Cryer - '' I have a complicated relationship with this genre of music''
Intangible, unidentifiable yet recognizable and emotive to its very core. Cryer is a solo project that is as formless as it is incredible, It is built on constant evolution including that of the name from Charlie to Cryer?
‘’The name Charlie was a kind of combination of a joke and a nickname given to me that I only went by when I was in a certain state of mind. However, the name soon became what I went by all the time and it quickly started feeling strange having the name of my life and the name of my performing/musical self the same. It took me a long time to find a new name, but I found the name Cryer in Waikumete Cemetery (The largest in New Zealand) and it felt exactly correct straight away. I don’t think a huge amount has changed internally with the name change, but I feel it is a shedding of a certain set of thinking behind making music. A restart of intention, a way to keep shifting.
Photo by Lorenzo @coconuticedpeach @theblackandwhitebox
Your new track A lullaby for Anxiety? the juxtaposition of peace and inner turmoil ?
‘’This song was written right at the start of the Covid stuff, I was in Berlin and my partner at the time was in Amsterdam on a tattoo tour. They became very very ill, vomiting profusely. I felt extremely helpless and listless, alone and terrified so I made this song as a gift for them. I think it holds this combination of panic and fear and desperation while simultaneously being a song for one I love, to soothe them, and in turn to maybe soothe myself, to find peace in the situation we were in.
Your songs predominantly without traditional rhythms? is this deliberate ?
‘’Yes! I am first and foremost a drummer. I played drums for a huge number of bands at the time I started this project (my favourite three: NIISA, Greenfog, Couchmaster). It became rather excessive at one point so I really needed a space without it, a project that was entirely my own, free from the associations of being a drummer. Since then this has changed and I hardly drum anymore, so rhythm is slowly coming into this project with the next songs I have been working on.
the intangible ethereal nature of your music? Is it a conscious decision or more of a free flowing idea?
‘’This was in no means conscious whatsoever. It's just what comes out of me. I think the slowness is just my pace, I think the copious reverb is just what feels right to move the sounds through space far enough, I like space in music, I like air. I am just trying to capture the feeling and that's what these feelings sound like to me.
It’s almost androgynous in that at times its unidentifiable?
‘’I really like that this is perceivable! To me, being non-binary means I have an androgynous mind, I am gender queer, I am genre queer. Emotion, art, pure expression, mostly doesn't hold gender or a definable concrete sense of self, the feelings are somewhat universal, transmutable, explorative. I think all those things make it hard to hold any definable identity within making.
the bold nature of your music ? should all of it be this way, no apologies or compromises just pure art and expression ?
‘’I would never ever want to push any kind of purpose of intention or set of ideologies on other people’s music making or any form of art making. All of it is relevant, all of it is perfect, all of it has its place, diversity is key.
This is just the way that it works for me, and in some ways I wouldn't recommend it. It hurts, to perform, it scares me to share with people. It’s really hard to mix and spend hours with something that is so fucking raw, but masochistic tendencies aside, I do really appreciate it as a medium for therapy. And now that I think about it, maybe the copious reverb is a way to hide it all and soften it in some ways, keep some of it a secret.
Is your music representing your emotions. Is it influenced by feelings rather than events?
‘’Some songs are triggered by events, I have explored a lot of grief through this project, some are just an itchy little feeling I'm trying to understand, some come from dreams. I am trying something new with the next album (a two parter that so far will be called ‘AILMENTS’) where I am making songs for different physical ailments and conditions in each song, such as chilblains, itching, dissociation, fatigue…
Does nature also inspire you? Or books or other art forms?
‘’My environment has a huge impact on me and the songs I make. All my songs have field recordings from places I have explored around the time of making a song, the crispy ice sheets of a river in wintery Norway made a whole song, the dripping in caves in Waipu NZ, crunching stones of Berlin parks, drones on a boat between England and France, they are sometimes the foundation of a song. The next album and my current live set has a lot of bird song in it now that I am back in New Zealand and living in the forest because that's what I hear all the time.
I quite often record into rooms and capture the ambient sounds within and without the room, that can have a huge impact on a song.
I also take words or phrases from books I am reading that make an impact on me and write onto them. Some books that have been impressed upon my art immensely are Samuel Beckett “Malone Dies”, Anne Carson “An Autobiography of Red” “Nox”, Rebecca Solnit “A Field Guide to Getting Lost”, R.D. Laing “Knots”, Roland Barthes “The Pleasure of the Text”.
Your music is inherently dark. But it’s not traditional black metal or DSBM?
‘’I have been listening to Black Metal, especially DSBM since I was a lil teenager. It's one of my most favourite genres of music and has been there for me in the most consistent and loving way through some horrific shit. I have a complicated relationship with this genre of music, given the disgusting and abhorrent history of bigotry, racism, fascism, and hate associated with the genre and the people that make the music. As an anti-racist and non-binary person, I have had to distance myself from the scene to understand what my intentions are in being in it. Since, I have found a whole fuck load of new DSBM bands within the RABM (Red and Anarchist Black Metal) movement, a whole community of Black Metal artists working in the genre in resistance to fascism and am starting to feel able to explore it comfortably and directly through that intention of resistance. As an act of defiance, to show that they can’t take it from us.
That being said I have always drawn from the tonalities, the chord structures, the aesthetic of black metal as inspiration but fully succumbing to making that exact sound hasn't been something I've needed yet. But I still regard my music and Black Metal adjacent I guess?? like albums of only the interludes ha-ha.
PLEASE hit up this extremely extensive reddit page if you would like to find out if your favourite bands are stupid fucking nazis and find not-fascist replacments for Burzum (stop listening to Burzum) https://www.reddit.com/r/rabm/
Is it the release of energy that makes music so vital ? In whatever form that might be?
‘’I think the personal catharsis derived from making and listening to music is extremely important. As cliche as it fucking is, music has saved my life so many times over, both making it and listening to it. You can find love and support and camaraderie with musicians you have never met and might never, who have passed but left behind part of them in their music or someone you might never have an opportunity to meet. It’s bizarre but I think that it’s vital, given the isolation we feel within the vapid connections, the emptiness of this hyper online world we exist in, these strange Para social relationships we foster with musicians who are being so fucking honest with us, that's special. The community that comes with being an audiophile and musician has been a foundational part of my life and I cherish all the connections I have made through being a musician so fucking much, I have found my chosen family through music.
Is Music the only release for your creativity? Or do you use other art forms ?
‘’Music is maybe the most difficult and challenging outlet out of all my creative practices, in some ways the most rewarding, in some ways the most punishing and seemingly pointless at times. I think if music was my only outlet I would suffer immensely ha-ha!
I make a lot of different forms of art, over an excessively large array of mediums (extreme hobbyist). All of them feed into each other, creating little tangled tangents. I make what I would call merch, but it's a little larger than that, making clothes, screen printing, painting, dyeing, embroidering and jewellery, making paper and binding it into secret books nobody can read with lyrics in them, posters and design work, I tattoo from the same drawing book that logos and embroidery designs come from, all my album covers come from excessive photographs I take. It's a huge mess of constant exploration and making really!
I have a website now where I sell a bunch of my ‘merch’ if you want it. It also has a small archive of some of the visual work I have made on it.
Is being a solo artist the ability to give you complete creative freedom and the ability to swap styles?
‘’I absolutely cannot imagine making music this fluid and raw with other people anymore. I had a band with my best friends Reuben Winter and Adison Whitey, who have sadly both passed, which was called NIISA (www.niisa.bandcamp.com). We were extremely vulnerable with each other, and it was fucking amazing, but this is the only time I have ever been able to do that with someone else successfully and sustainably.
‘’These days I can hardly make any music with another person in the same house as me, I can hardly look someone in the eye while performing live, there are only maybe 2 or 3 people I feel comfortable showing an unfinished song to. It's too open, it's too fragile to let it be seen by anyone else before it's wrapped up safe because the song might be altered. This project is for myself and having complete freedom to take a song wherever it needs to go is essential. It's a rather selfish project to be honest, but the immensely appreciated feedback I get from my peers has helped me realise that even though I am doing this for myself, it still helps and heals and breaks and affects people who listen to it. We all cry together at the shows, we cry in our rooms with our headphones on, relating in distance, from our own lives.
Photos from Mayhem show at Galatos by Shades @shadestagramn @shadesshoots on instagram
Opening for Mayhem in Auckland. How was it?
‘’It was strange and I felt very exposed but also very powerful, a little out of place but more so in the exact right place. Again the complicated relationship I have with Black Metal was put to the forefront of my mind. I had some extremely helpful discussions with people in my community about whether to do it or not, to support a band with such a heavy and toxic past and with members even still who are homophobic and bigoted fuckheads. It also wasn’t lost on me that the majority of the audience would expect and probably prefer a classic black metal band to be opening for someone such as Mayhem.
But in the end I decided to go into it proud of who I am, proud of the music I make, emboldened by the band having chosen me, by them seeing how what I am doing does in fact fit in that environment, and honestly to infiltrate the scene a little and try make it, even if only slightly, a more welcoming and safe place for the trans and poc community to go to a metal show. I had pink and blue lights to represent the trans flag on stage and shouted out all the trans and poc in the room while on stage ha-ha. I definitely made a lot of people angry, uncomfortable, bored etc but the feedback I got from those that enjoyed it, were confused but happily surprised by it, appreciated the shout out, and the shining beautiful faces of my proud friends in the audience made me feel I had made the right decision.
In summary, it was fun and weird! And an honour in so many ways.
Plans for the future.
‘’Might leave New Zealand sometime and go back to Europe and try to tour or play some festivals, do some tattoos, some big goals are to support Grouper, play CTM festival, perform/record in a stave church, maybe also play Atonal, record in a HUGE old bunker, collab with some people across heaps of genres, oh and I'd love to play some outdoor metal festivals like Ascension in Iceland!
I will also be releasing the aforementioned two part album this year sometime, making some music videos and way more clothes and shit.
Also might fuck around and make an actual full on really fucking scary black metal album on my own maybe soon perhaps.
Top 6 albums of all time
Here are my favourite 6 metal albums and 6 nonmetal albums that are relevant to Cryer because doing all genres in only 6 is impossible, I simply cannot do that!!!
Velvet Cacoon — Genevive
Paysage D’Hiver — Im Wald
Ulver — Bergtatt - Et eeventyr i 5 capitler
AmenRa — Mass IIII
Lifelover — Pulver
Blut Aus Nord — Deus Salutis Meae
Grouper — Dragging a Dead Deer Up a Hill
Puce Mary — The Drought
Seth Frightening — The Prince and His Madness
Have a Nice Life — Deathconsciousness
Aine O’Dwyer — Anything Bright or Startling?
Loren Connors — As Roses Bow - Collected Airs 1992-2002
Bandcamp link: www.cryerrr.bandcamp.com
Website link: www.cryer.club
Instagram link: www.instagram.com/cryerrrrrr