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 @ https://ringmasterreviewintroduces.wordpress.com/2012/03/14/cynical-existence-a-familiar-kind-of-pain/

The RingMaster Review 30/04/2012

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Engraved Ritual – Synthetic Rage Volume 1 – Various Artists

If you are looking for the best new bands and sounds of a dark electro/industrial/harsh EBM flavouring then your first port of call is without doubt Engraved Ritual. The Colorado based record label has dedicated itself to searching for and bringing forth outstanding bands to the ears of the world, taking a defined emphasis towards the talent within America and the Latin America.

Synthetic Rage Volume 1 is the label’s first compilation album mixing artists on their label with other raw and extremely promising bands on the verge of making very distinctive marks. The release sums up Engraved Ritual’s aim and intent in unveiling and helping underground artists and sounds find new homes in the ears of the masses, its sixteen tracks and bands a vibrant kaleidoscope of striking and future essential sounds.

The first impressive thing about the album as a whole is the high consistency of quality across its pulsating electro breadth. Though there is always going to be through personal tastes tracks that step out from the line-up with extra distinction it has to be stated that every track here offers something energising and invigorating to the ears. Most compilations have a weak link or two in its aural chain but Synthetic Rage is an impressive brute with a unflinching strength from the blistering sonic creations of all the artists within.

Four of the opening tracks come from bands signed to the label starting with Andro-Dioxin. From Mexico the industrial/ harsh EBM project of Everth Dioxin offers up ‘Suicidal’ its striking sounds permeating and twisting through ear and head from the album’s opening seconds. From this impressive start the album, manipulates and stretches the senses through varied and often defiantly intrusive intensity. The opener’s label mates, Chile’s Say No Words with ‘The Perfect Killer (Andro-Dioxin Rmx)’ and the excellent Angels of Suicide and ‘Dark Lust (Hex’d Mix)’ soon get the pulse rate sprinting with their mesmeric sounds and the second of the two with its incessant siren veined nerve pinching beats and grooves refuses to accept anything than mental, emotional and physical surrender.

The emotions stomping ear invasive sounds of God Destruction and their track ‘Anticristo’ are the first major sonic highlight amongst all the irresistible tunes on display, with dark and perverting black metal vocal scathing and mind tripping unrelenting electro probing. The track bursts and burns like an aural flare and stands as one of the brightest beacons for the album, the label itself and what Engraved Ritual do.

Before one can take a breath after the last note of the track another sonic explosion thrashes the senses in the intense shape of Brazilians Nahtaivel and ‘The Storm is Coming’. The track is like a teasing metallic predator provoking and taunting the ear and beyond. Wonderfully diverse its industrial muscles are wrapped and coated in varied tones of wanton electro insidiousness. Synthetic Rage has already proven its worth and value, and we are only six tracks into its depths.

Surrounding these stunning tracks bands like Wire Vein, Sodomy Down the Cross, Mas-Si-Osare and from Portugal Aktivehate keep the harsh and fascinating sounds at full on satisfaction mode. The consuming dark nightmarish and slightly invidious sounds of Bind.Torture.Kill with ‘A Madman’s Lullaby’ attached itself deeply within the senses next it’s imposing almost resentful venomous tendrils merciless in their captivating and violating power. This excellent track’s intensity is openly contrasted by the following ‘Suicide Girl’ from Miami based trio Cyanide Regime. To be honest this was the one track that took some extra work to bring into the fold, its light pop like weaves sounding like a harsher industrial mutated offspring of Aqua. It soon proves to be a grower though and soon shows it is a worthy part of the release.

Two more tracks to rival God Destruction and Nahtaivel for best track come in the majestic ‘Spirits of the Night’ from Antemortem and Cold Sequence with ‘This is Not’. The first brings a gothic flavoured theatrical presence bringing a feel of Bauhaus, Marilyn Mansion and symphonic metal veined with electro urgency and creativity. It is grand, mischievous and irresistible. The second of the two is another relentless sonic intrusion, its hypnotic beats and grooves punctured with original industrial crashes, drilling and vibrant starkness. Both tracks are completely different but united in satisfying and pleasing dark hearts.

Anamadim, the one man instrumental electronic music project from Yugao (Javier M.N.) with Synthetic Salvation (featuring Fredrik Croona of Project Rotten), Alienoxir and Euphorbia complete the massive and thoroughly enjoyable line-up. They all keep the level so high it is almost a shock that a compilation of this size can be so strong but that shows how effective and highly selective Engraved Ritual is, if you seen their name on something it is without doubt worth checking out.

Mixed by DSBP’s Tommy T Rapisardi (Diverje) Synthetic Rage Volume 1 is an essential release for anyone looking for great industrial/EBM sounds. If you cannot find anything to please within its muscular corridors then you are in the wrong genre. Engraved Ritual have with this album introduced us to some of our new best friends musically here’s to Volume 2 it has a lot to live up to but as its Engraved Ritual it is unlikely to disappoint either.

For more on the CD and label go to http://engravedritual.com or http://engravedritual-digital.com

RingMaster 23/01/2012

Track listing:

1. Andro-Dioxin- Suicidal

2. Wire Vein- We Burn

3. Angels of Suicide- Dark Lust (Hex’d Mix)

4. Say Just Words- The Perfect Killer (Andro-Dioxin Rmx)

5. God Destruction- Anticristo

6. Nahtaivel-The Storm is Coming

7. Sodomy Down the Cross- Angra Mainyu

8. Aktivehate- The Walking Dead

9. Mas-Si-Osare- [C.M.S.]

10. Bind.Torture.Kill- A Madman’s Lullaby

11. Cyanide Regime- Suicide Girl

12. Antemortem- Spirits of the Night

13. Cold Sequence- This is Not…

14. Anamadim (featuring Fredrik Croona) – Synthetic Salvation

15. Alienoxir-Anikilation

16. Euphorbia- Achromatopsia

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