April 5, 2019 Interview – Ivy Crown
Copenhagen, Denmark’s Ivy Crown might be prepared to deliver their debut album in late 2019, but these ladies already know a lot about Rock-n-Roll. A phoenix that has arisen from the ashes of the all-female Punk band Taras, these hard rocking women have already toured Europe and had their own episode on Danish national television. Taking their previous experiences — including two standalone singles, 2017’s “Timeout” and “Enemy” — their myriad of musical influences, and shifting to a darker sound, Ivy Crown — Guitarist Natasja, Bassist Maria E, and Drummer Sara, along with new Vocalist Maria K — have built something that is uniquely their own, and they’re ready to deliver it to the world on the highly-anticipated Echo.
As these hard rocking ladies gear up to promote their epic debut, we recently had the chance to sit down with the band and discuss all facets of Echo. From writing and recording, to guest vocalists, musical influences, hopes for the future and more, the quartet provided us an excellent overview of Ivy Crown and Echo — two names you need to remember!
Cryptic Rock – Let’s start with the obvious: Is there significance to the band’s name, Ivy Crown?
Sara – So, basically, we rise from the ashes of our old band, Taras. When we started to write new songs, only Natasja and I, we just didn’t feel like Taras anymore and we felt we needed a fresh start. We brainstormed over a lot of names, and ended up liking Ivy Crown. “Ivy” because it had a nice feminine feeling in it, and “Crown” made it feel majestic.
Natasja – I think we agreed to be named Ivy Crown mostly because it sounded good, and then we felt there was something majestic and big about it.
Cryptic Rock – It definitely has a majestic feel to it and it grabs your attention. Now, invariably, anyone reading this will want to know how to classify the band Ivy Crown to get a feel for what kind of music you play. How would you self-describe your sound?
Maria K – We play Melodic Metalcore. Our songs are about a lot of different subjects and experiences. We hope that more people can relate to our sound and lyrics.
Cryptic Rock – Your music is definitely relateable. In fact, speaking of your upcoming debut album, why call it “Echo?”
Maria E – We wanted something from Copenhagen on our cover and found this awesome statue called “Echo” in Rosenborg Castle gardens.
Sara – The story goes that Echo was in love with Narcissus, who didn’t love her back. As punishment for his rejection, he came to love his own reflection in the water. Echo also got a punishment: she could only repeat the last word that was said to her. That reflects a lot of the energy and the meaning of the songs from the album.
Natasja – Since many of the songs are about a broken heart and moving forward in life, we think “Echo” fit perfectly. Besides that, echo is also a reverberation, and we hope that the album will have that effect on people when it is published.
Cryptic Rock – All excellent and intriguing points for the album’s title. As far as recording the record, what was it like in the studio writing and recording, and what lessons did you take away for the future?
Sara – We had a rough start with finding our new singer Maria K, and we needed to find our new sound. Luckily for us, we got to work with Chris Kreutzfeldt, who helped us piece everything together. He’s good at translating what our vision was into the music.
When we finally got that, it went pretty smooth. We learned, as well, that it’s good to write the songs, maybe even record them – and then leave them for a bit. After a little while, we would listen to them again to see if we were truly happy with the result. So, we had a more of an iterative process with going back and forth. We are a very democratic band, and we believe that working together makes our music even better.
Natasja – It was a nice process in the studio writing and recording. We came to the studio with some riffs and parts for a song, and together with Chris we created the songs one at a time. After recording the first couple of songs, we started to find the path we wanted, and I remember that we all were like “This shit is crazy!”
Chris was also quick to guide us towards the sound we all had in our heads, but couldn’t quite figure out. After some productive days in the studio, there would also be days where we got frustrated, and we had to try a little harder. What I have learned is that it must feel right for me and the band, we must connect with it and be proud of our songs.
Maria E – On our next album, we definitely wanna write a lot more of the songs where we practice, and play them a bit before going to the studio.
Maria K – I think we learned a lot, and we all got clearer about what we all really want with the album and what our sound really is.
Cryptic Rock – That’s wonderful that Chris really helped you to get the music where you wanted it, and then you worked together to fine-tune. Everyone being in-tune with one another really shows on the final production. Speaking of which, on Echo, it’s hard to pinpoint an exact musical influence — which is a great thing. That said, who are some of the band’s musical influences?
Sara – Bring Me the Horizon, Beartooth, While She Sleeps, Loathe, and our homeboys in Ghost Iris and MØL — two really cool bands from Denmark.
Natasja – Just to return to Chris Kreutzfeldt, he plays in a really cool band called Cabal, and we’re all pretty attracted to their style and the mood their music creates. Bring Me the Horizon is also a band we all like: some of us like the older albums and others are more into the new ones, but we are all attracted to the energy they bring.
Maria K – Well before I got into the band, I didn’t really listen to Metal or Rock. I was just a Pop girl, so all my inspiration was from Pop musicians. Then I started to listen to Slaves, Bring Me the Horizon, and Beartooth. They really got my attention and then I had the idea how it could translate into Ivy Crown.
Cryptic Rock – Those are all great bands, actually. Maria K, on several of the songs you growl and you have a phenomenally evil, animalistic “unclean” vocal. How do you decide when to toss that into to the mix and when to stick to melodic (“clean”) vocals?
Maria K – Well, when the music gets heavier with, for example, a breakdown, I take my chances to highlight my points in the songs. For example, in our song “Run,” I scream “I’m on the run!” You really have to understand that this is what I am doing, and it’s the whole point in this song.
Natasja – Maria E, Sara, and I tried to encourage and push Maria K into doing more and more growl. She had to learn it while we recorded the album. After we finished the songs, she was even better, and had to go back to the studio and re-record some of the songs again.
Cryptic Rock – Your encouragement really worked, because Maria K is wonderful with her growls and it adds a different texture to some of the songs. Now aside from her vocals, Echo features guest vocals from Kim Song Sternkopf, Jesper Gün, and Kadeem France. How did you decide to invite them to be a part of the record, and how did you go about selecting which song to match with each artist?
Sara – Each vocalist has their own style, and we felt that each vocalist could really add some new energy to the songs. So, we kind of matched them with the feeling of the song and collaborated with them about the lyrics, as well.
Natasja – When we had finished the instrumental parts for all the songs, we thought about which voices could fit in where, and we already knew Kim and Jesper and had a clear picture of their voices and their strengths. We are fans of Loathe, as well, and Kadeem’s voice. So, we took a chance to ask him if he wanted to be featured on our album — especially cause we basically gave him almost a whole song. We are very honored that he wanted to be a part of our album.
Cryptic Rock – Each of their voices gels with the band perfectly and brings that little something extra to the songs. Speaking of the songs, “Lonesome And Cold” is a phenomenal way to kick off a debut record, and you go deep into intelligent and insightful lyrics immediately. What inspired that song, in particular?
Sara – I feel like this song is particularly inspired by Natasja. The first riff is something that she wrote as a teenager and, luckily, she took the riff and made it Ivy Crown material.
Maria K – Natasja came up with the music, and asked if I could write about alcoholism. I just thought about the small things that I have experienced with friends and people around me, and just took it to a whole new level of the story.
Cryptic Rock – Well, the team effort paid off because it really kicks off the album well. On the album, lyrically, you touch on a lot of varying topics, from needing freedom to survive (“Run”) to heart break (“Rising”), to literally everything between. What inspires the band, lyrically speaking?
Maria K – I had a pretty rough time when I wrote the lyrics. So most of them have a twist of love and getting rejected by the ones you love. Then there are “Bad Dream,” “Not Who We Are,” and “Lonesome and Cold” that have different meanings. They are also really rough but they’re not about love, but bad experiences that some people have to deal with in life. “Not Who We Are” is about feeling lonely and sad, and feeling like nothing we do is right, ‘cause we are pretending to be something we’re not. That leads to something like depression, and then you medicate, and again feel a fake happiness; so it all continues in a negative direction. It’s a pretty rough album, with a pretty tough story.
Cryptic Rock – That’s okay, though. Pain and struggle are two of the most universally relateable subjects, right? Okay, so every band has goals or dreams. What are some of Ivy Crown’s hopes for the future?
Sara – We all have this big dream of playing shows in Japan. We once entered a contest for a Danish national TV broadcast where you could send in your dream and win money to make that dream come true. We were so close to winning — but we didn’t win. We still want to go to Japan, though. Additionally, we really want to play Copenhell, which is the biggest Metal festival in Denmark. We have a dream of playing in Iceland and the Faroe Islands, as well. It would be so cool to explore the North even more. Lastly, we hope to tour with some of the bands we are inspired by one day.
Cryptic Rock – Those are all great dreams! Now, something you didn’t mention, should North American fans expect to see you on our soil anytime soon?
Sara – We would love that! We don’t have any plans about America yet, and we are keeping our fingers crossed that we will have the opportunity to playing there one day. So many cool bands come from North America: Knocked Loose, Jesus Piece, Turnstile, Touche Amoré.
Cryptic Rock – We look forward to seeing Ivy Crown play North American soil soon, hopefully. In fact, what can we expect next from Ivy Crown in 2019?
Sara – Our debut album will be out in the fall and hopefully followed by a kick ass tour!
Maria K – You can expect a lot of new songs and an album in the end of 2019, with a few music videos. Also, we hope to play as many shows as possible.
Cryptic Rock – Waiting for the album to be released must have you ladies revved with excitement! To move away from the music for a moment, let’s discuss the fact that Ivy Crown is composed of all women. In America, the past year or so has been a huge time for female empowerment and the spotlight is finally being rightfully placed onto many talented and intelligent women. With this said, do you have any advice to young women who want to rock out and follow in Ivy Crown’s footsteps?
Sara – It’s not hard to start playing music, but it’s hard to keep doing it even when you feel you don’t get anywhere. So, make sure to make music with some great people that will support you and you support them. That’s when you will get the best results.
Natasja – If you are really passionate about making music, and you find someone who has the same goals as you, then just jump straight into it. Remember, as Sara always says, “If you have to sell the product with sex, then your product is not good enough.”
Maria E – Don’t be afraid of standing out. People still tend to belittle us because we are women, but you just have to trust your talent and go for it. Also, it’s a nice thing to ally with other women so you can have each other’s back.
Maria K – Just do it! Follow your dream! There is no difference between the genders if you want to play some heavy music — and the same with everything else! If you really dream about it, don’t let anything stop you. There’s a lot of people who will believe in you if you go all in!
Cryptic Rock – All excellent advice! Last question. Cryptic Rock covers music as well as movies, particularly Horror and Science Fiction. Are you a fan of Horror and/or Sci-Fi and, if so, what are some of your favorite Horror/Sci-Fi films?
Sara – I once watched The Conjuring (2013) and cried when it ended. I really liked it, but it really got me.
Natasja – I like The Texas Chainsaw Massacre (1974).
Maria E – I personally like Cloverfield (2008), and my all-time favorite Horror movie is Sinister (2012).
Maria K – I must admit that I’m really more the love story movie type; I’m not the big fan of Horror or Sci-Fi. But, well, I guess I’m maybe gonna change my mind when we are on tour — Sara always talks about American Horror Story! (Laughs)
Band photo credit: Sebastian Stigsby Photography