CrucialFest 4 artwork

Crucial Infestation: Crucial Fest 4

Music Interviews

CrucialFest 4 will be held June 4-7 in Salt Lake City, UT.

SLUG asked CrucialFest Head Festival Organizer Jarom Bischoff: What were your objectives for getting bands for this year’s CrucialFest 4? 

There are four types of bands that I will always seek to include in CrucialFest. First, big-name, national touring bands like Red Fang, Big Business, Kowloon Walled City, Helms Alee, and Call Of The Void. These bands help the festival grow and gain recognition, and they’re enlivening. Second, up-and-coming touring bands. These are bands that you may or may not have heard of, but when you see them, you won’t likely forget who they are again. Third, local reunions! I always want CrucialFest’s main focus to be on celebrating Salt Lake City’s music culture, past and present. We’ve had a number of reunions or pseudo-reunions each year. This year we have Parallax, Iceburn, Borasca, and Rail Spike (I think that’s it). So yeah, if you know who those bands are, [I] guarantee you’re pumped! And lastly, but most importantly, solid locals, the bread and butter of CrucialFest!
Check out the rest of the interview with Bischoff here, and get pumped for CF4, and check out our interviews of three incoming acts sure to help make it one to remember! [Next Page!]


Jason Rivera, Vocals/Guitar

For people who aren’t familiar with Gaytheist, people who are deaf, or both, how would you describe your sound?
Loud, fast, heavy. Fun, ridiculous, drumgasms. For the deaf, I would leave out the loud part.

Hold Me … But Not So Tight is your fourth studio album—how do you think your sound has progressed since signing to Good To Die two albums ago?

We are a little bit more self-critical. The first two albums were written and recorded over the course of four months … We just wanted some quick punk/hardcore/metal songs that were fun to play. Now, we are challenging ourselves a bit more, but not too much. I have to be able to sing over what I play, so that limits me a bit (but not [Tim Hoff] and [Nick Parks]—they go ape-shit writing rad stuff over my simple riffs)

Stephan Hawkes was working with you on the last two records, Hold Me and Stealth Beats, and they sound great. How is working with Hawkes, who’s done records with heavy brethren Red Fang and Black Elk?

Stephan is made of 100-percent awesomesauce. Nick recorded the first Elitist (PDX, not LA) album with Stephan and loved the way his drums sounded, so we decided to record Stealth Beats with him. We were so happy with it, we went back for the last record. He is so easy to work with—we just jam live all together in a tiny room at once, add vocals, and then he turns it into magic love bakes. Maybe next time, I’ll have Erik [Trammell] (Black Elk) play my guitar and Aaron [Beam] (Red Fang) sing my parts. It would sound a lot more badass!

What do you have in the works for a fifth record?

We were working on a new record, but now, instead, we are going to focus on a series of split singles/EPs with some bands we absolutely adore. The first one will be out early 2015 with a wonderful band from SLC, but I’ve already said too much.

CrucialFest is bringing some pretty great, bigger-name bands this year, including you guys. What do you think about playing smaller-to-medium-sized fests in smaller cities, like Treefort in Boise?

Treefort was outstanding! They treated us so well and the show itself was by far the best we’ve played in Boise to date. In Portland, one month, we’ll be part of a big show in front of 500 people, and then a few weeks later, we’ll play a dive bar for 50 people. I love it.

You’ve played SLC a couple of times before. What’s your perception of Salt Lake (and Utah) so far, and how have you been received? What connections do you have here?

Nick had previously come through before with Elitist, and he is good pals with Cult Leader, so he assured us it was a good town to play. We have played in SLC three times, and they’ve been some of the funnest shows we’ve played, period. So many good bands in SLC—Baby Gurl, Cult Leader, Yaktooth, Worst Friends, SubRosa, Eagle Twin


Scott Evans, Vocals/Guitar

To someone who’s never heard you before, or to a deaf person, how would you describe your music?

If somebody’s been deaf since birth, I don’t know how you’d describe any music to that person. “It’s one of those bands with four dudes flailing around onstage with instruments.”
Most people describe our band as “noise rock” or “sludge metal” or something in between. Over time, we’ve slowly moved from the latter to the former.

Have you rolled through Salt Lake City before? If so, what’s your impression of the city/music scene, and if not, what are you expecting? 

This is our first time playing Salt Lake City as a band. I’m sure most of the guys in the band have played there a number of times, in previous bands. […] Jon [Howell] is a huge Form Of Rocket fan, […] and we’re playing with Cult Leader in a few days. I like that last SubRosa record a lot. I’m sure there’s more I’m forgetting.

Coming from San Francisco, what do you think of playing CrucialFest 4?

We are super stoked about playing CrucialFest. The lineup is killer and we’ve wanted to get to Salt Lake City for a while, but haven’t managed it.

Your second (and latest) full-length, Container Ships, is amazing. Could you please talk about what you guys were bringing to the table with this record?

Thank you for the kind words! There were a lot of little changes in the band that went into that record—the most significant one was that Jon Howell replaced Jason Pace on guitar. They’re compatible in many ways, but also quite different. So, Jon brought a lot to the writing process. We were also trying to back off of the distortion a bit and go bigger, add more space to the songs and the production.

Brutal Panda Records specialize in “physical music,” according to their site. What attracted you to this type of label, and what’s your future with Brutal Panda?

The Brutal Panda guys are great. They’ve liked our band for a while, and negotiations with them took almost no time. We asked if they wanted to put out a KWC LP, [and] they said, “Dude, yes!” and that was it. As for the future, who knows? We’re working on writing and then we’ll figure that out.What’s after CF4, touring or otherwise?

We’re playing Gilead Fest in Oshkosh, [Wis.] and trying to book a few other shows around it. We’re slowly but surely working on a new LP. I opened a studio last year, and I’ve been doing a lot of recording, too.

During your set, with a nod to your band name, might it be appropriate to do the Wall of Death mosh move en masse? If not, what would?

If we can keep you from looking at your phone for 30 minutes, then I feel like we’ve accomplished a great deal. Wall of Death pits are also acceptable, but you have to do it in slow motion. Walllllllll offffffff deaaaaaaaaaatttttttthhhhhh.


Patrick Alberts, Guitar

How would you describe your music to somebody who’s never heard you? (Or to a deaf person?)
We love hardcore, we love grind, we love sludge, and we somehow are able to put them together tastefully. To laymen, it is always, “Dude, it is like Black Sabbath and Black Flag, but more intense.” To the deaf … some version of various hand gestures I’m unaware of or a middle finger right side up and one upside down.

What has the SLC crowd reaction been to your band? What can Salt Lake expect of your performance at CrucialFest 4?
We love SLC with all our heart(s). Every time we play here, it is always a good crowd filled with the best people, whether it was Black Sleep Of Kali or Call Of The Void. This year’s CF will be chock-full of new songs from us and with the addition of our new member, Gabe [Morales], there will be an added intensity and a larger sound.

In terms of music, what do you feel the relationship is between Denver and SLC in the Intermountain West?

To me, the proximity of [Colorado, Wyoming and Utah] enables the scene in each state to be a bit wider and not so restricted. … Utah and Wyoming are usually the first places [Coloradan] bands who are just starting tend to play their first out-of-state shows …  Utah is the best place to venture out and play a show outside of Denver. I don’t see too many bands from Utah coming out to Denver, though…

Local sound engineer/wizard Andy Patterson produced your album, Dragged Down a Dead End Path. Any future (or current) plans to work with Andy?
We entered the studio on April 24 to record our next album, Ageless, with AP. AP knows what’s up—I hope this is common knowledge in SLC at this point.

Dragged Down a Dead End Path was picked up by Relapse last year. What else can we expect from Call Of The Void via Relapse?

Dragged was our first of three albums we signed on to do with Relapse. Our next full-length should be out this fall. We want to do some splits with various bands on Relapse as well, but I’m not sure if any of those will come to fruition. Hopefully, this is just the beginning of a long relationship with that label. They are passionate about their bands and genuine with their approach—we couldn’t ask for a better label to be a part of.

What’s your relationship with Cult Leader?

Anthony Lucero, their singer, did our last album’s artwork, and he will be doing the upcoming album that we [recorded] in April. A long story short, we have been in contact with those guys since Gaza’s I Don’t Care Where I Go When I Die came out. Over the years, the relationship has tightened and friendships were made. What it all comes down to is Casey [Hansen], Anthony, Mike [Mason] and Sam [Richards] are great guys … We support them fully.