Interview: Devils at the Crossroad

I had the pleasure of checking in on The Devils at the Crossroads this past week in the shabby basement of an apartment block, which a crafty landlord had converted into a series of studio rooms – flimsy equipment, not-quite-sound proof walls, and in tight corners this was where guitarist and singer Joris, bassist Marco, and ex-AK47 drummer Cedric get together to rehearse and work on their material. Before they were able to get down to business we talked about how they formed, how labels can be tricky, the trek of gaining a wider audience, what some other bands lack, and experiences outside of the Big Red. This hopes to be expanded later next month into a full-fledged video interview but I thought it would be too cruel to hold out on you all before their show tomorrow night at Mao Livehouse so here were some highlights from our interview.


On describing their sound which no one can seem to pin

“For the people who come to listen our music, everyone comes with a different idea of what we do…some people say we play punk, some say metal, some stoner…for us, we play rock -afterwards you do whatever you want with it” – Cedric

“If we start labeling you’re just gonna end up with a huge label…it’s rock n’ roll” – Marco

“The only standard is if it sounds good and is in your face… a theatrical feeling” – Joris

“It’s cool for what we do – we can fit with the punk band or the heavy band or the rock bands – we’re like the cockroaches – we can go everywhere…feed off of everything” – Cedric

“The thing is to do exactly the same from everyone from the beginning starting from very basic rural blues and to make something… Led Zeppelin started with Robert Johnson, take John Spencer Blues Explosion, it started from old school blues like RL Burnside to make punk….Nirvana will also say Beatles and blues….Queens of Stone Age, etc. “ – Joris


“The idea was to keep it old school cause I think one thing we all agreed on was that older music was better than now… we went all the way back to the beginning” – Marco

“What is fun is to start from very old school themes and to make it rock n roll like we do…maybe part of a melody from old school blues or notes on the guitar or some rhythm which we’ll intentionally change…not trying to do anything revolutionary” – Joris

“We sit and develop a story like writing a book …we think of a character…it’s a lot of fun…bounce some ideas off each other…what if this guy did this one thing., well maybe he did this, ok, cool, can we kinda develop a story about this guy….a lot of the songs are stories” – Marco

On passing the gauntlet of the Beijing music venue circuit

“One obstacle that bothered me for a long time – getting through to the Chinese crowd…for a long time we only had foreigners coming to our gigs – and of course its nice to have people no matter where they’re from, but having only foreigners come to watch you makes you feel like you’re still not really apart of the scene…the local scene this year finally we’ve gotten good crowds of Chinese people coming and really loving what we do and giving good feedback…it\’s really rewarding” – Marco

“It’s difficult be on lead guitar and vocals and to move and jump around…so instead the eyes do the jumping….there is such a fear up there on stage that sometimes the only thing you can do when everyone is staring right at you is too stare right back at them…dead on” – Joris

What Other Bands Lack

“You look for the communal in the band – have fun together, play, drink, live- you know like a family – it doesn’t happen that much elsewhere – sometimes they don’t even talk to each other out of the practice room or go home, back to their hotel rooms and sleep — we stay at the bar” – Cedric

“So they get what the music is like but they don’t getttt itttt really – its about having fun and the lifestyle goes with it” – Marco

“If you go to a show of ours…you have 400 people in front of us or 100. It doesn’t matter for us because we have fun playing together…we like it…we don’t give a shit…and we make it for those ten people” – Cedric


Check out Devils at the Crossroad tonight at Mao Livehouse alongside Bad Mamasan, Jacky Danny, Los Crashers, and Demerit.

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