Crystal Fighters are giving the music scene a new mix of sounds. Not really fitting into one specific genre, their mix of different cultures, sounds and genres is what makes Crystal Fighters who they are. They released their debut album “Star of Love” under their own label back in 2010 in the UK and they are finally getting more North American recognition since they have done a re-release of the album this year after signing with Atlantic Records in the US.
The band stopped in Montreal last May for a show and right before that, I had a chat with Gilbert Vierich from the band.
CONFRONT: Can I have a little history about the band?
GILBERT: We’ve been going for a few years. I’m old friends with the singer Sebastian and we all started making music together. When we met Laure, one of the original singers of the band, we were introduced to the Basque country culture, mythology and musical heritage. Her grandfather was from the Basque country and he had passed away and left her belongings including his personal notebook which is an unfinished opera of sorts he’d secretly been writing in his last few days. And that led us onto looking deeper into Basque culture and mythology for the music. When we tried those instruments out with the music we loved, we found it worked pretty great and people wanted to hear more of it.
CONFRONT: That’s crazy! And how do you actually incorporate all that into your music?
GILBERT: On the one hand, lyrically by lifting lyrical ideas in there to humanity, being inspired by traditional dances and songs that are pointed to in the book. He had drawn pictures of the instruments and that led us to know about the instruments. And upon further research, they have this particular culture and they’re very intense people. We tried to bring that to the music as well even when it’s not by using the melodies or the instruments or the lyrics. We try to embody that eeriness and intensity of the Basque people and culture.
CONFRONT: That’s cool! And I also read a lot about your live performance. Is it still very inspired by the opera?
GILBERT: Originally, yeah. The first two shows really were but we still try to tell out a story to a degree. Now, it’s more about the music because the album is out and people want to hear the songs. But at the same time, we do take on different characters on the stage and it’s definitely a different person when we all get up there.
CONFRONT: And what pushed you into music?
GILBERT: I’ve been playing music all my life; piano, guitar and stuff. I had a job for a while when I didn’t play music and it was when I met the guitarist and he inspired me a little bit. And with Sebastian, I thought we should bring it all together, see how it goes.
CONFRONT: And it worked out!
CONFRONT: You guys are currently working on your new material, how would you compare it to your first album?
GILBERT: It’s definitely a step forward sonically and I hope that people will be able to see not necessarily the maturity in content but the maturity of our sound. We sound better and I still think we cover a lot of different styles with the underlying energy. However, there might be some more thoughtful moments. So I’d say the same but better!
CONFRONT: That’s what most bands aim for right? So that’s good!
GILBERT: Yeah as long as it’s better!
CONFRONT: And where do you think you fit in today’s music scene with your musical background and specialty?
GILBERT: I think we’re unique. I don’t think we fit into any indie band mold nor do we fit in a DJ/electronica mold. We hope to bring the best of both worlds together.
CONFRONT: Innovation, that’s what the industry needs now.
CONFRONT: I read you guys usually write everything together.
GILBERT: Yeah we come up with some ideas separately but everything will be finished together. Everything gets passed through all of us just because there’s lots of different types of music that we all like so it’s important for all of us to be involved. We usually come up with a lyrical, melodic or rhythmic idea and go with it from there. Sometimes, the idea will be more formed but generally, one of us comes up with a little bit and then come up with the rest of it together, which is usually inspired by music we’re listening to at the moment.
CONFRONT: You released your album on your own label. Are you currently working with any other artists on that label?
GILBERT: We are looking to do some release in the future but for the moment, we’re just concentrating on our own stuff. We’re not big enough to start putting out other artists.
CONFRONT: And why did you decide to release it independently like this?
GILBERT: It was the best option. There weren’t that many strong offers on the table for it and we thought we could do a pretty good job with it and we think we’ve done ok!
CONFRONT: It all worked out for the best then! Now, could you draw something that represents you?
GILBERT: Each individual holds the power of a thousand universes in their mind, all powered by the sun which is the light giver.
CONFRONT: Interesting and philosophical! Anything you’d like to add?
GILBERT: Thank you for having us Montreal, it’s our first time in Canada and we can’t wait!
CONFRONT: Well have a great night then!
GILBERT: Thank you so much!
To learn more about them, check out these links:
Official site: http://crystalfighters.com/