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Crestfall

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Karsten (guitars), Remco (vocals) and Jan (guitars) from the Dutch metalband Crestfall were our guests on the Art For The Ears Interview Message-Board! Result is quite a lenghthy article that will be a perfect introduction to this band. Below you can find the results of this online interview.

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Discography: Evanescent Imperfection. Available through: Crestfall & Fear Dark. Official website: Crestfall. Interview by: mpomusic, Rogoth, Jidzicar, AndreJC, Jarhead & ToddPope. Date: January 6th - January 12th 2001. Article work-out by mpo

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mpomusic: I know the band just a little bit but many don't know you. So, can you first tell a little bit of the band history, how it all began and why?

Karsten: Crestfall started out in de summer of 1997 as ButDust. Before I joined the band, ButDust played their first year as a band with Wouter, who left because of work obligations. Speaking of musical tastes, all members differ in certain details, but metal is our common ground. We started out as a downtuned punk/hardcore band, but later on we evolved into a more 'refined' metal-oriented band. We try to create music in a way that comes most natural to us. The concept of metal-music is in our vision only attached to our musical-style and has nothing to do with Satanism, horror/gore-movies or drug/alcohol abuse. On 2nd of June we've recorded the demo-CD Evanescent Imperfection which is now distributed by Fear Dark, a Dutch hard music label. Some of us weren't happy with the bandname ButDust which led to our name-change to Crestfall.

Rogoth: I saw you guys have a record out titled Evanescent Imperfection. This sounds like one of those hard to utter Tourniquet titles. Are you guys members of the national society to increase the common knowledge of the English language???

Remco: Let me first introduce myself, my name is Remco, Crestfall's singer and as a matter of fact I've made the name of our first CDemo Evanescent Imperfection. However we want people to 'dig' in our songtexts and titles (mostly). Not just reading it and think: Oh nice, but re-read it and think about it. We want to tell our listeners something. We won't put it the way of Tourniquet which to my point of view is a bridge too far. Coming to the meaning of our CDemo-title. Evanescent means 'passing away, some day this world will be over' and Imperfection means incompleteness of this society, which thus is about to be gone. However we also want to say that this is our first Demo, which is - in some way - 'imperfect' We are trying to improve ourselves continuously.

Karsten: We tried to come up with a name that is a reflection of our lyrics. 'Living in a broken world' is frequently the Subject of our lyrics. So that's where the 'imperfection' word comes from. With 'evanescent' we wanted to give a positive twist to it, because in Gods light all this imperfection fades away.

Rogoth: And what kinda feedback do you guys get from people who bought the EP? Does it sell well?

Remco: The feedback we get differs from the one you just gave: What does that title mean?? But we also get feedback like 'a nice title for your first demo' and encouragements to indeed go on and be 'less imperfect'. And to answer your question about sales, as far as we can say: Yes. In the last two months of 2000 we sold between 75 and 100 CDemo's.

Karsten: We got quite positive reactions to our demo-CD. Most people share the opinion that our music is diverse, which is probably the result of the different styles we like. Some music critics thought some changes from a clean passage to a distorted one are not very smooth, but that's something we work(ed) on! According to some people, the production could be better. But I think it is definitely good enough for a demo-CD.

Rogoth: Do you guys follow lessons to improve your playing skills? Or what do you do to train your possibilities and to learn some new things. Is music from other bands influential to the riffs you come up with?

Jan: We have done some hazardous trainingcamps................... Nah, to be serious, we try to boost our skills with personal practice and writing songs together. And, of course, rehearsing songs. About influences, well, you must know I'm the old bat of the band, I grew up in the eighties. The metalbands of these days have been the biggest influence, as far as I'm concerned.

Karsten: The music of other bands is influential to riffs I come up with, but we don't cover songs of other bands. Actually, I 'never' played along with a song of another band in my stereo. I think when you always play along with music of others, at the end you sound like them and it's very important the create your own style. But, I'm under the influence to! For example, I used to listen to Amorphis a lot and this was/is definitely an influence to way my melodies (and riffs) sound.

Jidzicar: I was wondering, before I even heard your music: As you say your musical interests differ, does everyone in Crestfall feel your music represents all the ideas you want to vent? I mean, do you primarily try to make metal, or do you try to mix all the ideas into songs, resulting in what usually falls in the category metal? I'm wondering how your music takes shape, as I believe I am in a similar situation with my own band. Our members have very different musical tastes, resulting in a very chaotic way of writing songs. Have you had similar problems?

Remco: Thanx for your very good question! Being the singer I first must say that in writing songs my part is less than that of the musicians so they will be abled to give you a more satisfying answer I hope. But to at least try to answer your question I must say that our musical tastes do not differ that much as you suggest in your question. We all like metal and love to play it. But as band and individuals we grow and our musical preferences do also. This results sometimes in greater differences but to my opinion this does not result in a mix which has to hold all our tastes. I guess it's true that not all the musical ideas which are within us are coming to live within Crestfall but that doesn't matter! Our songs are growing with our growing musical tastes. Mostly one (or both) guitar player(s) come(s) with an idea, a skeleton, which we as band try to work out. A very good working concept! A problem we have faced is when first a songtext is written it might be difficult to find a fitting musical theme around it. So in most cases the musical idea and the meaning of the songtext are born together.

Jan: To give you a good idea of what we're at, let me tell you that our musical tastes vary from extreme blackmetal/grindcore to soft ambient/classical music. This has in my view much to do with being a human being. When I come home from a hard day work at the end of the week, I'm not going to put on Crimson Thorn (for instance). I'm very much into dark ambient stuff. But this is something different to me than inspiration. I can enjoy music intensely without being inspired by it. Within the writing process in the band our ideas are worked out to come up with something we all feel comfortable with. This process can be both frustrating and enlightening. To talk about your ideas and motivations is very important.

AndreJC: Did you already be friends before the band was born?

Remco: The band-members were friends before the band was born, to a certain extent. With playing in the band this friendship grows and becomes more intense. When we started Crestfall, all the members lived in the same city (city of Sliedrecht, Holland) and the six (including former band-member Wouter) members are Christians so we met at churches and other places. To tell you something more about the members. Beside good friends we share some blood within Crestfall. Our bass-player Ronald is the younger brother of our drummer Bart who in turn is the brother-in-law of singer Remco!

Jarhead: I read in someone else's post that you were friends before the band existed. But do you never have disagreements, or, when you have them, how do you handle them? Is one of you the bandleader. Maybe the singer or the old guy?

Remco: I had a little laugh when reading your question when talking about 'the old guy'. He's indeed the oldest in the band but the differences aren't too big.

Jan: I'm 28 and I'm fortunate to have seen the great eighties bands like Believer and Stryper play live.

Remco: We do not have a bandleader although the members with the most creative musical minds do have more influence than others. In most cases one (or both) guitar-players comes up with the musical ideas. We as a band have made it clear towards each other that we all must be very honest in whether we like the idea or not. We quite often discard ideas or even whole songs when there is no agreement about it. All the members have to like what they play. Of course we sometimes do have disagreements but (and fortunately we are with five members) we come up with a vote and (we made an appointment on that) the majority decides. But in most cases we have agreements due to our common ground and love for the music we play.

Jarhead: I saw in the dictionary the word Crestfallen, which means something like 'being depressed'. Does this imply that your music has a doomy atmosphere or is there some other sort of philosophy behind that name?

Remco: You are right with your meaning found for crestfallen (being depressed). To some extent we are indeed depressed when we take a look around us. We absolutely don't get excited about our society. This however does not mean that we want to create a doomy atmosphere, but on the other hand we do have doom-metal parts in our songs. This style just fits the setting of some songs we write or (perhaps better) have written. The primary meaning and - if you want - philosophy behind our bandname is as follows: You must split up the word Crestfall in crest and fall. The verb to 'crest' means 'get armed against, take up your weapons' and the 'fall' points to the coming destruction and the end of the world. The fall is near and you'll have to crest!

ToddPope: How much of your material is aimed towards non believers?

Jan: I'd say our lyrics are aimed towards both believers and non-believers.

Remco: We do not write material for a certain group of people e.g. non-believers. Everybody can listen and (hopefully) enjoy our music. The lyrics do have to say something. Music is a way of communication.

ToddPope: Is your material (lyrically) 100% genuine or do you add some sarcasm in aimed at the choir (fellow believers) as a wake up call, to get off their butts and into the fray with the other fighters for Christ?

Remco: Music is a way of communication. In my vision adding sarcasm in your music is a matter of being not fully grown up in your music (if you understand what I mean) The use of sarcasm is not a way to get people's attention. We do want to point, stress and discard some things. Mostly we talk about the end of time we are living in and the fact that a small divine part is much and much bigger than whatever human things. We won't ever be able to understand.

Jan: To say for myself, I've got no intention to be sarcastic. In my opinion, we should be fair and hold our integrity as Christians. Most non-believers think it's very odd to hear Christians go over the top with sarcasm towards the church or any Christian (organization). The first song on our CDemo deals with bitterness after a broken friendship. Often sarcasm is born out of bitterness, it's an emotion which is real and genuine, but I don't think I should annoy the whole world with it. There are enough (metal)bands around who are spreading their sarcasm (even Christian bands). It's ok to be lyrically dark, to give an impression of one's innerside, but it's not ok to drag the listener into a hole of bleakness and anger. But that's my opinion.

Karsten: We don't characterize ourselves as a Christian band. We are in fact Christians playing in a band. When you are a Christian band, you are supposed to preach the gospel. But I think being an evangelist is a gift, just as being a musician is a gift. I think a gift is something personal you get from God and not something that ANY Christian has. I don't experience making music as my mission to preach the gospel, but I have to be a witness if necessary with words. We Christians have wrecked a lot of people in history by so much talking, while not doing what we say (we must do). So, by trial and error I'm a witness, not only in being a musician, but in life in general. I write for example about my struggle to be an heavenly ambassador and things in society that bug me.

Rogoth: I know you guys did a couple of shows in Holland last fall. Are there other shows coming up? Or what else can we expect from Crestfall?

Karsten: We are writing songs at the moment, but some shows are coming up. But actually, we don't have concrete concert dates. We are experimenting with synths and 'funky' stuff. A new record will probably have the status of an album. So we really want to take time for this.

mpomusic: When I spoke with you on the fall tour one of you said you hoped the demo CD would lead to some sort of deal with a label like Fear Dark to be abled to work on a serious CD. Now you are preparing songs for such a serious, real album. Does this mean you've come to a certain agreement with Fear Dark? Or are there other reasons for the band to work on new songs for a next recording?

Jan: We're working on new songs because we want to develop our style. We're writing more as a whole band this time. We regard our demo as a stepping stone to go further. This doesn't mean we're not taking this CDemo seriously. We consider it a good representation of what we're able to write.

Karsten: Indeed, we have reached an agreement with Fear Dark! But they 'only' distribute our demo-CD, which doesn't guarantee that they will release our next recording efforts.

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