Crime In Stereo: They’re Not Dead, But We’re Losing Them (An interview)
Having released four full-length’s and three EP’s in the past eight years Crime in Stereo have become veterans of the Long Island hardcore scene. Despite tweaking their sound with each release the theme of life has never left. Throughout their songs stories of pain, anguish, success, loans, the conditions of America, love lost, and just about anything most people encounter remained the same.
What always drew me to the band was that their lyrics came from somewhere in their lives and there was no fabrication. The passion was matched by the fast-paced hardcore which eventually morphed into a slightly slower and more effect-based sound but as their music changed the message was still there.
With their latest release titled “I Was Trying To Describe You To Someone” the band reached a pinnacle in their careers where they could not make a better album, as the latest would be extremely hard to top. With that they decided it would be time to call it a day and move on but not before they would play two final shows one in Brooklyn and one in Long Island.
The last show was set for November 21st at Ethical Humanist Society which is where I got to speak with singer Kristian Hallbert prior to the start.
By the time the show had ended it was decided due to neighbor complaints and police presence forcing some 100 kids to be turned away at the door for reasons still unclear that another final show would be played before the year was up.
DTM: After putting out such a well-received record did you guys decide that it’s time to move on? Why break up now?
KH: To say in 8 years a lot of things get put to the side, when you’re in a band and your focus is to tour its your primary focus, its all you think about, you base everything in your life solely around that and it’s a matter of time before things cave in, we’ve had 8 wonderful years and I would do this until the day I die if I could but I cant, none of us can. It becomes a time where you start hurting yourself for your craft and that’s it kind where we were at, it’s heartbreaking it’s the end of my youth and one of the toughest things I had to decide but you know it’s really cool that the few remaining practices we had left were fun, we joked around, and rediscovered songs we haven’t played in years it was all and all an amazing time.
DTM: What kind of emotions are you going through right now knowing this is the last ever show for the band? Has it sunk in yet?
KH:I love this, I love the anticipation of just getting on the stage and just playing the show. I’ll tell you what, I was driving here (he mentions a loved one passed away last week) and it felt like I was driving to a funeral, there’s that pit in your stomach that kind of hurts and you get that nauseous type of feeling and that’s how I feel right now. We came to do this till the day we die but we can’t. At 28-years-old I got to grow up.
DTM: What inspired the cover for “I Was Trying To Describe You To someone”?
KH: With the record being titled what it was we were thinking of all these different cover ideas and the cover isn’t just the cover as you go through the booklet it’s each individual portrait of us as you go along getting more distorted. It’s kind of like saying you know we were never a band that fit to any genre we were never a band you could really describe outright, we are who we are, there was no beautiful artwork to say it, it was us that’s us.
DTM: Some people think that you having emergency jaw surgery earlier in the year was what caused the band to end is that accurate?
KH: It just kind of happened that way, me and Alex weeks before made the decision and then I had emergency surgery but it hasn’t affected my vocals whatsoever so I can continue to sing.
DTM: Do you think you’ve left your mark on Long Island hardcore? Is that something you take great pride in?
KH: Yes. More than you would ever know. To me that is something I would take away as something that I am extremely proud of.
DTM: Which Long Island bands inspired the band the most? Or bands in general?
KH: Silent Majority, Kill Your Idols and Millhouse.
DTM: Speaking of KYI since putting out that split with them how do you think the scene has changed in the last 8 years to when you first came around to what it is now.
KH: It’s very cyclic. It hasn’t changed really as much the people have changed the old leave and the young replace and so on and so forth. The music slightly changes but it’s the same meaning, technology changes but really it’s changed in the way that there are people not around that used to be around and there are venues not around that used to be it really hasn’t changed that much. There are bands touring, there are bands that just stay at home and play shows, there are weekend warriors, there are kids galore in Long Island. Other than people changing I would say it’s still very similar to how it was.
DTM: What’s next for the other guys and yourself personally?
KH: Me, Alex (guitar), Mike (original bassist), one of the guys from Latterman, and Gary are going to do a melodic hardcore band and me and Alex have like a more rock n roll melodic band together. When this becomes such a forefront in your life it’s kind of hard to walk away from it even if you try do.
DTM: Out of all the songs written do you have any favorites?
KH: Gravity Grace, Small Skeletal, and Drugwolf. You know going back and listening to “Explosives” that was the best part of this, that I re-learned so many songs from when we first started and it was like “wow these songs are mint”. Arson at 563, Compass And Square are very unique songs because it didn’t sound like anything but ourselves and I’m really proud of that.
DTM: What will you miss most about not being in Crime In Stereo?
KH: The innocence. It’s a very beautiful thing to be in a van with five of your friends traveling the world, it’s such a fucking beautiful feeling.
DTM: What were you favorite places to play or see? Was there any country that gave you a reaction that surprised you?
KH: Sydney, Australia (which we owe to Against Me! they were the ones who tapped us to come over with them which was pretty awesome because we wouldn’t have been able to do it any other way), Berlin, Germany, London, England. Internationally definitely has that air of “wow we’re far away from home it’s great”.
DTM: The band’s website had a blog and in the biog the topic of LOST came up a lot, what were your thoughts on the finale?
KH :I actually don’t want to talk about it, it was stressful I’m sorry. It was a big part of my life that ended and it’s really hard to go about it. It’s very similar to Crime in Stereo.
DTM: Are there any surprises on tonight’s setlist opposed to the show in Brooklyn?
KH: We’re just going to play a bunch of old songs that we never played before definitely ones we didn’t play in Brooklyn we have about 35 songs.
DTM: Any last words or closing thoughts to your fans and well-wishers?
KH: For one I really hope the show happens (the police arrived to the venue as the interview began), two I’ve never taken anything from this band and that’s why we started it and it means the world so thank you.