Not every emerging band gets to hear their songs set the tone on runways, or have them spark sweaty dance parties at clubs all over the world. Crystal Fighters, however, have had a pretty exciting three years. The five-piece electro/dance/folk band from England and Spain have had tracks of theirs like “Xtatic Truth” and “I Love London” find their ways into the hearts of music lovers and club-goers worldwide. They’ve gained a reputation for putting on one of the most exciting live shows around, and have released through Atlantic Records and prestigious French label Kitsune Maison. Tracks like “I Love London”, as well as the rest of their debut Star of Love, had a relentless and particular energy to them that became the Crystal Fighters trademark–and clearly, it’s an energy that has paid off for the band years later.
Three years after Star of Love debuted in 2010, Crystal Fighters are on the cusp of releasing their highly-anticipated follow-up, Cave Rave. They have just embarked on a tour that brings their vigorous live performance to both Europe and North America; fans can expect more of the same vigorous energy but also a departure from some of the previous chaos.
“The last album was much more beat-and-dance music oriented, but this time, our process was very different,” frontman Sebastian Pringle tells me over the phone from LA. “This time, we consciously worked to make a more coherent, melodic sound.”
His statement rings true when one listens to Cave Rave. Cave Rave hasn’t abandoned any of Crystal Fighters’ addictive medley of Basque country traditions, dance music and acoustic rhythms, but each song somehow leads gracefully into the next, continuing an overarching message established at the beginning of the album. Curiously, the message is rather utopian and spiritual: most of the songs on the album play with an innocently sunny attitude and speak of an overarching universal connection between all beings on Earth.
“When writing the songs, we thought of ourselves as living in any point in history, even back in the early days of man,” Pringle explains. The title, Cave Rave, stems from this train of thought, too. “We first became creative beings in caves, using the echoes of caves to transport consciousness to a different dimension and place of discovery. Making this album, we tried to imagine ourselves in a time before culture, when things were simple and inspirational.”
Simple and inspirational are two accurate adjectives to describe the mood of the album. Tracks like opener “Wave” and single “You & I” embody what you would imagine pure creativity and dance to feel like, transporting the listener to the band’s key areas of inspiration, such as the Basque Country. “Basque Opera was a huge inspiration for the first album, and we wanted to reconnect with that,” Pringle explains. “We used instruments to try to reflect that: we tried to use inspiration from old times with new music.”
A signature instrument for the band is the wood block, which they use as a key tool to convey that earthy authenticity. When it comes to their lives shows, though, how will Crystal Fighters’ newfound appreciation for man’s roots of creativity show through their performances?
“We’re more aware of each other as musicians and producers now,” says Pringle. “We hope to expand and continue our shows now that we have more musical material to draw from, and hope to make for a more interesting journey of sound.”
Indeed, Cave Rave is a journey of sound, summer vibes and earthy beats; with a sound as sun-drenched as the Crystal Fighters’, you’d be hard-pressed to find a more fitting show to welcome the summer.
Crystal Fighters play The Electric Owl on June 8.
By Polina Bachlakova
Photo: Pepe Brix