|Simon Cruz - Crashdiet - Uber Rock Interview Exclusive|
|Written by Mark Ashby|
|Sunday, 17 February 2013 03:30|
Often written off as just another Swedish glam rock band, over the past few years Crashdiet have proven, time and again, that they are much more than that… and especially with their latest album, the excellent ‘The Savage Playground’.
Uber Rock’s Mark Ashby catches up with vocalist Simon Cruz at the end of the band’s recent South American tour, to chat about said opus, its heavier direction, and get slagged off for daring to compare the mohawked ones to Europe! Oh, and despite being warned not to do so, our man dares to raise the dreaded connection to mime artists Reckless Love… and escapes to tell the tale.
The new album, ‘The Savage Playground’, has just been released and nearly every review I’ve read is hugely positive. This album is a lot heavier, and certainly has a much harder edge than your previous ones: was this a deliberate evolution of your sound or did it just turn out that way when you came to write and record it?
Thank you for noticing! Well, we were tired of listening to rock n roll radio and hearing the same noise all the time, the same drum sounds and multi layered guitars. We wanted to go back and find a personal raw sound for every track… sounding like someone is actually playing it and that’s what I think we achieved by doing exactly that.
We basically started out writing and experimented with some new stuff, and it came out real neat, I think!
The album was recorded more or less live in the studio, and that certainly comes across in its raw, punky edge: did recording this way help you focus more on what you wanted to day and play?
Certainly: I think so. It’s easy for you lose the thread and core when you overproduce songs.
As I mentioned, ‘Savage Playground’ is a lot heavier. To me, it’s also a bit darker, and a lot more personal, than your previous efforts, and especially 2010’s last outing, ‘Generation Wild’, while at the same time also being a celebration of what the band have achieved, particularly over the past two years. While ‘Generation Wild’ suggested a make-or-break time for the band, with its edgy riffs and imminent threat of implosion, ‘The Savage Playground’ is a much more cohesive and confident affair – reflective of your previous travails but also joyous in your celebration of your survival and development: given the problems you experienced after the release of ‘Generation Wild’, is that a fair assessment of where you are?
That’s very nicely put, thank you! I think you pretty much summed that one up. (laughing)
You’re on the record as saying the album’s title, ‘The Savage Playground’, is a reference to hedonism… be it indulging in alcohol or just generally enjoying life as it comes to you… can you give us a short insight into what personal experiences you drew on for the album?
It’s basically about living in our world, places we visited, heartship (sic), partying. It’s kind of a soundtrack to these three years touring and our beliefs and conquests. ‘The Savage Playground’ is where we eat and breed.
My personal favourite on the album is ‘Cocaine Cowboys’: it starts off with a beautiful slide guitar riff and is very reminiscent of Cinderella in its approach… There are several songs on the album, and I’m thinking of the likes of ‘Excited’ and ‘Garden Of Babylon’, which close off the album, in particular, which would not sound out of place if recorded by the likes of H.E.A.T. or even Europe: while the album is a lot heavier than its predecessors, it’s also a lot more commercial in its sound, which leads me to ask if you ever bear things like radio airplay in mind when writing/recording?
I do not see any of these songs played by either H.E.A.T. or Europe; I think it’s a vastly different album.
I think, sound wise, it’s much less commercial than its predecessors. Song wise, all of us have been more involved in the songwriting and everybody has their own way of writing melodies - and that I think is very noticeable on the album.
You’ve often been pigeonholed as a ‘sleaze rock’ band: to me, it’s a label that fits in the same way that it fitted, for example, Hanoi Rocks – i.e. the image, or its perception, overtakes and overshadows the music and the talent. Do you find this sort of classification restrictive, especially in terms of broadening your fan base?
I guess it should be… sometimes I think it would be better to step back on the image for people to understand that we are actuality good at music. It’s frightening how narrow-minded people can be. But, it sounds boring to me: why not bring the whole shebang!?
You’re out on a pretty lengthy tour to support the album, and that tour rolls into the UK with Jettblack: are you looking forward to returning to this part of the world, and if the answer is “yes” then why?
It’s my second home - so I’m always glad!
I met the drummer and bassist from Jettblack and they seem real cool. I think we’re gonna have a blast!
OK, when I was prepping for this Q&A, I talked to a few fans of the band, and I asked them to give me some questions they would like to ask, so, if you’re ready…
What’s on your tour rider that no one expect to be there?
(Laughing) Just the usual stuff: vodka, whiskey, and beer. Oh and honey ‘n’ lemon?
Do you have any form of pre-show routine?
We join raised fists, in a kind of musketeer manner, and cheer before the show.
Where is the weirdest place a fan – and preferably a female one, but we’ll accept an answer involving a male fan – has asked you to sign your autograph?
I tattooed in my signature on a girl’s arm once: it came out pretty cool - but much bigger than she expected!!
What’s the stupidest thing you’ve done on tour (that you’re allowed to talk about)?
Not much left then! To confuse entrances can be pretty messy.
Final question (and I swear this came from a fan, but you don’t have to answer this one if you really don’t have to answer it if you don’t want to): did Olli try it on with any member of the band?
(Laughing loudly) If you mean did he try to get any of the band members into bed… I would be most surprised if he didn't!
Thanks for your time.
‘The Savage Playground’ is out now on Frontiers Records and you can get a copy via the links at the bottom of this interview.
Crashdiet undertake a co-headline tour with Jettblack on the following dates:
April 23rd – O2 Academy, Newcastle
April 24th – O2 Acadmey, Sheffield
April 25th – O2 Academy, Birmingham
April 26th – Rock City, Nottingham
April 27th – O2 Academy, Islington
April 28th - Joiners Arms, Southampton
Support on all dates comes from Fallen Mafia, Hell In The Club and Sleekstain. Tickets are available from all the usual outlets.
[Photographs also courtesy of www.crashdiet.org]