Songs a present to fans

2015-06-16 06:00
Crimson House plans to do things differently with the release of the band’s third album, Come alive. 

Hylton Boucher

Crimson House plans to do things differently with the release of the band’s third album, Come alive. PHOTO: Hylton Boucher

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Cape Town blues rockers Crimson ­House want to give their new album away.

The band members, who are preparing to release their third album, Come alive, have decided that instead of selling their new release at their launch, they’d like to “gift” the album in digital and physical formats to new and existing fans.

“We wanted to get the music out there, that’s it,” says Crimson House frontman Riaan Smit.

He says the band doesn’t want to have to sell the album at one show at a time or have to fight with distributors and labels to get it “in the hands of the people we ­made it for”.

One of the songs on the already com­pleted album is called “Give it all away”, in which Riaan sings about his soul not being “for sale”. “I wanted to stand behind that lyric, and this music is my soul, our collective souls, and we’re not for sale.”

While the recording of Come alive has al­ready been paid for by regular shows over a period of two years, Crimson House has partnered with South African crowd-funding company Thundafund to raise money to print and distribute the album.

Through its Thundafund campaign, Crimson House fans or “pledgers” can choose a number of pledge options, from R100, which buys a digital download of the album once it’s released, or R150, which buys a digital copy of all three Crimson House albums and a printed version of the new one, to more expensive options that buy merchandise and dinner with the band. An extremely generous fan might consider the R100 000 pledge, which buys the band’s banjo player, Arno van Zyl, or Ara as he’s affectionately known, for a night “no questions asked”.

Come alive was recorded at Jo Ellis’s Blueroom Studios in Ladismith. Jo happens to be Riaan’s grandmother’s neighbour and worked on his cousin William Welfare’s (previously Willem Welsyn) album.

Riaan describes the recording process as an amazing journey, despite a rough start.

They had already lost a day of recording time when they started with their first sess­ion after Riaan got arrested for speeding on his way to Ladismith while listening to the Black Cat Bones’s new album.

“I got carried away in a head bang with Ara and missed the sign.”

The detour wasn’t a complete waste, though. Riaan wrote the song “Holding cell” while sitting in one.

The band has been together for about ­five years and Riaan says there’s a sense of brotherhood that comes out in the music now that they’ve got to know each other.

Besides the more relaxed atmosphere it was recorded in, Come alive is also different from the band’s previous albums, Smoke, dust and whisky and Red shack rock because it contains 16 songs – more than their usual nine or 10.

The songs ­were also all tracked live, giving the album a more “natural feel”.

The band is also proud of Come alive’s album art, created by artist Emily Paradis while listening to the album. Emily created the cover as a physical canvas painting. The original artwork can also be bought as a pledge reward.

Once Crimson House has raised its R80 000 target and pledgers have received the album, the band members plan to literally throw the rest off stage at their debut Oppikoppi performance later this year.

Come alive will be launched at Hillcrest Quarry in Durbanville on Sunday 26 July where Crimson House will be performing with the Nomadic Orchestra and Mr Cat and the Jackal. V

Visit before Friday 26 June to support Crimson House’s crowd-funding campaign. Visit to see Emily’s artwork or for more information about the band

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