Thursday, 8 January 2015

INTERVIEW: Cripper


In 2014, we featured lots of pretty awesome bands in our Thursday special posts. Although popular, none of the articles were as popular as the feature we did on Thrash Metal band Cripper. They scooped the most popular post on the website for 2014 beating all of the other posts on the site hands down. Over Christmas, we were fortunate enough to have the opportunity to talk to Cripper about the band, their new album their 70,000 Tonnes of Metal experience and much, much more in this here interview.

Can you give us an introduction to Cripper?

Britta: Ok, I'll give you the tour. We got together in 2005. Christian and Jonathan started off with a thrashy couple riffs, then I joined them as the third band member, before we found our first bass-player and our drummer Dennis. Shortly after that we released our demo EP « Killer Escort Service » with 6 tracks. In 2007 our first album « Freak Inside » followed, which was then re-released through SAOL, a label-substitute that offers promotion and distribution, but is not a record label in the narrower sense. We stuck with them for the next two releases « Devil Reveals » in 2009 and « Antagonist » in 2012. In 2012 our current bass-player Gerrit joined the band and we wrote our 4th album « Hyëna » in the current line-up, which was released on November 25th 2014 through Metal Blade.

It's actually kinda funny to think about all our album names and remember the stories behind them...

Jon: hm, I think the titles fits very well to the album production processes and the development between. Freak Inside was interesting and punchy but a bit shy in the consequence, Devil Reveals then shows our passion for unique song structures and variety, Antagonist was twisted by a hard writing and production phase but in the end had some strong songs. Hyena is a beast. And the writing was like searching for the prey, stalking with care and then just wrote this album within a few months.

Can you tell us about each member of the band?

Britta: Haha, yeah sure. Many of us have (or had) silly nicknames, that might serve well for describing everyone. Christian's (git) nickname is „Knitzel“. I remember sitting in the backseat of his car with a couple friends on our way to Wacken 06 or 07. He took something out of his pocket and said that we need to stop at a McDonald's since he had a voucher for it. I asked what kind of voucher, and he said that he signed as a member of the McDonald's junior club, and his invented 12th birthday was just a few days ago! He had signed up as his invented younger sister, giving her the first name „Knitzel“ which rhymes with the German word „Schnitzel“. From then on he went under the name „Knitzel“ until this day. It illustrates his humor in a very good way, and also his sense of parsimony.

Jonathan (git) has the nickname „Sheriff“, since he masters riffs like a boss! Especially in the early Cripper days, he was probably the most passionate advocate for the riff for a song during songwriting that he thought was the best. From the very beginning of Cripper, Jonathan had always had the ability to have a good vision for each song or even album as a whole arrangement.


Dennis probably made the hugest changes of us all. Around the time we released Killer Escort Service and later Freak Inside, he had the nickname „Welpe“, which is German for „Puppy“. Dennis had the incredible ability to sleep everywhere you can imagine and at any time: under tables in bars, on security chains outside, on post office boxes, engine covers... In the meantime he is a grown up straying dog, doesn't climb high up on things any more and usually doesn't get lost, but loves to explore new areas mentally and physically wherever his curious nose is leading him.

Gerrit (bass) is with us since 2012. He doesn't have a nickname, but since he is our 5th bass-player already, he's the outcome of a serious band infection called „bassism“. We really hope we're through with that now, especially since Gerrit is such a reliable band mate.

I have earned my nickname with my voice. The drummer of our befriended band Hatred gave me the name „Elchkuh“ (German for a female elk) years back when he heard my vocals. I dig the name. It is unique, kinda silly and also my very first nickname ever.

What is the meaning behind the name Cripper?

Jon: To make it a bit more exciting, I can tell you what is NOT the meaning of Cripper: it has nothing to do with J.R.R.R.R. Tolkien...

Britta: Haha, good answer. No - seriously... it is an invented name since we didn't want any meaningful label hanging above us right from the start.

What motivates you to create your music?

Jon: It's all about the cash, what else!

Britta: And to be admired.

Where have you drawn your musical influences from for the band? 


Britta: That's always very difficult to answer, since being influenced happens rather subliminally or passive. We all are influenced by so many different styles of music... I'd name The Haunted, Exodus, Testament, Legion of the Damned, here and there some slight 80's Rock 'n Roll spirit, also Death Metal or Stoner bands. Even though Thrash Metal is our basis, we love to explore the neighbourhood.

You released your fourth album Hyëna in 2014. Can you tell us about the album?

Jon: Hyëna is heavier than the most Cripper stuff, it has a lot of variety and makes no prisoners. The lyrics were written by Britta as usual, the songs were written by all of us while rehearsing and the artwork/videos were created by us as well...like we did since the founding days. So it must be a typical Cripper release.

For this release you had been signed by Metal Blade Records, having self released before. How was this release different to your previous albums?


Britta: The way Hyëna was written is different from all other previous Cripper albums. First of all, the actual writing phase was quite short. Our goal was to release this album in autumn or winter 2014. The main reason for that was simply festival booking. The festivals give away their slots earlier and earlier, and with a release in March or April 2015 you might be too late for many festivals in 2015 and when festival season of 2016 starts, you're record is already old. So, to get ahead of that we sped up the writing process as much as we could. It turned out to be a great idea also song wise, cause we sometimes tend to over think our songs too much. While our previous record Antagonist seems to more present our head, Hyëna is coming more from our guts. It turned out heavier and more aggressive than the previous 3 releases. We expanded our variation of arranging the songs. That might be the biggest difference to our previous releases, cause on Hyëna we had a clear vision and path for most of the songs before we started writing them.

Metal Blade wasn't involved in the creative process. But they gave us more possibilities regarding the way we could release Hyëna. For Europe we added a DVD with all our music videos and our complete live set from Metal Days 2014 and for the first time we also released our album on vinyl, which is a small dream come true.

How do you feel your sound has evolved on Hyëna from your previous albums?

Britta: Sound wise we made some changes, with which we are really happy on this album. It carries the music very well and I am glad we put as much time and effort into the sound as we did. We decided to split our writing process and recordings for Hyëna. In November 2013 we recorded the first 4 tracks, in July 2014 the rest. With this, we had the chance to have some brand new material as a demo to promote our new stuff a little earlier, and at the same time it gave us the opportunity to let some time pass between our first sound choices and the actual album release. It felt like stepping back from an almost finalised painting to see the whole picture instead of the details. When you're in the writing and production mode, it's hard to get an objective image of an album sound. With this distance between the two recording phases, we could improve and finalise the album's sound in the second chapter. And we also used less guitar tracks per side as we usually do. That added to the sound transparency, while it still is punchy and crispy.

Jon: We thought about a lot of sound details, tested many ways and had a more important part in the production progress than on previous albums. Kai Stahlenberg at Kohlekeller Studio did a great job...and of course was very patient with us and our ideas.

What do you enjoy most about playing live and do you have a favourite track to perform live?

Jon: uh, that's a hard one. I would say, playing live has some meditation aspects, its totally like feeling the moment. The energetic moment, the passion and also some pain and fear in some moments, well, mostly in a good way.

Britta: Meditation! Yeah I like how Jonathan put that here. I totally agree. Performing on stage is so different from anything else, you only have that one moment, and no time or need to fix and change anything. Split second after split second. Once the spark set the fire, there's a massive energy exchange between band and fans.

You have played 70,000 Tonnes of Metal on two occasions now, a festival we at Femetalism would love to go to!!! How was the 70,000 Tonnes experience for you?

Jon: Totally amazing. Nice people, nice weather for January and a really crazy festival.

Britta: It is one big party and there seems to be no difference between fans, bands and cruise crew.

You have also played a numerous European festivals such as Summer Breeze, Metalfest, Brutal Assault and MetalDays. Do you have a favourite festival or live music event you have played? 


Britta: I wouldn't say favourite. Having the feeling of „a great show“ depends on so many factors. Your own mood, how much sleep you had the night before, the audience, day- or nighttime, how well the show is organised, blah. The events that stand out and that you memorise for many years are definitely first-timers. The first big festival we played was Metalcamp (now Metal Days) 2006. I can still recall so many details about the show and the surrounding events, because everything was new and overly exciting. Playing Brutal Assault last year was very impressive, too. The venue is amazing and beautiful. The people welcomed us rather as old friends and not as visitors who came for the first time. Also the first time we were headliners at a small festival is stuck in my head. It feels different to have the biggest logo on the festival poster. Being the last band means setting the mood for all the attending people walking from the festival ground to their tents or after show parties. You definitely want to give those people a great time and squeeze each and every last bit of energy out of them, as well as out of yourself. That's pure joy!

What’s next for Cripper?

Jon: writing the next record, called "Sauron had a little lamb", just kidding... It's "Legolast Christmas" or "Mordor than words"... We've not decided yet.

Huge thanks to the guys from Cripper for talking to Femetalism! We have been huge fans of the band for some time now and loved Hyëna. Can't wait to hear more from you ... especially this Mordor than words. Sounds epic! ;)

Follow the band on:

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Read our Extreme Thursday: Cripper Article here.
Read our New Release: Cripper - Hyëna post here.

Originally posted by Emma Sheridan on Femetalism.