PHOTO CREDIT: Cagla Akcadag

An Interview with The Crystal Casino Band

The Crystal Casino Band, originally known as The Colonies, is an indie/alternative rock band made up of Pete Stevens, Joey Mamlin, Jarrod Hendricks, and Jordan Mullaney. Following the release of their latest album, Maryland House, I got to chat with vocalist Pete Stevens about their background, a deep dive on their single “Curfew”, and much more!

MSM: First, would you mind introducing yourself and briefly explaining your sound to any potential new fans?

PETE: Hey Music Scene Media! This is Pete Stevens, the singer of The Crystal Casino Band from Washington, DC! I feel that our band combines the sound of 2000s indie rock (The Strokes, Killers, etc) with our love of classic rock like The Beatles. Our new album, Maryland House, in particular has all 4 members of the band singing which dives into that Beatles influence. Additionally, we lyrically add a ton of social commentary of the 2020s in our music as well.

MSM: Tell me about your journey with creating music. How did you get started, and was it something you always knew you wanted to do?

PETE: Joey and I started this band back in 2015 at freshman orientation at The George Washington University. We started this band before classes even started! I think we definitely knew it was something we wanted to do but I don’t think we ever realized the extent that we would take the band! In senior year of college, we started actually taking the business side more seriously and since then the rest is history!

MSM: Who would you say your musical influences are?

PETE: For myself, I would say instrumentally The Strokes are a huge influence and lyrically Death Cab For Cutie is my favorite. I like to think we combined their styles pretty well!

MSM: What’s the first concert that you attended?

PETE: I saw Gary Clark Jr perform at Taste of Chicago in 2014. He’s such an incredible guitarist! It was very inspiring to see as I was just starting to teach myself guitar around that time!

MSM: What do you think sets your music apart?

PETE: For this album especially, the lyrics dive into our lives as young adults in Washington, DC. This is something that I don’t think any other band right now is doing. You hear so many songs about LA or NYC but none about our nation’s capital and we’re proud to give this area a voice!

MSM: What do you hope to achieve with creating music? Is there anything in particular that you want people to take away from your songs?

PETE: I hope that we can provide a sense of relatability in our music that fans can appreciate.  Our songs are typically a reflection of what’s involved in our personal lives and so the social commentary that is reflected on this album is our experience living in this decade. When we’re writing, we’re writing as regular young adults in the 2020s, not rockstars in any means, and I hope our audience can sense that.

MSM: What is your favorite song off of your latest release, Maryland House?

PETE: My personal favorite is “Quarter-Life.” It’s the most personal song on the album for me as when I entered my mid-twenties, I feared that my quarter-life crisis was really my midlife one. This was due to my father passing away from a heart attack at the young age of 52. So for him, 25/26 was the middle of his life and I get anxiety that it could potentially be the same for myself. However, I think this song also tackles this in a more positive way saying to not take life for granted and appreciate everything you have which I try my best to do!

MSM: “Curfew” is a powerful song, and video, based on the insurrection events at The Capitol in 2021. How have fans reacted to this one?

PETE: Our fans definitely think it’s a favorite off the album! Several of them have told us it’s their favorite song of the record which means so much to us!  While anyone who knows TCCB is a fan of it, we definitely have gotten some hate comments online from it. We have absolutely zero regrets, though.  For us, the song is about our actual experience living here in Washington, DC that day. We were here when the city enacted a curfew, we were here when the national guard had armed troops walking the streets for months after the event. We were checking in with our friends who worked in The Capitol that day. So if people who were far away from this city on the actual day of this event have anything negative to say about it, we couldn’t care less.


MSM: What’s your go-to karaoke song?

PETE: I’ll be honest, I haven’t done karaoke in a very long time but I would absolutely love to do a song by The Doors and channel my teenage fantasy of being a rockstar like Jim Morrison.

MSM: What would you think the title be if someone wrote a biography about you?

PETE: The band has been joking around about the book Meet Me In The Bathroom (we absolutely love it) and we would love an oral history to be written about The Crystal Casino Band. If that ever happens I hope the title is “Dance Until We Bleed” from our song Potomac.

MSM: What do you think about the current state of the music industry?

PETE: There’s so many positives and negatives. Overall, though, I think the positives do outweigh the negatives. We’re so grateful that we can make a silly TikTok and that one action like that would reach a ton of new potential fans for us. TikTok also has had negative consequences like shorter consumer attention span and people creating short songs with shorter intros, etc. Still, I think the discoverability factor of the internet has been the reason why we’ve been able to get as far as we have. So I definitely have to be so grateful for the way the industry currently is!

MSM: What’s your motto or some good advice that you live by?

PETE: I’ll give some music industry advice for any other artists out there. Focus 50/50 on the business and the product. As musicians we all want to spend 100% of our time working on the music side of things, but if you don’t put any effort into the business/marketing nobody is ever going to hear it. 50/50 is the best way to balance it for the best results of growing your artist project!

MSM: Last, but certainly not least, do you have any closing messages?




*PHOTO CREDITS: Cagla Akcadag


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