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Interview – Simon Cruz, Crashdiet – January 2013

| 12 February 2013 | Reply

By Shane Pinnegar

A couple of years of constant touring from one end of Scandinavia to the opposite end of Australia have paid off for Swedes CrashDiet – their latest album The Savage Playground builds on the solid foundation of their previous albums with added maturity in the songwriting department and a more focussed delivery. (Read Todd’s CD review HERE)

It’s easy to pigeonhole the band as a modern glam outfit, and there are surely elements of this in their music, but Crashdiet have evolved into a modern heavy rock band, and one of the best currently doing the rounds.

As you might almost expect after extended touring and exposure to the darker side of Rock Babylon, lyrics about ‘snakes in the Garden of Eden’, ‘cocaine cowboys’, over-excitedness and so forth abound, implying that the band have tasted from the chalice of decadence in their travels, and perhaps seen some things they can’t unsee.

Simon Cruz is laid back – and rather chilly – when we talk down the line from Sweden, and eager to share his experiences with the band making the album, but as always, reluctant to open up to anything resembling a personal question…
Crashdiet Simon Cruz 01

100% ROCK MAGAZINE: Hello Simon, how are you doing?

Hello! Yes, I’m good.

100% ROCK MAGAZINE: Thanks for your time today, mate, how’s things?

Pretty fucking cold!  [Laughter]  I think it’s about maybe minus 7 now or something. We’ve got about 20-30cm of snow.

100% ROCK MAGAZINE: Oh wow.

It’s kind of nice though. I don’t mind.

100% ROCK MAGAZINE: You’re at home in Sweden at the moment?

Yeah I’m at my garage actually, where I keep my motorbikes usually, but now there’s nothing but clothes in here. I’m in between living places at the moment, I’m living at a motorcycle club outside of town.

Crashdiet 01

100% ROCK MAGAZINE: Cool, so look, congratulations on Savage Playground, it’s a fantastic album. Did the writing and recording sessions go well for you?

Yeah, we did most of the album after Christmas last year during spring time and then we started recording. We had the first recording sessions in May and tried out the producer Otto Welton, who we found out was good for us. It was a tip from our A&R actually. I don’t think he’s worked with a lot of rock and roll bands. He had a good feeling for what we wanted to do and I think he brought out what we wanted to achieve. So we spent lots of the time at his place in Stockholm and we stayed there in a cabin in the woods. It’s kind of good actually, not having to be out on the streets. You get to be in the studio and record all the time. It was a good experience.

100% ROCK MAGAZINE: Excellent, well it paid off, the album sounds a lot better than the stuff you’ve done in the past, even though I love your previous albums, but this album is a game changer for you guys.

Cool, thank you. We sort of went for a more live sound, which is part because all the songs on the radio [sound the same] with their triggered drums and the cutting and pasting which is too perfect and boring. We recorded most of the stuff live playing together and some of the best takes have little mistakes. We try to get the raw, on stage sound and the whole live feeling.

100% ROCK MAGAZINE: On the album there seems to be a lot of lyrics about Babylon and excess. Is this a reaction to all the touring you’ve been doing over the past couple of years?

Yeah, it’s basically written about the crazy things we’ve experienced down the road, and in our lives over the years.  Yeah, experiences of our lives in recent times. It’s sort of a soundtrack to that.

Crashdiet - The Savage Playground CD

100% ROCK MAGAZINE: I was listening to it a few times yesterday and I was thinking it could almost be a loose concept album, because there’s that thread running through lyrically.

Yeah, we came up with the idea of… sorry some friends have just arrived – sorry.  [Simon deals with his friends for a moment, shooshing them up]

I mean we started out with our first album, that was the first time we wrote together on that album and then  I guess, I don’t know it’s difficult to explain, but this spring time I had a vision that I would start thinking a bit more [laughs], about things and about life. So I actually started to do that and a lot of different things happened and it was a new experience for me, so the lyrics are about all the questions that came up in my head and something like that.

100% ROCK MAGAZINE: I think I get where you are coming from. Cocaine Cowboys is a really strong song lyrically and visually in the video clip. Is it hard for a touring rock band to avoid falling into the pitfalls of too much excess and letting health and music suffer?

Definitely, yes. It’s very easy for people to get caught up, you have to be strong to survive out there, and it’s a fucking jungle. There’re cowboys everywhere! Yeah, you have to be careful to stay alive.

Crashdiet 02

100% ROCK MAGAZINE: The video also looked like a pretty cool thing to shoot. Was that a fun experience or was that more hard work? I mean you ended up dead at the end of it of course.

No I loved it. It was great fun. I got to do a little bit of acting, and I got to slap around with a few people.

100% ROCK MAGAZINE: So even though we’re talking about cowboys and when you’re on the road it’s hard to stay healthy and all that sort of thing, is the life of a touring rock band still everything that you hoped it would be?

Pretty much actually! I guess it’s not like in the eighties where all the record companies have so much money and you don’t have to worry about anything in that sense… The first tour I was heaven y’know – it felt like I thought it would be. There was a lot of problems around with the buses and stuff breaking down and stuff like that, but maybe things are sometimes fucked up or even a lot of times fucked up, but the rest is great.

100% ROCK MAGAZINE: You’re on Three Wise Records in Australia, who are run by the Soundwave people, so we’re hoping that means that you guys will get on the Soundwave festival next year. Has that been discussed yet?

I’ve heard that they’ve talked about it and I am really hoping so. That would be awesome to come back to Australia and kick some more ass.

100% ROCK MAGAZINE: Well we certainly hope you can get over to Perth in West Australia this time.

Yeah, I think so.  If we’re on that festival we’re going to do a couple more things, it’s like a big tour; there are a lot of bands. That would be awesome, it would be a dream.

Crashdiet Simon Cruz 02

100% ROCK MAGAZINE: Excellent. It looks like you’ve got gigs lined up through Scandinavia and Europe and even a few shows in South America taking you right through until May; what’s on the cards for the rest of 2013?

Well there is an American tour being booked at the moment, and then hopefully after that there are several festivals and in the autumn we are probably doing some more shows in Sweden. We’re probably just going to be touring as much as possible. That’s the plan. And then probably releasing an album not too long after that.

100% ROCK MAGAZINE: That’s great news.

I think it’s better to release a little bit more often.

100% ROCK MAGAZINE: Cool. Now, when I was researching for this interview, finding any biographical information about you before your time in Crashdiet is very hard. Do you prefer to keep your personal life a bit mysterious?

I guess I have, I don’t know. I guess so, I’ve talked a bit about my previous band, if that’s what you mean.

100% ROCK MAGAZINE: I’ve heard of a band called Jailbait, but I haven’t heard any music from them.  I’ll have to look into them…

Okay. We recorded a lot of songs that have been released and I had another band before that called Foxy, we did enough songs for an album but we never got to record properly before we split up. It’s difficult to find the right energy and find the right people to work with, and find people who are energetic enough. But now I have found a gang which is the same as me it seems, so I think we will be together for a long while.

Crashdiet 03

100% ROCK MAGAZINE: It does seem like you are a bit of a band of brothers. It comes across with that energy that’s really cohesive.

Yeah I think it’s rare to find that kind of people, we had a long period of auditioning and just going out and hanging out with each other and writing songs together, before we decided to go further with anything. I still had my band Jailbait at the time but it wasn’t working, the energy in that band because we never wrote the songs, so I decided to try out with Crashdiet. I think immediately when we wrote songs together and we just hang out we found a connection and the right energy. Then we thought everybody really wanted to work hard and make things happen.

100% ROCK MAGAZINE: So being in a band which has released albums with two previous singers, have you experienced any backlash from fans who may prefer one of the previous guys or something like that?

There are a lot of people who think that everything is gonna be the same. Well no, it’s not, we’re different people and we bring different things to the band, but I don’t think much of that. I felt a lot of appreciation too, so I think we do overcome [any negativity] and we all believe in this and we believe in carrying on the flag from what Dave [Lepard, original Crashdiet singer, who committed suicide in 2006.  He was then replaced for the The Unattractive Revolution album by H Olliver Twisted, now singer with Reckless Love] started initially. I think it’s a good thing. I think he approves. I think he would be happy to know that somebody took it to another… you know, us being more acknowledged, to keep his spirit alive too I think.

100% ROCK MAGAZINE: So if you could magically go back in time and be a part of the recording of any one record in history, which would you chose?

It could be Appetite For Destruction, it could be a Doors album I guess. I don’t actually know what the first Doors album was called… maybe one of those two, or Ziggy Stardust maybe.

100% ROCK MAGAZINE: All good choices man. So finally Simon, what for you is the meaning of life?

I don’t think there is a meaning of life. I think you have to make your own meaning of life. I guess you have to create something that you can believe in and when you find it, fight for it. You got to try and be someone who can help the world evolve in some way. Something like that.

100% ROCK MAGAZINE: Great mate, thank you so much for your time, it’s been great. And good luck with the album.



Category: Interviews

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