Interview CRIPPLED BLACK PHOENIX
Justin Greaves (vocals & guitar) & Daniel Änghede (bass) – Sunday 18 June 2017
« It feels like an amusement park» – Daniel Änghede
How the hell are you guys?
Daniel: Good good!
How has the Hellfest experience been thus far?
Daniel: It feels like an amusement park.
Justin: I can’t believe how big it is. It doesn’t seem like it’s that big but when you get out to the site it’s huge. It’s like Glastonbury. The fact that something this size could exist for this kind of music.
How did it feel playing the biggest show of your life?
Justin: I don’t know if it was actually. We’ve done some other big ones. It’s very different though. I prefer club gigs and venues in stuff just because at big shows you have a disconnect. It’s not a Hellfest thing, it’s a general rule. It’s all good though.
Daniel: I like the mix of doing clubs and festivals.
Justin: We are still new to this. We were made to feel really welcome. We are outsiders coming into this whole thing. We’ve cut our teeth on heavy bands but Crippled Black Phoenix is not a heavy band. It’s great to be asked but I was afraid we would stick out, but it’s all good.
Daniel: It’s cool to see the other bands as well!
Do you ever feel limited in your access to normal things with Crippled Black Phoenix?
Justin: We are looking away because we can do something like this or we can do prog’ and indie festivals and then when we tour there’s a lot of different kinds of bands and gigs that we do. Our crowd is eclectic as well. We get all kinds of people.
Daniel: It’s the same with the people in the band. We all listen to different stuff.
Why do you think eclectic people are brought to your music?
Justin: There’s no rules or boundaries to what we do. We approach it with an open mind and it’s honest music. You get to a point where you don’t care about what your peers think. You don’t try and please people. I was in bands that were trapped in one thing and it had to hearken back to previous records. It sucks. Especially in the doom scene! We don’t live by those rules at all. If you have an open mind and the patience, because the music is a slow burn, if you can get your head around it it’s really rewarding. We find that people who are into the band stay with us.
What makes you want to play long form cerebral music?
Justin: That’s just what comes out. We’re just custodians of the music anyway.
Daniel: Also he can’t work the tape recorder – he can’t stop our recording sessions so the songs are always long! (laughter)
You said you were a ‘custodian of the music’ what do you mean by that?
Justin: You try not to force anything. We are influenced by things outside of music a lot more than we are by the music. You just try and let the music speak. If something sounds good it is good and if the song seems like it wants to travel and do something you let it do it. We don’t think about how long a song has to be, that doesn’t matter. We are just taking care of the music that comes out.
So like you’re tapping into a channel?
Justin: Kind of. That’s why we don’t write an album of songs we like, it’s always an album that happens at the right time.
When did you realize you had access to this source?
Daniel: When he was abducted!
Justin: Actually it was when I escaped! (laughter) I was in some bands before this and I felt really trapped in a certain scene. I’ve always listened to different kinds of music and was playing in super slow heavy bands. There you aren’t allowed to go experiment. I didn’t leave the scene but I did kind of. I didn’t care about being slow or heavy, I just wanted to do what I wanted to do. All the influences I’ve had throughout my life came flooding out.
Daniel: The past music is how we became friends too.
Justin: We were fans of each other’s bands!
Once you have access to that channel… how do you develop it?
Justin: Don’t fuck it up! Try and be honest with the music and if you’re going to do something do it to the best of your ability. That’s all there is to it. We are on a journey. We don’t know what’s coming. We don’t have a longer plan or a big goal. Bands used to have resources and support to develop over a series of albums. It needs to slowly build. Nowadays it’s more like the first album has to be a hit and every song has to be in your face. We subscribe to the older way of doing things. That means it’s taken a long time though. But I’d rather do that than be in anyone’s face. Isn’t it better when you discover a band by yourself than being told: “This is your new favorite band”.
Interview: Matt Bacon.