Returning to play – An interview with Fredrik Croona.

Fredrik Croona4

This month sees the debut album from Swedish harsh EBM/industrial/dark electro band Cynical Existence unveiled, a release which ignites further the already blazing passion inspired for the one man project of Fredrik Croona as forged by his previous two EPs.  The founder and one half of the excellent aggrotech/industrial act Project Rotten and former vocalist of dark electro/industrial band Menschdefekt, Fredrik with his first album Come Out And Play ventures further in to the darkest corners of the human condition through his own personally inspired and emotive experiences and thoughts to provoke and evoke. Grabbing the opportunity to talk with the man again and ask about his new imaginative and melodically abrasive dark engagement we asked him about the release and more…

Hi Fredrik and welcome back to The RingMaster Review. It has been a year since we last talked with you how has the time treated you personally and with Cynical Existence?

Thanks Pete, Wow…really? Time flies when you’re having fun eh? I’ve been keeping active that’s for sure, working on new stuff and playing around quite a bit. I can’t really complain, 2012 was a pretty damn good year and I hope 2013 will be even better.

You are about to release your excellent debut album Come Out And Play in February, how are the emotions as the date it is unleashed draws closer?

I am eager that’s for sure, and I really hate to wait. It will drive me crazy one day, that’s for sure. And it’s not close enough! Damnit, I want it out now! But to be honest, it’s exciting to be able to watch what you’ve been working on for quite a few months become something physical (yes, I already have a few CDs here at my place).

After the well-received responses and acclaim garnered by your previous EPs, A Familiar Kind Of Pain and Ruined Portrait, are the emotions different in regard to Come Out And Play this time around?

I have no idea, haven’t gotten any reviews of the album yet, besides yours of course and you really seemed to enjoy it. I’m hoping that when I do get other reviews and opinions from people they will enjoy it. Well I actually lied, because a few people have heard my teasers and really seem to be digging it haha.

How would you say your songwriting and sounds  have evolved between your first release and the new album and certainly the stuff AM1187CDyou are working on now?

In the beginning I don’t think I evolved that much to be honest, I just kept working and working and working on new stuff every f*cking day and basically shooting out tracks. When I started out I could make a track in one day more or less, but the more I actually worked and played around the longer it took to make a track. Now it can take me 3-4 days to complete the music alone (if not even longer sometimes). And when it comes to sound it always depends on what I am listening to at the moment.

Come Out And Play has a stronger intensity and investigates deeper shadows than the EPs, is that fair to say?

Yes, mainly because the album focuses more on my own life and my experiences throughout it. Sure the older tracks are also connected to me in most cases, but this one holds more feelings and I try to express them through my music and vocals. What I can say now thought is that my new stuff is even more personal and deep than the debut.

Again the album is borne of your personal experiences and thoughts then?

Every track I make is more or less personal in its own way and holds a story of its own. What I want to do in the future is actually make a “concept album“ with every track linked to specific events of my personal life. Even thought everything might be personal, there’s still some fiction in there.

How difficult is it to interpret your feelings and thoughts into your music and do you attempt to get the listener to feel exactly what you are revealing or just to feel something?

It’s not really hard at all, since basically as soon as the lyrics are connected with a track and the vocals are on there the song changes from “just another track” to song that actually has a meaning to me. I write music for myself and if I can manage to deliver a message or get the listener to understand what I’m trying to express it’s all great. But in the long run I still focus on making something I feel strongly for.

Where do you start when writing songs?

Hell if I know lol. I just start with whatever comes to mind.

Are you a writer who once a track is finished can leave it alone or someone who has to keep nibbling away at it? I ask as you are known for some great remixes of other artist’s music so wonder if it also applies to your own creations unofficially :)

It depends, sometimes I throw a track over to a friend to see what they think of it and then maybe we’ll bounce it between each other every time I change something and in some cases I just work on it and feel that it’s ready and well that’s that. And about remixes, I have no idea what you mean since I’ve only made about 3 remixes so far. I hate remixes, it’s boring as hell.

Fredrik CroonaThe album also includes a couple of tracks from the earlier A Familiar Kind Of Pain, both songs Paradox and Insecure two of our persistent favourites. Why the inclusion and have you tweaked or revisited them creatively for the album?

Those are two of my first and best tracks ever, so why not? They will rip the dance floors apart! And about changing anything about them, I don’t think I actually did. The album has after all been ready for a few months now.

Do you have any particular moment or track on the album which makes you the proudest or gives you a personal tingle?

I’m broken which is reworked by Pre Emptive Strike 01 is probably the best track in both terms of music and vocals, since it’s very personal to me. Other than that track GDI is fun, and I wonder how many of the listeners will actually manage to figure out what inspired me to create it and where the samples are from.

What is the next step for Cynical Existence after the album, possible live performances?

Going straight forward! Going to work on my second album and get that done and then I’m going to play a few shows in the US this spring, hopefully I might get some more interesting ones. We’ll see what happens.

Could you bring us up to date with your other band Project Rotten? What has been happening in that area of your work over recent months?

We’ve been busy working with the new album that’s been in the works for almost 2 years and then of course we have a new EP coming out tomorrow (1st of February)! So it’s been a busy time and this year will probably also be really busy, hopefully.

Is it still challenging to juggle the two bands or have you found a more relaxed working schedule between the two?

It’s not challenging at all really, I mean I just do vocals and lyrics and Kettil makes the music and the production. So basically he sends me a new track when it’s ready and I create my magic and BAM it’s done. So it’s very laid back.

How different is the buzz between working and releasing something which is created and performed by just you and working with Fredrik Croona2another creative force in Kettil for Project Rotten?

Project Rotten is obviously a lot bigger than Cynical Existence since we’ve been around longer , so I guess PR’s fanbase is bigger and well then it’s pretty obvious that you hear more from the fans on that side than on CE’s side. Naturally I hope that CE’s fanbase will grow even bigger and expand a lot these coming few months. I have to show people how awesome I can be.

Many thanks for sharing time with us again Fredrik and good luck with the new album.

Thank you and hope you will enjoy it even more after a few more listenings.

Would you like to leave with your personal favourite tracks from both Cynical Existence and Project Rotten?

Do I have to? LOL, just kidding. With PR I’d go for a new track called In Total Control and Club Death.

With CE I would go with I’m Broken and GDI

Read the review of Come Out And Play @ http://ringmasterreviewintroduces.wordpress.com/2013/01/17/cynical-existence-come-out-and-play/

https://www.facebook.com/cynical.existence.official

The RingMaster Review 01/02/2013

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Interview with Fredrik Croona (Cynical Existence)

shot taken by Martin Tzr Niklasson- http://www.tzr.se — with Iva Insane and Psylocke.

Already well respected from his work with Menschdefekt and with his band Project Rotten let alone numerous other collaborations and projects, Fredrik Croona brought another absorbing, impactful, and stirring release to incite our hearts from his new project Cynical Existence  in the shape of its debut album A Familiar Kind of Pain. A release of harsh EBM and dark electro might and infection the new album continues the impressive contribution and creativity of Fredrik that has installed him as one of the more inspirational and notable people in the genres and subgenres his projects easily envelope. We had the pleasure of Fredrik agreeing to answer our questions so we could find out more about him and his music.

Hi Fredrik, many thanks for taking time to talk with us.

Firstly tell us not about the musician but about the man Fredrik Croona.

Well, what can I say? I am a normal guy who has a day time job trying to earn enough to make a living. When I don’t do that I prefer to play video games and go to the gym and pretend to be a strong muscular dude. I am pretty much a nerd.

The first introduction to you for many of us was when you joined Menschdefekt in 2009, is there a musical history before that point for you?

I started out as a vocalist in a heavy metal/new metal band back in 2003 and after that I was a vocalist in a death metal band and some minor short lived dark electro/darkwave projects. I doubt that anyone heard about these bands besides my close friends, cause we never got past the demo stages and only performed live in my home town of Gothenburg.

How did your union with Dominik R. in the band come about?

I think those who know me well enough know that I have a passion to start side projects or collaborations with other artists and I was actually surfing around Myspace and found Menschdefekt and Dominik was holding some kind of competition for a vocalist who wanted to try to write lyrics and do vocals for a track (I forgot the name of it). I wasn’t into it at first but I thought hell why not? And Dominik loved my vocals and lyrics and wanted me to join as full time vocalist.

Next you formed Project Rotten alongside Menschdefekt for your solo work, what did you want to experiment with and create that was different to Menschdefekt?

First off I wanted to make something myself, or at least try but I failed. I made two tracks myself which were pretty terrible in all aspects of both music and vocals and so I got a guy called Jan to join me, cause I needed help. And after that Kettil joined and helped improve the music drastically. In the end I wanted something more raw and sinister than Menschdefekt.

I would say that everything but the vocals is different. In CE everything is created and produced by me and this in return makes me create anything I want to create. I have total control and nobody can tell me what to do and not to do (not saying that is the case with Project Rotten). But still there is more freedom this way.

You are no longer involved with Menschdefekt, was this because of the demands of working two bands or that Project Rotten was naturally pulling in all your creative energy into itself to leave less than you wished for Menschdefekt?

My biggest problem with Menschdefekt was that it was stealing too much attention from Project Rotten and the sound didn’t evolve too much in my ears. I always strive to evolve and so does Kettil and we want the same things. It’s easier to work this way and I still make the final mixes in Project Rotten so I can make it sound the way I want it to. Dominik is a great musician and I had lots of fun in Menschdefekt but it got to a point where I couldn’t evolve with it anymore so I had to cut it off.

What have and do the three bands differ in and offer distinctly differently to your creative ideas and craft

Menschdefekt was focused on catchy hook lines and themes about war, corruption and human decay.

Project Rotten was based on fiction and horror with heavy beats and dark aggressive music (which has evolved into a more club oriented sound).

Cynical Existence is a personal project with a lot of feelings and lyrics about past experiences etc and it’s whatever I want it to be. One track can be a bit future pop-ish and one can be really dark and aggressive. I have no boundaries to what I create.

With Project Rotten and Cynical Existence is there sometimes a battle within you over which gets priority over a new idea you have?

Nah, Kettil is the musical drive behind PR so if there would be a battle it would be for the lyrics. Both bands are equal for me and I don’t see a problem or a battle amongst them. If there comes a time when I have to choose *I would probably merge both bands into one instead.

How do you create your music generally?

I boot up cubase and start a VST and just write and move around and try different things. I never know what to do until I do it.

How many times have you thought of something that you think will work in a track but not been near anything to record it and then for it ultimately to disappear from memory by the time you are haha?

Oh shit, well that is a hard question. I would probably say one too many ;). Worst part is when you are at work and you think of something and when you get home it’s just gone.

With Cynical Existence the band bio states the goal for the band was to create a form of ‘old school’ harsh EBM and industrial “ with a more personal touch and emotions infused into it.” Could you expand on the personal and emotional elements and how these differs from what you have brought through with Project Rotten?

Like I stated before, Project Rotten was mostly about fiction and horror and the new songs are more sarcastic and with a lot of dark humour. Cynical Existence is more personal because I write things that are close to me and the music probably reflects that also. I hate the terms Cyber and Hellectro. I call it harsh ebm or dark electro cause that is what it is. It has nothing to do with cyberspace or dystopia or hell, this is what makes it special to me.

A Familiar Kind Of Pain is the debut Cynical Existence album and one we loved. How long was it in the making and has the sounds and idea behind it been around longer than the project?

Should I really spill my beans about this ;)? The EP is actually a mini CD. But it took me about 3 months to make, maybe even less. When I have my creative drive I can write A LOT. Mind you a lot has been thrown away.

Did A Familiar Kind Of Pain change and evolve by the finished album much from your original ideas and vision?

I didn’t really have an idea. I just wanted to try and create music. As I stated before I did two songs back in 2009 but they were just arpeggios and sequencers so they don’t count. This time around I just wanted to create and see what I could do. I want to create varied tracks with different feelings for the EP and I think I managed to do it.

Is there a theme or continuing essence behind the EP, or is this the personal part of you that we feel linking the songs?

Hmm not really, I just wanted every track to sound a bit different to see what I could make; I wanted variation and see how far I could go without going too far.

Is Cynical Existence something you see becoming an active live band like Project Rotten or remain a recording vehicle for your dark electro and harsh EBM ideas?

Hell yes! I already played live once and will be standing on stage again in about 2 months. So I will be playing live for sure.

In a genre where it seems that fans and some artists are almost intolerant of certain sounds, and sub styles within the vast industrial world, what were you expecting response wise from your fans to something  openly different to Project Rotten?

I wasn’t expecting anything to be honest. I mean I didn’t even think I could make a album and release it but I did. I create music for myself and if people like it that is awesome but in the end as long as I like it it’s ok. This is for me in the end. It might sound egoistic but if not for me, then who else?

How do you view industrial right now, it almost seems a volatile environment to be making music within?

A lot of people are whiny bitches to be honest, both artists and people alike. I don’t really listen to industrial music myself and don’t keep up with the scene. But I still love the scene who likes and appreciates what you do, why waste energy on the others?

What inspires your music and ideas, and does it differ from the different bands you have been and are involved in?

Everyday life and my personal feelings. I think it does because this is on a very personal level and I am there from start to finish.

What are the biggest influences that have crossed into all your work?

I have no idea, there are some bands I really got influenced by in my early electro years, but before that it was metal. Now I don’t really know. It’s a very hard question.

Apart from the bands we have mentioned what else are you involved with? We know you also collaborate with other artists like one of our favourites Scream Machine.

Well as of right now I am working on the vocals for the Mexican dark electro band Anamadim, besides that it’s kind of quiet. I don’t really have time or energy to waste on other things at the moment because of PR and CE. Got two album in the works to finish this year.

With the internet collaborations are much easier to engineer and do, but do you think it also from the fact that people do not even need to be in the same country to create music together that it can lose the naturally instinctive essences one finds from all being together side by side working?

I don’t think it’s matter if you are there or not. As long as you have a connection with the other part and you both have the same drive and passion I don’t see a reason why it should differ from working next to each other in real life. Internet creates huge possibilities that we couldn’t even dream about 15 years ago.

What is next for you?

To get my albums ready and prepare to release them onto the world so stay tuned!

A big thank you for taking time to talk with us, it is very much appreciated.

Would you like to end with any last thoughts about anything?

Even if it seems that I don’t have much love for the industrial scene I actually do. The fans and people who support us bands those are the people I give my love to. The others can fuck off and die! Thank you!

Read the A Familiar Kind Of Pain review @ http://ringmasterreviewintroduces.wordpress.com/2012/03/14/cynical-existence-a-familiar-kind-of-pain/

The RingMaster Review 30/04/2012

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