– Hi, thanks for your time. What are you currently up to? How is everything doing right now with CRIPPLE BASTARDS?
Hi, thanks for the interest and space on Queens Of Steel. We are currently preparing things for the upcoming tour in Japan and Brazil and promote the new album as much as possible.
– First off, how did you come up with the band’s name?
Back in 1988 when we formed the band we were a 2 piece line-up with me on drums and vocals and Alberto the Crippler on guitar. At the time we wanted to find a name that could be the perfect description of how we were, a portrait of us. The fact of using the term “Cripple” was mainly related to the Italian word “Sciancato” that in our local slang means somebody dressed like a tramp, a wretched, but in English is only translatable as “Cripple”. We liked it anyway so we used it and paired it up with Bastards, that was another term very suitable to describe us in those years.
– You will soon release your new album, entitled «Nero in Metastasi». What are your expectations on it?
It’s definitely the most mature and dedicated release done by the current line-up, being our first full length on Relapse we have put all our passion, concentration and commitment in doing something that could represent our sound in the most effective and genuine way possible. Expectations? Well if things made from the heart are really the ones that leave a trace at the end, I think this album will have a good feedback!
– It’s title its quite intriguing and funny. What’s the origin behind it?
To put it very simple, the concept behind the whole album is a parallelism between today’s society, its standards, decadence of feelings/motivation vs the growth of a cancer in its different stages of evolution. Not that funny…
– Digging deeper into this new opus; what have been the inspirations behind some of its lyrics?
We are simply inspired by everydays life and the reality around us, since every CB album tends to come out after quite a lengthy range of time (the previous “Variante alla morte” was released in 2008) we accumulate stories that starting from what we live in first person face deal with the outside world and the social sphere through our very negative/cynical view.
– And what did you want to depict with the cover artwork?
The album cover is a photo taken in 1976 in a small city near Milan that was completely contaminated by a dispersion of dioxin gas from a factory causing illness and death of several people. A friend working at a bookstore found it on an old magazine and suggested it to us – stating that according to him it was very much in line with the style and negativity of our lyrics. We thought it matched perfectly so we contacted the original photographer that made this incredible shot and acquired the rights to use this as album cover. We have always thought that this kind of 70ies photos and imagery perfectly paint the feelings and mood that we want to express through our songs, so we’re very proud of this sick artwork.
– It specially caught my attention the song «Splendore e Tenebra», with a length of 9 minutes, and its a quite experimental track. How did the idea of creating a tune like this arise?
“Splendore e tenebra” was a big challenge for us in many ways.. The starting idea was to write a sort of soundtrack that could function as background music to this highly disturbing poem called “The pit” written in WW2. We were inspired by an obscure Croatian band called GRČ that had put it into music back in 1987 with a fantastic song called “Krv je moje svijetlo i moja tama” (Blood is my light and my darkness) but of course we wanted to do something special in our own way. The poem talks about a column of prisoners in a death camp progressively being executed by cutting their throats and having the coup de grace with a hammer smashing their heads, then being all thrown into a pit and covered by quicklime. The writer describes himself as among the prisoners, surviving after the hammer blow, buried by corpses in the pit. We removed all parts that could give an excerpt of hope and positivity to fit even better CB’s imagery of pain and death. There is no particolar reason why the song ended to be so slow, longer and sludgier than our usual style.. Probably the starting influence of GRČ’s song (that is actually very slow and repetitive) gave us the approaching input, then the fact that most of the vocals are spoken made us move towards the direction of giving more “breathing” to it with heavier parts.
– You recorded the album with the seasoned producer Fredrick Nordström, and you’ve got a really crispy and powerful sound still being filthy. Are you satisfied with the final outcome? How did the whole production process go?
We are totally satisfied with the final outcome. Working at Studio Fredman is always very interesting and motivating. This was our 3rd time there and definitely the one that led to the best final result.. With him, we learned that we should not rely blindly to his recording and mixing skills but rather leverage on his resources and experience to get to a real team-effort. For this reason we have divided the recording session into a wider range of time, having the chance to listen to over and over what we were progressively putting together.. We first did all the instruments, then I flew back to Italy and recorded the vocals, then we took 1 month to listen over and over to the rough tracks and then we went back to Gotheburg for the final mix.
– As always, «Nero in Metastasi» is brutal and unrelentless. Is it easy to keep such intensity during a whole album, and throughout so many years?
It’s definitely not easy but we are extremely self-critical and have spent a lot of time on “dissecting” our previous releases trying to identify our weak points and those that other hand were resulting the most impact and aggressive ones in terms of dynamic.
– If you have proved something during your whole career, is that you never disappoint. How hard is to keep such a high standard? Is something you achieve or do you just let things flow naturally and just do your thing?
Let things flow naturally and try to be very self-critical. And we do an album only when we feel it as a spontaneous urge of creativity, we don’t follow a standard or a production scale of band that has to do a record after a certain period of time.
– All this about «Nero in Metastasi»; how could you describe it in just 3 words?
Hate. Cancer. Negativity.
– You’ve been around for over 25 years now. Looking back, how do you think has been the evolution of CRIPPLE BASTARDS?
We started as a young untalented duo playing noisy home-recorded lofi Grind/Noise/Punk.. growing up and “learning to play” we have moved to more structured Grindcore strongly rooted in the most furious ‘80s Italian Hardcore. This gradually progressed through the 90s, first with the album “Your lies in check” (1996) and ending in our first half career’s manifesto: “Misantropo a senso unico” (2000) a savage mix of Grindcore and hyperfast nihilistic Hardcore, still today being recognized as our fastest and most rageful release to date. Then half of our line-up changed, introducing a new drummer and guitarist. Our style kept evolving to something very personal, adding different influences mostly coming from Metal. Our 3rd album (the first with the renewed line-up) came out as a blend of our previous matrix and a more structured and metallic Grind edge. Then we kept on strengthening our own style realizing that singing entirely in Italian (as on “Misantropo a senso unico”) and keeping up the nervous and aggressive Hardcore feature that always characterized our style was the most suitable formula for our taste and urges. What has been consolidated through “Variante alla morte” (2008) and this newer album is our own way to Grind that is an amalgamation of the first decade’s minimalistic Hardcore/Grind nihilism and all what we have developed with the current line-up adding more variety, dynamics and a wider musical taste.
– And what have been both the best and worst moments with/for the band thus far?
It’s impossible to point out a best moment over 26 years of activity, there were many… tours, festivals, great shows. One of the tours that impressed us most was the one in Brazil 2 years ago, then playing festivals like Obscene Extreme, Brutal Assault, Maryland Deathfest etc has always been amazing.. and equally unforgettable were the festivals that we have been organizing here in Italy through the years, my 30 year birthday in 2004 with CB, Nasum, Rigurgitate, Yacopsae and tons more events of that kind. The worst thing to happen.. every fucking time someone tried to match our music to any sort of political orientation, generating useless gossips, fights and prejudices.
– After so many years and success into the music world; do you have any musical dreams still to come true? Cooperations with artists, playing certain place, etc.
Not really, we are not ambitious and what we have achieved so far has been over all expectations if I look back on how and where the band was born. We have toured almost everywhere (counting in the upcoming Japanese and Australian shows) and this is simply amazing. Without this band some of us would have never had the chance to travel around the world. Cooperations with artists.. I have always thought that something with The Goblin or Frizzi would result highly interesting.. the future is unpredictable, we’ll see.
– You are hailing from Italy, which doesn’t seem to be a really prolific country for Grindcore so, how’s this scene over there?
The scene around here is very lame and lifeless. There are other (younger) grindcore bands like Tsubo, Zeitgeist, Diorrhea, Buffalo Grillz.. Then I can recommend stuff going more on a HC or Thrash background, like Concrete Block, ED, Game Over, Carlos Dunga etc.. But definitely, the scene here is very asleep.
– And finally, what are your nearest future plans? What does 2014 have in store for CRIPPLE BASTARDS?
The upcoming tour, then Maryland Death Fest in the States, then as many shows as possible to promote this new album.
– That’s all, thank you once more for answering our questions. If you want to add some final words; feel free to do it.
Thanks for your support and big greetings to our Spanish friends. We always had a great time playing there, especially at the highly missed Trauma Fest in Madrid (cheers to Raul!). And a personal note, through the years Spanish Punk/Hardcore always had a special place in my heart, above all bands like HHH, Rouse, L’Odi Social, Ultimo Gobierno, Anti-Dogmatikss, Subterranean Kids, GRB, Ruido De Rabia, Eskorbuto and so on.