Surviving the Crisis
An interview with Crisis
by: Adrian Bromley
For almost three years the extreme/death sounds of New York's Crisis has lashed out fits of rage, anarchy, and chaos throughout the city's clubs and onto its patrons. Crisis has established themselves as the innovators of an extreme brand of death music that is quite a challenge to classify.

Since the band's early days of forming and jamming together, they have released their debut album on Too Much Hype Records called _8 Convulsions_, and their latest concoction of bizarre mayhem found within _Deathshead Extermination_. From Metal Blade's New York office, guitarist/producer Afzaal Nasiruddeen goes into detail about the production and reasoning behind the complexity of their debut for Metal Blade; "We wanted a definite approach and some form of mood with the album. We were looking to achieve a very organic yet abrasive sound to the record, and where it goes from that abrasive sound onto the melody and where the melody sticks out. I was trying to capture extremes of that contrast, but at the same time having a real warmth to the sound. We are really into low-end and boom and bass sound. I like my guitar to sound real dark and that was one thing. The other thing of course was to get the most smooth-vibe record that we could ever record. In other words, we had spent five weeks in the studio and we had the facilities to do the record well, and we spent time to put the record out."

"We worked really hard on performance and once we got that down, the production was a lot easier. When you have a record that is as slammin' as far as grooves goes, then sometimes things work themselves out and makes the recording process easy," says Nasiruddeen. "We worked hard in order to get the live feel, though it isn't a live record, rather a well thought out record. We wanted to capture that live intensity by having all the dips and swoobs and the dynamics that we have on the record." Describing the new album, he responds, "Soulwrenching. Sometimes I don't have objectivity on the record. You have to gain a certain distance from your record. It is a very emotional record and that is what we attempted to do and I think we succeeded."

The rest of Crisis consists of singer/growler Karyn Crisis, Fred Waring on drums and bassist Gia Chuan Wang - a unique group of individuals who in their own little way by creed, background or beliefs add a unique perspective to the band and its direction. Karyn Crisis is a performance artist and classically trained violinist; Nasiruddeen is a native of Pakistan who has lived in both England and the U.S.; Waring is a jazz student, and bassist Wang is from Taiwan and an accomplished trombonist. "I think the reason we are unique is because we accepted the diversity and differences and worked with it. I think most problems occur when you are not honest with yourselves and your art and it shows through. That is why we are not artsy-fartsy (in refernce to art style bands from NY) because we are honest about our music," he notes. "The thing about us is we feel that if I am different from you then let's try to make a complementary relationship where you can get something good out of this regardless of appearance or culture. It is like the fusion of different spiritual influences."

Onto the topic of being seen as an "art" band from New York or the scene in general, what is his take on it? He begins, "We don't see ourselves as experimental and that is why we set ourselves apart from bands like Sonic Youth and Boss Hog. I personally know all those poeple and it is unfortunate but those are the people that are ignoring us. Jon Spencer (Jon Spencer Blues Explosion/Boss Hog) and all those people in those bands (art bands) are so much into the Rock N' Roll star thing that they wouldn't even think about checking a band like us out. I have been around the scene for a long time and I can honestly say they haven't done a fuckin' thing for us." So in other words, the band tries to disassociate with that type of music crowd in New York right? "Yes we do," clarifies Nasiruddeen, "because the media here has a habit of slagging the heavier bands and those bands go along with it."

While recording the album, despite the pressures or problems the band went through while making a name for themsleves, what was the focus of the band? Did they find themselves hard at work to try to find a specific sound for the band to carry on with? He says, "We had to work our butts off to get this sound. We are not into having a signature sound running throughout the record. We are into plurality. We look at every song as a work of art with every song being a piece of work. When we look at the album we can come to a realization that it is possible that there is a single thread running through the album in a very disjointed way. And that is what brings the concept together. That is why the first CD was called _8 Convulsions_ because each song was a different convulsion. _Deathshead Extermination_ is capturing many different moods under the umbrellas of _DHE_." "The name comes from a caption carried from a comic book, rather a graphic novel, that Karyn is working on," he explains. "It is a concept she has taken from one of her characters that is based on a serial rapist or killer."

And as he has pointed out, the music of the band has become a personal issue. "It has become so important that our lives are on hold, basically. We don't have lives other than the band. That is all we do. I am an architect by profession and I have given up my career for this band. If it hadn't changed us in some way I wouldn't have been doing this for so many years. When we first started I was the main songwriter but that has all changed. Now the whole band thing is happening. We get together, rehearse and fuck around and throw songs out until we find we have come up with something totally inspiring to us. So we jam and that is where the dynamics come from. Karyn's vocals and her range is what dictated us and put us in that direction to open our music up and let it breathe."

He concludes, "We haven't done our _Master OF Puppets_, our legendary record yet. We are still on our way but I will know when we do our classic."

(article submitted 14/3/1996)

9/14/1997 A Bromley 6 Crisis - The Hollowing
11/18/1996 S Cannon Voivod / Crisis / Pro-Pain Vicious Violence Vented
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