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There are plenty of musicians mining the past for bits of creative inspiration; look no further than those throngs of neo-folk luddites I love so much, who charm their fans with their tried and true acoustic traditions and their amusement park worthy, olde-time photo aesthetic. But for adventurous UK act Crystal Fighters, the aim to find meaning in their music goes much further. As guitarist Gilbert Vierich told us, it's about "that old folk tradition of people sitting around and singing around a fire in a cave." The band's manifestation of that idea is Cave Rave; their brilliant new sophomore album that mines an uncommon sound from the remarkable interactions the band has had in far flung, indigenous cultures over the years. Basque Country, South America, Africa...the band is always absorbing, no matter where they go. Funny then we brought them to Williamsburg Brooklyn...what some might consider the original origin of today's hipster, indie musician. While we're not sure there was much for the band to be inspired by here, we did manage to take this colorful group to a completely unique environment, strip things down just a bit, and put together what we're proud to say is one of the flashier sessions we've ever embarked on. Vierich would later tell us that one of the band's main objectives was to provide a "light for people to lose themselves in"." We're happy to say this session with Crystal Fighters provides nothing short of that opportunity.

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Transcript

really from just traveling around touring and finding small sort of instrument shops and even street musicians and things like that.
Just seeing what the vibe of the place is and obviously every culture has its own dance and its own traditions.
- It's pretty groovy right? privilege to be able to travel around and absorb all the stuff and be able to recreate it.
Hello this is Crystal Fighters in Brooklyn.
We are gonna play You and I.
Happy, spinning, clapping, laughing, dancing
In the blackness of magic Get it, have it, bag it, throw yourself
on the airplane
And fly like magic
No sleep, no chance, no need
Forget about it
One life, live free, big dreams
We're all about 'em
You're finding it, take it, take it in, it's all here
You and me, no one else, nothing else but us right now
And I ain't need nothing else, no one else but you and I
And it ain't me, it ain't you, it's only us, it's us right now
You're finding it, take it, take it in, it's all here
You and me, no one else, nothing else but us right now
And I ain't need nothing else, no one else but you and I
And it ain't me, it ain't you, it's only us, it's us right now
You and me, no one else, nothing else but us right here
You and I no one else, nothing else but you and I
You and I
You and I
You and I
You and I
Time is not a constant, my friend
You can't talk me out of that one again
Yeah, like when we gave ourselves the bends
To a land I'll never understand
Speed it up, prove you mean it, slow it up a little bit just to speed it back up
again
Ham me up or simmer down
And I won't ham it up or simmer down with every grin.
Nothing else but us right now
And I ain't need nothing else, no one
else but you and I And it ain't me, it ain't you, it's only
us, it's us right now
You're finding it, take it, take it in
it's all here,
You and me, no one else, nothing else
but us right now
And I ain't need nothing else, no one
else but you and I And it ain't me, it ain't you, it's only
us, it's us right now
You and me, no one else, nothing else
but us right here
You and I no one else, nothing else but
you and I
You and I
You and I
You and I
You and I
Oh-oh-oh, Oh-oh-oh, Oh-oh-yeah,
Hard to find the words to tell,
The story of you and I girl
Even though there's nothing left just You and I, no one else, nothing else but
you and I.
You and I,
You and I,
You and I
Nothin' else but you and I
You and I.
To me ain't nothing else
You and I
Yeah ain't nobody else
You and I
You and I no one else, nothing else but you and I.
describe our sound would be a combination of like old and new.
Like mixing on the one hand old instruments with new modern sounds like dance music sounds and stuff like that.
But also like that old folk tradition of people sitting around a fire in a cave or something like that and then mixing that with a more modern thing of like dance music genres and like modern contemporary pop music, almost.
things.
We love bass culture.
We're inspired by bass music and we like to use their traditional instruments in our recording and live show.
We also like to kind of represent indigenous cultures from around the world and use instruments from South America and African guitar tones.
Really just as we travel more and more, we get to pick up more and more instruments from different, unique regions and throw them in the mix.
Oh-oh-oh, Oh-oh-oh, Oh-oh-oh
Love this place but I gotta keep moving
You got the best thing right now it's no illusion
It's time for fun, love's so new and young
Time has come for new movements
And we'll be singing this song when you're out
Everything will be better when you come out
Out of it, come out of there
Yeah everyone wants you out here
High all morning, ride all night
LA calling, bathed in sunlight
Cold as cash is, hot as lust is
I don't want them
I want you, I want you.
I thought it was all gonna end
I didn't want it to end
Cos I was feeling on top
I was feeling on top of the world
Thinking about you girl
And we'll be singing this song when you're out
Everything will be better when you come out
Out of it, come out of there
Yeah everyone wants you out here
High all morning, ride all night
LA calling, bathed in sunlight
Cold as cash is, hot as lust is
I don't want them
High all morning, ride all night
LA calling, bathed in sunlight
Cold as cash is, hot as lust is
I know where my heart is
I want you, I want you, I want you.
I thought it was all gonna end
I didn't want it to end
Cos we're feeling on top,
We're feeling on top of the game
From now on it's never gonna be the same
Everywhere
Everyone gather round the world
And give thanks we're of the world
Everywhere
Everyone gather round the world
And give thanks we're of the world
Oh-oh-oh, Oh-oh-oh, Oh-oh-oh
Oh-oh-oh, Oh-oh-oh, Oh-oh-oh
High all morning, ride all night
LA calling, bathed in sunlight
Cold as cash is, hot as lust is
I don't want them
High all morning, ride all night
LA calling, bathed in sunlight
Cold as cash is, hot as lust is
I know where my heart is
I want you, I want you, I want you
interesting like when we recorded our debut, we didn't really know that we were recording our debut.
We were just sort of collecting songs together, writing music, and playing it out every weekend.
That was kind of our focus.
When it came around to the second time we had to really tour a lot and we'd seen a lot of the world and we'd sort of been immersed in music.
More than we had at first.
So I think that definitely influenced us when writing our second album.
We're playing to bigger crowds and we're seeing what reacted well.
This time around I guess it's just like a greater appreciation of what people want to see and how people enjoy themselves.
We learned so much from playing around.
flip up the process.
Initially we were making beats and then writing lyrics kind of with weird little melodies and this time we decided just to start with guitars and our voices and then add the beats afterwards.
So it was a fun kind of change for us.
settling on the name Cave Rave for the album, we kind of remembered this picture we'd seen at this beautiful cave looking down into this sort of fiery pit of a cave in the bass country.
We always wanted to sort of play a show there or get out there and get enough people down.
Once the album had this name and it was going around, we tried to get it organized and we eventually ended up doing it last month in August.
An amazing cave party with local bands, local musicians playing the challapata much better than we could ever do and just drinking a lot of cider.
The Cave Rave did turn out to be probably our best achievement, I'd say.
It felt like a sort of coming together of five years of working on music together and in honor of this culture somehow and being accepted into this very old place.
This is kind of at the center of their culture in some ways.
It's very exciting.
able to do an event.
Hopefully people who came would lose their sense of space and time when they're there.
That's how we hopefully strive to continue to do that with more events and things we do in the future and go beyond a normal concert.
Where people can... part of our music is to provide sort of a light to people to lose themselves and to get away from their day to day things.
If we can take that one step further with these type of events than that would be really exciting us.
Follow, follow
Follow, follow
You're the one I follow
Follow to the middle
Middle of the shadows
Far away from all the sorrows
You're the one I follow
Follow all the way oh
Way into the darkness,
Where the sun is shining yellow
the sun is shining yellow
Come on, Aye-oh, all right
You're the one I follow
Follow to the middle
Middle of the shadows
Far away from all the sorrows
You're the one I follow
Follow all the way oh
Way into the darkness,
Where the sun is shining yellow
"How we had to know the way"
In the world "tigh"
Hiding in the middle ,
Away from all the sorrows
Swallow it all down low, oh oh
For the freedom of mind
freed us out of the darkness,
where the sky is burning yellow.
If anyone can offer me some honesty, yah.
Honesty, honesty
Honesty, honesty.
If any disaster needs a remedy, yah.
Remedy, remedy
Remedy, remedy
If I go to you, you come to me, yah.
Come with me, come with me
Come with me, come with me
And that's just the way it's gonna have to be, yah.
Followin', followin'
Followin', followin'
Follow, my love, taking everything,
till' the love takes everyone,
and everyone will sing,
Peace has come,
Peace has come to ever seen
And all as one, one with everything
Follow, my love, taking everything,
till' the love takes everyone,
And everyone will sing,
Peace has come,
Peace has come to ever seen
And all as one, one with everything
Definite, definitely,
In you I lost my soul,
Following nothing endlessly, again
Follow, my love,
Your soul to see
Your soul to see
My body says, so sad
For the heart to me, ah
The heart to beat
The heart to beat
The heart to beat,
Body says, so sad.
Follow, my love, taking everything,
till' the love takes you everyone,
and everyone will sing,
Peace has come,
Peace has come to let us in
We're all as one, one with everything
Follow, my love, taking everything,
till' the love takes everyone,
and everyone will sing,
Peace has come,
Peace has come to let us in
And all as one, one with everything
songs from the album that are stripped down because a lot of them were written like that so that definitely brings it back to the original thinking of the song.
to have been given the chance to put out music.
We've always loved to create music.
We've finally got to that stage where people actually want to listen to it and that's a great thing for us.
To be able to travel and communicate with the people you've given music to is a great thing and it feels like a holistic experience.
thing than a proud, like pride thing.
We feel very lucky to be able to do this.
We're proud to be able to share our music, but we're also very humbled by the experience as well.

Artist Bio

If you'd spent the last few years of your life wrapped up in an album like Star Of Love, you'd go looking for a little respite, too. Crystal Fighters' debut was the product of minds made manic by a deluge of fresh experience, both in the studio and on the road. It was inspired by an opera written by a man whose sanity disintegrated before he could finish it. It seemed to be influenced just as much by traditional Basque music from the 18th century as it was modern-day clubland, and contained residual traces of every genre, scene, style or party that had existed in-between.

But if album one was the sound of haywire electronic loops frantically kept spinning like plates on sticks, then album two is the story of Crystal Fighters mastering control of those rave repetitions, withdrawing from the chaos of the club to carve their music into the shape of songs.

To write the album, Crystal Fighters retreated to the Basque hills that they consider to be their spiritual home. Their music has always born traces of the local sound traditional instruments like txalapartas and txistus vying in the mix with razor's edge guitars and percolating techno synths but the purpose of this mission was different. Immersed in their creative cradle, they wanted to tap into something beyond their immediate experience, to uproot themselves from temporal bounds in order to write timeless songs.

These methods proved to be spectacularly successful Crystal Fighters wrote Cave Rave in its entirety during this two-month spell. There followed a quick detour to Los Angeles to produce the tracks, but after this it was still the songs written in the Basque country that remained most audible only now the melodies found there had been sharpened into hooks, songs exploded into towering anthems. This revelatory process also exposed the band to a new way of thinking: a realisation that even the cultures they considered traditional are comparatively new. The album draws deeper into universal, history-permeating themes of love, death, insanity and hope; using Basque culture as a stepping stone backward to the spiritual and primal.

The musical influences have widened too. Star Of Love was a manic, genre picking rush yet Cave Rave expands the sound palette even further. The beating hearts of Hispanic and African dance and Mexican electronic music 3bal now sit alongside folk and psychedelia, each artfully interpreted and united by the band's unconfined vision.

If Crystal Fighters have surrendered to the power of the song, they haven't run up the white flag in terms of energy. What's here is still an adrenal rush, and there is an awful lot here: the grandstanding of American road rock, the sweat of disco, the fervent initiative of punk, the house of Iberian twilights that anticipates everything coming very soon, all at once. What's changed is Crystal Fighters' ability to control those surges and as such Cave Rave feels a considerably more thoughtful and contemplative album than its predecessor.

Nevertheless, it has at its heart the same tension that provides all great records their emotional traction. Sebastian Pringle, Gilbert Vierich, and Graham Dickson are the three core members of Crystal Fighters, around whom a larger cadre of vocalists and instrumentalists revolve. They're the kind of people whose brains seem to be bubbling pots, all intensely preoccupied with anthropology, time travel, spirituality and their place in the universe, even as they're attempting to create the kind of cohesive sonic pieces that really connect and move people. They seem passionate about creating music that can make people dance, but that is equally adept at finding its way beneath a listener's skin.

With Cave Rave, Pringle, Vierich and Dickson have managed just that. The melodies, hooks and refrains of the album are so compelling it's almost as if Crystal Fighters had to devise them simply to navigate a way across the landscapes of their own avid genrelessness, to remain as masters of music that itself seems to be a disputed territory. Here you have a band hell-bent on locating their own musical heaven, a place beyond petty genre parameters, where all that remains, finally, is song, rhythm and sentiment, bursting in vivid colour from the dark of the silent Basque night.

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Crystal Fighters

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