en 1995 par King Riff, c'est aujourd'hui Obscuratron, alias Jason
Stamberger, qui mène Crack :WAR, groupe californien sonnant
comme l'enfant - vénéneusement - naturel de Black
Sabbath et Throbbing Gristle. En seulement deux albums, le disco
morbido-industriel de l'étrange et mystique combo de San
Francisco a été, logiquement, repéré
par Tigerbeat6 puis Gigolo Records . Entre electro-goth grand guignol
et " punktronica " cagoulée, l'univers musical
de Crack :WAR, à base de piailleries punk, de rythmes électro
pervers et d'assauts de bruit rose psychédélique,
évoque Numbers et Adult. autant que Suicide et Cabaret Voltaire.
Interview avec Jason Stamberger alias Obscuratron.
When and how was Crack:WAR born ? Why did you chose that particular
name, does the WAR shall be understood as "we are rock",
"war"or both ?
band was originally the dribbling brainchild of former member King
Riff, and existed as a rotating cast of fools and noise junkies,
all freely improvised. but the current version began about 2.5 years
ago because King Riff thought L'Erin and Le Kim were hot and he
thought i knew how to use a mixer. he had some digital hardcore
beats he had to get off his chest. ha ha ha
is short for "we are rock", but it just worked out coincidentally.
i think it adds a more sinister and violent aspect, which is present
in the music at times. not everyone was happy with the abbreviated
name, but then again, not everyone was too thrilled with "we
are rock" either. so here we are.
Who are Crack WAR ? How would you introduce you and your characters
? Who does what in Crack WAR ?
play synthesizer, beats and electronics. i like psychedelic music
L'Erin sings and plays synths and bells. She designs clothes and
does the graphics.
Le Kim sings and makes drum sounds. She also designs clothes and
does the graphics.
have very limited superpowers, and our characters are questionable
as well. especially after we've tipped a few.
are your connections with the San Francisco musical scene ? Obvious
common points can be seen with the angry 4-to-the-floor rock of
Numbers ... but comparisons can also be made with muscled disco-electro-rock
of Gigolo . do you agree ? How did you happen to become part of
the Tigerbeat6 crew ?
share some aesthetics and motivation with a lot of other San Francisco
musicians, but we also share beers, apartments, stages, drugs and
probably a veneral disease or two with them. but there were a lot
of bands that sort of popped up at the same time, and most of the
good ones are still around. everybody here plays in everyone else's
bands, so there are a lot of incestuous side projects involved.
but not with our sisters or anything like that. and Numbers are
not so sure that we have a lot in common with other Gigolo artists,
at least in a philosophical sense. that tends to be more DJ/club-centric,
where we are more of a band. and i haven't really heard too many
parallels musically. although i do really like the Pink
Grease track from the Gigolo comp. but i wasn't too familiar with
Gigolo until recently, outside of the Tuxedomoon reissue and a few
scattered recordings. i just heard the new Hell record, some of
which is really good. alan vega's on it, which can never be bad
hooked up with Kid606 and Tigerbeat6 originally on a social and
housemate level, but he was a fan and offered to help us out, which
he did, even taking us on the road with him. and the label has started
putting out a wider variety of artists such as ourselves, Numbers
and Total Shutdown, who are also good buds.
Apart from the trendy electro-clash influences ...
I would have to argue that we don't have any "electroclash"
influences, as what we've done together and separately has pre-dated
and emerged concurrent with a lot of that. electroclash is a trademarked
marketing idea. and we attack the idea from a different stance.
although you could argue that there are some similarities with some
of new electro music, like adult or dopplereffekt, especially on
our earlier recordings. but we've moved on to other things.
Crack WAR's aesthetics brings us back to post-industrial era (you
sometimes sounds very vintage industrial noise ... kind of Throbbing
Gristle) or sometimes further back to Krautrock myth or electrobeatniks
in the mystic imagery you create and in your recycling and mixing
of psychedelia and electronic. What are your main influences ? Are
you aware of all these retro elements in your music/aesthetics ?
we are very aware of that, but i'm old enough to know better than
to want to ape eighties techno-pop, much of which was pretty shitty
in the 80's, let alone now. but what is exciting to me is to pick
up where so much creative music from '75 to '82 left out when it
was trampled and packaged and sold as new wave. modern music went
into a heavy dry spell for 15 years, especially when it came to
electronic rock or pop music. the transition from Fad Gadget to
Kajagoogoo was rapid, and it was all downhill from there. so the
goal of making adventurous, noisy, diseased electronic rock music
was there from the start. it was a noise band that somehow became
danceable and sing-along-able.
the music and the lyrics have moved in a more psychedelic direction,
which is a direct reflection of what music two thirds of us listen
to. So it was almost unavoidable. and it seemed to grow naturally
from the more absurdist aspects of the earlier records, which were
homages to cave love and deconstructions of disco lyrics. both the
music and lyrics are more layered and dark.
did you happen to issue this Animal Trap 12" on Gigolo ? Any
other plans on this label?
associate Tommie Sunshine became a fan, and he brokered the whole
thing for us. we talked about doing something for a while, and the
12" was the result. we may do another single with them, and
in the future, who knows. but we are really looking forward to meeting
all of them this spring.
"rock" dimension of Crack WAR , since "you are rock"
, aren't you? should be really effective live. Do you often play
live ? What is it like ... are you disguised ...
really feel that the live show IS the band. it is something that
is always on the verge of falling apart, which it often does. and
playing everything live as opposed to laptops etc. makes it so it
is different and wrong and confusing at every show. there is a more
visceral approach to it, and more chaotic. it sometimes approaches
a more Sun Ra plane, obviously not in the jazz sense, but in the
layered chaos attacking and overwhelming the rhythm. but some people
actually hate the live shows, although they like the recordings
because they want to hear it clean and formal, not transmutated
and slightly uncomfortable. some people are the
reverse. we like those people.
Silent Fantasy and Cosmic Mind Flight, there is a clear evolution
towards more abstract structures and harsher sounds, will this tendency
- if you see it as such - will be confirmed in your new/next works
of hard to say. we have one new track, for a single on 333 Recordings,
that takes the pastoral and creepy psychedelia to it's logical end,
and it may be the "softest" thing we've done. but some
more recent songs are tending towards bombast and doom, like Earth
or Sleep playing disco.
will be your next releases, by the way ?
single on 333, a single on Gigolo, and hopefully a full-length by
the end of summer. and there is a remastered, remixed vinyl version
of Silent Fantasy coming out on Kimosciotic soon. it is a very different
creature than the CD version, I feel.
Interview réalisée par Christophe Taupin
Crack:WAR on tour in Europe : details on www.crackcave.com
in Africa 7" (Kimosciotic)
Silent Fantasy LP (Tigerbeat6)
Cosmic Mind Flight LP (Tigerbeat6)
Animal Trap Remix 12" (Gigolo)