KRASHKARMA – The “White Stripes of Metal” at The Boobie Trap Bar, Topeka KS 3/21/2017

Last week, I had the opportunity to go see KrashKarma perform at The Boobie Trap Bar in Topeka, KS.  There was a lot of buzz about this show, with the high energy and intensity that is displayed during their set making this a must-see show. I decided to check out their music the day before, and if their live show was anything like their music videos then we were definitely in for a treat, and they absolutely did not disappoint. I had a chance to sit down with the duo before their show and ask them a little about the band history, life on the road, the future of the band and where they draw inspiration from. Check out the interview below as well as some photos from the show.





Jeff: So you guys are based out of LA, how long have you guys been doing this now?

Ralf: We have been doing this now (KraskKarma) since 2009, so eight years.

J: This is not the first time you guys have played here at The Trap, you guys have played here a few times right?

R: Ever since we started KrashKarma, Topeka was always a stop. I remember the first time we played here on Halloween, we were Snow White and the Three Dwarfs back then.

Niki: We started off as four, back then.

J: So what is it that keeps you guys going, from going from a four-piece down to a two-piece, what is your guys’ motivation to keep this machine going?

R: First of all, the first inspiration to go to a two piece was injury. Our bass player had a disk injury and couldn’t go on tour. We had a song on the radio, had a big tour, festivals, we had everything lined up, and we could either quit or keep going. And then we decided lets give it a try, so we shrink down to a two piece and I built a guitar rig from hell, and it worked out so good that we said ‘you know what, this is way better than a four piece’. And then it morphed into a monster.

N: We actually got way more creative at that point because our whole horizons were expanded actually, when you have less people you have to GET more creative to be able to make the sound, produce the sound that we want to have as a full unit, through and we just got more creative; we are able to play all the songs that we ever wrote, which we wrote everything together anyway. Basically Ralf and I are KrashKarma and we have had other people to play with us throughout Europe and the US, so it just kind of made sense.

J: Kind of like session players?

N: Yes, exactly.

J: Gotcha. So there are bands out there like Animals As Leaders who don’t have a bass player or a lead singer. As a two piece where it’s just the guitar and the drums, where do you guys draw inspiration from?

R: Everything.

N: It’s still the same.

R: My guitar rig is basically two guitars and a bass. I have a stereo signal with a bass output on my guitar, so if I listen to music, I see how people are arranging the songs, and there is a lot of stuff that we play as a two-piece that usually a four-piece plays. That’s where I get my inspiration from. I listen to the rhythm sections and the lead sections and see how they arrange it, and I try to replicate them in my own unique way as a single guitar player, who also plays bass.

J: So basically you’re able to alternate between a guitar tone and a bass tone.

N: And play them together.

R: Exactly. Every time I try to hear a riff I try to analyze it; why is this a cool riff? I certainly do not listen to many other two-piece bands.

N: There’s a few great ones out there, for sure.

R: I always feel like those two-piece bands sounds kind of similar, in that they always seem to go in an alternative route. But we are way more rock or metal, and that requires a certain bass and guitar tone that most two-piece bands cannot pull off, because they are limited to their instrumentation. That’s why I built myself a special rig where we can have the normal instrumentation of a rock piece, and that’s why we can take it a little further song wise as a two-piece than other two-piece bands and that’s why we are the white stripes of metal. Once you see us live and you hear the sound, you will know what I mean. It’s not dirty garage rock, it’s metal.

J: So speaking of the white stripes, have you guys had any comparisons to bands like that and what do you think of that?

R: We played a show once where in the white stripes hometown, and the drummer was there. She was excited to see another girl drummer, not. *Laughs*

N: I think people get a little bit intrigued by it, which is kind of how we decided to continue with it. When it happened, like I said, it was fate. It was fate that made us a two piece, we weren’t planning on going that route. It went that route for us. And then because of that we grew a lot, so when you hear our sound it doesn’t sound like a two-piece. Both of us sing, he has the crazy guitar, we have the drums, we still do all the crazy things we ever did and now I’m singing 50%, so we do this dual front-person thing where I’m not sitting in the back as just the drummer. It just adds a unique element that I don’t think anybody else is doing right now, it’s pretty cool.

J: So what was it like then to take on the role of both singing and playing the drums?

N: It’s crazy, when I started playing music I was playing drums. Then I started doing some background vocals, and then some lead vocals. And it’s all worked for me, I love it, it’s an amazing incredible journey. But it’s learning every day, learning and growing, and I think that’s what music is all about, learning and growing. Becoming more and better every day, refining your sound, creating new sounds. And that’s what we are doing with KrashKarma on the daily, reinventing ourselves and becoming more, and morphing to the monster (that is KrashKarma).

J: I was looking around, and I thought I came across a video where you guys had played somewhere overseas, I think it was Portugal. Where is your favorite country you have played so far?

R: We don’t really have a favorite country per se, there are cool cities where we know that when we go there that it’s going to be a good time. There are good pockets all over the world. It’s kind of like assholes, you know you’re going to meet some wherever you go. It doesn’t matter the color of your skin or your nationality. There are good people everywhere. But we don’t really have a favorite country.

J: Who was your inspiration growing up?

R: Metallica was actually the first show that I actually saw. I was very inspired by all of the late eighties, early 90’s hardcore bands out of New York and Washington D.C. Seeing those bands and the amount of energy that they put in is what inspired me to do what we do today.

N: For me, for the metal genre, I grew up more on Pantera and Deftones, even Incubus back in the day they had kind of that groove metal kind of vibe. Not anymore so much, but when they first started out. My whole life I’ve been inspired by different styles of music. Classic Rock, Rap such as Ice-T and Wu Tang Clan, and I grew up on the East Coast so there was the punk scene, Misfits, Black Flag, Iggy Pop who is my hero of life, David Bowie, etc. Good music is good music, and I pull inspiration from all of these things and not just one genre.

J: What is the next step for KrashKarma, where are your next stops?

R: We have been on the road for two years with our latest album, Paint The Devil. We just played in Europe for awhile, so we thought we’d come back and say a quick hello and let everyone know we were still alive. The tour started in Chicago and we will make our way back to California where we go to San Francisco and then up to Seattle, and that was supposed to be the end of the tour, but we got another festival offer in Germany, so we are flying back to Germany and playing with Ill Nino and Ignite, and then we also added Berlin Munich and Stuttgart, and that’s the end. Then we fly back to Los Angeles, we are moving into a new house on May 1st which we are going to convert into a studio and then write and record our new album, August 15th we will be back in Sweden where the next tour starts. The dates keep pouring in, and right now we are declining a bunch of dates but the offers keep getting better and better.

J: Who would be some bands that you would like to tour with in the future that you have not toured with in the past?

R: Many! Metallica to In Flames to Incubus. There are some pretty good bands out there.

N: Our major thing right now is just to get on to bigger shows. We’ve been doing these headlining club tours for awhile now in the US and we have built our fans “grassroots” which I think is really important, because then we can come to towns like Topeka on a Tuesday night and have a nice little get-together of the rockers in this town and we can go to the big shows on the weekends. We have done everything as grassroots, and so our goal is to get in front of new fans, more fans, bigger shows.

R: The most important part for us right now is getting the new album ready, because everybody is waiting for it. Of course we reach new fans everyday so for them it is new stuff, and for us it’s like a big community, but those who aren’t new to us are waiting for new KrashKarma. I have a lot of new ideas, so at some point you have to stop and say no, that we aren’t playing shows anymore. We need to reinvent ourselves, and we have so many ideas that it needs to happen now.

J: With the new album, is it going to go in a specific direction?

R: Yes, exactly. We have morphed into a monster, with this two-piece. The dynamics are going to be a big part of this new album, and there’s a lot of s*** that is going on across the world, so there’s going to be a lot to talk about.

J: What is your favorite song to play live?

N: It kind of changes, it depends, if you are talking about crowd participation then it’s 9Lives, it’s always one of my favorites, as far as getting people involved. It starts off as eins zwei drei (one two three), and Ralf sings it and the crowd gets really into it, those are my favorite moment, seeing everyone in unity, dancing and having a good time, that’s probably my favorite.

R: We also teach people German, so that’s my favorite, of course. Our show… it’s hard to pinpoint the whole show to a song. I think the show is an entity in and of itself, and we try to add dynamics to the songs. We have an intro, then the first few songs draw the people in, and then we break it down and bring it back up. There are certain element that wouldn’t work without each other. Of course we have the peaks and are the peaks my favorite, well of course. But we need the downtime as well, so it’s a whole show. So that’s my favorite part of it.

J: So then you guys like to tell a story as part of your show, as in there is a story behind each of your songs, correct?

R: It’s definitely a story, but I’d describe it rather as that we are creating moments, and to create a moment you have to set the stage. Tomorrow when you wake up you are going to remember this show.

J: I have a feeling that tomorrow when I wake up I’m going to remember this show! Thank you guys for your time.


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