Crestfallen interview

Crestfallen album art

Originally published in ‘zine issue #26, 2002

Virginia’s Crestfallen has released a new album, out on both Magic Bullet on CD and Hand Sand on vinyl, called Streaks of Terror. The recording features a rough, young sound; vicious songs; and excellent lyrics. Like many other bands, Crestfallen has gone through musical evolutions over the years as bandmembers have left and/or been replaced and as their influences have mutated. Although a band looking at itself from the inside might not have a clear view, Crestfallen discusses the suggestion that after a certain point the band’s sound changed and became more metal than before.

“It’s still, like, punk rock, though,” says Will, the drummer. “It definitely got some metal-ass riffs.”

“When I joined the band it got way more metal,” the bass player, Mike, points out.

“You think [the riffs] got more metal?” asks Nathan, one of the guitar players.

Mike: “Yes, definitely.”

“I think we got less metal,” Nathan responds.

Tim, the singer, adds, “It used to be much more like metalcore. I think the old stuff had more metal guitars. But this [new] stuff’s—”

“It’s metal being pumped through a punk filter,” Mike offers.

“Yeah, that’s a good way to say it,” agrees Will. “Definitely the music that we like to listen to affects the way we write songs.”

Crestfallen performing live

Nathan continues, “We went through this weird ‘we thought we were black metal’ or something phase, and that was real shitty.”

Tim jumps in, “I really think that was when the band was most metal, when they [Christian, the other guitarist, Nathan, and Will] only listened to Cradle Of Filth and, like, Emperor, and it was all blast beats.”

Crestfallen started their recording history with a four-song demo tape, during their metalcore phase. One song from that session appeared on a split 7″ EP with the band Waifle.

“That first recording we did in Jake Cregger’s basement, Dungeon Studio,” Tim remembers. “It’s something we spent three months doing, just after school, like for an hour a few nights a week. We were writing the songs kind of as we went along, even changing as a band over the three months—”

Nathan continues, “By the time we were done recording it, we were playing different songs live.”

“There was a period also when we started writing, like, much prettier stuff too, more melodic stuff, more like long-winded instrumental stuff when they were listening to Godspeed You Black Emperor!” Tim says. “It’s only a recent thing that we’ve actually kind of started to think about what we want to play. And we’ve been trying not to say we want to sound like such-and-such band.”

At some point Crestfallen became interested in thrash metal such as Germany’s Kreator or the old San Francisco Bay scene. Streaks of Terror features a cover of a song by Vio-lence.

“At least personally, I always like the fact that we had longer songs that were more instrumental-based and then the more thrashy kind of songs,” says Tim.

“The brand new songs that’s not recorded are, like, totally a lot more punk,” Will explains, “but it’s melodic type stuff, Tragedy, stuff like that.”

Mike laughs, “No, it’s not like Tragedy, it’s like Born Against. Let’s dig really deep. It’s more like Mission To Burma meets Godspeed You Black Joy Division!”

Crestfallen performing live

A criticism has been leveled at Crestfallen that they were within that group of bands that was a pg.99 clone, a curious happening in the punk/screamo music scene where different bands draw a significant influence from the band pg.99.

“I agree with that,” admits Nathan. “That wasn’t really something that we were trying to do, but I can definitely say a couple of songs are definitely fuckin’ pg.99 songs.”

Mike laughs. Nathan continues, “I think the 7″ [song] is a pg.99 song.”

“The one song I heard, I definitely heard pg.99 [as an influence],” Mike reveals, “but I think that’s awesome.”

Will says, “Well, were were also 16 when we recorded that, so—”

Mike elaborates, “I think it’s awesome because it represents the scene going on at the time. Every band’s being influenced by each other. We [pg.99, Mike’s other band] rip off bands. I’m not saying that it [the Crestfallen song in question] wasn’t a ripoff, but––”

“It was a ripoff,” Nathan cuts in.

“I think also when we recorded that song, that pretty much the stuff that pg.99 was doing, and Majority Rule [both from Crestfallen’s local scene], like, if we haven’t been playing with those bands, we really wouldn’t’ve been a band,” Tim reveals. “We like them a lot.”

“They’re my two favorite bands,” agrees Nathan.

“We wanted to do what they were doing,” Tim explains. “I think, like, in that whole screamo scene or whatever, really the only things we appreciate are pg.99 and Majority Rule, which aren’t really screamo bands.”

Mike proclaims, “Virginia bands conquer.” ■

Photos: Tim and Christian performing (courtesy Crestfallen)


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