Bands get inspiration to create music from many different places. For some, it's from the type of music they grew up listening to and for others, it's just what they are comfortable with creating. For the trio Crystal Fighters, their musical inspiration comes from indigenous countries, New York City, the mountains, London and basque folk instruments.
Their sound is unique—it combines electronic with folk, indie-pop with a European/Spanish touch. The band, which consists of Sebastian Pringle, Gilbert Vierich and Graham Dickson, are about to embark on a tour for their third studio album, Everything Is My Family, which was released in October 2016. This album, while is similar in many ways to their past two—Cave Rave and Star of Love—is overall a more "experienced" sound.
"Bas (Sebastian) was bringing back elements from the jungle in Costa Rica—he was there for six months out of touch and learned a lot of indigenous music from that part of the world," Dickson told AXS. "I was in a retreat up in Maine in the mountains, kind of tapping out for a minute and making music. Gilbert was in London doing his thing. Together, we brought a much different kind of force individually, and I think you can hear that it's not just the classic Crystal Fighters sound. In some ways you can hear fun songs that you can dance to and what not, but there's also some more elaborate numbers that take you more on a journey than some of the previous albums do."
The members decided to work on this album individually and all come together in the end. Their travels and especially the basque culture and its instruments truly inspired the band to create their unique sound on this new album. Basque instruments and and the culture are not something very common, but Crystal Fighters have made it work.
"Then we were really inspired by the basque culture and the traditional instruments and mythology. Once we learned about that whole world, we combined the tradition of the basque country with modern electronic thing we were really inspired by in London," Dickson said. "That first album was a real cross section of what we were up to and our moment in time. The second album just like the first, we were totally in London and inspired what happened there. We then went to L.A. and had a much different experience and recorded with the amazing producer Justin Noble Johnson and were given a much different experience recording in L.A. in February compared to recording in London in February. We were bringing a much different feeling to the recording process."
Dickson went on to explain one of the main instruments they use that is inspired by the basque culture is called a txalaparta (pronounced cha-la-parta).
"It is a piece of the wood that you don’t tune. Once you tune the wood it becomes a xylophone technically. So you just get big pieces of wood they used to be a tradition around making cider and then they would beat the apples. Eventually they started coming up with rhythms to play together to make them more fun," Dickson said. "That used to be the way that people would use to communicate from the top of the hilltops when the Romans came to conquer. They started playing their txalapartas and would start running through the hilltops so everyone would know and be warned. On top of that, they used to use the txalapartas in ceremonies in caves."
With this new album, Crystal Fighters are about to embark on a U.S. tour. You can check out all of the tour dates with ticket links below.
"It’s a real mishmash of what we always do," Dickson said. "Our whole thing is trying to incorporate all of our inspirations from year to year day to day in the music we’re making and the shows we’re playing. It sounds different in some ways but it feels similar as well."
Upcoming Crystal Fighter U.S. Tour Dates
March 25- Park City, UT - Mountain Park Resort
March 27 - San Francisco, CA- MEZZANINE
March 29- Solana Beach, CA- Belly Up
March 30- Santa Ana, CA- The Observatory
March 31- Los Angeles, CA- El Rey Theater (Click here for tickets)
April 2- Chicago, IL- Concord Music Hall
April 3- Cambridge, MA- The Sinclair (Click here for tickets)
April 5- Brooklyn, NY- Music Hall of Williamsburg (Click here for tickets)
April 6- Brooklyn, NY- Music Hall of Williamsburg (Click here for tickets)
April 7- Washington, DC- Black Cat