Crystal Fighters: They LOVE London Samantha Kirschberg

It’s true. They do. They even have a song about it on their record, Star of Love.

In 2007, Crystal Fighters formed in London. (You know how HelloGiggles loves all things British!) Sebastian Pringle (lead vocals/guitar), multi-instrumentalist Gilbert Vierich (guitars/txalaparta- a traditional Basque instrument kind of like a wooden xylophone/percussion) and Graham Dickson (guitar/txalaparta) started to make music together. Soon they met Laure Stockley, who joined on vocals and helped name the band. Later Ellie Fletcher joined as the touring female vocalist.

In the Basque country, Laure found the name “Crystal Fighters” in her grandfather’s journal and unfinished opera.  They became creatively intrigued by everything they were reading/learning and wanted to show it in their music. So together they formed to make a mix of old and new music. Their sound is extremely unique. I didn’t know what to think at first. They combine basically everything- folk, electronic, punk rock, dubstep, dance- and somehow it all works. Their use of old Basque instruments gives it an old folk feel. Gilbert has said that the txalaparta sound was once used from the hills to call people to come drink when the cider was ready and they use the sound to call people to party.

And party is exactly what I would call one of their live shows. One big dance party. After seeing them perform a live, heart-pounding, energetic show, I had the chance to see them perform acoustically at the Soho House. They can pull off both, which sometimes bands can’t seem to do. Gilbert said it’s like going back to their roots. They wrote the original songs acoustically and then later added the dance/dubstep beats. Their acoustic set makes you want to chill out on a beach somewhere in Europe, but I think the closest beach will do just fine!

They just finished their U.S. tour and now are back in the Basque country finding inspiration everywhere for their new record. Sebastian took the time to hop on a phone interview with me.

So your band name was found in an old Basque man’s journal. What does ‘Crystal Fighters’ mean to you?

“Well the place where it was discovered was this old Basque man’s diary or journal with a kind of opera piece. It was all like your kid’s upbringing and the true cultures of living in the Basque country and different dances and all old traditions that really we knew nothing about at the time. And so part one of these little stories is actually about like some kids in the early eighties listening to punk music and things like that happening a lot at the time in Northern Spain. So we took on that passage..that group of kids that were listening to this music he called Crystal Fighters from his talks. So that’s our name.”

That’s awesome. Such a cool story to naming your band. So you guys have a lot of different styles of music thrown into one band- folk, electronic, dubstep, punk. Who are you influenced by?

“We’re influenced by classic songwriters and musicians from all cultures, you know. Particularly on the last album we listened to all classic Brazilian- that sort of songwriting and strange tongue. And then of course dance music and techno. Definitely influential in terms of introducing ourselves to lots of different types of dance music and trying to apply that to songs and different types of folk songs.”

I heard you guys tour and live together, so basically you’re around each other 24/7.

“We don’t actually live together anymore. It’s funny because the other two guys are here right now and we are in the place we used to live. We’ve been touring America and we just got back. We had a festival in London last week.”

How was your US tour? Do you have any funny stories or highlights?

“Yeah, it was wicked. Very good. Lots of fun. Loads of people. Nice scenery on the long drives, ate some good food, and hung out with nice people.”

What was your favorite place you visited?

“Um I liked Canada.”

You chose Canada over the US!

“That’s not America. I’m joking. I’m joking. Um, yeah, no… Chicago was really cool… cool music spot down there.”

Any summer plans? What’s next for the band?

“Yeah, we’re now writing our second album. We’re back in the Basque country.”

For HelloGiggles readers- if they haven’t heard you before, what song would you want them to listen to?

“Hmm I would say ‘At Home’.”

‘At Home’ just happens to be my favorite song off the record. It was actually just on the season premiere of The Real World: St.Thomas. I would also suggest listening to ‘Plage’, which was featured in Corinne Caputo’s HelloGiggles Beach Playlist! Do you have any favorites off the record?

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  1. I love Crystal Fighters and ‘At Home’ is one of my favourite songs too. They are amazing live.