The Crystal Furs didn’t start out as anything more than an outlet for Kevin Buchanan to write and record some of his own material. In fact, the band didn’t begin as The Crystal Furs at all. But not long after embarking on the project he called Pentacon Six in mid-2015, he decided the songs could be so much more if someone other than himself were performing them. Buchanan, a frequent Weekly contributor, reached out to former bandmate Amanda Hand, and the two began exchanging ideas about his tracks.
The pair found out quickly that writing songs together was easier than expected. Hand, who sports a music degree, is a confident melody maker. Buchanan has lyrics for days. Buchanan knew the sound he was looking for. He wanted it to be a particular genre of indie pop with jangly guitars and cheesy organs. Velocity Girl and Heavenly are ’90s bands that are name-checked often when citing the project’s influences. Admittedly, the style of music isn’t as popular as it once was stateside, but it has always had a huge following in Europe where the Furs have gained a surprising amount of fans.
Hand attributes The Crystal Furs’ globe-spanning fan base to something more than the ability to craft catchy pop songs.
Buchanan “doesn’t take enough credit for this, but he is really good at social media marketing and hashtags,” Hand said, as Buchanan scoffed in the background. “It’s true, beyond the music, something’s got to make you click on a band before you’ve heard it. I just feel like [Buchanan] found the indie pop community and was able to tap into that with one of our first singles, and it has grown from there.”
As the duo continued to write songs and amass fans across the internet, they realized that they had reached their self-recording limits and decided to find someone to take their sound further. It was about this time they also decided to nab a drummer to fill out their lineup and start performing live.
“We were originally just supposed to be these two kids on the internet that write pop songs,” Hand said. “And then we realized that we didn’t know what the hell we were doing at all. The further we went with it, the more we knew we needed a drummer for sure.”
Tanner Brown became the group’s third member. The one-time Lindby percussionist originally connected with the duo with the idea of producing their tracks, but the three quickly recognized they were a good fit musically.
Drummer and producer in tow, and with an album’s worth of tracks in hand, Pentacon Six became The Crystal Furs, and the trio began focusing on recording its debut LP.
Released with little to no fanfare, The Crystal Furs’ self-titled album hit the web a couple of days after Christmas and is nine tracks of sheer pop bliss. The band had a date booked for a friend’s birthday show and decided that was as good as any date to drop the album. But why release an album you spent half a year recording without hyping it up or planning a big release show?
“It was important to get the record out before the end of the year,” Buchanan said. “We have a lot of followers that can’t come see us play live. We wanted to be able to give them something new. We know we aren’t going to get out to Europe anytime soon, and releasing the album as soon as it was done, instead of planning out a big release show and having to wait a month or two, allowed us to do so.”
With a direct view of what is working for the band at the moment, The Crystal Furs aren’t focused on taking over the Fort Worth music scene. Instead, they will continue to write more music and promote the band online.
“We want to stick with what has been working so far,” Buchanan said.
Still, the band will perform local shows on occasion, using Missing Sibling guitarist Stephanie Buchanan (Kevin’s wife) on bass.
Buchanan said the Furs don’t plan on playing too often. He and everyone else in the band has already been down that road, and they have a hard time getting excited to play local clubs to hit-or-miss crowds.
“We all have lives, and kids, and jobs,” he said. “I like making records and would be fine doing that. But [Hand] really likes playing live, so, of course, we will do that from time to time.”