Please tell us about the history of your band and its members.
The concept for Crafteon most likely originated with a trip to the bookstore as a young man in high school. On that day I purchased a collection of H.P. Lovecraft stories, and while I had always been attracted to works dealing with horror, evil, and the occult, I’d never came across an author that actuated such an ambivalence in the reader—a simultaneous sense of both dread and wonder. I was immediately hooked. In fact, I suppose reading Lovecraft as a teenager engendered a kind of addiction or dependency with the stories in which I needed to be “unnerved” to sleep to each night with the particular and disconcerting enigmas that can only be found in Lovecraft’s weird tales. This craving still persists, even fifteen years after first picking up a copy of his work.
Moving toward the idea of Crafteon here, when I had started playing guitar seriously, I decided that I wanted to interpret Lovecraft’s stories in my own way. That meant trying to capture his unique atmosphere of trepidation, mystery, and horror all within a melody, which was a daunting task. After writing a couple of songs, I fell into a groove, and the project somehow transformed into a full album. I ultimately got around to asking a few close friends check it out, and they encouraged me to put together a live band. Recruiting from the local Denver scene, I quickly found the right band members, who now go under the stage names of Rhagorthua (drums), Fthaggua (lead guitar), and Ithaqua (bass). I’ll share a little about each of them.
I had the easiest time convincing Rhagorthua to join Crafteon. He had already been drumming for my power metal band (which is currently on a recording hiatus), and as Rhagorthua and I shared similar musical interests in the extreme genres, he hopped aboard immediately. Currently, he plays drums for two other Colorado metal bands, Sceptres and Sculptures of Rust.
As for Fthaggua, he was a guy I had already known for several years in the Denver metal scene. While he mostly had experience with bands of the more melodic variety, he was interested in playing lead guitar for Crafteon, and it was a rather smooth process bringing him over to the dark side. Fthaggua is a complete go-getter, and he is a leader as much as he is a talented guitar player. Also, he leads an extraordinarily active life. When he isn’t playing in Crafteon, he’s either working as a fireman, attending national airsoft operations, or playing guitar for other musical projects.
Lastly, I met Ithaqua through a mutual friend, and a year prior to Crafteon’s conception as a live band, I had watched Ithaqua play live at the Summit Music Hall in his doom metal band, Thorns of Acanthus. His songwriting talent and overall stage presence completely impressed me, so it was a no-brainer when he asked me about playing bass for Crafteon.
While it sounds like the process for forming a live band went smoothly, I did run into a lot of trouble while trying to procure a dedicated vocalist. Several people did show serious interest in the band, and one person in particular even went so far as to record scratch tracks and write some of his own lyrics. Alas, it didn’t pan out for him or any other possible vocalist in the end, so after a year and a half of wasted time, I finally decided to take on the vocals myself out of frustration. I’d never attempted harsh vocals before, but after taking inspiration from a variety of my favorite vocalists in black metal, I eventually developed an approach that I believe fits with Crafteon’s style.
How would you describe your style? Which bands influenced your music?
Well, firstly, our debut album Cosmic Reawakening is based on eight short stories from Lovecraft which I took right from my own personal bookshelf. From the onset of writing for this album, I’m not sure that I was entirely fixated on writing specifically in the style of black metal, but gradually I discovered that the conventions of black metal aligned perfectly with the atmosphere of Lovecraft’s tales. As for the bands that influenced the music, at the time I was listening to a lot of Swedish bands like Dissection, Bathory, Shining, and Dark Funeral. I may also add that a couple long-time influences would be those bands I fell in love with in high school, which are Iron Maiden and early Cradle of Filth. You might hear a little of either band emerging through on some of these tracks.
Why should a metalhead buy your demos/albums?
Of course readers who happen to be fans of both Lovecraft and black metal will have no problem getting into Crafteon, but for readers who are a little unfamiliar with our themes, I think they will find a refreshing blend of Swedish-style black metal and traditional heavy metal influences.
As for “buying” the album, I should note that upon the album’s release, we will be making the digital version available for free on Bandcamp—so readers should know that they don’t need to spend money in order to listen to Cosmic Reawakening. Besides, it seems pointless to ask for money with something that can be easily streamed for free on YouTube or Spotify. Nevertheless, for those interested in a physical copy, I will say the artwork and layout is outstanding, and the CD booklet itself is worth thumbing through. We actually had the artist Mark Wesley Foster paint individual pieces for each song based on the stories themselves, and our friend Travis Boylls incorporated several elegant fonts into the layout that were available from the H.P. Lovecraft Historical Society. I highly suggest picking up a physical copy purely to enjoy the art. Additionally, our Bandcamp page should have t-shirts, patches, and posters available for sale by the time this interview is published. I will include the link below.
What have you released so far and how were your releases received by the public/media?
We just released a lyric video for the single “What the Moon Brings,” a track from the album based on Lovecraft’s short story of the same name. I am grateful that my friend Austin Bentley was able to create an exceptional video using the original album artwork from Nikolai Skochev while putting his own artistic spin on the presentation of the lyrics. So far, the response has been overwhelmingly positive.
Do you play live as well? How's your live activity so far?
Our mini-tour of the Midwest will begin upon the release of this album. At this moment in time, we have five shows booked across Colorado, Wyoming, and Utah. We hope to add more dates, and of course we would love to land a spot on some of the black/death festivals going on in 2017 and 2018. For any readers interested in attending a show, they can check out the “Events” section on our official Facebook page, linked below.
What should labels/zines/promoters know about your band? Why should they be interested in it?
While I believe the music itself certainly has its own unique flavor, I think what sets Crafteon apart from the average black metal band today is the thematic approach. The genre is admittedly surfeited with bands using themes of Satanism, paganism, and the occult, so I think the Lovecraft mythos is a welcome but still familiar theme. The lyrics are written in a bardic format, retelling my favorite Lovecraft stories through an emotional narrative that invites listeners on an imaginative journey which ultimately strives to create the impression of strange bewilderment and cosmic dread.
What plans do you have for the near future as a band?
For now we are focused on generating buzz and building recognition with as many new fans as possible, which requires we continue to play shows to promote our music to the world. Keeping the future in mind, we are also writing songs for the next album, which of course will continue to be centered on the works of H.P. Lovecraft.
Where can we listen to your band and where can we buy your stuff?
A lyric video for our current single “What the Moons Brings” can be accessed on YouTube: https://youtu.be/Pb7-9mleQRk
The album and other band merch can be purchased on Bandcamp: https://crafteon.bandcamp.com/releases
To follow Crafteon, readers can like our official Facebook page here: https://www.facebook.com/crafteon/
Thank you so much to any readers who took the time to check this out, and also much thanks to Pest for allowing us the opportunity to share a little bit about ourselves and the music we enjoy creating. Cheers!