Crisis Interview

Crisis logo

Originally published in ‘zine issue #33, 2005

Alzaal Nasiruddeen is one of the guitar players for Crisis. Backstage sitting on a couch while the opening band for the “Killith Fair” tour was playing at the tour’s stop in Baltimore, Maryland, he discusses how the headliner’s crowd, that of M.O.D., is treating the middle band of the package, Crisis.

“Surprisingly well. I dunno. The real knucklehead part of the M.O.D. crowd, of course, doesn’t get it and will never understand us, but on the whole, even some of the knuckleheads that are into Karyn just cause she’s pretty or whatever––who knows, man? Trying to get into their head is sort of difficult. But they’ve been very responsive. No negative experiences, really, so far. It’s been fine.”

Crisis has two videos for their album they are supporting, Like Sheep Led To Slaughter. Listeners sometimes buy albums after seeing a band’s videos and have an impression of what their album will sound like based on that, but then have a different reaction once they listen to the record. Alzaal considers whether that is happening with Crisis fans.

“I don’t know what the reality of that situation is; I’m not sure, but I don’t really look at things that way. I don’t really know what the kids are about, you know? I mean, I’m so much older that I don’t understand them anyway, you know what I mean? I really don’t know what they’re into. I know, like, they’re into MySpace and they’re into all these different aspects of what they consider to be their music scene. It’s almost like a virtual music scene, you know? It’s so different from the way I grew up in the music thing. I don’t really know whether they’re buying the record just for the video; I’m sure a lot of the kids are. And I don’t know what their reaction is after they hear the rest of the record. I really don’t know.”

Alzaal expands on his concept of a virtual scene.

“Well, it’s almost like everybody listens to bands by checking them out on the internet now. I mean, that’s really the way the majority of kids are checking out music. In fact, the opening band that’s on tour with us, this band Jackknife, a couple of the guys were telling me they also do that. They literally go on to PureVolume or or whatever and they’ll check out a band; once they like a band, they have on the website, on the page of the band they like, it says, ‘Well, if you’re into this band, check out this band and this band and this band and this band and this band.’ And so they go in and check out all the other bands that sound like that.”

Crisis performing live

A marketing ploy today used by distributors and labels in ads in magazines is to suggest, “This band sounds like three other bands,” almost a backhanded compliment.

“It’s a way of selling it. It’s bandwagon-ism, you know? It’s the way to get yourself heard. Unfortunately there’s so many bands that sound similar now, originality doesn’t count for much, so what can you do?” says Alzaal.

Crisis has an original sound and have had their own way of conducting their band for years, and are still trying to fit in. Or maybe they don’t care about fitting in.

“Honestly, at this point, we’d be insane to want to fit in,” Alzaal comments. “I mean, we don’t even know how to. You can’t teach an old dog new tricks. We went to L.A. to really find out how the music industry works and unfortunately what we found out is exactly what we were in fear of, which is that the music industry just really doesn’t really give a damn about the music. It’s just not about the music.”

In its history Crisis moved from New York in Los Angeles. Alzaal reveals why they couldn’t learn what they needed in New York.

“Well, see, the thing is there was a difference. In New York at a time when we started and when we were making waves, the music industry didn’t exist or pay attention to what we were doing anyway. We didn’t really meet the real movers and shakers in New York. Because in New York the scene was more like an alternative scene, an indie scene, and all was much bigger. There was no metal scene in New York City. There was a hardcore scene but it was more like New York hardcore; emo hadn’t begun. The scene really didn’t exist. Newer bands like Shadows Fall and Hatebreed, they increased their fan base to such a massive size in the underground that the industry had to look at it because of the numbers, the sheer volume of fans. I don’t think that anybody at Universal, the record company, really knows what the hell Hatebreed’s about or what they stand for, but they’re selling a lot of records, so that’s why it makes sense for them to be signed to a major label. ‘Cause theyre selling more than a lot of pop artists, so why wouldn’t they want to make money off it, you know? If not only that, if they sign a band like Hatebreed, they’re making more money than the band’s making, so that’s why metal bands finally are getting signed to major labels. I mean, Mastodon just got signed to a major label, which is unreal! But it’s amazing. That’s actually an original band. I’m even shocked that they even got signed. I wouldn’t want it to happen to a better person than them. So that’s, like, a very pleasant surprise, actually, for me. That’s the first band that I’m really happy is getting that form of notoriety.”

Crisis performing live

Crisis has also reissued their first album, 8 Convulsions, with expanded packaging, about which you can find out more at their website. Check up on the band and be surprised at the quality of their music at  ■

Photos: Crisis performing that night


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