Crimson Falls : Interview with Kristof & Tom (EN)

Belgian Deathcore masters, Crimson Falls, are back with their new killer album « Downpours Of Disapproval » out for a few months now. Hell Metal offers us the possibility to see the band live near to us in La Louvière this weekend. So, to promote the show and to highlight the new CD, in case you didn’t discover it yet, here is an interview with Kristof and Tom, the guitar player and the bass player, who are taking stock of their band’s situation and who unveil us all the secrets around « Downpours Of Disapproval ».

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First of all, after so many years of career, how do you feel today ?

Tom : We feel stronger than ever. We are five people with a common goal; making music, exploring new aspects of music and trying to do better each time : on stage or while making an album and having fun while doing it ! We are proud of what we accomplished so far and we hope to continue doing what we do best : making and playing music together.

What is the meaning behind the name of Crimson Falls ?

Kristof : Well, we first came up with the name Crimson Falls and choose for it because we liked the sound of it and found the image of crimson waterfalls, somewhere on this earth, pretty cool. We only gave a meaning to this band name a little later with the song « Behold The Crimson Falls » which can be found on our debut EP « RUINS 2K5 ». In short, the « Crimson Falls » stand for all the bloodshed and grief in this world, all gathered in an unstoppable current which leads to the crimson falls. Though these lyrics were written ages ago, this kind of stuff still finds its way in our current lyrics, which often deal with topical social issues like harassment, abuse, exploitation and other excesses in our society.

You went through a lot of line-up changes. How did you manage to get over it while other bands lean to give up facing that kind of problems ?

Tom : That’s exactly it : do not give up. I think its our determination that got us through, as well as a clear view on what we still want to achieve. For myself : I see a problem as an opportunity in disguise. We had the chance to play with different guitar players, bass players and drummers. As much as it is finding a solution for our problem it’s also a thankful way of meeting new musicians and I am honoured to have played with all of them. We always kept playing, never cancelled a show and kept writing. The lack of means didn’t stop our dreams and persistence. I’d like to point out that the vibe of Jeroen and Youri joining our band gave it a big push in the right direction !

Otherwise, how has your new album « Downpours Of Disapproval » been received ?

Tom : Our new full CD has been received very well ! The audience responds to our new songs in the way we like it best : coming to our shows, moshing the place up, singing along, going crazy! It’s very rewarding to get so much appreciation from someone who just heard our new CD or talks to us after a show. In general there’s a good vibe around Crimson Falls again these days and hereby I want to thank everybody supporting us and having a good time thanks to our music ! Still to this date we get reviews with high scores and positive comments. Although some people react differently to certain songs that are a bit non-conformal, in general they see it as a step up for us or as a nice piece of listening candy.

And how would you describe your music style at the moment ?

Kristof : I think Progressive Deathcore comes pretty close. Our core-style is definitely Deathcore; an agressive mix of Death Metal and Metalcore. But we add a lot of other influences as well going from Black Metal and Hardcore over Trip Hop, Hip Hop and even Dubstep. We try to incorporate these influences into our music, first of all because we like doing so; it all happens pretty naturally. And secondly I think it freshens things up and gives this band a face of its own. We never wanted to be mere copycats.

Also, how do you manage to renew your music while keeping this genre ? Because it’s true your last album stays in the same vein than the previous one.

Tom : First of all, like Kristof said, we want to incorporate new aspects in our music because we like it ourselves and want to try out new things. Not being afraid to do what surely reflects in our music and the classical Crimson Falls elements tie it all together. We’ve been busy with different scales, sounds, styles, samples, voices… You name it ! Secondly we want to improve ourselves in every level : making better songs, getting a better sound on CD and on stage, experiment with new techniques… So the music is a result on that. It’s not so much wanting to do something original, it’s more like wanting to try something new for ourselves.

Having said that, you seem to use more electronic sounds in your music, is it a matter of trends or did it come naturally ?

Tom : I remember being influenced by Lamb Of God and All Shall Perish in the past albums, so surely the music we listen to nowadays is a influence to us; both musical and technical. But that’s mutual so we are also glad to inspire people to make music too ! It all comes down to the idea that if we like it in our song and it fits the concept of the song : we put it in. However we are still a live band so guitars will always have a primary role in our music ! Metal !

There are also some more Hardcore parts, how can you explain this ?

Kristof : Some members in the band, especially Wim and myself, come from a Hardcore background. When we were teenagers we went to a lot of Hardcore shows, so this music and attitudes are in our roots. Maybe on the past albums it didn’t came to the surface so obviously, now we just wanted to go for it and have a nice two-step part on the album; gangvocals included. Check « Culture Of Cancellations » for that !

There are also some vocal guests on this album, could you tell me how it happened ?

Kristof : We always liked to have some guest vocals on our albums. It’s like a little gift to ourselves, getting the chance to work with these talented people. So when we talked about this during the preparations of « Downpours Of Disapproval » different names were put on the table. One of the first ones was Daniel from Textures. We thought about him because we wanted to have some clean vocals on this album, done by a real good singer. We wanted to know how clean vocals would sound on our music. Because we were working in Split Second Sound with Jochem Jacobs (ex-Textures) as our producer, there was a direct link to Daniel. We invited him, he came over and knocked us over with a killer vocal line ! It’s surely one of our own favourite passages on the CD. As Brent Vanneste (Steak Number Eight), we felt that « How Much Does Life Weigh ? » could use something special; or at least that something more alternative would fit in the song. We already had the final part of the song, with the screams over the accoustic guitars and we thought that would fit with a raw sounding voice. Suddenly Youri, our drummer, proposed to invite Brent. They knew each other from years ago as their from the same region. Brent as well surprised us by nailing it all in just a few takes. He created his own little moment and atmosphere in the studio; that was pretty magical !

I wished to ask you some questions about your texts until I noticed that each title has a subtitle and a frame with written explanations. It’s the first time I see this and I think it’s really interesting. Why did you do this ?

Tom : Kristof writes the texts and he’s inspired by things that happen around us; musical, social, political. Bringing this points to the attention of the audience by music is a great way to do this : people who are interested in our music or who wants to sing along read the texts in our booklet and get involved. I can imagine that people find it pleasing to read some additional info about the text.

Kristof : Yeah, I got the inspiration to do this a long time ago by Hardcore or Metalcore bands like Facedown and Heaven Shall Burn, who also did this from time. I think it adds a little more to our CD and it gives some deeper insight in the lyrics. This way people can completely understand what the lyrics are about and comprehend.

I saw that you already did it for « Fragments Of Awareness », did you do this in each of your album ?

Kristof : Yes, we also did this on « The True Face Of Human Nature », our debut full CD. On our very first EP, « Ruins 2K5 » we didn’t have comments with each song, but we had one text for the entire CD and its concept.

Back to « Downpours Of Disapproval » now, which is finally a concept album. Even though I have the explanations, could you explain to the readers what’s hiding behind this concept ?

Tom : The title of the CD is a bit of a summary of what the songs are about : there are all kind of things happening around us that we don’t approve or are not even aware of. Bad things happen to all of us and we want them to change or at least make people aware. So « Downpours Of Disapproval » stands for the long list of shit that is coming down on us all.

We find very personal, poignant and committed subjects, is this what inspires you in general ?

Kristof : Yes, we want to have lyrics about things in a life that other people can relate to. No fantasy stuff but real subjects about the daily life or things happening in the world. It’s what inspires us because it’s what happens in our own lives or what we see on television or read in books and newspapers.

Could you tell me about one text in particular which you care very much about ?

Kristof : The first song that comes to my mind now is « Resurrection ». This song has very personal lyrics about a period in my life in which I lost track. I didn’t knew anymore in which direction I wanted to put my life, I wasn’t myself anymore and often felt very depressed. But slowly, bit by bit, I managed to get out of that and most importantly, become myself again, the person I have always been. While writing these lyrics I noticed that all of this was a nice metaphor for what had been happening with Crimson Falls as well. We had some rough years with line-up changes, shows cancellations and a UK record label fuckin’ us over. But Crimson Falls was crawling out of the gutter as well, with writing and recording « Downpours Of Disapproval ».

Could you also explain me the meaning of the title « Le Coup De Grâce » ? Why have you decided to evoke this subject in particular ? And why did you do it in French ? Was it the first time for you ?

Kristof : « Le Coup De Grâce » was indeed the first song ever I wrote in French. It was very pleasant to do so, after so many lyrics in English. I also think that, again, it adds something special to our records. It deals with the life of Patrick Haemers and his gang in particular and senseless violence in general. I got inspired to write about his life after seeing the documentary « De Bende Haemers » on television and reading a book about his life with his wife Denise Tyack. The idea to write it in French came spontaneously, because Patrick Haemers and his gang were French speaking. So in the television episodes I found a lot of cool quotes in French and I took it from there. The song title « Le Coup De Grâce » refers to a quote from Patrick Haemers’ mother, talking about Haemers last months of his life in jail. This quote is also sampled in the intro of the song by the way.

Despite the richness of your texts, aren’t you afraid that people don’t pay attention to it and prefer to concentrate on the music ?

Tom : I would be afraid if people wouldn’t pay attention anymore in general. I started reading the texts in booklets only when I started playing in Crimson Falls so I am pretty sure other people do as well.

Kristof : Yeah, of course I hope for everyone to check the lyrics but I realise a lot of people won’t. That’s also one of the reasons why we add those comments. To make people notice there’s something going on with these lyrics, to make them notice.

By the way, one more word about the texts, then I’ll speak about something else. How comes that you write the lyrics ? It’s not common for a guitar player. Then, how do you work with the singer for the interpretation ? Do you let him do what he wants or is it more complicated ?

Kristof : For us it always was like this. Our singer, Wim, never was into writing lyrics and I always loved doing this, so that was never an issue. I have a journalistic background and also wrote lyrics in my previous bands. Most of the time I first write the complete lyric and I choose which lyric on which song, because I’d like the two to go together well. This is mostly just a feeling, like a certain athmosphere that lyrics and music share. Like « Trapped » for instance a dark song, brutal and heavy, while the lyrics deal with being trapped 600 meters deep. I think this combines well. For most songs the lyrics go to Wim and he works out his vocal lines. For the latest record we made preproductions together so we could discuss certain points along the way and make small adjustments here and there. I must say we don’t need a lot of discussion for that, I always like Wim’s vocal lines a lot and I mainly guard the meaning of the words and lyrics. Sometimes I have ideas for the vocal line as well during the writing of the lyrics. Then I make a pre-production of that first and send it through to Wim with the lyrics.

You made a lot of touring through years, what are the main differences between the countries ?

Tom : Its great to see that when you play a Metal show in another country people come to your shows and enjoy it. So as far as public I don’t see that much of a difference. The main difference I notice at best is the different influences, local styles and bands. That’s a good thing, it inspires us to make new music. What strucks me the most was the differences in life standards. I remember some kid coming to our merch stand after our show in Praha. He wanted to buy a CD but didn’t have enough money. It would have been unfair to deny a kid a CD from a band he just stared to love, so we gave him the CD for the price he could afford. He was very happy !

Do you have a favourite country to play ? Why ?

Tom : Anywhere ! We play for all the people that want to see and hear us play, it’s not country related. If you want to see us in your country, let us know so we can look for a way to make it happen !

According to you, how would be the perfect audience ?

Tom : It’s always very rewarding to play a good set for a big, enthousiastic crowd. But in the end we enjoy playing music : on stage, in a studio or at home, so anybody who shows up and has a great time thanks to us is a member of a perfect audience.

Kristof : We want you to mosh, stagedive, bang your head, get drunk, sing along, crush each other in a wall of death and add a little circle pit here and there. That’s basically it.

Here is a question I like to ask : do you have a best memory of a gig, or a little funny story which happened during a show ?

Tom : I managed to loose my guitar belt a few times the first time I bought some strap locks. I mounted them the wrong way and my bass fell of every time i made an excessive move. I was like : what the fuck ? This isn’t better stuff, this is worse ! It was only after the show I realized what went wrong.

Lastly, could you say something to encourage people for coming to the show in March at la Taverne du Théâtre ?

Tom : Kick ass, enjoy the moment, go crazy, be a stormtrooper in that wall of death ! We’ll be playing a bunch of new songs and it’s all for you so go for it and enjoy yourselves at our gig ! When we see a mitovated crowd it motivates us back to give it our best ! We’ve raised the bar on the musical level so come and check us out !

Kristof : Yeah, it’s been a while since we played in Wallonia and we’re very much looking forward to it so come and have a party with us !

And finally a very last one : what are the plans for Crimson Falls for the next months ?

FUCK SHIT UP !

It seems we won’t know a lot more about the future of Crimson Falls. Anyway, a big thank you to Kristof and Tom for their participation and to Hell Metal to make this possible ! See you on the road !

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