If you had been on the road for as long as Crystal Fighters, you would be understandably tired. Surprisingly though, they don’t show it, even after rushing up the UK to Manchester after playing a sold out show at London’s Brixton Academy last night. “It’s turned into a never ending tour, as Bob Dylan described it”, Sebastian jokes about Crystal Fighter’s current tour, which has been going on for nearly six months since before the release of Cave Rave in May. The tour has taken them to cities across Europe, America, to an actual rave in a cave in the basque country of northern Spain, and now finally to the home stretch of the UK. “The tour has been a long journey, but we treat every day as a new story”. This is evident from the band’s continued injection of vast amounts of energy into their shows, despite this extensive touring schedule.
With Cave Rave, there has been a clear shift in style from the thumping dance style of their largely self produced first album. When probed into the reasons of this change, Sebastian puts it down to a renewed interest in acoustic guitars, and the albums isolated recording in the Basque Country and LA. Not to mention the influence of new producer Justin Meldal-Johnsen, who has produced albums by the likes of Foals. Out of the new album “‘You and I’, is my favourite song to play live, for its range of styles, but we still enjoy playing material like ‘I Do This Everyday’ from the first album.” It’s good to hear that Crystal Fighters aren’t spurning their roots.
Two of the factors which make Crystal Fighters so distinct is their wide range of instruments, and the unique atmosphere they create at their live shows. “We try to visit most of the cities we play, and most of the instruments are picked up along the way”. Extensive touring of Spain has resulted in the band using instruments from their adopted Basque heritage, such as the txalaparta, danbolin, and the txistu. While those names seem hard enough to even pronounce, “the instruments themselves are mostly percussion based, so they are quite easy to learn”. When asked how Crystal Fighters create the party vibe which is so present throughout all of their shows, Sebastian is quick to respond. “We all DJ a lot, which has the impetus of getting to people to dance for a whole night, and so getting people to dance for an hour seems easy”.
“A lot of the music we all like and are influenced by, we bring out through our DJing”. One of these influences is Mexican 3bal music, a mix of hispanic music with elements of house music blended in, which is as abstract as it sounds. “My advice is to check out an artist called Erick Rincon if you want to get a flavour of it.”
Crystal Fighters know a thing or two about throwing a party, whether in a cave or not. If the Crystal Fighters were running a festival this year, Sebastian considers his dream headliners carefully. “Vampire Weekend – who every time I’ve seen them I’ve seriously been blown away by”, fit the indie band bill. Aretha Franklin, ticks the legendary solo artist box. “As for the last night, I’d have to choose a wild card – Rihanna”. We’ll have trust him on this one.