Between making demos for the infamously difficult second album and trying out a series of live drummers, Crimson Creatures delved deeper into the world of extended compositions. They came up with 17 minutes and 20 seconds of Prog theatre, called Fragments, which is released digitally on 25th November. The band discusses their epic new song…
What made you do it?
Keith: I once made the mistake of suggesting that it might be interesting to do a longer song, during a break at one of our rehearsals. I didn’t realise that Richard was going to jump at the opportunity. His initial demo was 18 minutes long. We ended up using most of it in one form or another.
Richard: I mostly wanted to do it to annoy the other members of the band.
Keith: Richard also came up with the story, but Matt developed the story line and lyrics, and I assembled the pieces.
What is it all about?
Matt: Fragments is our most ambitious and longest song to date. It tells the story of a woman re-experiencing her childhood memories and traumas. Whether she is alive or not, dreaming or hallucinating, is up to the listener.
Richard: I think the song might have something to do with existentialism and guilt, and fear… but it might not be.
Keith: …our three main weapons.
Richard: The song explores a range of themes, including a loss of innocence in a dangerous world, and how, as human beings, we are still able to find meaning and values that we hold dear in a stochastic and unforgiving universe. And all without having to lean upon scripture, supposedly handed down to us by some benevolent supreme creator of the cosmos.
Why so long?
Matt: Thematically, the song is split into several sections derived from demos that Richard collected from several different projects. I enjoyed writing the lyrics and coming up with phrases that aren’t obvious, as to ruin the magic of the mystery that is the song and its story.
Keith: Although there’s hardly a break in the song, it’s actually not a continuous piece of music. There are nine distinct fragments, which run into each other. There is a tiny pause halfway through, but blink and you’ll miss it.
Richard: I doubt that we will ever play the whole thing live, but we could include some sections in the set.
Matt: Our goal was to merge these fragments into a coherent piece of music, without it being too disjointed. I hope the story and multiple musical directions gives the listener a lot of replay value. Time to question our true motives behind the track.
What’s with all the voices?
Keith: We always intended to include noises off in the segues. You should hear Matt’s original vocal demo! The voices eventually became characters from the story line. For that, we roped in friends and relations. We had fun recording this.
Richard: Keith was a natural, playing the drunk. The actress who played the mother has real talent and should go pro… and probably ditch her husband, who is holding her back and has few, if indeed any, redeeming features.
Matt: On this song, I continue to sing in my comfortable baritone register, with the theatrical flair I love to give to my voice.
Keith: As we went along, the song got frighteningly more and more like a West End musical. Richard got his Odd as Per Even bandmate Ken Rafferty to do the drum parts again. He’s an unconventional player — which is a good thing. He adds an element of unpredictability to our sound. He also does a mean Sean Connery impression.
Did you go for a different sound?
Matt: This song has given Richard plenty of space to experiment with his ever-growing library of synth sounds, making us all the more jealous. I really enjoyed doing the vocals for the war-torn section of the song, known as Desecration, as it allowed me to get a bit more bombastic in my vocal delivery, which edges nearer to some of my solo work.
Richard: Matt sounded like a whiney little girl… which turned out to be quite useful.
Keith: Even though it took ages, I loved mixing it — including the voices, sound effects and field recordings. I was quite pleased with how it all neatly fit together, without ending up like a dog’s dinner. I think we’re writing parts more efficiently too.
Matt: Keith’s acoustic guitar work near the end is a nice change to the pace of the song, and brings out another side to our progressive music. My bass playing is not too bad either!
Keith: Yeah, Richard’s awful playing spoils it really.