THE CRYSTAL METHOD (USA) return to Adelaide for the first time since the Big Day Out in 2007! Considered to be one of “the” Electronic Dance Music pioneers. Along with The Chemical Brothers, Fatboy Slim and The Prodigy, THE CRYSTAL METHOD are credited with being pioneers of the Big Beat genre and Electronica movement. Together they took electronic music out of warehouses and onto some of the biggest festival fields in the world! With a set list that boasts songs of the ilk of Name of the Game, Busy Child, Trip Like I Do, Born Too Slow, Keep Hope Alive it is shaping up to be an awesome show. Scot Kirkland talks to Hi Fi Way about the tour.
Great news that the Australian tour is finally happening.
Yeah, absolutely. I’m super stoked.
How frustrating has the last couple of years been and how did you make the most of the time?
Things kind of opened up, as you can imagine, the States being so diverse, both conservative and liberal states doing different things and having different policies. I started going back out after I was fully vaccinated in May of 2021, I started doing some dates. I’ve also been doing some shows throughout this year. Obviously, I’ve put out the album, The Trip Out, which a lot of it was done, or at least started during the pandemic. I’ve been staying busy, been staying positive. I’ve been a little frustrated obviously with the way that the way that things have been pushed back a bit, especially the tour that, that I’m so looking forward to in Australia and New Zealand. I’m just happy to get back out there and come back down to your beautiful country to perform and have some good times with your beautiful people.
Is this tour focused on the new album or the entire back catalogue?
I’m going to definitely play a lot of back catalogue stuff, classics if you will and mix some other things in there, some other artists that I’m into and explore the new album, both the last album, The Trip Home, and this one, The Trip Out and have a wide selection of tracks that I can draw from that will hopefully be the right tracks for the moment at each of the venues that I’m playing.
Has it taken quite a bit of a adjusting for you since Ken retired from making music back in 2017 and trying to find your own direction or where you wanted to take The Crystal method?
I initially embraced the opportunity because I had been given the blessing of Ken, when he decided to, to move to Costa Rica with his wife and changed his life by disassociating himself with the making and production of music and just focusing on his new existence down there. Having his blessing, still having the studio and all the gear that we’ve collected over the years, I was really excited about the opportunity to do things in a way that reflects on, of course our history and the catalogue that we’ve been able to put out over the many years that we’ve been around, but also sort of re-imagine it going forward, and still, you know, keeping the essence of what makes our sound familiar to people, the sort of the heavy beats influence, the big aggressive sound and the quintessential style of what we’ve been about.
To be able to explore different things and work with different collaborators and find different inspiration, not just from the gear that I have in here, but the people that I’ve very fortunate to be able to work with. So on this last album, I worked with some super talented creative people that made me look at things differently and allowed me to express a different side of my musical styles, but also keep it within the realm, style and substance of what’s made the band what we’ve been over the past twenty years.
Initially, was that harder because you had Ken to bounce ideas off?
Absolutely, we were a very effective pairing, we had similar tastes in styles of music, but also each of us differed a little bit. I grew up with a little bit more like metal and harder edge stuff in my formative years of my teens. Ken had his own style and his preferences, but there was a lot of stuff that we mutually agreed that we enjoyed and loved, we took from that and then we learned from each other. It was having my brother in the room that when you’re growing up to, to bounce ideas off of or to talk to about life experiences. Then when that big brother moves off to college, if you will, you get a chance to talk to him every once in a while, but you find that you just got to figure out another way to other people to hang out with and other people to communicate to and share your experiences with. I’ve been able to do that and thankfully I’ve I found a lot of great people to collaborate with and have had a great deal of fun doing it.
Are the people you collaborate with obvious choices? Do you actively seek them out or have to search for the right person to complement a particular song?
It was pretty organic. On a track like Watch Me Now, I had worked with both VAAAL and Koda on a separate project, we got along really well. It wasn’t a normal collaboration. Ken and I would normally reach out to people and bring them in. This was something that was for a different project that we got together on that was outside of the Crystal Method. I did get along with them really well, and there was a track that we started in that project that I thought was, there’s actually a few tracks that we started in the separate project, but that I felt that were potentially really strong Crystal Method tracks.
Once I started working on the album, and once the track started coming to focus, the particular song Watch Me Now was one I went back to and started to really pull it together and add different things to it shaping it into the track that is today. I’m super proud of how it turned out. It was something that was a little different than I’m used to. Chemical Mentalist, was another one where I had this kind of rough track that I had put together on my own and that I was playing for a friend. He said, there’s a really amazing artist named Wednesday that I’m friends with that has this particular style that I think would be really cool for that, for what you’ve got there. I basically sent the session over to her and a few weeks later she sent me this raw track that was just like a re-imagined version of what I had given her. Then we went forward and kind of shaped the track together from that point on. It’s a strange feeling being in a monogamous situation with a writing partner and a collaborator like Ed, I had been with Ken, even though we had brought other people in, it was mainly just the two of us in the studio for the majority of the time. Now that he’s gone, I’ve had these other opportunities to change things up a bit and work with people that maybe that Ken and I wouldn’t have worked with if we were still together.
I think the results have been that I’ve been able to create music and tunes that show a different side of the band, but also keep the band relevant and have a more contemporary sound to them. It’s been something that I’ve embraced. I still tinker away, I’m working right now on a couple things in my studio, and maybe I’ll look for a singer that, that fits the vibe, or I could reach out to a friend for advice on it. Then that friend might go, Hey, I’ve got this great idea, why don’t we work on it from here? So it’s a very organic flow that I’ve gotten into that I feel that works really well for me and how I want to continue to work going forward.
How do you sort of see the connection between The Trip Out and The Trip Home?
Initially, when The Trip Home started to come together, I had a real clear understanding of how I wanted The Trip Home to sound, and I wanted it to be a cinematic version of a score to a movie that you want to see or you haven’t seen, or just something that feels nostalgic, but also has a real visual cinematic element to it. I did have a couple songs that weren’t fitting in that. I remember working with Glen Nicholls from Future Funk Squad. He was helping me produce The Trip Home, we took a yellow pad and we threw drew a line down the middle. We started writing down the songs that were to be on The Trip Home. I just said, well, maybe this one will be The Trip Home and this will be The Trip Out. I just wrote it down thinking out loud at that moment, who knew at the time going back to the release of late 2018 that in just a few years we would all be going home due to the pandemic.
Then once we were home, we all wanted to get back out. So it seemed to fit the theme of it. The word trip and the concept of trip being many meanings such as psychedelic or travelling or moving forward, it’s been a word that’s resonated with the band for going back to the Trip Like I Do, the very first song on Vegas. It was something that I had come up with for The Trip Home and then just randomly threw out The Trip Out and low and behold going forward that was the name of the next album. I actually did think about many different names, but I just felt that at the time, being all locked down and being forced to be in and be home, that the opportunity to express ourselves through the idea of eventually getting back out was something that seemed to fit the album and the songs that started to come together as they move forward.
Interview By Rob Lyon
Catch The Crystal Method on the following dates, tickets from Metropolis Touring…