Crimson Ivy Entangled Interview

Crimson Ivy formed as a whole and then took off into the music industry as far in as possible. Until their musical career sky rocketed making their musical talents that more enjoyable to witness. The years have gone by and the almighty Crimson Ivy is still standing strong and have come to discuss the upcoming plans and what is to become of the mighty act entangled in their own ivy.



1. The name of the band Crimson Ivy, is interesting to say the least and sounds as if there is a story behind it. Where did the name come from and what is the story?

Indeed. What I used to say in radio interviews was something like it was a reminder or representation of the lifeblood running through people, plants, trees, animals, insects, etc. – crimson for blood, ivy for plants and so forth. Today, I don’t remember- all I know is that the drummer and I started as Ivy League, broke up and formed Crimson Ivy. It could also be that we or I just picked a word to go with Ivy.

2. Can you briefly summarize how the band formed and what you do in Crimson Ivy?

The band formed way back in like 1987 or so, out of the ashes of Ivy League. When we first started, we would fill cubs with our fog machine, and sounded a lot like a mix between the Cure and early Depeche Mode. Like most bands, we eventually grew into our own sound- which is quite a bit heavier than that. In Crimson Ivy, I program, sing, shout, and play guitar.

3. Your lyrics are infused with heavy detail and raw emotion. What is it that normally gives you inspiration when writing lyrics and is there a concept behind the music you create?

I don’t know if I would call it a concept, so much as just an attempt to explain how certain things I see in the world feel to me- or how they contrast from my dream or fantasy. I try to stay true to that, for some reason it seems important to me to be real in there…

4. Your new album "Youarewho," is coming out how has the reactions been thus far? What can fans expect when they listen to your music?

This is a question that is quite relevant for me right now. In the late 80s and early 90s, people that I knew who liked say, Ministry and Skinny Puppy, would also enjoy Sisters of Mercy, Bauhaus, and Nitzer Ebb. And, there was a radio station or two that sort of understood that.

Today, there seems to have developed a division between DJs / people in the business and the music listening public. I think listeners have actually broadened their spectrum- and enjoy much more music than before. They might now like all that music above, and still throw on Pantera, AC/DC, the Beastie Boys, or Sarah Mclaughlin. The radio on the other hand has closed its horizons almost completely. I don’t know one group from another of the bubble gum music I hear on the radio station that is supposedly cutting edge where I live. It’s really terrible. Even DJs and Critics in the dark music culture have deteriorated into very small factions. Goths don’t like rivets, people who like ebm don’t want guitars in there, industrial rock people don’t want any goth. So I think there is a wide gap between what listeners enjoy and what DJs and Music Business Execs who run radio stations and labels enjoy, which is interesting, or sad- depending on how you look at it. So, to end my rambling rant- the reaction to Youarewho has been really good- from listeners. With social networking, a lot of people can hear our music, which isn’t particularly bubble-gum, and doesn’t neatly fit into the narrow categories. Its all punk anyways.

5. How do you think you will effect the music scene you are part of? What are your thoughts on the growing popularity in it as well?

Well, in all seriousness- I don’t think we will affect anything- although it’s possible. I do express some of the very opinions I expressed above to music industry people I communicate with, but its relatively few people- and there is no telling if they are listening. Frankly, from what I’ve read, record labels are all trying to figure out how to react to downloading. With CD sales through the floor, I would imagine this has an effect on radio as well. The reaction so far though- appears to be an even further homogenization on what is put before listeners. Yuck.

Having trolled around MySpace and the web, I know there is a large audience for the music we make. The radio and record labels just do not seem to be the correct conduit to the listener anymore. I don’t know what that conduit is yet- other than MySpace, and the web itself- but I think even that is becoming overwhelming for listeners. It is an interesting problem, or opportunity- a lot of talent, and a large audience, with no road between. I do think this interview is part of the road though!

6. What is your one goal to accomplish in the music industry?

My only goal these days is to reach as many people on the planet who would like our music as possible within the time I have to do it.

7. Many of your songs are so hard and intense that I am sure they translate well into a live setting taking on a whole new life in front of a live audience. How does it make you feel when the emotion and power that you envisioned in the recording studio, come to life while playing in front of a crowd?

It has been awhile, but usually for me it is as if I closed my eyes and was right there in every second, every breath, adrenalin time, sweat, and maybe sort of looking into the audience’s eyes for something once in awhile…a reaction maybe...a connection…I dunno…and of course paying attention to what I’m singing/shouting/playing…It is really satisfying to hear the music thumping and pounding loudly on stage- that’s for sure.

8. What are the upcoming plans for Crimson Ivy?

Well our album Youarewho is late because of me remixing a few tracks, we’re playing in San José, CA in August for a benefit. After that, we shall see. I plan to re-release the Bloodlife album on CD as well. I know I still like to have a cd in my collection for music I like. John Weir of On The Fly Productions Germany and his team are also producing a video for the new album right now.

9. How has MYSPACE and the internet impacted your band and do you think downloading helps or hinders the artists?

MySpace has been great for us. I mean it allows us to have our music heard by thousands of people without touring and without major record label support. I really appreciate it because I remember what it was like before, and how difficult it was to get your music heard. I think downloading helps artists who are starting up and can’t sell CDs on their name alone. I also get the idea that it isn’t all that much different from cassette taping in the past- except it sounds better. I don’t know what the end result is- but I think it’s too late to be debating it. It’s done- just as cassettes were done. So, it is a new era. The revenue model still needs to be determined. Hopefully what will come out of it is less homogenization, more creativity, and more ability for artists to reach listeners. Of course, I am not counting on music to pay my mortgage, so I have a unique perspective. I would like to have some help in getting the physical product to those who want it though- because it is hard to find time to do it all.

10. What is the toughest lesson you ever learned in the studio and on the stage?

I don’t know if I’ve learned anything I didn’t learn elsewhere too. It seems important for me to keep a cool head when preparing for the stage. In the studio I’ve learned to toss the previous day’s work completely if I don’t like it, and start fresh without worrying about it.

11. What bands would you like to tour with and who has been your favorite to tour with this far? Any particular reason?

I’d like to play with the Cure- just because I can identify with the audience in a way. Skinny Puppy would be interesting for the same reason. Beyond that, I don’t know - why not Metallica, or I just heard someone the other day called OTEP. Why not mix things up a little – broaden horizons- (there is a theme here…)

12. Every band has its musical influences. What are some of the other bands and artists that have greatly influenced you guys and your music?

Well, the Cure, Ministry, Skinny Puppy, breaks, some drum and bass, techno, house, Siouxsie, Nitzer Ebb, Depeche Mode, Bauhaus, Pantera, Motorhead in some weird way, old punk, Gary Numan probably, Kraftwerk and maybe some Duran Duran- plus other styles like Ravi Shankar, Peter Gabriel, AC/DC, Skynyrd, Prince, and who knows what else. But really, I think I’m influenced by what I don’t like as well- and by life events. Or maybe, there is no influence, and it’s just about what I like, and trying to get that out musically. I mean, when I’m creating, I’m just trying to make something I like. That’s it.

13. What's your reaction when/if a fan told you a very meaningful statement such as "Your music changed my life?" Has this ever happened to you?

I don’t recall that happening. If it was for the positive I guess I would think it was neat.

14. All of that passion that you play with must be tough on you physically. How do you prepare for the physical demands of a tour?

In order to play well, we practice. I’d like to say I go to the gym and all that- but it wouldn’t be true. It’s not like we’re breaking rocks in the hot sun or anything (Can you tell we don’t tour?). Being on a stinky bus for hours at a time days on end with nothing but crappy diner’s and bars to stop at does sound a little challenging mentally though...or depressing…I’m not even sure I could handle it for all that long…

15. Anything else you'd like to add?

Yes, two things. First, I want to thank you for this opportunity. Like I said before- you are the road between our listeners and us. So, I really appreciate this interview. Second- this audience should stop by http://crimsonivy.net, and if you are on twitter you can even tweet from http://crimsonivy.net/club.html . Ok- thank you, goodnight. Lets do it again sometime, yes?

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