It is a quiet Wednesday night, a few short days before the Big Day Out tour kicks off in Auckland. Generally this wouldn’t concern me in Sydney except for the fact that tonight I’m lucky enough to be on the phone with Ethan Kath of Crystal Castles. With the release of their second album in May last year, this will be the first time Crystal Castles will be bringing their new material to Australia so it only seems fitting to start things off on the subject of the new album.
(Crystal Castles II) was the first time we knew we were writing an album. We wanted all the songs to flow in one cohesive work. We wanted to create one hour of sadness; one bleak moment captured in a piece of work.
Kath has always given off a vibe that he doesn’t like being in the spotlight, often seen wearing a hoody and sunglasses. On the phone, he’s no different. He speaks with hesitation and a tone in his voice that makes it clear that this is his least favourite part of his job. I’m just another stranger trying to get the inside scoop to him. Regardless, I move forward with the interview in an effort to gain a better understanding of the process involved in creating a Crystal Castles album.
Alice and I work in the same way that we always work in. We have an unspoken trust where we don’t interfere with each other’s work. I just love everything that she writes.
It stems from when I discovered her in her own band. I loved all her lyrics. I felt like had discovered a poet so I just trust everything she writes and everything she wants to say and it goes both ways with the music she picks.
Kath’s mind is clearly not in this conversation but he thinks very hard on each question. At first I thought it was his infamy of keeping everything private but at mention of their upcoming shows at Big Day Out, what I discover this is not entirely the case.
I don’t know what is going to happen because Alice broke her ankle and we might just have to cancel the tour. It happened a while ago and just when we thought it might start healing, she re-injured herself.
She’s going to decide whether she can do these shows on crutches or not. It is totally up to her. She really wants to do it but she is in a lot of pain and it is really sad for me to see her in so much pain.
During this part of the interview Kath sounds more relaxed, opening up to actually display a sound of emotion. In all the interviews I’ve read and watched, this was something I’ve never known to come from either member of the band. They’ve always been very closed off but at the mention of his friend being in pain and the possibility of having to cancel six weeks of touring, there is a genuine tone of despair in Kath’s voice.
I don’t know what to say. We might be there, we might not; it is just a really sad situation.
As I wrap up the interview, Kath surprises me by reversing the roles, letting his vulnerable side show. He’s curious to know how I feel about his particular dilemma. They don’t want to cancel and miss playing to their loyal fans here but they don’t want to put on a disappointing show. He is clueless as to what will happen in the coming days.
We have no idea. I just talked to (Alice) and she wants to do it but the doctor told her she has to cancel everything for the next 6 weeks if she wants to heal but we just started a 10 week tour. But she wants to do it on crutches.
As I’m writing this, pictures and updates are flooding my Facebook and Twitter, live from Big Day Out in Auckland. A single photo catches my eye. Crystal Castles in the Boiler Room, the crowd in an explosive frenzy as Alice Glass jumps on one foot while waving her crutch in the air.
Moments like this massive show are why bands like Crystal Castles are where they are today and it really makes you appreciate the artists who actually give a damn about their fans.