Interview With KRASHKARMA
On June 23, 2023, Metal Duo KRASHKARMA released their latest record “Falling to Pieces” via Rockshot Records.
Recently we had the opportunity to discuss the recording process, the current state of the world, and the present-day touring landscape with KRASHKARMA members: Niki Skistimas (Drums/Vocals) and Ralf Dietel (Guitar/Bass/Vocals)
Let's get into it.
TDIM: As you began the writing process, was your intention to create something reflective of the current state of our world?
Absolutely. When we write a song we pour our emotions into it. We write about things that concern us and try to make sense of them. During the pandemic, there was A LOT to process and many facets of the uglier sides of humanity were revealed. Friendships fell apart, people died and the divide between the people got bigger faster than you could say "What the fuck..."
TDIM: What was one of the biggest challenges you faced during the recording process?
The biggest challenge is always to finish a song. Letting it go can be hard when you have a vision that constantly changes and evolves. We write many songs and only the best ones make it on the album.
Sometimes you have to kill your darlings and sacrifice something for the greater good!
TDIM: The song “Orphans in Zombieland” features sound-BITES from a classic horror film. Out of all the living-dead movies, which is your favourite, and where would be the best place to hide a farmhouse, mall, or underground military base?
Dawn of the Dead is probably our favourite, the exploding head scene is just something that you will never forget once you have seen it! The music and underlying message of a consumer society are just so fitting. The best place to hide is probably none of the above because, in the end, every hideout turns into a death trap. Run for your life. But our song “ORPHANS IN ZOMBILAND is actually about racism. It is the "disease" that we fight every day. When the movie Night of the Living Dead came out in 1968 it was also a social statement with a black actor as the main hero.
TDIM: In three words, the sound of the record is "Big, Loud, Exciting", was it hard to strike the right balance between those elements?
Creating a record that captures the essence of "Big, Loud, and Exciting" was a thrilling journey for us as a rock band. We intimately understand the raw power and energy that fuels our music. Striking the perfect balance between these elements became a deeply personal pursuit. It was a labour of love, blending precision and unfiltered passion, to create a sonic experience that authentically represents who we are as artists.
TDIM: From a vocal performance perspective, there are several powerful moments spread all across the record, particularly on "Afterlife", "Last Rites" and "hOPELESS".Your vocal harmony is perfect and I'd consider you two to be the metal, Dolly Parton and Kenny Rogers. While developing the material, do you have a rough idea of who will sing the specific parts, or is there an element of trial and error?
We always have a rough idea in the beginning to get the song started but there is also a lot of trial and error. Many times we switch parts around and try out every possible scenario until it is perfect.
The song that particularly resonated with me was "How God Lost Her Virginity" Niki began singing from an exposed place and ended with a powerful and assured presence.
TDIM: Given the heavy subject matter, was her performance guided in that direction or developed organically?
It developed organically. To sing a song like this you have to dig deep into your emotions. Only when you feel safe in your environment you can deliver such a performance that gives you goosebumps. Fortunately, we have our studio and can create a vibe that allows us to feel free to explore.
TDIM: I love the song "Voodoo Devil Drums" Niki's playing on that track is exceptional, and I appreciate how you blended various influences, such as Static-X, Rob Zombie, and Sepultura, to create a unique yet familiar sound. Did you build that song from the drums out?
We wrote that song to showcase Niki's drum skills in a live setting. When you watch a KRASHKARMA show you know it is all about different dynamics. A purely rhythmic part in our set was missing and so we wrote this song to captivate the audience with a thunderous drum breakdown. The lyrics are about a dancing plague that took place in France in the 1500s. People were dancing for weeks until they dropped dead.
TDIM: You just finished a few dates with Butcher Babies and will be hitting the road again real soon. What has the reception been like to the new material?
It was unbelievable. People who never saw us were turned into instant fans and we can't wait to go back to these places. The new songs seemed to hit some kind of nerve that we haven't reached before. We are super stoked to hit the road now and share these songs with the world.
TDIM: How many songs from the new record do you anticipate working into the live set?
We would like to play them all :). But there are about 7 that we will rotate in and out.
TDIM: Do you like to keep the set list consistent or keep it static?
The setlist constantly evolves with us and since our set times vary we have to switch it up to get the perfect live arch. The longer we play, the easier it is for us to strike the right balance.
TDIM: Some high-profile bands (Godsmack, Anthrax) have postponed or cancelled tours, while others have gone on record talking about the increased costs of touring (Megadeth, AX7) and the impact that has on bands being profitable. Are bands more likely to perform at festivals or take shorter tours to major cities?
I don't think tours will be shorter since it takes the same amount of preparation - for one or one hundred shows. Costs have increased and we understand why some bands cancel. Bands have to pay more to make it happen and venues and promoters want to pay less because they have increasing costs as well. Unfortunately, it seems that the artist is the last in line and has to take the hit, and that will not fly in the long run.
TDIM: What can fans expect at one of your shows?
Expect to get your mind blown as you won't believe what only 2 people can do on a stage. Our main goal is that people remember the show the next day and are part of an experience that they won't forget.
We are creating "moments" instead of just playing our songs, and people are connecting with that.
You can find “Falling To Pieces” here: