From the Bay Area to Hawaii, CRSB is making waves. Learn about their lifelong bond and passion for music and catch an exclusive performance of “Stay.”
Cousins Chris Ramos and Sonny B of CRSB have been musical collaborators for most of their adult lives, and they’ve come a long way since their days of playing ukulele renditions of Tupac and Usher songs for their high school friends. Since their first release in 2012, the Bay Area duo has turned out three albums and a bevy of singles and EPs (including multiple #1 hits in Hawaii), as well as an ambitious documentary project. According to Sonny, it all started with a desire to blend the soul and R&B music they loved with the sound of their heritage. “We wanted to mix our culture with how we like to hear music, so when we play the ukulele, we don't want it to just be traditional skank or something like that,” says Sonny. “Even though we love that sound, we wanted to blend these genres just like our culture was blended. So, mixing the 808 with the ukulele was normal for us.”
As unique as CRSB’s style is, they strive to make music that is universally relatable. For them, it all comes down to the human connection. “We want people to have a soundtrack to their life, no matter what situation—a breakup, falling in love, going away together—we want to have music for life,” Sonny adds. “It's really cool to be able to use music as therapy and then give it to the world and they use it the same way.” Above all, CRSB wants to help people connect with each other through music. This passion influences everything they do, and it comes across strongly in their music and worldview. Sonny explains how the simple act of sharing music can bring people together, and how that drives CRSB to keep creating. “Let everybody know what makes you move, what makes you feel good,” says Sonny. “Even if it's not our music, let them know, ‘Hey man, I heard this song and thought about you.’ That's a love language, you know what I mean? Sharing music that makes you think of other people. That's the kind of music that we're trying to create.”
Finding a Common Sound
During the COVID lockdowns, CRSB needed a way to collaborate remotely while ensuring that everyone was hearing the same thing, rather than worrying about the acoustics of each person’s room affecting the sound of their recordings. “Studios were shut down; you couldn't get together,” explains Sonny. “So we hit up Ultimate Ears and we were like, ‘Yo, if there's a way that we can simulate being in the room together, what would be the best way?’ And it was, ‘Let's all get a pair of UE Reference Remastered, and when I create something and I send it to you guys, you guys will hear exactly what I'm hearing.’” “I’ve never been so close to music. As an engineer, you want to find the flat sound … and [UE RR is] game-changing because you rely so much on the room a lot, and I can mix in the airport, on the road. I’ve never been able to be outside of my room that’s made for mixing… I’ve never been able to mix on headphones in my life.”
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