The Crüxshadows - "Stations of the Cross"
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According to Rogue, the mastermind behind the electro-goth phenomenon, The Crüxshadows, the concept behind his project came to him in a dream. Referred to occasionally as 'The Angel Cycle'. it is an ever-evolving concept, or as Rogue puts it, 'like a universe igniting from thought'. Needless to say, as intangible as his Cycle may seem, it has been a successful muse, one that has lead The Crüxshadows on to become perhaps the most successful American gothic act of their generation. Even now, Rogue and his compatriots stand on the precipice, ready to launch themselves onward into another worldwide tour, one that will lead them from North America to even Beijing, China. The fuel for this latest tour's fire? “Dreamcypher”, their 5th studio album to date. (by Vlad McNeally)
SL. Puzzles seem to be an inherent aspect within a new Crüxshadows release. The new release itself has a title suggesting such, with Dreamcypher being play on 'dream catcher' and 'cypher'. Could you elaborate on how you came up with this particular title?
R. Much of the music of The Crüxshadows was inspired by dreams, at least in terms of their core ideas. The title seemed a way to fit it into the greater spectrum of our catalogue and provide some hints that tie many of the elements of CXS' mythology together. A lot of the references within our music are meaningful on a cryptic and personal level, but I am amazed at how some people will find the clues that unravel some of the concepts at the heart of our music.
SL. Musically, you sound has been rather fluid, as if drifting through currents of new romanticism into futurepop, with Arabian motifs and heavy guitar peppering “Ethernaut”. If such a description is apt, what do you see influencing the sound of “Dreamcypher”?
R. Honestly, I couldn't really say, at least not without thinking very hard on the subject. These are the kind of things that I only realize when looking back at a release, after there is a bit of distance. I wanted to make an album that was concept oriented, but where all of the songs could stand on their own. Musically, I wanted it to be strong in the dance club, but also to play equally well on an ipod, home stereo, or car system. I used a bit more classical instruments, some punchy kick drums, and a different studio mic than on recent releases... but in the end I wanted a disc that I felt had multifaceted strengths. To dance to, to hum along to, to think about... kind of a life soundtrack.
SL. In another old interview, you stated that your underlying concept for your music, called 'The Angel Cycle', began as a five-tiered dream. Since “Dreamcypher” represents your fifth release, is its position as such symbolic of an end or rebirth of the 'Angel Cycle', or the Crüxshadows in general?
R. It does seem to tie up some elements, and I know that with Rachel's departure later this year, there will be some changes in the future of CXS music. So, I think it is fair to draw some conclusions on that front, but at the same time, that was in no way the focus of the disc. Every song needs to stand on its own merit, as does every album. And if that happens, the 'Angel Cycle' is only made stronger.
SL. About the song “Sophia”, you have described in your website's blog that it 'is a song about finding yourself inside and defining yourself to the world'. How do you feel this applies to your own self?
R. I think that ideals are meaningless if nobody is willing to defend them. I think that our world is filled with excuses, with selfishness, and with cruelty. If nobody opposes these forces, they will win... and we will have lost the most precious elements of our humanity. We will have sacrificed the soul, for the shallow comforts of fear. If there is no role model, no poetry, no art, no music, no film, no inspiration, then the battle is already lost, we are only as good as the creative people in our world. Ideas are real. They open the ways of realities. Believing in something puts a force behind it that cannot be calculated but is no less real. 'Sophia' is a call. It is a challenge, to find the nobility inside each of us, and translate it into action. It applies to everyone, probably more so to me since I wrote it. Kind of makes it a big responsibility, but I believe that music and art can be the impetus to change the world...
SL. With such a background in myth and history, and keeping in mind your extensive travels, have there been locations or places that have particularly touched or affected you?
R. I have found beauty... and ugliness... everywhere. I have seen that things distant and unreal are true and meaningful, and that across the whole world people are the same, despite their differences. I have found hope in the face of tragedy, and happiness in the grip of sorrow. That is of course moving and inspirational, so I guess the answer is yes. I have to say, I love people. Sometimes I feel claustrophobic around them, but I am continually amazed by the capacity of our humanity. That's not to say that lying on the deck of a ferry crossing the Mediterranean Sea by night, staring at the stars wasn't moving. Because it very much was...
To read the complete interview, be sure to buy Side-Line issue 58 !
Side-Line issue 58
The Crüxshadows CDs
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