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Comrade Aleks set out to find out more about this comparatively recent American retro/occult/stoner band, as they celebrate releasing their debut full-length album.

Interview with Cruthu.
"Cruthu started in 2014 in Lansing, Michigan as a quartet – Scott Lehman (bass), Matt Fry (drums), Dan McCormick (guitars) and Teri Brown (vocals). They had a lady on vocals, they played old fashioned heavy doom metal and their lyrics were obscure…that was enough to label Cruthu an "occult doom band". The band released their demo, named 'Creation', in 2014, but then a long period of hiatus started and Cruthu didn't return until March 3rd, 2017 - with the full-length debut "The Angle of Eternity"! Killer artwork, a new vocalist, an intriguing sound… Why not ask Dan McCormick himself about all of this?"

Cruthu: Ryan Evans (vocals), Matt Fry (drums), Dan McCormick (guitars) and Erik Hemingsen (bass).

Hi Dan! Cruthu is a new name on the Doom scene: what is the story of the band?

The conception of Cruthu began before the name actually. I had been working on a different project called The Swill which also has it's roots in traditional forms of metal. However, I had always wanted to start a project whose primary sound based around Tradition Doom Metal with a Heavy 70's vibe. So in the winter of 2014 I came across a post online from drummer Matt Fry who had many of the same influences. We met for a beer and began talking Doom Metal. I knew right away I had found my drummer. Within two weeks of writing we began rehearsing with bassist Scott Lehman and vocalist Teri Brown. Cruthu was born.

What’s your musical background? How long ago did you take your guitar in hand?

I would have to credit my immediate family, all who are musically talented, as the major influence for my interest in music. However, it was not always this way. Somewhere around the age of six I began taking piano lessons. This went on for several years despite my disinterest in playing piano. It was more of a chore because I was forced to take lessons by my parents. Luckily, I had an amazing music teacher growing up named Sara Smith who taught me classical piano which has influenced me to this day. My father always played guitar and banjo, mostly bluegrass and country. I was always amazed at his playing ability. He was very good. It inspired me to start playing another instrument. By the age of sixteen, I was playing bass and by eighteen guitar. By nineteen I was playing in bands and began writing music.

"Cruthú" means "creation" in Gaelic - what meaning did you put into the band's name?

As I said earlier, we started writing before naming the band. I remember we had one or two ideas about naming the project, but they didn't seem to describe what was actually happening musically as we were writing. I remember it being very raw and organic sounding, that we were creating this sound purely from the chemistry of the people involved. From this I suggested the name Creation. There was little hope the name had not already been used as a band name, so I thought we should take a look at the word in other languages. I credit Teri Brown for first presenting the Gaelic translation to the band which we all agreed was the perfect moniker.

Cruthu – 'Walk With Me':

Your demo album 'Creation' was recorded with Teri Brown on vocals, but now Ryan Evans sings on 'The Angle Of Eternity': what happened? Didn't her manner of singing suit the band's style?

After naming the band and writing an albums worth of songs, we began playing out. The shows were great and everything seemed well. We had very quickly released a demo and began tracking our debut record. By early summer of 2015, we had already finished tracking all the instrumentation for the record. We just needed to finish the vocals. We tracked a new version of the song S.O.S. which ended up on a Doomed and Stoned compilation called The Enchanters Ball. At this point our plan was to continue recording vocals and play a few shows between- but Teri wasn't able to put as much time into the project due to her involvement in Theatre. We played the shows but unfortunately could not get her in the studio to finish the vocals. This continued into January of 2016. I truly felt like this project was doomed to say the least. The record had been shelved for over eight months at this point. After discussing it with Matt and Scott, I had to let Teri know we were no longer going to work with her and we began searching for a new vocalist. Fortunately, we had played our first show as Cruthu with a Garage/Doom duo known as Seritas which consisted of guitarist/vocalist Ryan Evans and his wife Misty on drums. They were incredible and later we had the opportunity later to record Seritas. They became good friends and fans of ours and it only seemed natural to ask Ryan to replace Teri on vocals in Cruthu. By March of 2017 Ryan began writing lyrics for our debut record The Angle of Eternity.

'The Angle Of Eternity' has really remarkable and ominous artwork. What is the story behind it? Does it connect with the lyrics?

Our original bass player Scott Lehman came up with the concept for the artwork. He had known artist Dan MacDonald since childhood. Upon sharing some of his portfolio with the rest of the band, we decided to contract him for the album cover. Scott and Dan were in constant contact and within a few weeks we had a sketch of the proposed art. The overall theme of the artwork connects directly with the title track The Angle of Eternity. It's more or less about the Mystery School influence and control over society.

Dan, you also produced the album: what did you want to achieve concerning its sound?

In producing the record, we were definitely going for a Heavy 70's sound. I love those early Black Sabbath records among so many other heavy bands recorded on tape during that era. Truth and Janey, Sir Lord Baltimore and Thin Lizzy to name a few. We tracked everything to tape in our home based studio which we named The Black Lodge.

How long did you spend composing these songs? Why did you stop at these six songs?

I wrote six songs on guitar over a span of about four months. Additionally, Scott brought in the song Seance and I wrote the guitar over his bass parts. After recording the new version of S.O.S. and losing Teri, we were left with six songs. Our goal was to release a vinyl record. Luckily those six songs came out around 34 minutes which fit perfectly on vinyl format.

Were there any tracks left after this recording session? Or do you already have something in mind for the next album?

No songs were left over from the original session. We do have several songs we're currently working on for a follow up record which will include our new bassist, Erik Hemingsen who replaced Scott due to relocating to another part of the country.

Cruthu – 'The Angle Of Eternity':

It seems that today the scene is oversaturated: which features would you pick out to describe Cruthu? What differs this band from others?

I feel that Cruthu is different than most of the newer Doom bands out there today. The vocals of Ryan Evans alone set us apart from many new doom acts. His love of HP Lovecraft and old horror films are apparent throughout his lyrics. Where many newer Doom bands have sacrificed the traditional roots for a more modern sound, we have not. There's nothing wrong with that approach or with modern Doom, as I'm a fan of it all.

What’s your tour schedule for the near future? How do you assess the odds of organizing a proper little tour in the States?

We just finished playing a string of shows with Castle and Apostle of Solitude. We were also fortunate enough to share the stage with some up and coming metal acts in WitchFist, Sauron, Tarpit Boogie and Drude. I'm certain we'll be playing with many of these bands and others in the near future. We're just getting out there and when the opportunity presents itself we're going to tour and play even more.

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Visit the Cruthu bandpage.

Interviewed on 2017-04-04 by Comrade Aleks Evdokimov.
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