Sunday, 7 June 2009
Interview with Crystal Fighters
Recently signed under the Kitsune label and louder than the biggest bass, ‘Crystal Fighters’ consisting of Graham, Sebastian, Gilbert and vocalists Mimi and Laure, are ready to take Europe by storm. SuperSuper caught up with them in old street and got the low down on their genre-breaking, Basque inspired, electro-opera…your not ready for it!
Im extremely intrigued about this ‘Basque’ focus of your music, what is it all about, and what is Basque?
Gilbert: The Basque country is basically this region in Spain where our lead vocalist Laure comes from. Us guys were making music in London before we met Laure, doing DJ sets and making beats but we found out about this amazing culture that the Basque area has, this exciting heritage and incredible folk music which is really ahead of its time.
One day Laure was clearing her grandfathers attic when she discovered this book he had written entitled ‘The Crystal Fighters’, it was kind of a Basque folk story but the writing itself was really ahead of its time. We were really inspired by this story so we kind of just took what it represented and created ourselves.
Sebastian: Yeah the book basically became our new focus and direction, we took a combination of the story and our knowledge of working with music, as well as the Basque culture to capture the dark and prophetic feeling of this place and recreate the tale through music,
G: it allowed us to make this totally new kind of dance music, not the generic type you hear a lot know a days, but music that includes a whole culture within it.
What is Basque music actually like?
G: Its at times very dark and eerie, yet it is folk music, that’s why our sound has a huge folk music influence within it. Basque music is a very modal and ambivalent sound, so we took this in order to bring out a dark and eerie side of dance music…if that’s possible!
S: But we also use a lot of Latin rhythms, that really exciting syncopated beat which drives people to crazy levels, it is very tribal.
G: And combined with Basque melodies which underpin every track, we take that Basque melody and but it over a strong bass and the sound is wild!
So what about this story? How are you recreating the tale?
G: When we started out playing live we performed as a ‘live opera’ which was directed from the story written by Laure’s grandfather. It was a very theatrical performance, we would even come out holding cards with text from the book written on them, like a play.
S: Most bands are so 2 dimensional on stage, they come on, play a song and whatever, but we wanted to do something incredible, diverse, like to bring an element of performance art into dance clubs…generally something quite unheard of. For us to bring the theatre and the opera on stage with dance music would be the ultimate movement.
How does the crowd react to this?
S: We really try to build the crowd up, take it somewhere unexpected, the crowd often don’t know what’s hit them! But they love it. We feed off the crowd and the crowd feed off us.
G: The last few shows have been different, though, we’ve brought a harder vibe to the music - a new stage to the story, we are just recreating the story of the book and therefore don’t know what will happen next! We want to take it somewhere visual, theatrical, to incorporate something greater to the whole experience, because live shows should always be an experience.
S: Yeah its all very high energy and that’s what gets people excited, we actually use Basque instruments like the Txalapata when playing live.
G: but our music also has a raw punk edge to it, which we can tap into. We played alongside Selfish Cunt and Ulterior, bands with a rather different feel to our music, but we managed to combine the sounds and break the boundaries of genres.
Your music doesn’t seem to have a genre at all, unless you could call it Basque-Opera-Electro-Tribal Dance?
S: We definitely want to mix genres, bring old Spanish sounds with more melody and combine that with dance and dubstep beats, there is no box to put that in! Our song writing also has grander themes than the average dance music track, which connects us back to the story.
So is there a single or album on its way since signing with the Kistune label?
G: Yeah the single ‘Xtatic Truth’ is released with Kitsune on the 28th of May. It’s a very solid dance song however our album which we are working on at the moment will be much more melodically and harmonically diverse, more like a journey/movement/story of sound rather than just ‘songs’. In our live shows we don’t play songs like ‘our next song is…’ etc. we just make noise and create this musical opera, a story telling through music.
S: We don’t know where the story will go, we just let it create itself and we’ll find out….