While going through last year’s realeases to make a “Best of 2021” list, I came across a Swiss band called Lifecrusher. They grabbed me right away, sort of as a group that sounded singularly influenced by the first Terror LP, Lowest of the Low—short, right over the plate hardcore songs. Creative, catchy, infectious.
Who was this band?
The interwebz told me they were from Switzerland, more specifically Zurich. I spoke with their guitarist and main songwriter, Franz, about the past, present, and future of this ripping hardcore band.
What was the motivation for starting Lifecrusher?
Rami, who sings in Lifecrusher, and I were at a show at Werk21 in Zurich where the band Lowest Creature played. We had been going to shows for like 1-2 years at the time, and somehow that evening we were really inspired from the vibe at the show to start our own band.
We had almost no experience at the time, like I didn't even know how to play guitar really. We just wanted to do our own thing and have fun playing music.
How did you all meet in the first place?
Rami and I just started going to local hardcore shows basically at the same time, like 2015/2016-ish. We eventually got acquainted with each other through mutual friends. The same kind of goes for Basil, but he only joined our band last year, when our previous bass player left. I met our drummer, Gilles, in 2020 at a friend's birthday party.
We were looking for a drummer at the time, and he mentioned that he played drums and was looking for a band to play in. He had no idea what hardcore was at the time. I asked him out of the blue if he wanted to join our band. He said he wasn't sure how hardcore drumming works, so I asked him, "Can you play the fast blink-182 songs? Yeah? Well then you can play hardcore."
He agreed to join and quickly fell in love with the genre, which was really cool to witness.
What was the first Lifecrusher show like?
It was on 4/20 in 2018. We sucked. I had no clue how to make my guitar not sound like a fart. The band Eat Me Fresh from Czechia headlined. Mara, the guitarist, somehow thought we were good, which blew our minds, and he wanted us to join his newly founded label, Snakepath Records.
Not much actually materialized from the label, but them asking us to join them on some shows in Czechia and East Germany really allowed us to get our name out there and make connections, which led to more shows outside the country and more opportunities. So basically, big shoutout to Mara from Eat Me Fresh!
Is there a hardcore scene in your hometown? Also, where does Lifecrusher do the best as a band?
There are a bunch of bands in Zurich, but we don't really think of Zurich as our "local hardcore scene." Since Switzerland is so small, the whole country is very interconnected as far as the scene goes and whether you're playing in Fribourg, Lucerne or Zurich, half the people that will show up are gonna be the same.
I think we actually do better outside of the country than in our own, honestly. Most of our best shows were played in places like Prague, Lyon, or Brighton.
What are the main influences of the band?
As far as the riffs and song structures go, I'm mostly influenced by bouncy NYHC-type stuff, with a little thrash sprinkled in there. On our most recent EP, 'Soul Separation,' I would say No Warning, Breakdown, Cross Me, and Soul Search were the biggest inspirations.
Vocally, Rami draws influence from a lot of heavy metallic/beatdown hardcore bands.
Explain the significance of the song "Girls to the Front" from the 2019 Lifecrusher EP.
At the time we wrote the song, which was in late 2017 I think, women in hardcore bands weren't really a thing in Switzerland. Lifecrusher consisted of 3 women and me at that point. Rami felt like we needed to make it clear that women belong to the front of the scene just as much as anybody else, and we all agreed, thus the song was born.
We threw it on our demo and rerecorded it for the EP, and it seemed to strike a chord with some of the women in the scene. We've been told by several women that our band partially inspired them to start their own bands or get involved in hardcore in other ways, which is really cool to hear!
How do you feel about the term "female fronted" to describe bands that have a female vocalist?
Not a huge fan, honestly. We've never wanted to be the "girl band," we're a hardcore band that happens to have a woman in it. Most people who use the term "female-fronted" wouldn't refer to bands with male singers as "male-fronted."
We do think it's important to make it visible that there is a woman in this band, simply because they continue to be underrepresented in the scene, but if you're gonna book us, don't write "female fronted" under our logo on the flyer, please.
I love the music video you did for the song "Unexist." It seems like the band is more than just a band, you guys are friends too—is this accurate? How important do you think it is to be friends with bandmates instead of just people you play in a band with?
Oh totally! Especially with the current lineup, we all hang out with each other outside of the context of the band. I honestly cannot fathom not being friends with your bandmates, it seems like a prerequisite to me.
I dig all your releases, but I feel like the Soul Separation EP is the best thing you've done yet. How do you feel you're growing as a band?
Well, thank you! We're really happy with how that record came out too.
I think mostly we're just improving as musicians, which allows us to do more interesting and exciting things musically than previously. It sucks having musical ideas but being held back by your own lack of skill and not being able to make use of those ideas.
What are the next things you have planned for Lifecrusher?
We're working on a split EP with a UK band that's in the process of being recorded, and we're currently planning shows and a longer tour for this year as well. After that, we're actually not sure. We might do an LP, but it's a big commitment.
Any final words for anyone who was not familiar with the band before today?
Listen to Lifecrusher, but more importantly, listen to more Swiss bands. Check out Deconvolution, Path of Resurgence, Fever Dreams, Ruined, Excoriated, Cage, Hood Brawl, Drill, and most importantly, ClayxRegazzoni.
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