Q&A with Ralf Dietel of Krashkarma

Anyone remember powerhouse industrial metal bands like Thrill Kill Kult and Stabbing Westward back in the day? Krashkarma sure does and has become torchbearers for the style. In advance of the band's three-night-stand in Colorado (Saturday, October 31 at Union Station in Colorado Springs, Sunday, November 1 at Hodi's Half Note in Fort Collins, and Tuesday, November 3 at Cervantes'), we had a chance to catch up with frontman Ralf Dietel to talk about stuff like his epic dreadlocks and the band's various adventures in bringing it's brand of rock to the masses. Read the full interview after the jump.

Westword (Dutch Seyfarth): How long has your band been together?

Ralf Dietel: The band started under the name Suicide Holiday in 2005. We changed some band members and the band name in January 2009 to Krashkarma.

WW: Where did the name KrashKarma come from?

RD: It is a reflection of the duality that the band represents: heavy male vocals mixed with melodic female vocals. While everything coexists in a strange harmony and is ready to explode at anytime!

WW: How long has your band been an active touring band?

RD: The band started in 2005 in Los Angeles but the first shows were played all over the country. So the band has been touring actively from the get. We have independently booked 15 national tours and also rocked Germany and Africa.

WW: Your band has made big use of YouTube and other sites to promote your music, tours, even selling your old tour van. That has to take a lot of time to do all that. Are you seeing the payoff from all of the time your band has invested in all of that?

RD: Yes, a lot of people find us everyday on the internet. It takes a while, and sometimes you forget that you put something out there and all of a sudden people hit you up at shows or via MySpace or Facebook and tell you how much they love a certain video. I feel like a fisherman, and every video is a hook that's swimming somewhere in the internet sea, pointing towards our webpage.

WW: Speaking of YouTube, your band seems to make music videos for a lot of your songs every album. Do you have outside help in producing all of those videos?

RD: Yes, we have friend who is always working on us on all the videos. He has a great camera and has awesome ideas. Together we come up with the location, story or whatever the song demands, and him or I edit the video until everyone likes it.

WW: How long have you been growing out your dreads? Is it difficult to maintain? Do any of your band members ever try to mess with your hair?

RD: I've let my dreads grow for thirteen years now. But every time when it grows over the belt line I trim it. You don't want your hair to get in the line of fire! Our guitar player Zak sometimes uses one of my dreads on stage as a guitar pick to play a guitar solo.

WW: What is the single most ridiculous thing that has ever happened while on tour?

RD: When we were on tour last march we had four blow outs on the way to Austin. Four flat tires in less than one day, all at different times!!! That was ridiculous. Our final blow out left us stranded at 2 a.m. somewhere in the Middle of Nowehere, Texas. We had to get towed to the next town, where we stayed in the van until the shop opened and raped us for a new tire that we had no choice but to buy, being it was the only place in the town that sold tires!

WW: Your band incorporates a ton of industrial metal sound elements to your studio recordings. Are there any challenges on stage replicating the various parts of the studio recordings? Or does the band interpret your studio songs differently live?

RD: When we put a song on stage, we try to be as close as possible to the recording; we are NOT playing to a backing track and keep everything organic. All of our industrial sounds come from a sampler pad that Niki, our drummer, controls. Onstage, you don't have overdubs! We have sweat, lights, and blood live interpretation of our recorded songs.

WW: Your band has played Colorado a few times so far. Are there any memorable stories from past visits to the Rocky Mountain State?

RD: When we were touring Colorado in February with our old '78 Dodge van and we almost froze to death -- it was literally a "suicide mission." Our tires had no tread left, the heater wasn't working and the insulation was gone. We had sixty mile-per-hour cross winds, zero visibility and it was snowing through the cracks of our doors. We had to buy duct tape to seal them shut. We were fighting to get to the freeway before they shut them down. We were all at the edge of our seat fearing that any breath could be our last as we wound through Wyoming and into Colorado. We filled old plastic bottles with hot water at gas stations and put them in our boots and in between our legs; somehow we arrived at the venue alive to rock an awesome show!

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