Sunday, March 29, 2009

CROSSOVER interview

If you've wandered onto here in the past, you'd know that I'm quite keen on Crossover. They're one of those bands I'm very happy to have gotten acquainted with. I remember we first got in touch through the wonders of the inter-web while I was on a trip to Berlin where I was planning to cross paths with the Weegs on their European tour. They had just actually split from Berlin themselves and wound up in the Southwest of the US. We've kept in touch since then and have had the good fortune to work on a few things together, with Senor Ratboy himself lending his design and laying-out skills to the Mt Sims projects on
Hungry Eye and now this Missing Foundation project we've been talking up on this very blog. Truly good people, and genuine music heads, we've rapped about everything from their recent tracks to obscure metal to old hardcore bands. Their record is coming out any day now on Punch Records in Italy, and should be a mandatory purchase. They seem to have interesting stuff to say, so I wanted to do an interview with them about their travels and music. I can say they really delivered. Read on...

Throughout Crossover's career, you seem to have been located in places as diverse as NY, LA, Berlin, Portland, and all sorts of other locales in between. Where have your travels taken you? What usually prompts a move like that?

We don’t stay in one place for very long. We met in NYC back in 1998. Lived together in a basement in the lower east side and moved around to every borough before our 5 years in the city were up. From a warehouse with no bathroom or shower in Dumbo (Brooklyn) to a 3 bedroom railroad house in Williamsburg where we squatted for a year. It was at that time we created our band. We both werked together at a shop on Lafayette St. in Soho 6 days a week and after 7 to 10 hour shifts we would make music all night - every night.
Neither ov us had ever been in a band before, we jvst knew that we had svmthin’ to say and we were determined to find a way to put it together. In 1999 we started with a Dr. Sampler and a microphone which were on lend. Everything we have ever done has been by hook or crook. We had to borrow, we stole a little, but we would never beg. We began makin’ songz for our first albvm Fantasmo in 2000 and by 2001 we had a CD out. We gave every copy ov that album away.
We don’t even have a copy for ourselves. We don’t have any ov our second albvm either.
We had no idea our first albvm would have brought us where it did. Just after all that craziness happened downtown in September ov that year we left for a tour that lasted for a year and a half. We played for the first time in Berlin having never even been on a stage before. We have been to many cities in Germany, been to London a handful ov times, also Paris. We have gone to Spain and Italy few times, Switzerland, Belgium, Holland, and Poland. We have lived in many ov the states in the US and played in most ov the major cities svch as NYC, LA, San Francisco. Also Canada - which we luv. There r so many places we have yet, to go, see, and perform. It’s early days for us. We have jvst begun. We have sacrificed everything for the CROSS. We go now where it tells us to.
We really want to go to the Scandinavian countries, Ireland, Scotland, Australia, New Zealand, Japan; the list goes on and on. Having moved a lot as a kid we suppose it just became second nature. It’s like an itch. Shit gets old so u gotta split.

When the first Crossover record dropped, it sounded different than a lot of the other electro going at the time, and the band got caught up in the whole electroclash thing which was happening. How did the band get involved in that?

Oh man, this is a very long and arduous story as a lot ov ourz have been. No one waz doing what we were doing at the time and suddenly thingz jvst went nutz. We got swept vp in it yet, remained the loners by design. The media ate it vp. It’s fvnny and kinda sad cvz that whole scene waz killed as soon as it hit the streets by lovers and haters. The lovers tried to keep it underground and the haters wanted them all to die!
The players in the game were ducking and covering and disassociating any and all ties. The posers and sell outs did whatever they could to catch a ride. It became really hard to make a move without getting caught vp in svmthing lame. We had our wigz skrewed on tight and somehow made it thru the thing by making very few mistakes. Cvz we stayed trve. Then there waz the inevitable press backlash that said no kids don’t listen to that stvff cvz it’s not valid – here’s the new trend to shove down yr throat again ~ it’s called Rock N’ Roll, ever heard ov it!? It’s got dudes with guitars and drumz and stvff. Our motto has always been “More chix – More Synths!!!” The journalist didn’t really know what to make ov it and the muzik posed svm sort ov threat to their master plan ov selling magz and merchandise. Many showed the industry that we didn’t need them nor did we want the tired Marshall Stack approach or the stand around and watch-song-applause-song applause ego stroking sheep herd mentality ov yr average concert.
That is fvckin’ boring. Don’t jvst sit there – Go nutz! We have always felt that the future ov music and art is in the handz ov non-musicians and the self taught.
A lot ov really kvl bandz got thrown into the pot with a bunch ov other trash and nobody wanted to be part ov any scene. They were all too far out and recluse for that. There was no unity at all. Somehow it became like a free for all fvk fest cvz the wrong people got their handz on it and tried to label it market it. This is no new story…
However mvch people want to forget about what happened then, the fact is that is waz really fvn and stoopid exciting. The real headz from nearing 10 years ago r still doing what they set out to do to this day and kicked the doors open for so many splintered genres that exist cvz ov it. The muzik we r talking about is and waz unable to be categorized and it jvst get’s heavier and weirder. Which we think is really kvl.

On the other hand, our story waz like this: Me and my girl knocked vp svm fvked-vp trax for shits and giggles and it went off. Then there waz this crap label that ripped us off on our first albvm which still press it illegally to this day. Hear that readers!? Don’t buy records from rip-offs!!!
We had all these sleazeballz that tired to put contracts in our face. We never signed shit. Then we ended vp hooking vp with this other dude that in the end became the biggest scvmbag ov them all. Again hanging us out to dry on our second albvm. Again – Don’t Svpport Rip-Offs! So there it is kids! The muzik biz svx big time!
We were lucky or unlucky depending on how u look at it to have experienced all sortz ov dirty biz along the way. We know it all soundz like sour grapes but, u asked…

The sound for the second record then got a lot darker. What prompted the shifts in tone?

Our answers to the last 2 questions could hint to why our muzik became a bit more grim. The time after and up until now has been a period ov disillusionment and demystification. We have little faith or trvst in humanz and now we jvst wanna fvk shit vp! We also had svm time when we were landlocked in the desert. Although this was a good research period, it waz actually quite scarring.
We had no choice but to submerge ourselves in a microcosm ov inspiration to stay alive.
How soon people forget what is really goin’ on in this country once they step out ov the few hip-city pockets and enter Middle America. There r so many real problems that one faces on a daily basis. From yr everyday plastic consumerist slaves to yr extremely dangerous gun toting religious political fanatics to yr meat-head drug induced cretins. They cvm in droves and r running the program wether u like it or not. And they don’t like anything different in those parts so u better hit the road before sun down. So we dumped all ov this into our music and art and got out at nightfall before the towns people came in an angry mob with pitch forks, fiery torches, and stix.

What's the hardest part about relocating the band so often? Starting afresh somewhere must have its benefits, but are there any setbacks and hindrances you regularly encounter?

For us we always destroy to create - Out with the old and in with the new. Every time we make an albvm we start again. Being forced to make due with whatever recourses r available to us insures that the process will be exciting and demands us to werk for it. We don’t know what it is like to have endless svpport, resources, and funds so, this is an obvious set back.

SPACE DEATH waz an unusual experiment where CRSSVR took on a life of it’s own.
Everyone that waz involved on this project approached us and offered their services in the name ov the CROSS. We have taken on a new member ov the crew, werked with new artists on the layout and opted to go with a unique and dark Italian underground label.

If I understand properly, you guys record a lot of your own material. Have you set up a studio somewhere in Portland? What kind of locations do you look for to set up shop in?

Man, really we do our thing by any means necessary and always have.
The lyrix were written during the grueling summer months in the Arizona desert.
The programming was done in autumn in the woods of New Hampshire.
The final production and vocal recording was done this winter in the attic ov our house in Oregon.

The Crossover records all seem to have some kind of running narrative propelling them. What's the narrative on this newest one?

This time we r calling bullshit on all wanna be mystics. We say fvk fantasy and let’s get down to the real deal. We had a lot to get off our chests. We speak ov Sheep herd mentality, Sad virtual reality, Nuclear winter, Mental baggage, Family secrets, Black holes, and Suicide.
U know, and Misanthropy and Technology. Warm and fuzzy stvff.

How do the zines and communiques figure in to the Crossover narrative? Do they take on a separate life of their own or are they an extension of the records and songs?

The C.P.C.’s r full ov secrets and clues and act as guides to the ongoing adventures ov VEE & DEZ, EEV & ZED, Ratboy & Ratgirl. They also elaborate on the subject matter in our song lyrix and ideology. Their purpose is to give the listener and CRSSVR Svpporter svmthing more in the way ov better understanding our aim.
We have made over 5,000 foto-copies on our dime and hand stitched each ov them before shows. It adds to the stage fright and jet lag having to needle and thread hundreds ov zines before sound check. We give them away for free personally to people that cvm to our gigz.
There has been a first volume ov 6 issues and 1 issue so far in the second volume. We haven’t made one in a while but, we will probably do more. It’s uncertain. They tell us when they wanna be made.
For a moment we had the extra copies ov each rvn available for purchase but, now they r gone and the first volume is out ov print. One day we would like to professionally print the first volume in a compiled book.

You do a lot of your own videos, right? How are you able to swing all of this stuff on the move? What kind of equipment do you use to produce this multi-media stuff? Is there anything more involved or intricate you'd like to work on in the future with this stuff?

Yeah, we make everything with a no-shoe string budget and d.i.y. ethic. Again, with borrowed equipment and our laptop. We r not really tech-geeks by any means and we r not manual readers. So we jvst plvg and play, point and shoot and see what happens. It’s not like, if svm fundz were to be thrown our way, we wouldn’t know what to do with it. We would definitely put it to good use. We have tonz ov ideas. Sadly, America doesn’t hook vp the arts like they do in say Canada or svm European countries where bandz have all the time in the world and top notch equipment to bang vp svm killer trax. Or maybe we do - we jvst have never bothered to look into it. We take it day by day and evolve naturally. It is part ov our process. We dig it this way – it’s our style. Rat & real.

It's been a while since your last record and you've started working with a new label in Italy Punch Records. How did you hook up with them and through what course of events did you decide to work with them?

They were jvst first to ask and we said yes. Svmtimes all u got do is ask. Jvst reach out have the guts to believe in svmthin’ and yrself and make stvff – Pvt it out into the world. This albvm made itself. It is really important that when we werk with people that they understand our stvff. Also to honor and respect the art form. Not to meddle with it. We have a very strong vision and we never compromise that.
Our new label is behind us. That is all that matters. Not all that swarmy money biz b.s..
Plvs we wanted to make a statement ov our intentions ov keeping our stvff UG & Cvlt.

What else can we expect from Crossover in the future? More music/ videos/ travels?

There r many trix vp our sleeves. Keep a watch on our actions. Mvch is on the horizon.
We r werkin on svm sik vidz! U bet yr ass we r gunna tour. We have already begun werkin’ on the next albvm with 13 new songz cvmin’ down fast!

We will have to say this has been one ov our most revealing interviews as we tend to keep stvff in the shadows but we svppose we took this opportunity to set the record straight.


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