An interview with Crystal Fighters (16/05/2013)

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Just hours before performing their set at the Great Escape on Thursday, Gilbert Vierich from folk, electronica band Crystal Fighters generates massive hype for their new release, and speaks to The Edge about the band’s unusual artistic influences.

So it’s been three years since your debut, looking back, do you have a different view of it?

Yeah, like we’ve played it obviously a lot more now, we got to take it to America, and we definitely feel different about it now. That’s why with our new material we went for something a bit different to our first, to try and just investigate different sounds. But, yeah we still really like the first album but, I think the new album is probably better.

You’re inspired by Basque culture and folk music, and your name has it’s origins in an un-finished opera, do you see your music as shaping stories?

Yeah definitely, the songs we’ve written in the new album, we took much longer on them and their stories, and with the music, we’re obviously influenced by everything we’ve heard, so combining those things and trying to create new ideas from that.

You use a heck of a lot of instruments in your music, does that make it more difficult or more exciting when playing live?

It’s generally more difficult live, there’s some stuff that we don’t play that’s on the album that takes like ten people to play the part. But definitely in terms of making music, it’s more fun and we get to try out and mess with a lot of different sounds and influences.

How do you manage with the electronic elements?

Yeah so, Graham plays guitar and I play keys, as well as a bunch of synthesizers, so like I do a lot of that stuff off the keys and then Graham also plays of lot more of the sort of rock and roll sound. It’s a different beast than when recorded, we make it different for the live show, and stretch the songs.

Now that you’ve finished Cave Rave, how do you feel about it? Excited, nervous…?

I’m excited for everyone to hear it, get into it and you know have fun with it and take the time for it to sink in. Yeah just excited to get it out there, and it’s definitely grander than the debut, and hopefully people will like it.

When listening to your single ‘You and I’, I thought it sounded natural and almost Latino…?

Yeah definitely, there’s a rhythmical banter, we approached the album in a different way than the first one. The debut we produced ourselves and this one we worked with a producer, so he used a lot more natural instruments.

So would you say you used less electronica in this new album?

Yeah possibly, though I think it’s more about with the first one we simply combined our influences randomly together, whereas with this album we went for a continuous sound, so we’ve blended our influences together a bit more seamlessly this time so it’s not so bold, and changing genres between tracks, but its more of a holistic album.

Having 6 members in one band must make things really interesting when touring…

I think it’s good to have a big sound live, having more players and more people involved. The more people the better.

The artwork for Cave Rave is really unusual, what were the influences for that?

Yeah, we commissioned this artist called Paul Laffoley who’s a visionary painter and really liked his work and so we asked him to a special piece for us and we’re still trying to understand it now.

So did he just listen to the album?

Yeah, we spoke to him and he listened to our stuff and just did his thing. We all really like it, he’s a really interesting artist, he draws these paintings of the future, like lucid dreams he’s seen, depicting various scenes of technology , and he’s got a really interesting style so we got him to do the album cover.

Has there been a significant build-up for your current UK tour?

Yeah, we’ve obviously released some of the new tracks from Cave Rave and today is the first day of our main tour, we’re in Brighton at the Great Escape.

Is there a particular date you’re really excited about playing?

Probably tonight sure, but I’m really excited about playing the O2 Brixton Academy in London in November.

That’s your homecoming isn’t it?

Yeah, were really looking forward to it, we played there once before when supporting Foals during their 2011 tour and it was really cool.

Crystal Fighter’s new album Cave Rave is out on the 27th May, and tickets are available for their November tour across the UK.

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Third-year English undergraduate, dabbles in records and video-games. Can be found trying to raise money for new games and consoles, worshiping David Bowie and reading young-adult fiction unashamedly.

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