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The Stompcrash - Interview

Interview with: Chris
Conducted by: Ines

If you like your gothic rock to be a bit dreamy, romantic, darkly and upbeat with somewhat of a poppy touch here and there, then The Stompcrash’s latest release Love From Hell is something that your eardrums must get to know. But, don’t think that’s all. The Stompcrash are no newcomers to the gothic world, as the band was born back in 2002 as a darkwave project, inspired by gothic stories from famous writers such as H.P. Lovecraft and Edgar Allan Poe. So, it is no wonder you will find a lot of romanticism and vampire stories in their music. Since then the band has established itself with their debut Requiem Rosa and its follower, Directions and gained quite some recognition. The band’s frontman Chris kindly took a bit of a time from his busy schedule and answered some questions about the band, their music, their upcoming projects and the gothic scene as it is.

Ines: First and foremost, thank you for agreeing to answer some question for us and congratulations on your latest album, Love From Hell - I really loved it. Before we get to anything else, I must ask if you would please explain something for our editor,  T.V., since he wrote in his review: "please Chris, let me explain this, why I hear you singing in the refrain "I want to fuck you", while in the lyrics sheet is written "I want to follow you", hmm??? " So, which one is it?
Chris: I remember me smiling when I read T.V. saying that. I tried to hear the chorus in that way but I couldn't and I guess it was a half joke. Seriously, "Follow You" is a song about nowadays alienation, about how we are close and at the same time distant, so I have to reveal you that the correct line is "I want to follow you", couldn't be otherwise? I want to add also that all songs are free to personal interpretation, so if you can give another sense to the song you can hear and sing what you like the most.
Ines: Now that you mentioned "Follow You" is about alienation; what are other themes that you wanted to present with Love From Hell?
Chris: Our themes usually speak about gothic stories, bloody love or stories inspired by history. For Love From Hell we continued with the gothic way with some hints about social diseases; for example in "Follow You" and "On The Seventh Floor". Just to mention some songs, the title track "Love From Hell" talks about a woman who sold her soul to devil for love, "Bloodnever" it's about a vampire that doesn’t want be a bloodsucker but cannot avoid that, "The Dancing Ants" it's a surreal lullaby, "Duality" is a classic gothic story about Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde and "The Last Goodbye" it’s about apocalyptic love.
Ines: One thing I'm also very intrigued about is the band name - The Stompcrash. What does it mean and where did the idea for the name emerge?
Chris: It was born as a cacophonic sound. I remember it was more than ten years ago when we had a long car trip to see a gig by The Cure and we were fantasizing about creating a new band and joking about finding a name that nobody had. Then, I guess Dani was reading a horror comic where there was written these sounds "stomp" and "crash", so we just joined these two words. After some time we became attached to the name "The Stompcrash", basically we invented a new word.
Ines: As we got name origin covered, would you share the story of the formation of The Stompcrash with our readers?
Chris: We met in a gothic club in Milan about 12 year ago. We were all followers of gothic music and we decided to make a new band. We started as a garage band, playing covers of our favourite bands like The Cure, Joy Division, Bauhaus, etc. using a drum machine. The only people still in the band from that days are me and Dani. Than we tried to write our own songs, a real drummer came and the band came to life for real. From those days we had some changes in the line-up and we made three albums, a lot of live gigs and some compilations. I have a little anticipation for you: there will be a line-up change that we will announce later this month.
Ines: You already have three full length albums in your repertoire. What would you say is the difference between those three releases as you see it now?
Chris: The first album Requiem Rosa was our first experience in recording a full length album. We experimented a lot during the mixing just to find the right sound, we had written many songs but never thought about the band's sound. I like that album, which contains a couple of classics from the band like "Dorian" or "Moscow", but we would like to record those songs nowadays, now as we know how to catch our sound in studio. I really love our second album Directions - as the title say we experimented with music that spread in different directions from new wave to gothic rock and dark pop. The sound is neat and conscious with a great studio quality; there are a lot of songs we still play from that album like "The Leaves Begin To Fall", "Awoken From Uneasy Dream" and "Cat's Eyes". The new album "Love From Hell" has a solid sound that is how we see gothic rock. There are less experimentation and more straight and danceable songs, I think we made a step ahead musically speaking. There are two great collaborations with Andrew Birch from The Last Cry in "Duality" and with Nino Sable from Aeon Sable in "The Last Goodbye".
Ines: How did collaborations with Andrew Birch and Nino Sable happen and how would you describe the experience working with them?
Chris: We met them on the road last year and we really liked them and their music, they are nice people and great musicians. We tried to write two songs suitable for them, on the right musical range and seeing to the results. I think we did it right, but the greatest value goes to Andrew and Nino, they did a great job on these songs, we really enjoy them. Technically speaking, it was very simple working with them - as a professional musicians we just gave them the musical tracks and they gave us back the vocal tracks and then we mixed all together in the studio.
Ines: Can we expect The Stompcrash to collaborate with them again? Maybe in the opposite roles: you being a guest musician with their bands?
Chris: I can't say that now, we will see in the future but I'm not the right person to ask I guess. Every band has a right moment when to do that kind of thing. For us the last album was the right moment to do that. I really enjoy collaborating; I always see that as a plus value and as a gift to the audience. In these days it's rare to see collaboration and brotherhood between bands, but we will be always open to the other bands.
Ines: And if anything was possible and dreams could come true; who would you most honoured and excited to collaborate with?
Chris: In a dream would be collaboration with stars as Peter Murphy, Nick Cave, Dave Vanian, Robert Smith and Martin Gore. But still, there are too much interesting people around, especially in the underground scene, which is of course more realistic thought that it could happen.
Ines: You recently announced The Stompcrash will be touring with Christine Plays Viola next year. Can you give us any details on that and how did you come together with Christine Plays Viola to tour together?
Chris: Christine Plays Viola are our friends for a long time now and it's very natural do something with these guys. They are great musicians and they have a new album out, just like us. We are working on this tour planned for February managing it directly; we want to try to bring the Italian post punk/gothic rock into countries that we know love that. So, every promoters interested can write us to plan a gig, it will be an outstanding show!
Ines: Do you already have some dates and venues confirmed for the tour?
Chris: We have a couple of gigs until now, but we wait to announce the dates when we will have more venues confirmed. We want to play at least five gigs.
Ines: So which are in your opinion or in your experience countries that love post punk/gothic rock the most?
Chris: By our experience Germany and UK are the countries where we have the best response. Also eastern Europe, countries like Poland or Russia have a very active gothic scene. I know also that Greece is a good place to play gothic rock, but we never played there and we hope to do it in the next future.
Ines: Being a part of contemporary gothic rock scene and someone who clearly knows a lot about the, let's say "golden era of gothic rock" from the 80s; what is your opinion on the scene nowadays?
Chris: I have to say there are a lot of young and new followers that do appreciate contemporary bands, which is a great thing for a music scene. And there are of couse a lot of old time “goth folk” that still have the bond to this kind of culture and they have had it for a long time. These are two sides of the same coin that guarantee new blood and wisdom and experience at the same time. We are very interested to anything happens on the scene. When it comes to the bands, I think it's the same. There are bands that still propose the same gothic music of the eighties and bands that are more influenced from contemporary music and propose a new kind of gothic. I have to say that it's a scene that is still attached to the old times too much and often more interested in the past, instead the present. There are a lot of new bands that must be discovered and appreciated especially these days, which I think we are living a new golden era of goth.
Ines: Any of those bands you’d like to expose at this point? Bands which are in your opinion really great but could need more recognition?
Chris: As I said before, there are a lot of great bands out there now, but I don't want to expose anyone, just put a remark on that point. Especially to the DJs- they are very important in our scene; to educate people to listen and dance not only great hits from the past. Real DJs discover and create new hits.
Ines: That's a very good point, I must admit never thought about the role of DJ's in promoting new bands. But moving onward Chris, tell me, are there any other bands or projects you're involved with?
Chris: In the past I was involved in other bands and some side projects all during The Stompcrash life but I decided to dedicate myself 100% to this band that I love as my creature. 10 years of band's life, 3 albums, many compilations and a lot of live gigs around Europe. I think it's time for the band to catch more and push the accelerator.
Ines: How is the work divided in The Stompcrash - regarding composing, song writing and overall the creative process?
Chris: Usually I write the lyrics and with Dani we arrange chords and melodies creating a spinal column for the song. Then Franka and Diego put their parts and lines of bass and drums. There is not a rule to create a song, it depends. Every time is a different story. The most important thing in a band I think is that every member finds a role and puts that into music. It is alchemy - when you find the right formula, the writing goes on smooth and natural.

Ines: You already have some videos on your videography, but news just came from your band that you’re preparing a new video. Can you tell us anything more about it or we'll have to just wait until it's released?
Chris: Yes, the video will be shot in the end of August in a beautiful Sicilian town called Gibellina. There are two towns actually; one old, destroyed by an earthquake and a new, rebuilt town. In the destroyed town - apart from the ruins, which are always fascinating - there are some strange and big sculptures, made by famous artists placed in very huge spaces - it’s a very suggestive and surreal place. We'll try to tell a vampire story in this video. We will be using very simple equipment, trying to catch an expression atmosphere. The video will be filmed by Sergio Di Girolamo, a Sicilian multi-talented artist; a painter, writer and film maker.
Ines: Cool, looking forward to it! You also posted a picture on your Facebook profile of some sort of comic, in which the story of the video is roughly presented. Do you always pitch ideas for your videos yourselves?
Chris: No, usually we prefer to give full freedom to the video makers. They have a free mind and fresh ideas about how to visualize our song; we are too deep inside our things. Sergio made the sketch you see on our Facebook page.
Ines: Well Chris, I'm wishing you all the best with your tour and upcoming video and of course to pursue a bright career with The Stompcrash. Thank you again for this lovely conversation you had for our webzine. So, last but not least, any special message for our readers?
Chris: I want to thank you all for your support. You guys - music lovers - make all these things happen and help us to always push forward. Please stay in touch with us in the next months, there will be a lot of surprises. Lots of love.

The Stompcrash links: Official website, Facebook, Reverbnation