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CRYSTALLINE EFFECT

THE CRYSTALLINE EFFECT
Interview with Peter Crane
Date 01 june 2004
Written by Gordon Taylor of Infectious Unease

I have had the pleasure of seeing Crystalline Effect play many times. They are a blend of trip hop, electro industrial. Offering an enticing plethora of sound, the lyrics and vocals express strength and emotion. Crystalline Effect has been evolving since 2002 and now are signed to Black Flame Productions.

BAND INTERVIEW
BAND: The Crystalline Effect
BAND MEMBERS: Elenor Rayner: vocals, Peter Crane: music.
BANDS DISCOGRAPHY: 2004: "Glass" full-length CD (soon to be released through Black Flames Records)
BANDS WEB PAGE: http://www.thecrystallineeffect.live.com.au
http://www.watchitman.com/vempire/crsytalineeffect.doc
BANDS EMAIL ADDRESS: widdershin at hotmail.com

Gordon: How did you meet? And when did The Crystalline Effect first begin?

Pete: It was late 2002, I had just finished making the album, The White Ship, for a project of mine called The Lady Of The House Of Scandal, which is an ethereal/world project. So I wanted to do a new project with a different style. Basically I put an ad out in Primary, a webpage for Australian darkwave musicians, looking for a singer, and Elenor was the one who answered. I was aware of Elenor's main project, Sobriquet, and GUP, the label Sobriquet was on, due to my mate Stark signing up to GUP. So I had already heard her music before she contacted me and was really blown away when she was actually interested in working with me!
So I sent her a CD in the mail of a new track I had made to see if she could do any vocals over it, and that turned out to be Gabriel, our first ever song. At this point we hadn't actually met each other in person. We met up in a club, Psychonaut, one night for Elenor to give me a CD of a new set of vocals which turned out to be Primitive Line, our second track.

Gordon: What previous bands have you been involved in? What styles of music did you play in these bands? You are also involved in other bands, for those who are not aware of them would you like to tell me about them?

Pete: I've done a few projects in the past. First there was 'Widdershin', which was a Black Metal band that I played guitar in and wrote all the music for. We recorded our songs on Cubase 3.7, then played live shows with a backing track.
Around that time I also made a cyberpunk album, '9-volt revolt', with Dead Inside The Chrysalis under the name of 'RobotSmasher'.
After that I did a project called 'The Lady Of The House Of Scandal' with vocals, flutes and Tibetan instruments provided by an amazing musician named Angela Grima, and myself doing the production and electronics. That was a sort of ethereal/world/ambient style. We made an album called 'The White Ship'.
I've also played live keys and guitars for a couple of live shows for Stark, which is something I'd love to do again.

Gordon: What instruments and equipment do you use when producing and performing your music? And how much has technology changed for you?

Pete: All the music is written and arranged on a PC running Cubase SX. Most of the synths and samplers used are software, which of course is a very new technology. Decent soft synths have only been around for about 5 years, and I've only been making music with computers a couple of years before that, so I've really "ridden that wave" of soft synths since it started.
When I started, you really weren't able to make an electro track using just a computer, since it was just Cubase 3.7 then. Then the program ReBirth came along which expanded my sound a lot, as long as you complimented it with hardware.
I've also got a couple of Fender strats which find their way into our songs sometimes.
Elenor has a similar studio setup to me. So I create all the music at my place, send it over to her place where she records the vocals and sends it back to me.
To perform our music live, we use a backing CD. I play my microKORG with a controller keyboard on some songs, and on other songs I play guitar. Elenor sings and triggers samples from her ASR10. We also use a 3rd member on extra keys and backing vocals live.

Gordon: You will be releasing an album with Black Flames Records, how did this come about? What was the inspiration behind the music and lyrics? How long did it take you to produce, and what was the creative process of production?

Pete: Basically we sent Black Flames a demo and they signed us up for 3 albums!
I was really into making sure that the music was true to where we're coming from, you know. I wanted it to sound like I'd sat in my apartment in Richmond (an inner Melbourne suburb) and written this music... I was just trying to make honest music with decent production.
That's why I've sort of grown out of other genres like Black Metal. I'm not some Ice Troll from the Frozen North or some shite! Instead I took my inspiration from going to clubs, coming home, firing up my home studio, loading up a soft-sampler and some soft-synths and making some tracks.
I would make a complete track in my studio, then post it to Elenor, who'd post it back with vocals. This is how we write songs together, and it took us about 14 months to write our album. We always use the post instead of exchanging Mp3s...I'd rather have Elenor hear a track in full quality, rather than work with compressed files. The same goes with DJing Mp3s. If a DJ hears an Mp3 of any of my stuff and wants to spin it, I'd rather send them a CDr and have them play that than let them go out with an Mp3 burned to a CD.

Gordon: How has the response been for your music?

Pete: To the people who do know of us, their response has been damn good so far. For one thing it's scored us a rec. contract! There's also been a couple of DJs who are friends of mine who have been playing our music around Melbourne goth clubs, which I really appreciate.
But really we've deliberately held back from having any reviews or doing any serious promotion. Our album isn't out yet, once it's out the real promotion will begin. The label is getting professional firms like Hardbeat Propaganda to promote us, as well as the usual zine ads and reviews.

Gordon: Have done any remixes for your music or for any other bands?

Pete: We couldn't have possibly fit another remix on our album, so I haven't done any remixes for The Crystalline Effect. Of course when we play live, the songs are restructured a bit, but that's not really a 'remix'. I haven't done any remixes that have been released through any record labels yet, but I will be remixing another Black Flames artist called 'Last Influence Of Brain' for an Orkus compilation in the near future.

Gordon: Are you involved in any side projects?

Pete: I'm just starting an Acid Techno/Industrial project called 'Plague Sequence'. This project is still in it's formative stages at the moment, so I can't say too much. Just that it's totally dancefloor orientated and the music I've written for the project so far is some of my favourite music that I've ever written - and some of the most hardcore and intense.

Gordon: When you get the time what music do you all enjoy listening to?

Pete: I've always got music playing at my place... I'm really into Die Form at the moment. As well as Suicide Commando, Icon Of Coil, Dulce Liquido, Nebula-H, Oneiroid Psychosis, Wumpscut, Assemblage 23, Front Line Assembly, Backlash, you know, at the moment it's that kind of EBM stuff mostly. As well as some industrial like Converter and some trance like Klasic and Sanders.

Gordon: You have done a few gigs where have they been held at, which ones have you enjoyed the most and how was the audience's response?

Pete: The best gig I had ever played was as The Crystalline Effect on March 7th, 2004 at an event called 'Achtung', with Tankt and Angel Theory also on the bill. Great crowd size and response...Professional atmosphere and nice lighting and visuals. Thanks to the 'Dark Events' crew for that! We've got some more upcoming gigs organised by 'Dark Events' too.
We've also played at Dream Niteclub in Melbourne a couple of times when they've had goth clubs there, like "Cabaret Nocturne" and "Xibalba", and at a very cool venue on Brunswick St called First Floor.

Gordon: Which bands have you performed gigs with?

Pete: As The Crystalline Effect - Tankt and Angel Theory! Damn cool bunch of guys in those bands... We're also playing a gig in June with Ikon.
Apart from that we've usually been playing alongside DJs. I really don't like playing electro gigs with live rock bands with drummers on the bill as well. When you get bands with live drummers and bands with backing tracks on the same bill, the bands with drumkits just "own" the electro acts!

Gordon: Do you have any funny or interesting experiences you would like to talk about?

Pete: Not yet...ask us again when we've done some touring together!

Gordon: You received press, electronic press, radio airplay and dj airplay from around the world. What countries, radio stations and dj have been positive about your work?

Pete: Well the Melbourne DJs have really been appreciating our stuff, same with the Sydney crew, namely DJs Brother Pierce, Jay from Carmilla's, Gary/Volatile and NeoTokyo. Our label in Poznan, Poland. There was a French radio station who asked me for a CD, and we've been promised a feature in a great Canadian dark culture print zine called Comatose Rose (www.comatoserose.com). But yeah as I say, we've been deliberately holding back from promotion untill our album comes out.

Gordon: Apart from being in The Crystalline Effect, what other creative things do you both get up to?

Pete: I just play a lot of guitar, as I have most days since early primary school, and spend a lot of time in front of Cubase.

Gordon: What do you think of the subculture in Australia?

Pete: I think very highly of it, at least the music side of it. It seems that no matter how obscure or underground your music tastes are, there is a community to support it in Melbourne. For example the Merzbow concerts this year were absolutely packed, and that's just 90 minutes of white noise! Also Australia has just proven with the recent Covenant tour that we can successfully bring international EBM acts to our shores.

Gordon: What are your future plans?

Pete: Well as for the near future...our first album will be released soon by Black Flames Records. We're gonna do another couple of albums for them, as well as a remix album. I'll keep working on Plague Sequence, see if it gets any label interest. I'd love to do more remixing for bands on record labels, if anyone wants contact me about it. I'd also love to score a DJ residency at a Melbourne goth club in the near future!