Köln / Nijmegen / Leipzig based crusty powerviolent hardcore punk band CREVASSE (members of FINISTERRE, LANDVERRAAD, LEECHFEAST and LAWINE have recently delivered a killer record that incorporates some of the most ferocious elements of the genre and served a tasteful dish of 6 wild courses that wwill surely energize your day, without giving up on various important issues like patriarchy, other systems that perpetuate the domination of one group over another, discrimination, inadequate politics and various struggles of modern societies.
Hey there guys! Thanks for joining us here on IDIOTEQ! You’ve just unveiled your new self-titled 12’’ and I must say it’s a killer! Please introduce the band to our readers and tell us a bit about this new record, what inspired its themes and what it means to you.
Erik: Hey hey! Thanks for the nice words!!So we are CREVASSE a 4 piece punk band from Nijmegen and Leipzig. Nijmegen is on the border of Germany in Netherlands and Leipzig is in Germany (useless information :) anyways we are Manuela, Bolic, Jesse and Me (Erik) and we started in 2014 maybe…can’t really remember. Bolic and me wanted to start a band for a while but since he lived in Slovenia before that always seemed to be kind of hard. When he moved to Nijmegen we started a band and writing songs and after a while we asked Manuela who we knew from touring together with Finisterre and my former band (SAND CREEK MASSACRE) to sing…we found a bass player in Jesse and we were a band…
We recorded this record and an upcoming split (with CLOUD RAT) in December 2015 in Köln in a very small basement studio where the temperatures got really high at some points. We asked our good friend Chris, who plays in a great band called STRAFPLANET, to record us and he came from Graz to Köln to do the job…recording was fun we stayed at our friends in Köln and took 3 days to record 8 tracks.. I think I never had such a relaxed recording session.. normally I freak out after half a day cause I’m so bored (drummers are often done really fast)…
Manuela: Well, I need to complete that or bring another perspective in this discussion… haha… drummers are usually the first people who record cause they give the basic orientation, but that does not mean, that they are finished then…and especially in our case – my dearest Erik – it took all of the others really long afterwards, cause you have a certain or very special way to play (<3), which is impossible, or better quite hard to find the right starting point without seeing you or better without you playing on click ;)! This is actually something what we clearly figured out when we recorded and what we did not really think about before, that we are usually used to look at each other while playing and to communicate via views, which is while recording pretty difficult. (Actually we planned to do a live-recording, what means the instruments gonna record all together instead of one after another – but unfortunately this didn´t work out cause the studio was to small, haha, to have enough distance/space between guitar an drums for example). But going back to the previous point, I also think this type of music we are doing kind of lives through this life-dynamic we have while playing all together, so in my opinion this was kind of a challenge for us concerning this recording. But in the end, we were all quite satisfied with what came out! And especially me, I was not really happy with our first recording (demo) which happened really fast after I joined the band. That time I had the feeling, and be still convinced about that, that it´s been too fast and also the songs were not settled enough to record…I think, compared to the new record, you can hear what I mean. So I´m way more satisfied with everything now concerning the 12“.
Erik: I think the record turned out great and I’m super happy we did all by ourselves and with friends.. from the artwork to the recording and the releasing it’s all done by friends who helped us out.. that’s great! Thanks friends!
How tough is it to develop a band, whose members are located in 2 distant locations?
Erik: Well so far it’s going pretty smooth.. Manuela used to live in Köln and that’s only a 2 hour drive from Nijmegen.. now that she moved to Leipzig it’s obviously not that easy but I think we will find a way.
Most of the time me and Bolic meet up to make new songs that we than film and send to the rest, Manuela than has plenty of time to write lyrics and we meet up once in a while to finish up the songs…also we do A LOT of emailing…loads and loads of emailing to discuss matters like artwork, tour booking etc.
Manuela: I think, as I´m the singer it’s totally possible to do a band over a certain distance. As long as the rest of the band have the opportunity to practice together quite regularly, it´s also working without me and I´m not slowing down the whole process cause I´m not playing any basic instrument…which does not mean at all, that the vocalist is not important – he_she is! =) But also, I´m really fast in finishing new songs, when the lyrics are done, what I prepare mostly at home, as Erik said, based on the videos, and while practicing we just play it as long as it fits on the point, which usually does not take longer than one session.
Which of your previous bands are still active and how do you balance your time between CREVASSE and the rest of the projects?
Erik: As you said most of us are in pretty active bands.. Manuela has FINISTERRE, Bolic has LEECHFEAST and I play in a band called LAWINE.
So far we are all pretty good in planning and we divide our free time over these bands..
Last year we did a tour together with LAWINE so I had to play twice every night which was a lot of fun.. I like playing drums.
No, but seriously I think it just comes down to plan a lot in advance and respect the fact that we all have busy lives and maybe that means we cannot tour every month.
Manuela: For me touring is my holiday, I rarely do see other places when I take time off and go on holidays for myself…I mostly take my free time for band activities…which is also sometimes a bit unbalanced concerning my „private“ time ;)
Ok, you’ve just wrapped up the first ‘leg’ of your touring schedule. How were these shows? Did your Brussels gig take place despite the recent terrorist attacks?
Erik: The shows were a lot of fun! We were so busy recording and making new songs and emailing each other that we forgot that we actually should play some shows :0 so we did a nice weekend with a great band from Slovenia called PAKT and then we did this really crazy show in Brussels that was organized by a queer collective called Bitchcraft that asked us a million times to play but we had to disappoint them every time cause we were to busy with life…anyways, that show in Brussels was loads of fun, lots of people, great bands and an overall good atmosphere. As you said the show was in the same week when the attacks took place in Brussels and when we left for the show on Friday afternoon we figured out we will probably get stopped at the border and Brussels is probably filled with soldiers and cops everywhere and then nothing happened at the border and we didn’t encounter anything shitty in Brussels.. I guess a lot of it has to do with the media (at least here in NL) making you crazy with all the “info” they put out at the point where you actually start to believe that Brussels must be a warzone and then you are actually there and it’s a completely different dynamic and situation. Of course it’s extreme shit that it happened and it must affect a lot of people personally, but that night we didn’t hear anything about it.
Manuela: Same for us (me and some friends), who came from Köln. We directly passed this tram station where it happened, and beside flowers and candles, there were no special security-arrangements.
But I was thinking in advance, if people might expect me to say some solidarity words or make some political statements on that, but I decided not to do it or better see how the situation and atmosphere will be that night and then decide on that spontaneously… but as it is a very sensitive topic for the people there, especially when they are affected by la personal loss, it could happen that you do not find the right words or talk weird stuff cause you are nervous or insecure on what´s the right thing to say, that I simply decided not to take position on that. Neither did the other bands… and I think, this was a welcome decision. Nobody expected anything of us…and the atmosphere was very good and relaxed.
Did you feel that danger on a personal level?
Erik: No not really actually…maybe it’s a naive point of view but for me personally a terrorist attack or any violent large scale attack is still something that is far away (although Brussels in this matter is only a 2 hour drive) it’s just not a fear that I grew up with or had to deal with in my life so far. I do think this is gonna change in the coming years and I do realize this is a really privileged background/position I’m coming from.
Manuela: In my opinion this is kind of an interesting question, that people think about their personal safety or danger, when war and terrorism is close by, what I on the one hand understand, but on the other hand I think it´s a bit strange, cause there is all that shit and murdering going on around the world, but we live our all day life and have the opportunity to decide if we feel for thinking about the war in Syria for example or not, but as soon as it comes more close to our personal live we get worried…
What do you think about the reasons for such actions? What do you think were the worst moves that Western countries made years before that triggered the recent escalating bombings and attacks?
Erik: I guess “the west” has a big and endless history of overtaking, colonizing and destroying a lot of cultures, countries and people and I do think that our leaders are completely oblivious if we think that all those people and cultures we oppressed would never stand up and rise against our destructive habits..
On a personal level I cannot really agree with the motivations of fanatical religious groups like Daesh but I think the shapes of war are changing and it will affect us at some point and we might not be as safe as we always thought we were.
Are these some of the themes covered in your songs? Where do you get your inspiration from?
Manuela: Well, yeah, kind of that is covered in the songs, maybe not always exactly on one certain point or one certain theme, but in general all the songs or the lyrics have a political touch. mostly they are influenced by self-reflection on life, system structures, discrimination, inequalities, habits, patterns, personal struggles and political developments (for example anarchistic ideas on society). It´s mostly about a critical point of view on stuff and a left-radical questioning of oppressive and capitalistic structures in general.
(Sometimes) it´s kind of complicating to talk about a quite complex topic within just one song. That´s why our demo contains songs which all treat the struggle with and the critique on labour work for example and a society what forces us to be flexible and the most useful, actually a transparency of neoliberal shit what causes especially women a double a triple burden and that everybody has the need to use time efficient…
The lyrics on the record are more hiding concrete themes, one is about how sexuality is defined in many different ways and that there are never just one explanation or one right way or just the only one true definition or solution on that. While for ones sexuality is something to express themselves, for the others it´s a kind of war, either because of sexual violence or because they are oppressed by structures and face violence because of their sexual orientation for example.
Another song is about facing personal fears and reflect on them to figure out, what’s controlling you through the way you got raised for example and that we all got socialized in certain patterns which we continue and repeat them on and on, and that it´s so god damn difficult to escape from that…for example gender issues: what women are meant to be by a patriarchal and sexist society, that I´m supposed to be calm and quiet, nice and good behaving, looking beautiful, fit in a certain body norm, doing care and reproductive work and all that bullshit. I´m none of that, cause it´s just a rotten construction (but therefore a very hegemonial based and settled structure which pretends to be the only truth)…
Do you feel any pressure to be especially political or dead serious in your songwriting, or does it comes to you naturally?
Manuela: For me making music is a political thing itself or better said, it´s always connected to politics for me and us, so basically everything which is dealt with in the songs contains political thoughts, ideas and discussions (- at least in the background). So there´s no pressure at all, cause it’s my ambition to deal with political issues through music. But that does not necessarily mean that the lyrics has to be dead serious, there are many different ways in expressing important political statements, also if you can laugh about it. But in our case and the way I write the lyrics, I would say, it´s more influenced by rage and being confronting and be quite puristic with it instead of an artsy way to present what pisses me off.
How do you think about the current digital times and their impact on the good old DIY communication methods? For instance, do you think that zine making will always have a place in our time and more and more digital future?
Erik: I think it’s not always that logical to talk about good old methods. I´m really happy we have a navigation system these days, also I really like the concept of emailing for booking tours and staying in touch also for promo things like facebook and bandcamp are great…I also really like mp3s and illegal downloads and I don’t own a tape deck :)
Seriously I think we shouldn’t be sentimental but we should be critical towards “new” stuff..
About zine making.. I guess using the internet for zine making is awesome…way more people can get to it and its less exclusive in a way. For example your zine.. the only thing you need is an internet connection.
I think all in all a digital and a physical thing should coexist and can coexist.
Ok, finally, what projects are you working on now and what are your future plans with CREVASSE and your other projects?
Erik: Well we are a busy bunch of people! We had out on tour in a week and then I’m organizing the DIY fest in Nijmegen which consumes a lot of my time, Bolic is heading out on tour with LEECHFEAST and I’m gonna go tour with LAWINE end of June and release a split with the amazing REMEK from Czech. Than we probably don’t do a lot of stuff for a while with CREVASSE but we will release a split with CLOUD RAT I guess end of summer and tour with them in the US beginning of 2017.
Manuela: As I just moved from Köln to Leipzig, I will still need some time to settle my „new“ life there, haha…and I will go on tour with FINISTERRE to Russia in May, which will be amazing…we are gonna fly there and travel by train from show to show, even overnight, yeah, this will be a pretty awesome experience and we are very happy that our friends (Lesha and Sasha) are organizing that and offering that possibility for us =)!
Erik: Oh and thank you for the interview and for doing what you do.. I’m not really familiar within the world of digital zines but I checked out your e-zine (cool word) and I liked it.. thanks for the interest and the nice words!