After the release of their debut album, ‘Star Of Love’, but before they head out on tour with Foals, we catch up with Spanish five piece Crystal Fighters.
Hello Crystal Fighters, how are you?
Hi, we are great thank you.
Your debut album is out around about now, and it’s called ‘Star Of Love’, which sounds a little hippy-ish. Are you a very pro-feeling-the-love band, or does the title mean something else entirely?
The ‘star of love’ is our phrase for our sun (S.O.L., el Sol, le soleil etc etc) but also happens to be a nice strange grouping of words we find interesting to consider additional meanings and concepts around; the two words are so broad in their implications but in our experience rarely paired together in such magnificent fashion - emblazoned across an oil painting depicting Graham and Gilbert as two Basque ghosts, the dreamy vision of one of our many beautiful but all-forlorn singers, and myself hunched like a beggar against a tombstone - Crystal Fighters: Star of Love. It is epic and romantic.
How did you go about compiling the record? Did you start building it from a few previous songs of yours, or from scratch? Has it been a long time in the works?
We started off as a live band, interested mainly in turning this amazing Basque opera we were given into a dramatic live music, dance and visual experience. We were learning a lot about playing traditional Basque instruments and developing our style of writing but also learning a lot about production, about how to make the combination of our production and these weird instruments decimate enormous crowds. We did this also through chants and vocal harmonies which then complicated themselves over time into full length songs. We also then wrote a few songs not in this way too, from scratch, as it were. We produced the record ourselves so many techniques were tried in the development of the complex opera we like to call Crystal Fighters.
Not so long ago you Tweeted about ‘Putting final touches to our Visual show for Album Launch’ - that sounds quite exciting?
Yes it’s very exciting. We have a couple of extremely interesting young men under our close watch developing a masterpiece of visual beauty involving all our influences, dreams and inner visions synced to the relentless power of the music.
What’s all this about having a new live drummer / singer?
We played with a live drummer for the first time at the Isle of Wight’s Bestival which went well so we are going to carry on with that of course, he is a fantastic drummer and a great man. There are many singers involved with the album and the band and many of them will be featuring in the large visual musical phenomenon that will be this band’s live show as we destroy venues all over the country in the coming months.
You’ve got a headline tour coming up, then you’re off supporting Foals. Are you the sorts to prefer performing for your own audience, or do you enjoy trying to win over those who might not have heard you before?
A baying mob of your disciples is always good, but then you have to know how to build people into what you do if they don’t know you of course, which is a far greater skill and a more exciting challenge in some ways.
Of course, you work with other bands a lot anyway - remixing their tracks. Do you ever turn down working on certain bands, or certain tracks, or do you give everything a go?
We definitely do not give everything a go but we do enjoy remixing if the track is cool, or the people are cool, or we have the time, which, now the album is done, we sort of do apart from touring loads, so we are looking at a few new remixes now. We are also doing a collaboration with Skream at the moment.
How do you feel about other artists re-working your tracks? It must be quite strange.
We like being remixed. Production and genre are such important aspects of music these days that when you are writing a good old fashioned ‘song’ there is so much choice in the ways to produce it. We chose to produce our songs with Basque instruments and Spanish guitars because that is the path that has been set for us by our opera and we wanted the album to sound a certain way. That doesn’t mean the songs themselves can’t have a different, more genre-friendly way of being voiced by a remixer, which is why we take great care in looking for and choosing remixers who we think have the potential to do our songs justice in their genre. When a remixer makes a good connection with a song, the results can be extremely moving in that strange way that is unique to remixing as an artform, like two tribes chanting on opposite sides of a mountain and if the harmony is good the music reaches the heavens truth be told.
So, what’s next for you guys, is it just touring touring touring for the rest of the year?
Yes, lots of touring, UK and Europe mainly. Do come and see us some time if you like, it will be a pleasure to have you there.
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