Gypsies, Amps and Beats: Crystal Fighters Get Remixed
A new remix EP takes the UK buzz band to the club for their track “Wave"
At its roots, the English-by-way-of-Spain’s Basque Country band Crystal Fighters is a dance-rock band. Fusing elements of Basque rhythms with electronic folkadellic traditions, their shows are a foot-stomping, hand-waving romp of frenetic movement. Still, the beat can be kicked up a notch, and is on the forthcoming remix EP for the song “Wave,” taken from their latest album, “Cave Rave,” produced by Justin Meldal-Johnson (M83, Paramore). Including remixes from Charli XCX vs Twin Idol, Brazzabelle, and Moti, listen to the entire EP, exclusively here.
Though working with an outside producer was a first for the band, the collaboration with Meldal-Johnson proved an automatic fit.
“Justin brings such a good sensibility between the electronic and the acoustic worlds – natural instruments versus your synthesizers,” the band’s programmer/guitarist/percussionist Gilbert Vierich explains. “His bass playing is legendary. It added so much to our record.”
“Wave” was one of the first tracks recorded for “Cave Rave,” a song that Vierich describes as being about “the universal oneness, that feeling you have with other people of being the same – that realization that we are all together in this.”
It should come as no surprise that on stage the Fighters are a visual representation of pan-hippie culture. Vierich has long hair and rocks some loose natural-fabrics, singers Sebastian Pringle and Eleanor Fletcher are decked in colorful sequins, guitarist Graham Dickson is shirtless, and drummer Andrea Marongiou dons tie-dye.
The band handpicked the remixers for Wave, eager for another layer of collaboration. In the past this hasn’t always worked so smoothly. Vierich says Angger Dimas’s remix of their 2010 track “Swallow,” had to be sent back for revision.
“He sent us a dubstep remix when he’s more known for his house music,” Vierich recalls. “It was really nice but we did write back and say ‘what we love of you is your other style and would it be ok to try something again.’ And he did, which was so kind of him and it’s a big hit for us.”
For “Wave,” Vierich cites LA-based DJ/producer Brazzabelle’s version as the biggest surprise.
“It’s really quite new,” Vierich says. “What she’s done is quite refreshing. The sounds that she has and she’s going for are really quite unique and tribal. It’s sort of other-worldly. It doesn’t feel like a genre.”
For a band that eschews simple classification, that could be the highest praise of all.
The “Wave” remix EP is out October 28. “Cave Rave” is available now on Atlantic Records.