Next Thursday, December 9th, Warehouse on Watts will be hosting an alternative holiday celebration presented by Spellbound and DJSC, Dark Holiday Volume 1, a goth/industrial party featuring live performances from Bootblacks, Void Vision, Wingtips, and Crash Cathedral. I recently got a chance to chat with Void Vision (AKA Shari Vari) and Jason and Will of Crash Cathedral, all of whom are Philthy-based, about their music and just what can be expected of Dark Holiday Volume 1.
Izzy Cihak: You’re both going to be playing Warehouse On Watts next week with Bootblacks. What can be expected of the live experience from each of you? Anything you’d tell Bootblacks fans to get there a little early and check out your sets?
Shari Vari: I think my live experiences are better than my albums in a lot of ways. I like to perform extended versions of songs and there are a lot of newer songs I play live that haven’t been released yet. There’s a very fresh one I wrote a few weeks ago in this upcoming set. I’m also highly entertaining/embarrassing when I’m drunk so… not to be missed!
Jason Duarte: You can expect lots of fog… and our very heartfelt attempt to blend mainstream pop and the goth, industrial, and darkwave influences we hold near and dear. This is our first show and couldn’t ask for a more intimidating lineup to be on!
Izzy: What are your thoughts on W.O.W., if you’ve been there before? I haven’t, but I always thought of it as more of a DJ/dance party space, so I was a little surprised to see a like real “concert” happening there.
Jason: Warehouse is the best venue in Philadelphia, period. I’ve been booking shows there for a while, the concept I always had in mind was to evoke the best parts of Hacienda (at least the parts I’ve read about…) along with the things I love so much about the NYC scene – really turning that room into a unique space to experience a killer lineup. The staff and management do an amazing job helping to elevate each show and I am always excited about the opportunity to work with them.
Shari: I’ve played there once before and it was fun! I enjoy dance party/club spaces and warehouse parties and I think my music fits well there since it’s all electronic-based, danceable, and I’m a solo performer. I haven’t witnessed a full band at W.O.W. yet but the Bootblacks and Wingtips always put on a great show!
Izzy: On a related note, since you are both local, what are some of your favorite spots around the city, whether to play or just to hang? Anywhere you think deserves a little more recognition, or would you rather keep your favorite spots to yourself?
Jason: I think Warehouse is absolutely a gem of a venue that sometimes gets overlooked as a really cool spot to experience live music – outside of that, you can usually find me at the Applebee’s on Aramingo Ave. Definitely need to shoutout the homies who run Shadowplay, A Black Celebration, DJSC, Deviant Dance Party, Great Circles etc. for finding spaces all around the city to throw awesome parties.
Shari: Unfortunately I don’t think there are many good mid-sized local venues to choose from in Philly, especially now that Covid caused some of them to close their doors. The Dolphin and Ruba Club are fun spots for dance parties… I’m a little out of the loop though.
Izzy: I have to admit, there’s not a ton of information available about Void Vision or Crash Cathedral online, so I’m curious if there’s anything that you’d like people to know about you, whether relating to your background or your aim as artists?
Shari: I guess I’d like people to know that my ultimate goal as an artist is to one day be very rich and famous and have my face on a cereal box. My other goal is to make music that doesn’t suck, if possible.
Jason: We’re not a pop band, but we’re also not-not a pop band.
Will: That’s a great catch, tbh, we kind of did that intentionally. We feel like with keeping that certain level of anonymity, in turn we’ll get the most unbiased reaction to our music as possible. In other words, it’s hard to put a face to the music that way. With what we play it’s very forward facing, especially now more than ever, so as cliche as this sounds, we truly want what we’re doing musically and aesthetically to do the talking and give as little of ourselves away without the art as possible.
Izzy: What would you each consider to be your most significant influences, both musical and otherwise? (Sometimes non-musical influences tend to be the more interesting ones…)
Shari: I guess my biggest influence is my severely crippling depression and intense perpetual awareness that any second could be my last. I’m also highly inspired by cinematic soundscapes/soundtracks, classical music, experimental music, ancient synthesizers and the history of electronic music, personal experiences, psychology, the psychic realm, surrealism, and (because I have synesthesia) I’ve always been drawn to the intersection of visual information and sound.
Will: You can probably hear it in our music, but we’re inspired by anything from dark pop, R&B, Goth/industrial, hardcore/post hardcore, and metalcore mainly. Without getting too heavy handed in our backgrounds, we’ve all done our time playing in these genres, so it’s been really great combining all of these influences together to create Crash Cathedral. Films are a major part for me with the writing. Dystopian sci fi is incredibly inspiring, as well as romantic dramas. We lean into heavier themes in our music, even if we ourselves aren’t the darkest people, but we draw from those darker experiences we’ve had to create our music. We’re not art snobs but I’d be lying if I said certain moods set by art pieces or the feng shui of a room can really get a certain mood going when we’re writing. It’s almost as important as experience to draw from in my eyes.
Izzy: Have you had any favorite reactions to your music, whether things that you thought were particularly on-point or just particularly amusing?
Shari: I am always amazed by people’s reactions to my work. They seem to connect deeply and send me amazing stories all the time. One person told me my music cured their tinnitus! Other people tell me my music has helped them through severe depressions. One of the most surprising and touching moments was when a fan sent me an extremely expensive Moog Voyager as a gift and told me all they wanted in return was for me to use it to make a new album! I still can’t get over that one.
Jason: I stopped caring about reactions to our music after my old roommate compared us to Linkin Park… but I’ve really enjoyed how polarizing some of our tracks have been. We’ve gotten praise from some people that we collectively look up to, and for everyone who “misses the point” of what we’re doing, there seems to be someone who gets it. Most importantly, we have finally “figured it out”, which is going to lead to a lot of really ambitious music in the coming months.
Izzy: For those who might not yet be familiar with your work, do you have a song that you think best represents you as an artist, or one that you’re most proud of, that you would encourage people to check out before coming out to the show?
Shari: I suppose my most well-known track would be “Sour” as it was used in a Netflix documentary. Also “The Source,” “Hidden Hand,” and “Body Says.” But they’re all good, duhhh…
Jason: I think “Fangs” is the song that best encompasses what Crash Cathedral is about, but I think we stand by all of our (very limited) catalog as really pushing and exploring some of the spaces between pop and “goth” music in a way that is authentic to us. We’re a very young band (Dec 9th is actually our first live show outside of a session for SPIN Magazine earlier this year.) and I couldn’t be more proud of the risks that we take musically to push ourselves forward.
Izzy: You’ve each been active in 2021, or at least as active as artists can be with everything that’s going on. What have been some of the highlights of the year for you, regarding your musical projects?
Shari: I haven’t played many shows during the pandemic, but Coldwaves Fest Chicago was certainly a highlight, as well as the show I played with Front 242 in NY recently. Besides that, I’ve mainly been focusing on writing and recording.
Izzy: Since we’re nearing the end of the year, I feel like I have to ask about your favorite music of 2021. Has there been any music to drop or live performances you got to see that left a particularly good impression on you?
Shari: My current obsession is with Ioanna Gika’s solo work, and her older band IO Echo. I go through weird phases with music and half the time I feel like I don’t even know what’s going on in the music scene. My brain is always tuned to its own weird frequency on another planet.
I haven’t been out much in the last year or so, but I’ve been pretty impressed with NYC artist Rare DM. I would also recommend Bustie, Pixel Grip, Spike Hellis, NNHMN, Lingua Ignota, The Model, Patriarchy, Gel Set, Pelada… and as always ADULT. and Xeno and Oaklander are forever in my playlist rotation, and both have new albums.
Jason: Kiss Of The Whip, Confines, Kontravoid, Lunacy, Plack Blaugue, Ces Cadavres, Twin Tribes, Spike Hellis, Panther Modern, everything on Funeral Party, every single Synthicide party, CHVRCHES, Child of Night, Hallows, Actors, Body of Light, Vision Video, Catherine Moan, all of the amazing stuff coming out on Recluse Records, HEALTH, Korine, Lunacy, Trace Amount… the list goes on.
Izzy: Finally, what are you each hoping and planning for 2022? Anything you’re especially excited about?
Shari: In 2022 I’m hoping to release new music and videos, and I’ve been collaborating with a few other artists on their projects. I’ll be playing some live shows in the US and Europe as part of NightNight and working on some music and videos for Philadelphia’s The Model, among others. Stay tuned!
Jason: Lots of shows coming up booking for Spellbound, as well as lots of new music and show announces from Crash Cathedral. More fog, more lasers, more fun. Let’s fucking go!
Follow Crash Cathedral @crashcathedral on IG and follow Spellbound at xspellboundxphillyx on IG.