Hawaiian born but LA-based band, Crimson Apple, is an alternative-pop quartet consisting of four incredibly talented sisters—Colby Benson (Lead Vocals / Keys / Keytar), Shelby Benson (Lead Guitar / BG Vocals) Carthi Benson (Bass / BG Vocals), and Faith Benson (Drums). Pulling from a vast array of musical inspirations, Crimson Apple’s sound can be described as distinctive, catchy, and completely captivating. Having shared the stage with artists the likes of Switchfoot, All Time Low, and One Republic, it is safe to assume that Crimson Apple’s musical journey has only just begun.
Guitar Girl Magazine was lucky enough to catch up with the four sisters to learn more about their songwriting process, on-stage aesthetic, sisterly bond, and so much more!
Being a band comprised of sisters, how do you feel your sisterly bond has impacted your music?
Working in a band as sisters is definitely a unique experience! It’s so easy to be a cohesive team because we all come from the same place and really understand each other. We are also able to freely speak our minds with each other, which we think really helps our writing and creative process. Our family has always been close, but starting the band and having this shared dream has brought us even closer together. We’re all each other’s best friends!
When and why did you each begin playing musical instruments?
Colby: I began singing at the age of 9 when my mom gave me The Phantom of the Opera CD. I loved it so much that I would leave it playing all over the house. One day, my mom came home to me singing the songs alone in my room and realized I had a gift. She signed me up for voice lessons the next week, and I’ve been doing it ever since. Yay, mom!
Shelby: I initially started out performing in musical theatre and dance, and I knew I always loved the stage, so it makes sense that I eventually shifted into performing as a musician. In middle school, my mom had put me into piano lessons, but I remember hating it! I thought the guitar was so much cooler, and I listened to a lot of rock music, so I begged her to let me play guitar instead. Eventually, my parents gifted me a guitar in high school, and I started teaching myself how to play by searching tabs and videos online. It was mostly for fun at first, but Colby later asked me to put together a band with her, and that’s how I started to become more serious about playing.
Carthi: I started playing bass when I was around 13-14 years old. When Shelby and Colby were practicing with their first band, I would always hear the bass lines, and I felt so drawn to it. I started practicing on an old bass we had lying around. My parents saw my passion for it and eventually decided to get me my own bass and lessons.
Faith: I began drumming around the age of 12. My dad was playing drums in Colby and Shelby’s band at that time, so being surrounded by their music and seeing my dad drumming inspired me to play drums!
Do you each have a favorite brand of instruments or equipment that you prefer to use?
Shelby: I love my Fender guitars and amps!
Colby: I love Neumann and Avantone Microphones, and Yamaha and Korg keyboards.
Carthi: I love my Yamaha bass!
Faith: I play Yamaha and DW drum kits. I’m also a TRX Cymbal, Cympad, and Stick Express artist.
Did you grow up within a musical household?
We wouldn’t say our household was particularly musical growing up. Our parents listened to a lot of jazz, and we had a couple of CDs when we were kids, but that was about it. It wasn’t until all of us were a little older that we each found our own musical tastes and eventually started finding interests in our instruments.
Tell us about the songwriting process. Is there one sister that tends to do the majority of the writing, or is it a collaborative process?
Our songwriting is a very collaborative process! The way we make a song always differs depending on the situation, but usually, one of us will come up with a catchy hook or melody and bring it to the band. We’ll sit together and work through the arrangements and lyrics as a team. We feel that our music is a lot stronger and meaningful when we write together.
What does your practice consist of?
It depends on what events we have coming up, but typically we set aside time to work on each aspect of our job. We spend time rehearsing material for our live shows, and we also schedule time to songwrite, arrange, and produce. Each day of rehearsal is a little different, depending on how many shows we have coming up or what our next project is.
Who are the female musicians and singers that have inspired you the most?
We’re inspired by female musicians like Hayley Williams, Taylor Swift, Halsey, Heart, and many more!
Having grown up in Hawaii, how do you feel the location and culture of your upbringing impacts the music that you now create?
Growing up in Hawaii, we were exposed to a lot of different cultures. Japanese culture is actually quite prevalent in Hawaii, so from a very young age, we were interested in Japanese music and entertainment. This definitely influenced our sound, and it is eventually what led us to our management company, Amuse.
We love your black, red, and white on-stage aesthetic! What inspired this theme, and how do you feel it contributes to your stage presence?
When we first started off as a band, we always knew we wanted to have a strong, cohesive image. We felt like the colors black, red, and white really fit with our band name “Crimson Apple.” We feel that having this image really strengthens our stage presence and gives us a unified confidence.
Just completing The 2019 High School Nation Tour, how was that experience?
The High School Nation Tour was such an amazing experience! We were able to meet a lot of awesome people through the tour and spread our love of music with so many students. We absolutely love the touring life!
What can your fans expect from Crimson Apple within the coming months?
We’ll be releasing a new EP called Somebody on June 7th! We’re so excited to be releasing this collection of songs and will be holding an EP Release Party on June 6th at Live House Hollywood!
Favorite music venue in LA?
We’ve played at a lot of amazing venues here in LA, but if we had to pick one, we’d say The Mint.
Favorite song to cover?
“Wine Red” by The Hush Sound or currently “New Rules” by Dua Lipa
Top 3 songs on your playlist.
“Compass” by The Neighbourhood
“Fake Love” by BTS
“Cradle” by Sub Urban
What color best describes you: black, red, or white?
Ooh, this is a tough one since all of these colors make up our image, but we definitely gotta go with red. Not only does it symbolize the apple, but it also represents our blood ties as sisters and our burning passion for music.