(By: Allison Tubosa)
Our very own Allison Tubosa interviewed LA’s very own Crywolf, who recently came out with a few singles over this past month. Keep on reading for more!
1. What made you choose to retreat to Iceland for a sabbatical instead of other (less cold) countries?
The country of Iceland is the most inspiring environment I have ever been too. I’ve travelled pretty extensively throughout my life, but when I was 19, I was in Iceland for a week with some friends and it was just unlike any other place I had been. It feels like another planet. I knew it would be the perfect place to break outside of my comfort zone creatively.
2. In the first episode of The Making of Cataclasm, you mentioned that every artist at some point starts questioning what they’re creating and why they’re creating it. Could you tell me what triggered that moment in your career where you started wondering who you were as an artist?
It was a slow process. I started in music with this idea of where I wanted to go creatively, but it got really clouded by the EDM scene. I started making really heavy dubstep because it was really fun, but it wasn’t really satisfying me creatively. I slowly started moving over to what I wanted to do – with Ghosts, Angels, Runaway… slowly moving towards a more instrumental and musical style. So it wasn’t a sudden moment, it kind of happened slowly… After my last EP, I still felt like I was conceding in certain ways, so I knew it was time to do an album where I do only what I want, no concessions.
3. Again, going back to the first episode, you also bought a bunch of musical instruments in Iceland (like the Janglestick). Did you actually use them in any of your recordings?
Oh definitely… In almost every track. They were all really versatile percussive instruments, and I heavily layer my percussion, so they had many uses.
4. While creating the album, was there a specific moment or event that really stuck on your mind that made you want to write? Was there a specific song that you wrote straight for hours on end, or did you just take inspiration day by day and wrote down whatever you were feeling at that moment?
As an artist, there are those really cool moments where you write a song from start to finish without stopping… You just go into a trance and don’t stop until it’s finished. However, the reality is, for most tracks you write 25% of it one day, then stew on it for weeks and months, working on it here and there, and then finally finish it way later. This album was sort of an outlier because over the half of the songs were written in one sitting. I would just get super inspired and would work for 13 hours straight jamming out, so excited and into what I was making. Rising Rising, The Hunger In Your Haunt, and Anachronism, and Akureyri are the four I very specifically remember writing in one single sitting.
5. You mentioned that Iceland’s landmass was “eerie” and “almost foreboding”, and that it sort of looked like a “post-apocalyptic world”. Did any of the scenery translate to any of the music you created?
Definitely. That was why I wanted to go there – I knew that it’s abnormal landscape would really break me out of my comfort zone creatively and bring out some different themes than I’m used to.
6. Which song was your favourite to make and why?
“Anachronism” is definitely my favorite. There are so many layers of percussion in that song. I had a really clear idea of what I wanted as soon as I started writing it, and it was just a blast running around finding the different sounds in the room that would accomplish what I wanted.
7. What do you do to get into your writing zone?
Getting into a writing zone is more about big picture strategy. In general, I read as much prose and poetry as possible that really inspires me, *tons* of books… I watch lots of movies that inspire me, listen to music and even play video games that really move me (The Last Of Us is a favorite). I try to make sure I am ingesting lots of really high quality, substance-filled art. Then I just create, create, create. I just work my ass off making tons of art. Bad stuff, good stuff… I make it all. It’s about doing it regularly.
8. What are your plans after this album is released?
I have a short fall tour, and then I head back to LA to start building my brand new live set. Live vocals, piano, percussion, sampling, all sorts of stuff.
9. Who are some of your musical influences?
My inspirations are mainly more acoustic/chill. I would say Bon Iver, City And Colour, Dawn Golden, Sufjan Stevens. There’s also this band, Lydia, from way back when I was a teenager, that has really really inspired my aesthetic.
10. If you ever felt the need to go back and do some soul searching on your sound again, would you go back to Iceland or someplace new?
I’ll definitely go somewhere new. Sparking my creativity is all about diversity and breaking outside of the norm. Iceland is incredible, but if I do it again in the future I’ll go somewhere much different. Maybe downtown Toyko or Sao Paulo or somewhere in the jungle.