Interview - Crystal Fighters
Crystal Fighters wrap up their US tour this Friday at Black Cat in DC. The group's latest album, Todo Es Mi Familia (Everything is My Family), masterfully describes the band's origins, sound, and lyrical focus. The band members, stemming from the US and the UK, combine musical motifs from their homelands to produce indie dance pop grooves influenced by traditional folk music and instruments native to the Basque Country in Spain. These seemingly dissonant genres meld into addictively upbeat tracks that hold messages of inclusiveness and the seasonality of life. The album begins with a skit about appreciating the highs and lows of life and ends with the inspirational single “Lay Low,” a tribute to the group's recently deceased drummer Andrea Marongiu. With his help, Crystal Fighters have created a worldly sound with a focus on the ephemerality of the human experience. We caught up with the band via email ahead of their show at Black Cat and discussed the band's origins, influences, and inspirations. You can expect energy, emotions, and euphoria at their show this Friday! Get your tickets to the show HERE.
Capitol Sound DC: How did you all meet? Can you tell me more about the moment you all knew you wanted to pursue creating music together?
Crystal Fighters: Gilbert and Sebastian are childhood friends from London, Gilbert visited soul family in Scotland and met Graham who he helped persuade to move to London instead of back to his native east coast of the U.S.A. to make music with Bast. Another friend of Graham’s, Laure, was at the same time going through some belongings she had inherited from her deceased grandfather including some journals written while he was living in the Basque Country. Laure showed these writings to Sebastian, Graham and Gilbert and and together with Mimi the group formed, making music inspired by Basque folk, using traditional Basque instruments and more modern dance equipment to make our music.
CSDC: How would you describe your sound? How do you set yourselves apart from others in your genre?
CF: Indie dance pop with Basque and Latin influence, aka globo wonk funk. I suppose the combination of ingredients and influences we put into the music naturally makes it sound different than most stuff.
CSDC: What artists inspire you as a group? What about their music influences your work?
CF: Daniel Misiani, Collela Mazee, Luzmila Carpio, Carioca. . I suppose these artists have something pure and indigenous about them that is so intriguing to us as influences, as it has come from such different places than where we grew up.
CSDC: What are the top three producers/artists you'd love to collaborate with?
CF: Nicola Cruz, Michel Cleis, Dam Funk.
CSDC: What inspired the album title for “Everything Is My Family?”
CF: Todo Es Mi Familia is the name of a circle song that we had been playing privately while making the album, and which we now play live. We thought the song and the idea of “Everything Is My Family” was really inclusive but also kind of poses interesting questions about our interconnectedness, so it stuck as an album title.
CSDC: Can you talk more about “In Your Arms?” As I listened to the album I almost thought my music app had flipped to a trance top 40 station! How did this track come to life?
CF: It kind of started as a deep house type beat, and with just a male voice singing it, but we wanted to make the song sound really epic and emotional and this kind of production seemed to be the thing that worked best to us.
CSDC: Your album ends with a tribute to your friend and bandmate, Andrea Marongiu who recently passed. Can you talk about his contributions to the group, and the impact he'll have on your music moving forward?
CF: Andrea was an amazing character, really an unbelievable drummer, and a truly beautiful human being. He literally transformed the band with his amazing playing both live and on the Cave Rave album. He was just such a cool, creative, interesting, fun and funny guy whose presence will always be felt as an influence in our lives and music.
CSDC: True to your sound, this album has strong themes of universality, inclusiveness, and the seasonality of life. If you could categorize the tracklist of the newest album's songs into the four seasons (summer, fall, winter, spring), how would you do it?
Simplecito - Spring
Yellow Sun – Summer
Good Girls – Summer
In Your Arms – Spring
Live For You – Winter
Ways I Can’t Tell - Fall
All Night – Summer
The Moondog – Spring
Fly East - Summer
Living The Dream – Winter
Lay Low – Fall
CSDC: How do you want people to feel after listening to this album?
CF: We hope the people will feel satisfied, and want to hear again!
CSDC: What can people expect at your upcoming show at Black Cat in DC?
CF: Energy, dancing, singing, emotions of all sorts.
Get tickets to the band's final show of their US tour HERE.
Keep up with Crystal Fighters at the links below.