Nashua Telepgraph recently conducted an interview with CRISIS frontwoman Karyn Crisis. A few excerpts from the chat follow:
On playing a style of music that is hard to categorize:
"We're more than a little bit aware that we’re a tough band to digest. We go to very confrontational, emotional places in our music and performances. We don't pander to the musical flavor of the month. We are continually treading on forbidden ground, both musically and thematically."
On how CRISIS fit into the current music scene:
"I think a lot of music has lost its edge. Too many bands have settled into really predictable patterns and, unfortunately, what makes our new record unique is the same thing that has always made us unique: our willingness to stand in defiance of the trends. We're passionate about challenging ourselves and our fans, and growing and breaking new ground. We're hitting all the raw, scary spots while everyone else is playing it safe.
"We've always been a dark band, but in the past it was always more about the personal than the political. But in light of what's going on in the world these days, I really felt it was time to stop being self-indulgent lyrically. There are larger enemies in the world today than my personal demons. Considering the current perversion in our government, I felt like speaking out was extremely necessary.
"Our basic themes haven’t changed, though. I'm still advocating for freedom and self-empowerment with my art, just on a larger scale."
On the makeup of the band itself being part and parcel of the band’s political message:
"CRISIS is a band made up of people from different countries that have different skin colors fronted by a woman in a male-dominated genre. We see ourselves as a little cross-section of the world's population, leading by example. Being who we are, it's hard for us to understand why people can't just get along and respect one another as equals. We do it every day."
On seeing her work as both the vindication of her former struggles and as a plank in a bridge towards better days:
"Because of what I've been through in my life, I've always had a duality within myself. A penchant for darkness while struggling to find the light. Growing up I was a loner, not by choice, but by circumstance. I used art as a way to get in touch with myself and the world around me. If my art, dark as it is, can now bring hope to someone struggling as I once did, that's an amazing honor for me."
On how the band's outlook has changed over the years:
"My mindset hasn’t changed a lot. Why should it? We’ve made progress on some fronts, but there is still plenty we need to fight against. Gender inequality, racism and oppression all still exist. All of this clouds the way the people in this band see the world around us. To not acknowledge that would be to lie to ourselves and give a green light to the oppressors to continue as they see fit.
"Our dream since 1993 has been to get to a point where we are big enough to expose mainstream audiences to more challenging music. The struggle is still the same, though. We’re still an eccentric band. But don't expect us to quit because we don't fit some major label's business plan. If we're not on tour or making music it feels as if a part of us is not really living. And we want to live. That's bigger than whether we have enough sex appeal or hooks to sell records to modern audiences.
"CRISIS has been our life for many, many years now. We're still here because we have a vision we believe in and a message we feel must be delivered."