A Thrash Metal Blitzkrieg Pounding Your Ears Into Submission

Greetings brothers and sisters! Today we are chatting with Britta Goertz, vocalist for the thrash metal band CRIPPER. CRIPPER hails from Hannover, Germany and they have earned a loyal fan following by taking their music to the masses and delivering night after night with their live performances.With the right marketing this band could most definitely join the ranks of some of the elite thrash bands in the scene today. Britta was kind enough to take time for us today.........

Hello Britta and welcome to Metal Maidens...
Britta: “Hi folks!”

You are the vocalist for the thrash metal band CRIPPER from Germany. How did you all hook up?
Britta: “We started the band in 2005. Jonathan and Christian, our two guitarists, shared their rehearsal room with a band, that I had an audition with. So instead of joining this other band, I hooked up with Jonathan and Christian. So it was us three, looking for a drummer and bass player. Dennis and our first bass player jumped on board and so our first line-up was completed. From the beginning on, it was quite clear, that we would play thrash metal. Although we also listen to other musical genres, thrash metal is where we all meet.”

Can you tell us a little about the guys in CRIPPER?
Britta: “They are my family, my brothers. We are very close friends, love each other and maybe even sometimes hate each other. In a good way. Bass-T, our bass player, is the youngest of us and was also the last to come on board. He's actually our fourth bass player. You know that bass player's ‘disease’? They always get lost. Anyhow, we're over it, since Bass-T joined us, things in the deep tone area are going very well. He works in a synchron studio, that means he synchronizes German language with films, that have been produced in a different language. Jonathan, one of our guitarists, is a graphic designer, focussing on animation, painting and illustrating. He is our analyst, always trying to change processes to the better. When it comes to stuffing our equipment into our van, he is the best player in our game, called ‘tretris advanced’. And he can also imitate voices of famous people, especially some German singers. We're always having a ball listening to him doing ‘interviews’ with two different alter egos at the same time, switching the roles from one to another. Dennis is our drummer. He works as a programmer. Recently, he bought a trailer and moved in. That is pretty uncommon here in Germany. You know, we like everything in an orderly fashion. Living in a trailer on a parking space is nothing like that. It's just his thing, he's open-minded and maybe one of the most tolerant people I know, treating everyone with a lot of respect. We helped each other out of many bad situations, which has made us very close friends. Christian, our second guitarist, has a very good, dry sense of humour. He's always jerking around and making us laugh. He is also a graphic designer, focussing on layout, typography and illustrating. He hates arguing and always stays very calm, trying to step on nobody's feet. That makes him also pre-destined for any kind of negotiations, where tactfulness is needed. The only thing about him is, that he loses his stuff everywhere. So if you see him one day and he seems to look for something, please help him find it.”

From what I have seen, you all get along really well and there doesn’t seem to be that whole ego thing with this band, that you tend to see in some others. Why do you think that is with CRIPPER?
Britta: “You see, we're just a bunch of metal fans, who got together to play their favourite style of music. No need for any ego thing... What for? Music comes first! We don't want to present ourselves, we wanna play our music and we're happy that there are people out there who like it!”

You guys seem to have a lot of fun together and don’t take yourselves too seriously, except when it comes to making music. Do you agree?
Britta: “I totally agree! We have not made any money with the band so far and the big success is not in sight... so having fun is the only (and best) payoff we get. That does not mean, that we never have any issues. We're like a family, sometimes the air is heating up.”

I imagine touring on a bus with four dudes can be a little crazy at times, right?
Britta: “Yeah, and that is exactly the way I like it. That's part of the deal, hehe!”

Growing up as a little girl in Hanover was singing in a metal band something you inspired to do or did you have another career in mind?
Britta: “Hmm, being in CRIPPER feels more like coming home. I wouldn't use the word ‘career’ for it. Nowhere else can I be more myself than in this band.”

Does your family support what you do and have they ever been to any of your shows?
Britta: “My mom came to watch a show, so did my brother a few times. My dad prefers sitting at home and listening to our albums.Although he says, that he's not quite sure what that whole metal thing is about... But my family's happy, when I am happy, so of course they support me all the way.”

How did you get into the metal and what bands or performers would you say are your biggest influences?
Britta: “My elder brother is a metal head, so he's the one who got me into it. He's ten years older than me and was an absolute IRON MAIDEN and AC/DC maniac. I already knew all of their songs, when I was about six years old. He was a bass player in a heavy metal band in school. My favorite or most inspiring performers are Mike Patton (ex-FAITH NO MORE) and Mikael Akerfeldt (OPETH). Patton is one of the reasons, I wanted to play in a band. And he's always on my mind asking: "Come one, what kind of awkward sounds can you do with your vocal cords?” Mikael’s death metal growls are just the best, that I've ever heard. Despite the all-distorted sound he is able to put so much feelings and warmth into it. Oh, and I need to mention a beat-boxing artist, called Dub-FX. No metal at all, but the way he puts vocal sounds together and his phrasing is absolutely brilliant. I discovered him a few months ago and I can't stop listening.”

Your vocals have been compared to Angela Gossow (ARCH ENEMY) and Sabina Classen of HOLY MOSES. Pretty good company to be compared to, don’t you think?
Britta: “Definitely. I met both of them and Doro Pesch this year at the first international congress for Heavy Metal & Gender in Cologne. Sabina I knew even before that, I once lent her some yarn and a needle to sew on her button to her pants, before she had to go on stage. The congress was a big thing for me. Doro, Sabina, Angela and me were taking part in a panel discussion and told people about what we do and how we do it. You know, touring, singing, being in a metal band. It was a real honor for me to sit in a row with three of the main female characters in heavy metal music. They are all very nice and funny people! No rockstar egos at all. A few days later DORO, HOLY MOSES and CRIPPER played a show together in Cologne. We also performed "Celebrate" and "All We Are" together on stage.”

In your opinion Britta is it easier to sing clean or growling vocals?
Britta: “Growling and shouting vocals. I do that much more often and that makes it easier, I guess. I don't use my clean voice professionally. I sing in the car or under the shower or to warm my vocal cords up before a show. That's basically it. On our demo CD, you can hear some clean vocals, but I am not using my clean voice in the songs of our two full-length albums.”

What kind of precautions do you take with your voice to handle the rigors of performing night after night?
Britta: “It occurs to be pretty simple and boring at the same time: no cigarettes, no alcohol (except a beer or two), a lot of water and sleep. I also do warm-up excercises for my voice before each show, and a cool-down exercise afterwards. It's no magic and a mixture of good physical shape, praticing and a question of discipline and will.”

CRIPPER has recently released their second full-length CD, entitled "Devil Reveals". Can you tell us a little about the disc and what it means to you personally?
Britta: “It's red outside and inside. Red in visual aspects as the complete cover concept – by the way, which was done by our guitarist Christian – is mostly red. And in a metaphorical sense it's reed on the inside, too. Compared to our first album "Freak Inside", the songs seem to be far more developed and you can hear that we have grown as musicians. When I listen to "Devil Reveals", it always leaves me with a feeling of alertness, which I probably interpret as ‘red’. Don't know, but I just love it! Each song has an unique and strong character. Some songs are easy to access, some are not. I am very satisfied with the abum and especially with the lyrics. It's not that I think they are extraordinary good, but I managed to shape them exactly in the way I wanted to. To me, that is more than I expected. To find and chose words that express a certain circumstance or feeling and fit into the song can be nerve wracking sometimes. Sometimes words and phrases just seem to fly right out of me. The entire writing process of “Devil Reveals”, including the music and the lyrics felt very natural.”

I have to admit, I loved your demo CD "Killer Escort Service" along with your very first full length CD "Freak inside", but the new stuff takes this band to a whole new level of excellence and the band is sounding better than ever right now. Why do you think that is?
Britta: “Well, yeah, I think so, too. We have only put out two records so far, so it's not that hard to get better when you are a beginner. Let's come back to that question after a few more albums, when it might get harder to increase skills and ideas.”

Who writes the lyrics for the band, because some of them are pretty intense on this CD?
Britta: “Me....... I am intense!”

I think, the whole CD kills, but I do have a few faves…. Can you tell us a little about the tunes "Kids Killing Kids", "I am the Pit","Devil Reveals" and "Caged with a Gun"?
Britta: “Kids Killing Kids” sounds a little bit strange, when hearing it for the first time. The song is not that easy to access, at least for a thrash metal song. There are critics, who said it is the worst track of the album, as there are critics who say it is one of the best. To me, it is one of the best songs not only off the album, but of all songs we've written so far. It has got a strong character and appears a little edgy, if you know what I mean. It's not supposed to be a real rock n roll song. “I Am The Pit” is a total different one. Compared to “Kids Killing Kids”, it almost sounds stumpf, but at the same time very catchy. And the song is absolutely easy to sing. The message of this song is quite obvious: inner strength. That makes it a very powerful live song. “Devil Reveals”, the tilte track of our album, has got a lot death metal influences. It sounds dark and menacing. It is the only song so far we play in a different tune than D. There's a very tricky instrumental part in the end of the song, we call "Mathe" (German word for "maths"). I love it! What no one mentioned so far is a quote of Cleopatra I used for an interlude part in the middle of the song. It fit in the lyrical topic so perfectly, that I had to borrow that from her. “Caged With A Gun” is our first duet. Mutz of the band DRONE sings one half of the lyrics. I wrote those lyrics for a couple I am close friends with. The idea of singing a duet was a logical consequence to show both sides of the same coin. We are friends with DRONE and I always wanted to sing a song with Mutz. We have never performed this song live, but I'm sure it would kick major butts.”

"I am the Pit" could most definitely be the band's anthem, don’t you think?
Britta: “Hard to say... That is something that's up to those who listen to our songs. We, as the ones who write all that stuff, are too close, if you know what I mean.”

Hmmmm, I think I have a vision for the next CRIPPER video. How about it?
Britta: “Hehe! Yeah, that would be a good song for a video shoot. Could have some sweaty circle pit scenes in it.”

What about a new video, anything in the works right now?
Britta: “Yeah, we recorded some live material at the Rock Harz festival this year, which we will use for a video on the song „Life is deadly"". But it's not finished yet.”

[Photo copyright: newsclick.de]

CRIPPER seems to be making a lot of noise in the thrash community. Obviously, due to the amout of live shows the band has done, is playing live still the best way to get your music heard or do you think other modern mediums, such as My Space and iTunes get your music out to more people abroad?
Britta: “We see ourselves as a live band. In my opinion, thrash metal is best when presented live on stage. Energy is flying right out of us during a show. To capture that feeling on an album is not easy. So a live show as a medium to transport what CRIPPER stands for is definitely the best way. Since we don't play abroad that often yet, other mediums such as My Space, iTunes or You Tube are a good way to give people from all over the internet planet the chance to listen to our music. I mean, if you and I hadn't ‘met’ on My Space, we wouldn't do this interview right now.”

What is the band's current touring schedule?
Britta: “We have a few shows planned in Germany:
Dec. 11 Blitz und Donner Festival, Brunswick
Dec. 18 Adelsheim
Dec. 19 Metal X-Mas Meeting, Bamberg
Jan. 08 [2010[ Moers
Jan..22 [2010[ Emden
Febr. 19 [2010[ Fleisch Festival, Markkleeberg
Febr. 20 [2010] Winternachtstraum Festival, Arnsberg-Oeventrop
March 27 [2010] Wolfsburg.”

Any plans to come play the states sometime in the future?
Britta: “We have spent a few thoughts on it. There are no plans, but an idea that may come to life in early 2011. But that is still our secret...”

Britta, what is your overall opinion of women in heavy metal today?
Britta: “Hard working, creative and skilled musicians. Same as men – only fewer.”

Do you think females in metal are finally starting to get the respect they deserve or do you still have a long way to go?
Britta: “I think, the role that a girl or woman in a heavy metal band has reflects the role she has in her home culture. You may not be able to speak for all girls in all metal bands, as you cannot speak for all girls and women in every country on the planet. There are still many countries who do not have equal rights for women and men. So having the desire to play in a metal band in a country, where girls may not even have the right to vote is something completely different than coming from Germany and being able to do whatever comes to my mind. Speaking of myself I can say, that I am lucky I don't even have to deal with those kind of questions, because no one ever came to me and said: "You're a girl and you can't do that" or "You're a girl and you shouldn't do that". When we started the band, I sometimes heard someone saying: "You're pretty good... for a girl". That was their way to cope with something they just hadn't expected.”

If you could give just one piece of advice to any of your young fans, who want to follow in your footsteps, what would it be?
Britta: “Go ahead and just do it. A band is a lot of fun and a lot of work. And drinking and smoking does not help you to develop your growls and shouts!”

When you’re not on the road or in the studio, what other kinds of things do you enjoy doing? Britta: “Writing lyrics, reading books, photography, watching movies, hanging out with friends... Since I spend a lot of time in crowded places, I do also enjoy being alone.”

What is the one thing in your life that you are the most proud of and why?
Britta: “Getting over an eating disorder on my own. And stopped carving my arms. To people, who feel stuck in that kind of situation: you can do it, too! Never stop fighting!! Metal Maidens: I commend you on battling some of your demons, my friend. You are an inspiration to young people everywhere, not only as a musician but as a fighter as well.”

Britta, on behalf of myself and Metal Maidens I want to thank you for taking time with us today. I think, the new CD is brutal and I wish you and the guys the best of luck with it in the coming new year!
Britta: “Thank you very much! It’s always a pleasure talking to you! Horns up everybody out there, take care and thrash on!”

copyright: METAL MAIDENS
interview by: Nick Rohm, Metal Maidens 'zine / November 2009.

Visit their official website at: www.cripper.de/
or go to their My Space site at: www.myspace.com/cripperthrash

Buy CRIPPER merchandise at: www.cripper.de/?page=shop or send them an email