Russian nu art metallers Crimson Blue is a band with a distinct and individual sound and one who released one of the more impressive and enthralling albums of last year in the splendid Innocence. Fusing nu-metal grooves with irresistible essences of symphonic metal and the unique character of art rock, the album was a thrilling and captivating engagement with a passionate imagination and invention. We had the pleasure of finding more out about a band, whose album was our first introduction to them, and their innovative sound and release by talking with vocalist and keyboard player Dominica “Dani” Hellstrom.
Hi, welcome to The Ringmaster Review and thank you for taking time to talk with us.
Firstly tell us about the members of Crimson Blue and how the band begun.
Well, let me introduce the band.
Dani — keys, vox, music, lyrics. Has been the part of Crimson Blue since the very beginning.
Alex — bass guitar and great stage presence.
Iggy — guitars, effects. Another veteran of the band operates an 8-string monster.
Jenn — drums and cool sympho arrangements.
Tim — guitars. Joined us recently
Back in 2009, we started as a progressive band and spent a lot of time looking for musicians with the same likes, King Crimson, Genesis, Yes, etc. We tried to compose some complicated polyrhythmical pieces of music, and the result sounded like really bored Tool. Time passed, we learned to like groove metal riffing and symphonic beauty — and our music changed. We went through a period of djent idolizing Meshuggah then came some nu metal madness, and our guitars sounded like the ones of Korn — and so on. Now we’ve finally came to what may be named «the original Crimson Blue style», and I hope our second album will at last sound like true Nu Art Metal.
Are the inspirations which brought the band to life still as strong and active now or have they evolved into a different intent?
In some way, yes. They remain somewhere deep inside, and sometimes we have to fight them not to make our new song too «prog» or too «nu».
Looking more in depth at your introduction, your music is described as Nu Art Metal, can you elaborate on the term for us and how would you say your music has evolved since its beginnings to the release of your debut album Innocence?
It’s quite easy to explain. Imagine classical art rock harmonies, the soundscapes, ambient, but living atmosphere — and mix it with nu metal grooves and noises.
Actually, that was the main change in our music since the very beginning of the band — the hardest thing was to learn not to write 7-minutes epics one after another. We’ve learned to express ourselves more laconically, but still not primitive
The line-up in the early days of the band was quite unstable, is that fair to say?
It’s fair to say that our line-up is a bit puzzle. The three more-or-less permanent members of the band are me, Iggy and Alex. We’ve changed few drummers and more than few guitarists. The trouble is the working process in Crimson Blue has always been a challenge. You have to devote quite a considerable part of your life to make progress. Concerts, rehearsals, shootings, recording sessions, all the things…you learn to do all the things — or you’ll be left behind, that’s what we’ve learned.
Was this situation something which you would say held the band back or simply shaped its focus?
I think our course became more clear and distinct, despite all the difficulties that we’ve faced. We’ve learned a lot of things about the bands life here, we’ve learned a lot about ourselves, and now we’re ready to go on rocking whatever happens!
The demo period was the first time we faced the studio! We’ve recorded a few tracks, but the mixing process stopped, we couldn’t find a sound engineer to do the work. So the release had to be delayed. Then I came up with some electronic tracks that we also wanted to share with our audience. Still nothing happened; we kept making songs and doing nothing to introduce them. Then one day we said — ok, that’s enough, let’s finally do this!
The main thing that we’ve learned was like that — everything, absolutely everything including cover art, promo, etc. — must be done in time. It helped us to present «Innocence» very much.
When did the musicians who now make up Crimson Blue come together and did this ‘new blood’ and stability naturally give an energy and new direction to the band and Innocence?
The current line up gathered in summer 2012, when Jenn joined us. He brought some beautiful orchestral soundscapes along! We started using phonograms on our gigs; our sound became more fresh and aesthetic.
Tim came to us this autumn; he’s got a charming smile and plays terrific noises!
Tell us about the inspiration to the songs and also the recording experience for Innocence.
The inspiration is everywhere. Partly in music that we listen to, partly in some experience we get from life and each other.
The recording was like a factory work! We’ve been spending twenty-four hours a day in studio for a month. I’ve recorded incredible amounts of vocals. The guitarist had to work in shifts. The keyboard parts were recorded in the last two days in almost surreal atmosphere of forthcoming finale.
How do songs come to life within the band, what is the writing process generally?
Usually our songs start with melodies. I think of one, then harmonize it, then think of its name. Then it is being taken to our rehearsing studio where we work on the arrangement
The music within Innocence is a varied creature. What and who have been the major influences for you as musicians and band?
Let me remember… Well, some of the names are Tool, Yes, Korn, Pain Of Salvation, Meshuggah
Our favourite track on the album is L.M.A.; a song we felt was a raptorial encounter which brought essences of Korn, Animal Alpha, and The Faceless into a new invention. Tell us more about the song and its seeds.
Well, L.M.A. is an example of how the music you’re listening to may generate a new track. It started with the chorus, and firstly there’s been a Russian version, translated just about «me, I’m rising from ashes, I’m rising from ashes». It was a period when female-fronted alternative in Russian was very popular, and we were really sick of it! So the song came as a protest. Then we thought, why not make it in English? And so we did. L.M.A. is one of the few songs born during the rehearsal.
Many bands with a renowned strength in their live performances, which you have, fail to translate that to their recordings. Do you feel you have managed that or see them as different faces to the band which need a different approach?
To be a cool band you need to perform cool and sound equally cool in the studio, I think. We are not scared of the album work and we’re going to do or best in gaining impressive and rich records.
You recently linked up with GlobMetal Promotions/management, how has that impacted on the band to date?
We’ve received a lot of reviews for «Innocence»; the promoter also helps us much with some gig arranges. This is our first experience in such kind of cooperation, and we like it. We hope GlobMetal will help us get our music all around the globe.
How is the metal scene in Russia right now in context to European metal which seems on a real high?
There are a lot of great metal bands here, although it’s really hard to get to the audience. The thing is the tradition of going to clubs for a live show is not quite Russian. So you have to think of something really dramatic to get your fans out of their flats!
What are your hopes and plans for Crimson Blue in 2013?
We’re going to release our 2nd studio album somewhere in the Autumn, make a few videos, maybe some electronic internet-singles. We hope to go on tour at last, we’ve been dreaming of travelling with our music since the very beginning of the band!
And of course we will keep on playing live and making our shows more and more impressive. It’s the best thing that you get from music — the response from your audience.
A big thank you for taking time to talk with us.
Any last thoughts you would like to leave us and the readers?
Thank you for the interview!
And to all of you readers — get art, stay metal, take care!
Lastly tell us where you dream of playing one day and the bands which would make it the perfect gig line-up.
One day you’ll see us performing at Wembley, joined by Meshuggah, Nightwish and Korn. That will be a good day!
The RingMaster Review 25/01/2013
Copyright RingMaster: MyFreeCopyright