– Hi there. Thanks for answering to our interview. How are you guys doing having just released (last October) your debut album?
Hi Tania. We are doing well, thanks. The album has been well received. Especially in Europe.
– How and why was CRIMSON STEEL born? You were formed only last year. Have these last two weird, almost dystopian years had anything to do or affected the band’s birth in any way?
Actually, the band was founded in late 2018 under a different name. Towards the end of our time in the studio in 2022, it was agreed upon that the original name was not descriptive to the style of music, and so CRIMSON STEEL was born.
To answer the question though, the answer is yes. What the world has dealt with over the last couple of years did make its way into some of the lyrics, but it also re-focused the music, and lyrics as a whole. We are not promised tomorrow, so we should write what is natural whether it is popular or not.
– What does ‘Crimson Steel’ mean personally to you?
Our influences are varied, and it comes through in the music, but we will not forget where we came from. Traditional, Classic, Heavy Metal, is in our heart.
– ‘Night Creatures’ is Prog and Hard Rock tinged 80s’ Heavy Metal. So even you give the “retro” or “old school” thing a twist. How easy is to take something classic and give it a twist to make it sound personal without straying from the path?
If one writes from the heart and soul, it is not difficult. If you are not worried about trying to sound like what’s current and popular, it shows in the music and is not strained. Having an open mind when it comes to styles of music helps create the twist without it being forced or intentional.
– Where are you drawing from for what you’re doing with CRIMSON STEEL?
Life experiences, books (fantasy, history, horror), etc.
– And what are your non-musical influences?
Life experiences, books (fantasy, history, horror), etc.
– What do your lyrics deal with? What ideas or concepts are on your mind when writing your music and lyrics?
History, Current events, Horror, Fantasy.
Joel – When I write music, it’s just what comes out. I don’t think “This time I’m going to write this type of song”. Same with lyrics. It’s what the song makes me think about at the time, and then I write that.
Iris – when I write toplines (lyrics and melodies) I follow a general process; I always let the music speak to me first. From there the lyrics just come out naturally, usually via freewriting. I’ve written everything from specific events, experiences, to the most abstract bullshit that either means absolutely nothing or unlocks something crazy profound which I don’t realize until after it’s out on paper. Anyway, then I fit the melodies and harmonies to the mood of the song/lyrics. Of course, I try to write melodies that are fun for me to sing using my favorite techniques and that leverages my range and a variety of vocal “tricks” to keep it interesting.
Joel and Andy wrote toplines on this album (Night Creatures) and I’m looking forward to contributing on the next album – most likely it will be different than what I wrote in the past for American Empire and Amaltheia because those were 2 very different projects in terms of mood and style
– All of you have some background in the Metal scene. What do you bring to CRIMSON STEEL from your previous experience?
Our band is very diverse from different musical and cultural backgrounds, and we love it. It brings fresh perspective on the writing process and business decisions, as well as helps form a unique chemistry that is palpable, especially on stage. Our fan base is reflective of that diversity as well and it’s something we are very grateful for and proud of.
– You self-released this album. Not being signed is a choice or the only option?
We would have liked to have taken the time to approach labels, but being that we were in a time of transition and renewal, we decided to press forward on our own, and hope the music we produced would garner enough attention for the next studio run.
– Having a frontwoman in the band I guess the “female fronted” tag will be often used to refer to CRIMSON STEEL. How do you feel about it? Are you OK with it or sense it like a non-accurate description solely based on gender?
The only thing that “female fronted” label tells you is obviously the gender of the front person. Bands like Nightwish, Arch Enemy, Windhand, Unleash the Archers, Halestorm, The Gathering, etc are all “female fronted” but don’t share the same genre nor sound the same. Women perform in all rock/metal genres with totally different vocal stylings, who can master a range of tones and techniques, rich in diversity.
I think most people have moved beyond that label anyway. Women in rock/metal (and music in general) is pretty commonplace now. It has its place in history because those bands and women opened doors and opportunities for generations of musicians to grow and diversify across the industry, not just singers, but incredible drummers, guitarists, etc.
I’m not offended or anything if someone chooses to tag us as “female fronted”, although I think it’s important to be clear about the distinction that female fronted is not a genre; and to generalize in that way can short-change incredible talent and impede the evolution of music.
– Speaking of which, in the last years there have been more and more movements in the Metal scenes that take actions against sexism and different forms of discrimination. Would you say the Rock/Metal community is more welcoming these days?
Definitely. It’s awesome to see progress in the rock/metal scene to support each other in the face of sexism and discrimination; you see this more and more especially at shows and festivals (both local and national) and it’s nice to see that it’s moving away from an usual pleasantry that catches your attention to a standard practice social norm; we all reap the benefits of a tighter, more inclusive and stronger community. There are still some stuck in the old ways of course, but they are missing some great music and an amazing community because of it.
– You hail from Raleigh. How’s the scene over there? Any labels, bands, zines…?
There’s a pretty large scene in Raleigh with so many talented bands. A lot we’ve had the pleasure of playing together with or in our past lives in other bands, and many we are friends with. Corrosion of Conformity, Aether Realm, Weedeater, Between the Buried and Me, Mega Colossus, Children of the Reptile, Salvacion, Crystal Spiders, Mortal Man, Knightmare, Edge of Humanity, just to name a few. Plus, great talent in cover bands like Toxic, Skavinjir, and The Origin. Unfortunately Covid hit pretty hard and we lost some key venues that were really important to the scene for supporting local Original bands and growth. Because of that some bands aren’t as active anymore, or they need to travel to other cities/ states to find gigs, but overall the scene is alive and well. We continue to give back and make sure we do our part \m/
-And finally, what’s next for CRIMSON STEEL?
With our new guitarists David and Elio, we are hitting the stage again in 2023 with shows and a summer festival lined up. New material is already being written for the next album as well, so stay tuned.
-That was all we had. Thank you once again for taking your time. The closure is yours.
Thank you, Tania, for contacting us, and thanks to all that have supported us thus far!