INTERVIEW: Rogue of The Cruxshadows

By Kim Mercil with an Introduction By Mike Ventarola

Chain Border

I first learned of The Cruxshadows the same way many others had. There was a unique track called Monsters on a compilation some years back and the haunting elements simply wouldn’t release its tight grip on the psyche. After discovering that the band had work on Mp3, I made a publicity pitch to the band, thinking that the email was actually going to the band directly like with other artists. Instead, the mail went to label owner Patrick Rodgers of Dancing FerretDiscs fame. After much discussion, Rodgers was confident enough that the passion from Hidden Sanctuary would be a good place to obtain exposure for a number of bands on the DF label. Since their inclusion, The Cruxshadows have had countless tracks added to CD-R promotional compilations that have gone around the world a few times over, with the label’s permission, as a means of giving them and the rest of the Hidden Sanctuary artists a bit of exposure.

The irony is that there have been a team of dark clad gnomes working tirelessly for years to bring The Cruxshadows and many of the Dancing Ferret artists to the forefront of the underground attention. Out of all the NY “gnomes,” interviewer Kim Mercil has had the good fortune to chat with Rogue a few times when the band toured New York. Kim is also a relentless gal who hunts down an interview, making everyone jump hoops for her to make it happen. Thankfully, her relentless spirit came to fruition as she was able to finally pin Rogue down long enough between shows to obtain her coveted interview.

Enjoy the interview because the band is getting busier than ever, touring everywhere imaginable and it is only a matter of time before the rest of the world catches up with what those of us in the underground have discovered with this band years earlier!

KM: The English dictionary defines: Crux- a crucial/vital moment or central feature. Shadow- the rough image cast by an object blocking rays of illumination. I tried putting the two together to see how it would fit, but instead of me wracking my brain figuring it out…what is the significance of the name "The Cruxshadows?"

The CruxshadowsRogue: Well, that isn't the only definition of crux...it is the Latin word for "cross."  Our English usage of the word being derived from the idea of the crossing point...anyway, cross plus shadow equals "shadow of the cross."  That is its literal meaning...you are familiar with the band's logo? Well, the symbol for our band is a cross (a tribar eastern orthodox cross to be precise) with a field of light on one side and a field of dark on the other.

What is important here is the idea of exclusion...or outsiders...because when all is flooded with light the cross will still render a shadow; a place the light can't reach. Unfortunately it is mankind's tendency towards intolerance to eliminate or dismiss all who are different, or "unworthy."

During the crucifixion of Christ, the people who stood in the shadow of the cross were effectively the most loyal and, in a sense, special of his followers.  This is despite the fact that they were outcast from society...they were women, prostitutes, tax collectors, and beggars; quite literally the underclass in Jewish and Roman culture. Yet they were able to succeed in something that the "stronger" more accepted classes failed in.   So what does this have to do with us...?  Well cruxshadow being a word of my own design, I attached to it the meaning of those "who are made outsiders by society, but who through their actions or ideas, become true insiders." Or more succinctly stated: the subset of the outsider.   In mathematical terms a subset is one that is contained within, yet does not contain the larger set as a whole.  If you again look at the CXS symbol, you will see two concentric circles which references this idea...that the outsiders are in essence, closer to the center. I know all of this sounds ridiculously complicated...but you brought it up...

CruxshadowsKM: In the beginning it seemed "Bella Morte" and "The Cruxshadows" were neck and neck in popularity. In your opinion, how do you feel "The Cruxshadows" were able to retain the top spot and remain there for years after?

R:  We tour more than any one else on earth...well, anyone we know of...but touring, advertising, and producing new music help keep us in the public eye. We're not in competition with other bands, and Bella Morte is an act we are very fond of and wish the utmost success to.  People think we're rivals or something...actually we're good friends.

KM: How does it feel to be considered the most popular darkwave band in the world?

R: I had not really looked at things that way.  But now that you mention it...are we the most popular darkwave band in the world?  I guess that's kinda cool...

KM: How did it come about that The Cruxshadows won the 2001 best Revelations band award?

R: People voted for us...I guess.  I'm not really sure how we got the distinction, or what it means...but we have a very loyal fan base, and they work hard to see that the CXS name is out there.  We appreciate all the people that have voted for us.

KM: Who makes the decisions on which bands The Cruxshadows collaborate with?

R:  Depends.  Sometimes we decide, sometimes the label does.  It's just one of those things where you never know...

KM: When I saw The Cruxshadows perform at Albion-Batcave in NYC, Rogue, I dubbed you the gothic spiderman. Why do you prefer roaming all around as opposed to remaining on the stage?

R: I think it makes the show more interesting and it breaks down the imaginary walls that often separate the audience from the performers. People like it and it's fun for me...

KM: How was your experience opening for The Cure in Germany?

R: It was a lot of fun, but our exposure to The Cure was fairly limited.  At one point, while back stage, these guys came walking through the rear stage area with two lines of police line tape.  We and the other bands, techs, etc. were instructed by guys the size of pro wrestlers to get on one side of the tape.  Robert Smith walked down the center, and then the tape was rolled up.   It was a little surreal, and it reminded me of Les' imaginary office on WKRP in Cincinnati.

KM: The Cruxshadows performed abroad in over 75 different countries. Which country gave you the most/least reception to your music?

R: Did you say 75 different countries???  Well, it was not quite that many....I think you meant 75 foreign shows...I don't have any idea but it was not that many countries.  We played throughout most of Europe. I think the best reception is without a doubt Germany; worst reception....hmmm, we were harassed by Polish border guards and they held us up for 8 hours or so.  It was my birthday too. I'd call them fascists, but they seemed to be more similar to communists.

KM: You recently did a show in Philadelphia on August 14th. How did your fans react to the new material from Wishfire?

R: The response to Wishfire has been really phenomenal.  It  has generated more attention than any of our previous releases.  Hopefully things will continue this way, but for right now, we're just enjoying the attention.

KM: How did you come up with the title Wishfire?

RogueR: CXS has a lot of its own mythology. Reoccurring characters tie the albums together and give a framework to the music and its direction.  Some of these characters are from history, others from myths and even some from a few of my stranger dreams.  Wishfire is such a character, and it seemed like a fitting name for the album.  He is central to the cycle of transgression, pride, understanding, and forgiveness that lies at the heart of the CD.

KM: Wishfire is an utterly amazing piece of musical work and I feel it is your best material thus far. How do you rate Wishfire amongst your other CDs?

R:  Thanks.  We like it too.  It's hard to rate your own material, but I have found that the farther you get away from albums, the more you wish you could go back and fix things. So my favorites are usually the most recent.   We put a lot of work into this one and I am really happy that it has been so well received.

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