Crystal Castles is an electronic music band from Toronto, Ontario consisting of producer Ethan Kath and vocalist Alice Glass. Crystal Castles are known for their their chaotic live shows and Kath's remixes for a number of groups. They have been described as "the kind of music that you just want to follow like a cult, or hate, with every fibre of your being."
Crystal Castles, named after She-Ra's fortress in the sky, formed in December 2003 as a project started by Ethan Kath. In April 2005, Alice Glass recorded vocals for five original instrumentals by Kath. The band's first single was recorded "accidentally": a microphone test by Glass was released through MySpace as "Alice Practice" in September 2005. Glass was not aware that it had been used until record companies heard the song and contacted the duo to offer them record deals.
Crystal Castles have headlined numerous tours in Europe, USA, Australia, and Japan. They have played many festivals including Ireland's Oxegen Festival (2009), Heineken Open'er Festival 2009 in Gdynia, Poland and the Reading and Leeds Festivals in England, August 2007 and were set to play the CMJ Festival October 2007. and also headlined Vice Magazine's UK tour in November 2007 called Unitaur, which also featured These New Puritans, and The Teenagers.
In May 2008, Crystal Castles headlined the UK's NME New Noise tour.
Crystal Castles performed at the Glastonbury Festival in June 2008, where the on-stage antics of Glass which included her climbing the stage rigging and constantly stage-diving, led to the organisers curtailing their set. Crystal Castles toured with Nine Inch Nails in dates across July and August 2008.
Crystal Castles also played various European summer festivals including England's Reading & Leeds Festivals. They were expected to return to the UK in September 2008 for a headlining tour but had to cancel due to recording commitments. The band also played Connect 2008 and in October they played at the Iceland Airwaves festival. Over Halloween they played another rather dramatic gig in LA that involved Alice Glass wrecking the drum kit
Their current live drummer is Christopher Robin. On August 5, 2009 at the Molson Amphitheatre, Toronto, Ontario Canada; Christopher Robin was introduced as the drummer for Crystal Castles to play alongside Danny Carey of Tool for the song "Lateralus" on Tool's 2009 mini summer tour.
In late 2008, "Air War" was used by Toshiba in an advert for their latest range of High Definition products. The advert features freeze-frame techniques inspired by the "bullet-time" filming methods seen in the The Matrix. The advert won numerous awards, including a Guinness World Record, and was shown on television as well as in cinemas. "Through the Hosiery" was featured in the sandbox shooter video game Saints Row 2.
In mid-2008, Crystal Castles were involved in two controversies related to artwork permissions and samples in their earliest unreleased songs. Pitchfork Media and the Torontoist blog published stories about Crystal Castles' use of Trevor Brown's artwork without permission. The image, depicting a black-eyed Madonna, was used by the band on merchandise. The issue was resolved after the band bought the rights to use the image from Brown.
Also, in one of Kath's earliest, unreleased demos, he incorporated a sample without permission; the track was released on the MySpace page of the label, Lies Records, without credit to the original sampled song. The track, "Insecticon (CC vs Lo-Bat Version)", uses clips chopped out of a song by Lo-bat called "My Little Droid Needs a Hand" (released under a Creative Commons license). Another track called "Love and Caring", samples the kick and snare from Covox's "Sunday" (less than 1 second when put together). Pitchfork published an article in defense of the band, saying that the band had never released the songs nor performed them and thus were not responsible for breaking the Creative Commons licensing on the songs.
Crystal Castles' music is easily recognized by their heavy use of samples and distorted female vocals. Crystal Castles does not in fact use a modified keyboard with an Atari 5200 sound chip as an oscillator, as it is frequently claimed. Their musical style has been described as follows: "ferocious, asphyxiating sheets of warped two-dimensional Gameboy glitches and bruising drum bombast pierce [the] skull with sheer shrill force, burrowing deep into the brain like a fever".
- Magic Spells (2008) (Directed by Videomarsh, who created the special effects of a cinder block smashing someone's skull)
- Courtship Dating (2008) (Directed by Marc Pannozzo)
- Crimewave (2008) (Fan video released as the official video including live footage and clips from the Bruce LaBruce film "Otto")
Singles and EPs
- Alice Practice 7" EP (June 1, 2006) – Merok Records (ME002)
- Limited edition of 500 copies. Sold out in three days.
Biography from Wikipedia