Genre mixologists on how to get Basque folk music played in techno clubs
Patrick Davies

16:01 2nd November 2012

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Crystal Fighters' combination of British and Spanish nationalites has spawned a sound that combines the polar opposites of Basque folk music and thumping dance beats. It may sound like a disaster on paper, but the band's debut album 'Star of Love' was well-received by critics and listeners alike.

The band have recently released their most highly anticipated single to date - 'Love Is All You Got'.
A collaboration with dance producer Feed Me, the track that has given them an unprecedented level of mainstream attention from the likes of Radio 1.

Gigwise spoke to Crystal Fighters frontman, Bast Pringle, about his mutual love for folk and techno, his fear of mainstream success, and the band's touring hedonism...

'Love Is All I Got' has had some big support and radio plays. How does it feel to crack the mainstream with the new track?
I wasn't really expecting it, but yeah we're really glad we did it now. Feed Me is the man for sure! We basically just had a couple of songs left over from the first album that we needed to finish off. That is very much a stand-alone collaboration. When we do it live it will kind of be our own version of it.

Does it worry you at all that all this mainstream support could lead to you losing your underground appeal?
That's obviously a worry, we're very keen to stress that our new sound is not based on that kind of song at all. We don't want to be misleading anyone about the new sound before we even go into recording! We think our true fans will get that.

'Love Is All I Got', which is release on 19 November.

So you're currently in the 'pre-production' faze of the second record? Exactly how far along is it?
We're beginning recording at the start of December, the songs are pretty much written. We haven't chosen exactly which ones in what format, but we've got a lot of songs kicking around and we're just sort of whittling it down and rehearsing them. We're just preparing to go out to LA and record basically. We could take out some more songs or take some out. It's exciting times.

How's the new album sounding so far, is it much of a departure from the first?
Yeah it is quite a departure. We've written quite differently this time, a lot more thought has gone into the songs. We've taken the time to sit down on guitar and really work on the melodic side of things- which we definitely didn't do on the first album.

Hopefully the end product will show the thought we've put into it. We don't really care how different or similar it sounds to the first one. We're just trying to keep it sounding interesting to us.

When can we expect to hear new music from you?
Maybe April or May, we're not completely sure yet. We're going to record the first half in the new year. It shouldn't take more than three months to record- or at least that's how much time has been allotted by the label.

The last album was pretty much all done ourselves, so it's been very different this time. We were able to take a bit more time over the first one because no ones really waiting for it.

I think we've got enough days to work on it, otherwise it could turn bad!

The band hit the studio to record their second album in December

How far down that line are you willing to go - in terms of collaborators and remixers? It's interesting, we've had loads of remixes done before, I do enjoy hearing our songs in a more streamlined dance form. We're all really into our dance music. It's good getting people like TEED or Disclosure to do remixes before they're too big and busy. We were maybe criticised for having too many remixes on the first album, I think we might keep more of a lid on it on the next one.

Your sound is one that is a kind of a 'mish-mash' of different genres, do you think the cocktail of British/Spanish nationalities in the band is one of the main reasons for this?
Yeah definitely, the organic sound of out tracks all come from traditional Basque folk music and instrumentation. And then we kind of compliment that by trying to give it a 'world dance' sounds as well. I think that adds a bit of warmth to it. When we first tried that it seemed to be something that just naturally appealed to us. I think there's a lot to be said for pure folk music.

Do you think the breaking down in boundaries between music genres can confuse some people who don't know if they are listening to an indie band, a pop band or a dance band?
Yeah, I'm sure it has with some people, but for us it's about having that originality. Not that I'm saying we're completely original but it's more combining (existing) things to create something that sounds original. It's just all about making songs that sound exciting.

The Basque countryside is one of the main inspirations for Crystal Fighters

Whether it be at a gig, festival, or club your music always seems to get a great reaction, where do you think it works best?
I personally really like playing big festival gigs, it's always fun to get out and play outside. You never know though. We played Glastonbury two years ago when there was only three of us, but then we came back the year after an it was a lot fuller, that was much more of a party atmosphere!

Who are the other artists that you're in to at the moment?
We like playing with anyone who isn't just doing the same bog standard stuff. We've done a few gigs with Wu Lyf from Manchester, they're really cool. But then we're really into our techno when we're out. I love Ricardo Villalobos. I'll give anything a go if I find it interesting!

What is planned for the rest of 2012? Will you see anything outside of a recording studio?
No gigs for the time being. We're just taking some time out to record. That's kind of all we're concentrating on now until at least the end of January. Hopefully we'll be invited to go out and play some festivals. That's the good thing about people not knowing what genre we are. We get to play on bills with all differnt bands of all different genres. There's nothing worse than having to constantly play on the same line-ups with the same people.

Thank you very much, Crystal Fighters. 'Love Is All I Got' is out now. Download it from iTunes here.

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