Crown of Madness - ‘There is a mix of darkness and light within us all'
‘Crown of Madness is a death metal project rooted in dissonance but not bound by a specific sub-genre, we aim to push our musical boundaries. Playing music together has been a dream of ours for many years of our relationship, to have it be our reality now is really satisfying and lots of fun to say the least.
Sunshine Schneider (Vocals/Guitar) and Connor Gordon (Drums) Are Crown of Madness, and the debut EP the Void is eighteen minutes of glorious, unbridled fury, a self-produced, financed achievement where the duo have unleashed an original beast of musical art. The challenge was to make every track unique
Connor ‘’Making ‘The Void’ was a difficult yet fun undertaking because it was our first serious production as actual producers. Not to say that our previous projects weren’t “serious”, but we wanted to achieve a level of professionalism by ourselves. We have learned a lot from it and are going to make our next release even better. Having every track be different was definitely a conscious decision and will continue to be a theme throughout our releases.
Sunshine’s performance is not just that of a vocalist but an extra instrument a character you become immersed in
Sunshine ‘'Yes absolutely, I get lost in the alter ego I’ve created for Crown of Madness. When I’m writing and doing death metal vocals it brings up a lot of emotion, most of the time it’s sadness, hopelessness, the feeling of being lost in the void. Sometimes it doesn’t feel great, but I wanted the vocals to be portrayed this way, so I felt it was necessary to create this “sad” alter ego.
It is also a celebration of the diverse nature of music.
‘’Both of us listen to a wide array of music and take influences from many different genres (many non-metal). Not only musically but in terms of production which definitely lends itself to the diversity in our sound. For example, we both REALLY love $uicideBoy$, obviously a completely different genre from metal (although both are rooted in a heavy sound). Because their production quality is so high and they are self-produced, we draw a lot of inspiration from $uicideBoy$ and bring it to our mixes.
Pale is short yet concise, they seem more real-world personal fears. Has the isolation of the last several years influenced this?
Sunshine ’’The isolation itself the last couple years didn’t really influence how I write the lyrics. I tend to fangirl over a lot of the media, movies, video games, and art that I consume on a daily basis. I’m a huge nerd for a lot of different things so whatever inspires me in the moment directly translates into what I write. I used to overthink my lyrics in that they needed to be about one specific theme or piece of lore that I liked, but now I let it be more free form. For Pale, I heard a very haunting and creepy police confession on the internet (which you can hear throughout the song) that inspired the lyrics.
Are you not afraid to get lost in the darkness and how do you find your back?
Sunshine ‘There is a mix of darkness and light within us all, even the most evil or purest of people. Although it takes more energy to show the light it will always cut through the darkness. So no, I’m not afraid to get lost in the darkness, sometimes you have to in order to be reminded that you have the light that will show you the way back.
There is also a tinge of frail beauty? the importance of duality?
Sunshine ‘’Beauty was an important element I wanted in our sound. It’s not really a first thought in death metal, but I think it’s quite prominent in the genre, or at least in a lot of the bands that influence me. Like Black Crown Initiate, Fallujah, and Septicflesh. They all have a very heavy but beautiful sound and the balance of the two is also important for Crown of Madness.
Who are The Manipulated?
Sunshine ‘The music always comes first in our writing process. Once a song is completely written with all instruments, I go to write the vocal parts. Musically we wanted this song to be extremely chaotic, especially in the guitar work, which is why it was the hardest song to put together on the EP.
The Manipulated actually comes from the movie Donnie Darko, where the Manipulated are the ones who help Donnie achieve his goal in saving the world. There’s no direct reference to the movie in the lyrics, but if you watch the director’s cut and understand the lore of the movie, you could probably pick out the inspiration.
How do you avoid becoming what you despise off Anguish?
Sunshine ‘Not really sure how to avoid becoming what you despise but according to Kaija its numbing yourself from your emotions that she tries to avoid.
Anguish, to me, is an emotional pain that hurts so much it brings physical pain to your body, like when grief brings an ache to your chest, or when guilt makes your stomach hurt. The song is actually based on a dream I had with Kaija. In the dream I’m dying from blood loss while Kaija tries to save my life, but even after I’m gone, she continues to try and save me. So, the song mostly tackles grief and loss. At any rate, the dream was terrifying and racked me for days after, so I decided to ask her to join me in writing it. We did record together, and it was intense! But also, really fun. We have a lot of experience recording / writing together since we also do a rap duo called Mutant Waxwork.
The attraction of extreme music?
Connor ’’The big thing that drew me to extreme music was the technical aspect of it and pushing your own boundaries in terms of what you can pull off. I believe extreme music should absolutely be without borders or limits and it is one of the big reasons I love playing/producing it. If you let yourself be bound by exactly what is expected of a style and put yourself in a box, I think you are doing yourself and your art a disservice.
The Creative Inspiration
Both ‘’A wide array of things! Mostly video games (Elden Ring, Bloodborne, Dark Souls, World of Warcraft, Final Fantasy), movies (Midsommar, Donnie Darko, Lord of the Rings), and artists we are listening to (Twenty-One Pilots, Aurora, Paramore). We never know what will inspire us next, we try to embrace the madness of this world and take inspiration from anything we can.
You both love metal. What is it you think is the biggest misconception about it?
Both’’That there is some type of specialized “talent” you need to play extreme music. Like anything else in life, it just takes an immense amount of practice and dedication.
Is Extreme music a mindset and attitude rather than down tuned B?
‘’Maybe it’s a bit of both an attitude and a down tune. You can’t take yourself too seriously all the time or other people won’t take you seriously, you gotta find balance in life.
Plans for the future?
Both ‘’We have an EP coming out within the year that will be working towards a full-length album, our goal moving forward is to keep pushing our boundaries and not tie ourselves to one specific sound.
Top 6 albums of all time?
THIS IS THE HARDEST QUESTION OF THEM ALL, but these are the top 6 albums that influenced us the most as metal musicians.
The Flesh Prevails by Fallujah
Kezia by Protest the Hero
Communion by Septicflesh
Planetary Duality by The Faceless
Nocturnal by The Black Dahlia Murder
Harvest Wombs by Fallujah