Made By Crooks | The Family Interviews

Photo care of Made By Crooks.

Photo care of Made By Crooks.

Meet Made By Crooks

This Sacramento-based artist is one of the most genuine people we’ve had the pleasure of meeting through this little blog. Made By Crooks charmed the Family from the get-go with sensitive and narrative lyrics on his album, Allison. A real talent who writes, records, arranges, AND mixes his own work, we wanted to get to know him a little better. Below we talk personal growth, relationships, and Kendrick Lamar.

Check out our review of Allison and hear more on SoundCloud.


How long have you been making music?

I've been creating music since middle school. I used to go over to my homie's house down the street and record songs with him while he produced and tracked everything. It wasn't really to be a professional though, I just loved it and did it for fun, and I would show the song to anybody that was down to listen to them. But I didn't really start taking music seriously until I was 17 and out of high school. It wasn't until I was on my own and in college that I believed I could really make music a career.

Where do you draw your inspiration from?

I draw inspiration from experiences, and from observing others. It's hard for me to write about things when I don't feel a personal connection to what I'm writing. The best stuff I've written has come during times where I've felt some sort of emotional extreme. That can come from experiencing something, or hearing a story from somebody else that really strikes a chord with me.

What keeps you motivated to keep on creating?

It's weird, but I've always felt like music was my purpose. I've been singing, performing and songwriting for most of my life, and it's always brought me a level of comfort and joy that I seldom receive doing other things. I also just love the craft and learning more about it. The task of trying to become a master in my art form keeps me driven. I'll never learn all there is to know about music, so I'll always continue to experiment and try new things with it (at least until it no longer is fun anymore).

What was the intention with your album, Allison?

My latest album, ALLISON, came as a culmination of my experiences in relationships. I wanted to try my best to describe how relationships and dating occur in this day and age. I wanted to touch on a wide variety of things like dating apps, masculinity, lust, etc. and how all of these things can positively or negatively effect how men my age deal with and approach a relationship. I wanted it to be extremely honest, because during the time that I was making the album, I needed to be just as honest with myself in order to learn and grow from my own experiences. I thought it would be helpful if other people could resonate with my experiences, so they know that they're not alone in theirs.

Where do you see you and your music going in the next few years?

I just want to continue growing. Period. In the next few years, I hope I feel like I've gotten better, and I hope I feel like my next projects are better than my last ones. I think I'll feel satisfied if I continue to feel that feeling.

If you could have any superpower, what would it be (doesn’t need to be music related)?

I would love to be able to teleport. Traveling helps so much in gaining new perspectives and inspirations. It's always refreshing to be in a different environment around different types of people.

What kind of messages do you try to get across with your sound?

I've always said that my genre of music is soul. I say that only because I can't really see myself approaching music with anything other than soul. That doesn't mean I stick to what most define as "soul music", because I feel like soul can be applied to any genre really. I just always want people to be able to feel and resonate with my lyrics and sound. I'll always try my best to come from an honest and truthful perspective.

What was the last concert you went to that really inspired you?

One of the best concerts, if not THE best concert I've been to, was Kendrick Lamar's Kunta Sessions out in Oakland, CA. To see somebody as big as him perform at a smaller theater venue with a live band just made me really appreciate music, not just the theatrics and pyrotechnics and large ensembles that most arena concerts have. I just really enjoyed the nuances and subtleties of the music. It spoke for itself.

Who is your favorite member of The Family Reviews?

My favorite member would probably be Meghan! She's dope, I respect her taste, and appreciated her review on my project. Plus, we're IG buds so that's cool too!

Any final comments?

I truly appreciate the work that The Family Reviews puts into their reviews. It really feels like you listen and pay attention to the subtle details that us artists spend a lot of time putting into our work. I can also tell that you all pay attention to detail as well, because the aesthetics of your website and posts are unique and refreshing. I hope we keep in touch for sure. I'll be touring in 2019 and would love to see some Maldjians at a show! !

Sean Maldjian