lot of the songs are about mortality and just having sort of flash of moments of living your life and being aware that it’s fragile,” says Sean.

Some of the songs are about people the pair have lost and others explore lighthearted, silly things, like the funny questions children ask.

Sean says the title track ‘Born Of A Dying Star’ has a dual meaning, the first, being the “stellar reference that we’re all born of [stardust]…and that’s the sort of the genesis of our story as a species.”

The track also draws from David Bowie’s final album, Blackstar. Bowie had recently passed away when Born Of A Dying Star was being written, which inspired much of the album.

“I [wanted] to do an album like that, because I was really into his listening to his stuff at the time,” says Sean.

After working on the record for four years, the pair are ready to release it into the world. They’ll launch the album at Brunswick Artists’ Bar on Saturday July 17 before releasing the record the following day.

Born Of A Dying Star is out on Sunday July 18. Catch The Urban Crowley Collective at Brunswick Artists’ Bar on Saturday July 17. Free entry.