FleischKrieg is an American formation inspired by the ‘Deutsche Neue Härte’ calling their music ‘Brutal-Wave’. After a few singles they self-released the debut album “Herzblut”. This album is a mature and accomplished production. It sounds like an imaginary hybrid between Rammstein, KMFDM, Armageddon Dildos and Birmingham 6. A powerful sound with a perfect balance between guitar and electronics. “Herzblut” is a sonic bomb and you better can keep the band’s name in mind as they might become the ‘next big thing’! I asked a few questions to core members Richard Cranor and Thomas Crawford.
(Courtesy by Inferno Sound Diaries)
Q: Let’s start by asking you how FleischKrieg saw the daylight? How did you get in touch and what kind of music did you want to compose?
Richard: I was a big fan of Synth-Pop and Industrial-Metal growing up. I’ve always related to the mystical and aggressive aspects of both genres. I wrote songs when I was in my 20s, but took a long hiatus from music. I honestly never had the self-confidence when I was young to really push as hard as you need to make a band work. So I did what grown-ups were supposed to do -stopped dreaming. That was of course until I started having dreams of Trent Reznor asking me to open for him -I had to tell him I didn’t have any songs. I guess that was a little nudge from my subconscious saying it was time to get to work and start writing again. I remember having a $200 light bill to pay. At the same time, there was a sale at Guitar Center for a 7 string guitar -same price. I made a fateful decision that day, and time has proven it to be the right one.
I met Thomas (FleischKrieg’s guitarist) while I was driving for Uber. I noticed he was wearing a RAMMSTEIN-shirt when I picked him up and we soon were collaborating on each other’s personal projects, one of which became FleischKrieg.
Thomas: When we started putting together songs and wanting to play live, it was just the two of us. We set up all the backing tracks and drums, and could play live with just the two of us. But it didn’t feel full. We were introduced to Nick Mason (FleischKrieg’s drummer) by our friend D-Punk from DK-Zero and clicked right away. Shortly after, we collaborated with Nuda for our song “Reach”. She’s such a phenomenal EBM artist in her own right and worked so well together, we asked her to join as our live keyboard/sample player.
Q: The name of the band, but still elements of the music and the image are clearly evoking Rammstein and other ‘Neue Deutsche Härte’-bands. What do you like in this music genre and in which way do you feel connected with this -or any other band and what does the FleischKrieg sound stand for?
Richard: I don’t think there’s a more powerful form of music in the world than Industrial-Metal. You get all the power of Rock/Metal but also the seductive and mystical elements of Synth-Pop. I remember doing an inventory of all my favorite bands, and realized that the Germans had it all figured out just PERFECT for me.
Thomas: For most of my musical career, I’ve always been drawn to heavy music with industrial elements. Be it Mushroomhead, Rammstein, Chimaira, or even more recently Lord Of The Lost. I also love the opportunity to write music where guitar is the accessory rather than the focal point. No flashiness, just pure energy.
Richard: As for our name and meaning, I felt the band needed a German name. ‘FleischKrieg’ literally means ‘Flesh War’. So as to what our name/sound stands for -I would say ultimately it’s about reclaiming your power and personal sovereignty from forces trying to steal it daily. In my opinion, we are fighting a ‘Flesh War’ every day. Most of the songs reflect personal experiences dealing with the particular journey I’ve had with the subject. Just about everybody has some personal war to fight on some level. I’d like to think FleischKrieg can provide the soundtrack.
Q: You last year self-released the debut album “Herzblut”. Tell us a bit more about the writing and production process of this work? What was the input of each member? And is there any particular reason you self-released the album instead of getting signed to a label?
Richard: It all started with “Bloody Prophets”. I’d been having alien abduction nightmares and was too terrified to go back to bed. So I stayed up all night and wrote the rough demo of the song. Thomas filled in the guitars and recommended other arrangements, and we went and filmed our first music video. I think it was then I knew we could do something really great together.
Being the band’s founder, I drive the creative vision and do the main songwriting/arrangements with Thomas providing guitars and feedback on the compositions. I then work with Nuda and Nick on how the rest of the arrangements/drums should sound -and how the live show should work. At the end of the day, everyone brings their personal touch to the FleischKrieg sound. I am grateful to have met such talented and brilliant people.
Self-releasing is easier than waiting around for the cavalry to show up. We’ll see what the future brings. I certainly don’t think it’s worth waiting around for a label’s help -at least in the beginning.
Thomas: Also, it’s so much easier for musicians to be independent now. While it was expensive to do it on our own, we were fortunate enough to receive some funding through a crowdfunding campaign. We also wanted to make sure that we were doing everything right. We worked with D-Punk as a producer who not only gave us insight into the mixing/mastering process, but also how to release it right. Because of this, we definitely have been successful for being a brand new band formed in the middle of a pandemic.
Q: You already made a few clips and especially the one of “Relax” caught my attention. It looks like a great ode to Frankie Goes To Hollywood. What does the original song mean to you and what did you try to express by the cover version and the clip?
Richard: What’s weird is Frankie spoke to me and Thomas from the psychic dimension lol. We’d both been contemplating doing an 80s cover… and on the same night, we called each other up and BOTH recommended the song to each other. It was kinda weird. It just popped into both our heads as THE song todo.
For me the song means freedom to be yourself without judgement. I tend to censor myself to please others often. I always loved how unabashed the song comes off. It’s literally about spraying semen everywhere. You can’t get more liberated than that, right?
Q: How do you see FleischKrieg as a live band? What have been your experiences so far and what are the further plans? Do you’ve contacts in Europe and other foreign countries?
Richard: The live band has worked out exceedingly well, more so than I ever expected. Each member has great stage charisma and we truly love performing. It was a major affirmation to me when we played the Wasteland Weekend festival last year -people really loved our set. You could tell we had an impact, that our energy on stage and the quality of the music delivered the goods. We hope to do a lot more touring, in Europe would be fantastic.
Thomas: The interesting thing for me is how the crowd reacts to us for the first time. Almost every single show, there’s a handful of people in general audience area with mild curiosity. Then by the end of the first song, everyone in the venue comes right up to the stage. By the beginning of the second song, there are people dancing. I say again, ‘Dancing!’ That is truly a first for me as I’ve been in several bands and never had people dancing.
As for touring in Europe, we have been making contacts in Germany and the UK trying to set something up in spite of Covid. However, we’ve recently started working with a booking agent. They’re confident that we’ll be able to get over to Europe once things start to die down. We’re hoping for late summer of this year.
Q: I noticed a cool quote affirming ‘If Hell hosted a dance party -FleischKrieg would be the headliner’! What would be the other bands on the list that night? And how do you imagine ‘hell’? More seriously now, what brings the future for FleischKrieg?
Richard For me hell is more of a metaphor where individual spirits go to be themselves, to free themselves from the soul-crushing burden of being ‘well behaved’. I would definitely want all the Neue Deutsche Härte bands we could book, plus any 80s Synth-Pop band willing to show up. I have no desire to go to any actual hells lol.
I remember at one show a 20-something kid told me his favorite thing about our performance was that ‘it was real’. I’m not exactly sure what he meant, but I believe he felt we were there to really play versus just to get lots of new likes and subscribers on social media. I think that strikes as disingenuous to fans -just trying to look the part versus connecting an audience to a much bigger reality only music from the heart can reach. He could tell our songs meant something to us, and I think that made them mean something to him. I honestly think the kids are getting burnt out on the Instaworld we live in. There’s no filter for genuine connection.
I’d like to think FleischKrieg’s rebellion hidden behind heavy dance music can act as a form of subterfuge to the system, even if we someday get on a major label and have a similar success to what NIN had in the mid-90s. Just dreaming for now, but so far… our dreams do tend to become reality.
Thomas: As for the future, the sky’s the limit. We’re continuing to find ways to play more live shows in more and bigger places. We’re dying to play some festivals in the near future. Additionally, we’re working on at least one more music video in support of “Herzblut”. And we’re currently writing our second album and if all goes well will be out in early 2023.
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