We love Castrovalva. The sheer madness of their songs, the never ending stream of pounding beats and that vocal approach that screams “Victorian Era mental patient treatment gone wrong”. Their first album was a right kick in the eardrums, the newest one, You are not in hell you are in purgatory my friend not only kicks yer eardrums, but goes to places you didn’t know could be kicked.
Yes, I’m a fan. So I relished this chance to send my silly questions to them and they were courteous enough to answer while on tour with Nine Black Alps:
Hi, you unholy “Trio de fascinerosos”. I absolutely adore the madness of your music and I really would like to know the following things about Castrovalva:
Leemun: hit me
The album title You are not in hell, you are in purgatory my friend. Is it worse to be in purgatory than hell? How do you know?
Leemun: I don’t think anyone would know haha.. But reading up on them both Purgatory sounds more scary!! Just in a place of nothing!!. Would just fuck you up, atleast in hell you will have someone to talk to.
Dan: as an over thinker who gets bored of his own company real easy. I couldn’t think of anything worse than purgatory.
Your sound is a bit more refined (sharp!) but still has that aggressiveness. What drove this evolution?
Leemun: Higher taxes and no jobs haha.. No but really I don’t know the whole writing thing is like a stew, add in some water (melody), veg (high vocals), oxo ( shouting real talk) and BEEF!! (Just punch you’re face riffs). I have already wrote the next Castrovalva project so when me, Dan and Ant get together we will look through the riffs and melodies and make something even more crazier then this album.
I love all your videos (although I always stop eating after ‘Señorita’). From all the videos you’ve released, which one was the funniest to make?
Leemun: Maybe ‘In Our Prime’ just our friend Joe dancing around like a fucking crazy man!! But trust me that’s how he dances!. NO LIE. He was so professional and gave us his best moves :) although after the video was out I think he deleted his Facebook haha.
Dan: For me the most fun was ‘Donut’. It was pretty standard filming it but the last 10 seconds of footage involved us sitting in a paddling pool being drenched with slime like some 90s kids show. Because it felt so bad we all wanted to shower up straight away, but the studio only had one shower. We all just piled in together. You know who your friends are when they scrub slime off your back.
You’ve got t-shirts, vinyls, tapes, record player mats. What’s next in the minds of Castrovalva regarding merch?
Leemun: We have always been that band to do a lot of merch, We would have a new tee every 4 months! We also have Castrovalva shoes! No lie haha. We will think up more ideas soon :) we really want some Castrovalva donut keyrings done.. Maybe some donut underwear haha.
Dan: We should totally do some fridge magnets.
You’re drums, bass, samples and heavy MC-ing. Any plans for extra instruments or will you remain a three piece?
Leemun: Just a three piece :) it would just be really weird having an extra guy, me and Dan wanted a session guy in on keys and samples for live shows but Ant wasn’t feeling it. So it will just stay Bass, Drums, Keys and Vocals.
Dan: yeah I think the fact it’s always been us, It would just be a little too strange with anyone else. A lot of our songs talk about friendships which is something very important to us. It’s the one think that makes this work so well… Although We had someone who joined on keys for 2 shows when we first introduced them. But it never really worked.
I always enjoyed ‘Bison Scissor Kick’, but I gotta ask: is he your fave character on Street Fighter?
Dan: I always mix it up when we play Street Fighter now. Most of my regulars just don’t cut it. Like on the new Street Fighter vs Tekken I’m all about Zangief. However, in the original Street Fighter games he was total bullshit.
Let’s talk lyrics. Any particular story behind ‘In our prime’ and ‘Señorita’? How about ‘Dining with the pope’ or ‘Blood of an Englishman (fe fi fo fum)’.
Leemun: ‘In Our Prime’ – well it was all going well for us and I got a little cocky and started a lot of beefs with bands and Artists, a lot of ‘i’ll stab you’ talk was happening and in the chorus I say don’t be a pussy.. No shanks no sleepers just one on one just beats. Basically if you can’t fight like a man just give up.
‘Señorita’ was about a girl my first love when I was 15 she basically wasn’t supportive, like more girls at that age. She was the girl of my dreams but I didn’t need that shit.
‘Dining with pope’ is about the Vatican and how corrupt that place is.. But I would get in trouble talking about that haha, I’m just really not a fan of gods right hand men.
‘Blood of an Englishman’ is a mind of a killer! Watched a bit of Dead man shoes and got to writing about that.
Any tour plans in the immediate future? Any chance you plan to cross the pond? You’d hit it big with quite a few Mexican colleagues.
Leemun: Our UK tour with Nine Black Alps starts this week. Can’t wait!
Dan:We are doing the UK again in December, hopefully we’d love to get across to you, If anyone’s willing to put us on well be happy to play it.but other than that were currently thinking about our next release.
Last but not least (help me settle a bet here…): The name Castrovalva comes from the M.C. Escher painting, the actual city or a Doctor Who episode with a dopey celery-wearing dude?
Dan: M.C Escher… Although his print is based on the actual city… So unless you put money on dopey celery dude. You should win.
Random question: you are stuck in The Royal Armouries when the Zombie apocalypse breaks. What is the weapon of choice for each member of Castrovalva?
Dan: They did an aliens exhibit recently, so if there’s a pulse rifle there I’m all about that. Other than that a standard samurai sword. You don’t fuck with the zombie classics.
Words: Sam J. Valdés López
All images from Castrovalva‘s Facebook page. Become a fan!
Massive thanks to Simon Glacken for sorting this interview.