We sat down with Sebastian Pringle, singer and guitarist for electro-Basque folk collective Crystal Fighters to talk about the band's first album
Star of Love, traditional Spanish influence, and playing their first shows in America.
Could you give me a little background on Crystal Fighters and how you guys recorded your first album?
Definitely, recording the album happened over a fairly extended period because we started recording it almost as soon as we found out about this Basque music that was kind of the reason why we exist. I had only recently met one of the members, Graham (Dickson, guitar/ txalaparta). Gilbert (Vierich, guitar/electronics/txalaparta) and he were living together and we sort of made a jam band around their flat. And Laure (Stockley, vocals) came back with this manuscript, and Crystal Fighters was born out of this Basque kind of art, I suppose, that this man had been writing. And from there we started building songs on computers and recording ourselves.
So, lots of beats came from those early days of discovering this Basque thing, and it kind of grew out of that, and we made the commitment of finishing a record and we finished it up. We rerecorded some of the vocal parts and guitars in the studio on some late nights in 2010. And we released it late that year, and in early 2011 in Europe. And now it's hitting the States.
Are you the main lyric writer for Crystal Fighters?
I did some on the last album, but mainly we develop ideas together. It's really the bands songs, especially in the new record, we've been collaborating. It's an exciting way of doing things for us because we feel that the character of the band is all of us, not just me.
Yeah, I definitely get that sense from your live show, what can people who have never seen Crystal Fighters expect coming out to see you?
They will probably experience many different kinds of music, dance music, folk music. A lot of singing along, yeah, a big euphoric mixture of music.
So you have a folk music background, among other things?
Yeah, yeah. With electronic and rock music, hip-hop and dance. But definitely folk informed that side of the sound, the chord progressions and such.
What kind of influence does the tradition of Spanish music has on Crystal Fighters?
I think certainly that Basque music has been and continues to be a big influence on us, taking those fairly simple melodies and what we consider to be sort of hypnotic elements and forming new things out of older forms. So definitely the folk in terms of melody and chords is a big influence on us. And the lyrical style, you know, the folk tale is definitely in effect in our music.
Have you guys toured in the States before?
We just did our longest tour, which was about three weeks, including South by Southwest. We got back about a month and a half ago and now were coming back for our longest tour of the year, about three and a half weeks around North America.
How has America treated you guys so far?
The reception has been amazing, in San Francisco, L.A. and Miami, and a real mixture of people listening to a real mixture of music these days. We were playing with dance music, and rock music, heavier, more emotional music being there. We've been around mixed crowds of very nice people. Fun times were had. [Laughs]
Star of Love is just coming out in the States, but it's been done for a while. What's it like to release an album thats been finished for two years?
It's a bit bizarre but it's fine. The thing is we've got a lot of live stuff that sounds different than on the record. So it still feels fresh in our minds.
Are you working on new material then?
Yeah we're making progress with our second one, we'll pop it out [laughs] by the end of the year.
What can people expect from the second Crystal Fighters album?
More contrast, more edgy, more sonic joy, while still being the same. Probably better recorded, (laughs) and yeah, bigger. More collaboration together, it's going to be amazing, we cant wait to get it out.
Catch Crystal Fighters when they come to your town.
Crystal Fighters on Tour
5/21 - Philadelphia, PA @ Union Transfer
5/22 - Washington, DC @ Rock and Roll Hotel
5/23 - Brooklyn, NY @ Music Hall of Williamsburg
5/25 - Montreal, QC @ Il Motore
5/26 - Toronto, ON @ Wrongbar
5/27 - Chicago, IL @ Empty Bottle
5/31 - Vancouver, BC @ Fortune Sound Club
6/2 - Portland, OR @ Wonder Ballroom
6/4 - San Francisco, CA @ The Independent
6/5 - Los Angeles, CA @ Echoplex