This interview with drummer Christian Öström of Crystal Street was done through the internet by Vincent Eldefors in late August 2005.

Voices from the underground is our new interview series which introduces unsigned acts of our own choice from all over the world. Debuting is Sweden's heavy metallers Crystal Street, hailing from the city of Norrköping. Drummer Christian Öström explains to us what the band is all about.

Hi there, how are things in the Crystal Street camp?
Well, right now we are not doing much because there have been some deaths in Jimmy's family and Mattias has hurt a shoulder. But we will soon start to kick ass again!!

Most people are probably unaware of your band, could you please give us a short introduction and let us know why you decided on the name Crystal Street?
There were two guys, who are no longer in the band, who started the band just for kicks. But some of us felt that we wanted more and they didn't feel the same way. Our music is strongly influenced by the 80s metal scene and I think people can recognize it in our music when they listen. The name Crystal Street was accually my idea. When we started the band we didn't know what it would all be about. Then I cracked the idea, why don't we let the lyrics be about horror figuers in movies, fiction and so on. Everybody got hooked on that and then we started thinking of a name that would fit. I also cracked that idea. We took the name 'Crystal' from the "Friday the 13:th" movies, where the camp is called Crystal Lake, and then we took 'Street' from the "Nightmare on Elm Street" movies. so there you have the name Crystal Street. The name may not describe the music which almost sound like power metal or something but for us it means horror.

Could you please describe each band member in a few words?
That's hard. Jimmy is the vocalist and lead guitar player. He is just a crazy fuck. Mattias is the rhythm guitar player and he is the one that doesn't move at all on stage or when we rehearse but he does what we tell him to do. No more no less. Tobias aka Spite is the bass player. He is the real poser and his gods are Guns N' Roses. Do i need to say more?? Myself, Christian, is the drummer or something and I'm not sure about me but I think I'm the funny guy. The real muscicians in the band are really Jimmy and Tobbe but we play because we all love it so much and Mattias and myself are learning on the way.

You recorded the "Death's Gambit" demo in 2003, consisting of very diverse song material influenced by several different subgenres of metal but with a clear 80s vibe, how would you say that Crystal Street have developed since then? Have you written any new material?
Totally agree! Like I said before, we are strongly influenced by bands from that era. The new demo, which does not have as good cd design or anything, also sounds like 80s metal.

There have been a few changes of bass players in the band, has this meant anything for you musically speaking?
Yes. We all got a new kick, especially when Tobias came in. He is a good friend and a very good musician so when he arrived we started to sound better than 2003 anyway. Haha.

The "Death's Gambit" demo included a Chris Isaak cover which is quite unusual for a metal band indeed. How come you decided on this song in particular and whose idea was it? Did it turn out the way you wanted?
Well, it was nobody's idea. We started playing it when we all got a hangover one weekend and it worked. So said, why not include it on the cd just for fun. And so we did.

Which bands and musicians inspired you when you began playing? Have you been influenced by any current artists as well do you think?
I have a big metal ear so I'm influenced by a lot of musicians but I have my childhood, or teenhood I would rather say, bands that I started listening to. They are Metallica (old), Megadeth, Sepultura, Testament and my personal favorite Pantera. You can all hate me now! Hehe.

What has the response to your music been like so far from fans and media? Have you contacted any labels in order to reach a record contract?
We have been in contact with some labels but to be honest I don't think the "Death's Gambit" demo is good enough but we are still working on it. From media it has been ok. Seems that they like us a bit anyway. Some reporters like that we pull out the horror thing to the most. From fans, the people we have played for, both live and on cd, some like it and some don't but people outside Sweden and especially North America seems to like our music. So that is fun.

What is the song writing like within the band? Do you work on new material together in the rehearsal room or on your own?
We do both. Sometimes the guitar players come up with a riff and then we do the song together and sometimes Jimmy does it on his own.

You have played quite a lot of local shows already, has the response from the audience been that which you have wished for? Is Crystal Street primarily a live band?
The response from the audience has been great I must say. Far more than we hoped for and we are primarily a live band. Maybe we are a studio band as well but it's hard to record a decent demo in just one week.

Which Crystal Street song is your favorite and why?
I must say a new one. It's called 'Djinn'. That song is fun to play and has a drive that I like.

How important is music and what does it mean to you?
Music for me is life, not just the playing but more the listening.

What is it that is so intrigueing about metal music in particular that you can not find in any other genre?
The drive in the music and of course that metal music is almost always done with real instruments. And I also like it when it's a little evil.

Now we are approaching the end of this interview. What plans and goals to you have for Crystal Street in the nearest future?
Well, playing live is always fun and just to have as much fun as we can, while we can. If a record label or something comes around it does but for now we are just going to have a great time and drink beer!!

Any final words to round off the interview with?
More horror and beer to the people!!!

Thanks a lot for taking the time to answer these questions and good luck with the band and everything else in the future!
Thanx so much. We will be seeing you in a near future.

Links of interest:

Crystal Street