How Cripper is trying to escape the chaos
Please give us a short introduction of yourself to start this interview with?
Gerrit: Hey there, my name Gerrit. I’m the new bass player joined Cripper in April 2012. I know the guys since the early days, so it’s pretty cool now being part of band.
Jonathan: Hi, I'm Jonathan, playing guitar..
Christian: Hellyeah out there! This is Christian, I'm playing guitar and adding some nasty vocal backing shouts as so-called "live performance".
Britta: It's meeee, shouteeee :-) Hey I'm Britta, lead vocalist and lyric responsible.
Dennis: I am Dennis, the drummer in Cripper.
Can you also explain your nickname?
Gerrit: Halftone looser :D, hm, I owned this nickname in the early days while playing in one of my former metal bands. I learned playing the bass self-educated, so my theoretical background was quit bad in this time. In addition to that sometimes it’s pretty hard to hear the bass in a loud practice situation. Man you know, guitars are always not loud enough, so the guitarist opinion :D
In some cases in the past we recognized some halftone failures only when starting the recordings in studio. Hehe, just in time… ;-)
Jonathan: Jon, Joni, Mad or Sheriff, cause I'm the "songwriting smellfungus".
Christian: Call me Knitzel. Don't know why... Maybe that sounded real weird... In fact, it does, haha!
Britta: Elchkuh is German for a female elk – cow-elk so to say. It happened on tour with our buddies from Hatred when Daniel, their former drummer said taht I roar like a deer, which in German is the word for a male deer. And then someone made a comment "but she's female" and so he said "well in that case, how about cow-elk?" I like it. it's unique.
Dennis doesn't have a nickname. So far. Any ideas? Send to: firstname.lastname@example.org; subject: Dennis, soon to be know as...
To avoid jealous band members say something nice about them too. Or maybe some secrets we should know…
Gerrit: Freaky bastards, all of them! ;-) Do they have little nasty secrets? I have no idea? But ask me again after our tour in October, I’m sure after the tour I know all of them…
The band came together in 2005. So with which idea the band was started? Was it a gut feeling or a bet?
Britta: Definetely a gut feeling. Gut-tural :-) No, honestly – the band was started with the idea of writing music and having fun together on stage. So far, we are doing good at that! It was clear from the beginning that we wanted to play metal, but that it's leaning towards thrash metal is more of a natural development.
Once started, you have to make a five year plan. What were you plans during the early years? What did you want to achieve? And what did you reach of those plans after five years?
Britta: Plan? Us? Hell no! We are still trying to escape chaos :-) The only thing we wanna do is write music and kiss some seroius butt live. The more we grow, the larger the audience becomes and we get the chance to simply kick more butts. I hope that we will have fun with the band until we're old and really ugly - then drop to the floor dead after a good live set. Sounds pathetic, but it's true.
Can you remember the sacrifices you had do for the band? In your personal life, family or at work? And from whom did you get the most support?
Britta: Sacrifices need to be made everyday, at least a little. The band requires a lot of time – time that you can't spend with your loved ones at the same time. So family members and friends carry a little bit of our load themselves. Luckily we get a lot of support from them, otherwise a band like Cripper wouldn't be possible. No one wants to come home every day after rehearsal or a show and get the shot beatin out verbally for coming home late. That's not gonna work on the long run. Everyone not causing trouble is a supporter, when you look at it from the other way around. It's kinda the same with work. Some of us are self-employed, which you might think makes everything easier since you are your own boss. The opposite is the case. While you're with the band, you're not working, not making any money, no paid holidays. On a tour this is aways an issue that needs to be solved and talked over. For those of us working for companies it's a little different, but still not that easy many times. Spontaneous holidays is just one topic. Fortunately our bosses are cool so far.
In 2007 the debut "Freak Inside" released by the band themselves. How high were your expectations for this album? Can you recall the excitement when it came out and the reactions from the public?
Dennis: Before the Freak, we published a six-track Demo-EP called "Killer Escort Service", which we offered as free download and also as a CD for 5 Euro, so although Freak Inside was our first album, ist was not really the first release ever. We were very exited, when we released the album, but I don't think that we had many expectations concerning selling or something like that. The reactions were amazing, we never thought to get so many great reviews and exited fans, but on the other hand, as it was a self-produced and self-published CD, we only got compared to "Demo-Bands", and not the Big Players.
Did you got gigs or tours after the release? What was the best show and what was the worst? And maybe you can share some backstage stories we all can laugh at…
Dennis: Yes, we did! But, same story as producing the album, because we did it by ourselves. In 2007, we were on Weekend-Tour with Hatred form Schweinfurt and Spectre Dragon from Bielefeld, which we calles "triple Thrash Treat", played for two months or so every weekend in two clubs, partied and organized everything together. And because everything went very well, we repeated that in 2008, only that Spectre Dragon changed their name to Lost World Order ;)
I think, one of the best shows at this times was our last Gig on the 2008 TTT, because it was one of the most intense Parties we had so far, [...]
Then, after 2 years "Devil Reveals" will be released. What improvements did you had to make it better than the debut? What kind of life experiences helped? And why was it better than "Freak Inside"?
Christian: The new material is more catchy without sounding too straight. - If you know what I mean. The differerences between the songs became bigger. And we felt comfortable in doing some more little experiences.
Hopefully, "Antagonist" sounds a bit more grown-up in general when we compare the album to Cripepr's previous releases... especially our first album "Freak Inside". Maybe the same way we have grown-up within the last years while we planned and recorded material for this album. Cause there are some changes and major points in our private biographies as well. Jonathan became a father, for example.
Before we go to the recent album "Antagonist", I read that you participated on the 70.000 Tons Of Metal cruise. How fukkin great was that? I am really jealous for those you can enjoy this unique event.
Christian: Dude, it was an awesome trip and a great adventure. Kind of a band holiday and Indiana Jones, haha. Just think about all the organisations that had to be done before when you travel with your equipment and play on a goddamn boat in the middle of the carribean sea. We felt very relaxed on board.
The days before this unique event started, we took our chances to explore Miami Beach, the Everglades and some bars round our hostel.
I bet this is your best experience ever? Did you had contact with other bands? With the public? In other words, what is so great about this cruise?
Christian: It is definetly one of the craziest experience I can remember. Of course we talked to our favorite bands and musicians that influenced Cripper musically. Everybody felt very excited when the event started. Cause it was the very first time, such a metal cruise happened. All the people became relaxed very soon. Hanging around on pool deck, in bars and lounges, buying some cocktails and cold beers while relaxing under the carribean sun!
We played twice in different locations, just as any other band. Both shows became very cool and the audience was great. Even at our stagetime in the morning.
We get in contact with people from all over the globe. There were guys from Mexico, Canada, Belgium (some belgian event coordinators booked Cripper just after our show the other day), the Netherlands, Asia, Saudi Arabia (!)...
Did you also get ashore to do some sightseeing? Are you interested in other countries or cultures? How did the locals react when all those metal heads came ashore?
In Miami the "holiday - metalheads" said hello to each other. That was a real funny thing, when the black dressed people screamed at Miami beach while other "normal guys" laid in the sand or took a swim in the ocean.
We explored Mexico before playing our second show on board of the "Majesty Of the Seas" (70.000 Tons Of Metal)! In Cozumel, we took a taxi that brought us to a Tequila destillery and some beaches. Most of them without any other person. What a great experience!
We are definitely interessed in other cultures. When we are travelling through other countries we always try to catch as much impressions we can get and tasting their local beer ;-) When you are travelling by nightliner - like on European tour with Overkill in 2010 - we got too less time to reach the places we wanted to discover. That's because of the time table... Before you reach the Eiffelturm, it is time for soundcheck, loading or bus call, harhar!
What are your other personal interests or hobbies? And I mean outside the music scene.
Gerrit: Britta and I love riding our motorbikes, both of us have one. And if there is any time left I try to practice in medieval sword fighting, sports, playing games on the computer or just hanging around with the band mates in a park for grilling and have a cold beer.
The third album is an anticipated one as it can be a turning point. Did you feel this kind of pressure to make you best album ever? How did you handle the stress and the responsibility?
Britta: Well, it's nothing new – when we hit the recording studio we always wanna produce the best album we possibly can. And give at least 120%. Without that attitide, you can pack your stuff and go home in my opinion. The way I see it, it's never about what others think, it's about ourselves and being happy and satisfied with what we produced. 2nd album, 3rd album, 4th album. To me it's all the same. We don't make a living out of the band, so we are independent from sales amounts. Of course it makes us proud and happy that so far the album is well received and selling really good – don't get me wrong. But it's more of an extra, not the needed essence.
For people who don't know the band try to explain how you sound? And why they not only should get "Antagonist" but also your back analogue?
Britta: Antagonist is a fast and heavy collection of classic Thrash songs with a modern and fresh attitude. It's full of lil' details and profound lyrics, an elaborate artwork and lots of differents styles... without frills. But in the end it's fucking metal in your face. That's by far enough reason to give it a listen – don't you think so? :-) And when you've tried Antagonist and got hooked on it, you want more: get our previous albums Freak Inside and Devil Reveals, too.
These days it is difficult to sell CDs because of the (illegal) downloads. What do you think people still buy CDs? You must agree that a CD has no visual value compared to the vinyl releases.
Gerrit: Yeah I think some people will buy CD’s in the future too, especially in metal. Sure, it’s quit comfortable to have your favourite stuff on your iPod, but that is not the same as holding a finished product in your hands, made with the heart blood of the whole band. Many of the fans and me too as a fan attach great importance to some handmade collectors stuff. I love it to bury myself in a booklet while hearing the CD for the first time. LP’s are not so important for me because I grew up with the CD but I understand the fascination which comes off.
To get CDs sold I think it is good when bands do some extra with the CD. "Antagonist" is coming as a boxiest. It is handmade by the band itself? Who's idea was it?
Gerrit: I think it was Britta who had the idea to create the box, yes the box is handmade, Christian and Jonathan were responsible for the creative stuff for example to transfer the artwork to the planed ingredients (Button, certificate, Box and so on). After that Britta, Dennis, Chris a friend of us from my second band Scarnival and I painted the boxes piece by piece.
To end this interview you get some space for shameless self promotion and maybe we meet at the Eindhoven gig with Onslaught.
Hey out there. Visit us online and let us know what you think about the ”Antagonist”. In Sept./Oct. were’re on tour with Izegrim and Onslaught. Perhaps we see us there and have a few beers together.