Crom - Walter "Crom" Grosse

Crom - Walter "Crom" Grosse

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It's true that "Of Love And Death" was different from "Vengeance" (kind of softer) but still it was a really solid album. It was also a great opportunity to contact Crom and ask some questions to find out about the creation of the album and the latest info on this one-man band. So, see below what those questions were about.

Hello Walter and welcome to METAL KAOZ! It’s been a while since the release of “Of Love And Death”, so what’s the feedback you’re getting so far from the fans and the media?
After almost five months I can say that most feedback was very very good! In the beginning there were some bad reviews because some didn't like the quite and soft stuff. But there were only a few bad reviews – the whole rest was very good and also the fans are very pleased with “Of Love And Death”. I got many emails that said that “Of Love And Death” really touched hearts! All in all I am very pleased with the whole result.

So, you began your career with DARK FORTRESS and now you release the second CROM album; how challenging and different is this trip for you so far?
I´m doing CROM as my main band for about 12 years so managing CROM is no more a problem. Of course, in the beginning the songwriting was more difficult because I had to think about every single instrument I will use. In DARK FORTRESS I only had to play my guitar and the rest was done by the other band mates. With years I learned much more about using drums, bass guitar etc. and so writing songs was much easier for me. But there is one big problem when you are doing all by yourself: You need much more time for every project!

I had the chance to listen to the “Vengeance” album when it was released and it was a really pleasant surprise for me. So, are there any differences between the previous and your last album from your point of view?
I think that each release had its own feeling but all albums are definitely CROM albums! “The Fallen Beauty” EP was more rough than “Vengeance”. “Vengeance” had a much better sound but also much better instrument skills and much better vocals. But you can hear that both CDs are CROM. You can listen to the title song “The Fallen Beauty” on the E.P or on “Of Love And Death”. The same song – two different feelings. “Of Love And Death”, is also pure CROM style. Of course the songs are softer than the “Vengeance” songs but in the whole concept it is a cool CROM album.

Do you feel that in the second album, CROM became softer musically, leaving some of the previous album’s aggressiveness aside? Did you have in mind the album’s musical direction before starting to actually write the songs?
Of course “Of Love And Death” became softer! But it was my intention from the beginning. I recorded the songs for “Vengeance” and “Of Love And Death” in the same recording session and so I knew how both albums will be. I put the more heavy stuff in “Vengeance” and the softer songs in “Of Love And Death” with the result of two very harmonious albums. I knew from the beginning that “Of Love And Death” will be a risk but I wanted to do it this way!! I had no intention for doing “Vengeance II” or something like that. I hate to do the same things all the time.

How important are bands like BATHORY for your inspiration?
Of course in the beginning of CROM, BATHORY was a huge influence. Without BATHORY there would be no CROM! I formed CROM to do what BATHORY did and I was very happy with that. But of course over the years CROM became a more and more independent band that only uses songwriting elements like BATHORY did in the past. In my opinion, CROM always was much more softer than BATHORY and also the songwriting is very different to Quorthon´s songwriting style.

Some people characterize you as the modern version of Quorthon. What do you think about that? Is there any burden on your shoulders you’re feeling you have to carry on or no?
It is a big honor for me when people say something like that but I don´t think that it is true. Of course, there are some similarities like being a solo project, using choirs and clean vocals, lots of acoustic guitars... but he was the real mastermind and I only do what he did in another, modern way. There is no burden on my shoulders because I am not the new BATHORY and I don´t play BATHORY songs. I am Crom and I play CROM songs. He was the master but I am not a slave to his music.

Why did you name the new album “Of Love And Death”? Is there any concept theme behind the title?
When I started to write the songs of course I thought about the vocal concept. I didn't want to write epic lyrics about warriors etc. so I thought about other topics. So what are the two big things in each life? Love and death! I wanted to write about feelings that each person has felt and also about real feelings. Of course writing about a mighty warrior is very cool but who is a mighty warrior? I am no mighty warrior and I think most of you are also no mighty warrior. But every person was lovelorn or thinks sometimes about death, suicide and topics like that. These topics are no fictional topics, they are real!

How difficult is for you to handle all the instruments? Have you ever thought of expanding CROM by adding members to the lineup? What is the situation for live concerts? Do you just hire some session musicians?
Now it is no more a problem! I can play all guitars very well, I can sing very well and now I also have a good knowledge about using drums. I can’t play the drums very good but I know how to program the drum computer for my demo songs. Then I give it to Seraph (drummer of DARK FORTRESS) and after a few weeks we enter the studios together. But of course it is very stressful to record so much guitar tracks and so much vocals tracks all alone!! But the result is exactly the music I wanted to create. I used to search for band mates but I gave it up during the last years. There was never a person that really wanted to invest as much time as necessary. So I will carry on as a solo project. I also think that I will no more return on stage because it is very difficult to find good musicians that have enough time for CROM. So I will focus on producing CDs and no more in searching for convenient musicians.

Expanding the previous question, what was the need to form this one-man project?
There were never people that really wanted to do the BATHORY thing like I do. So I prefer to do all by myself instead of losing my head about trustless musicians.

Are there any thoughts to film a video clip for the new album?
I don’t think there will be video clip for “Of Love And Death”. Maybe we will produce a video clip for the next album.

What is next for CROM after the release of the second album? Is it too soon to talk about the next one?
The recordings for the next long player have already begun! We yet did the recordings of the drums, bass guitar and all electric guitars. So I hope that in the end of 2012 or in the beginning of 2013 “When Norsemen Die” will be released again via Pure Steel Records. “When Norsemen Die” will be much heavier than “Of Love And Death” and there will also be fictional lyrics again. I really like the new songs and I think it is the perfect mixture between “Vengeance” and “Of Love And Death”. There are some quite songs, some very epic songs, some modern songs... I think “When Norsemen Die” will be a very balanced album!

Do you think that the fact that many just download the new albums without spending money reflects their lack of dedication to this music? Back in the old days we would kill to find money to buy a new album on vinyl.
I know that nobody can stop the trend of downloading for free but all those people will kill their own music. Those people all forget that people like me and thousands of other musicians have lots of work to do to create a new album. If you have small deals (or maybe no deal) you have to pay by yourself for your own CDs. So I hate people that ask me for my new CD and want me to give 5 Euros for it. Otherwise they will download it for free. F**K YOU!!! I will prefer to throw it into my rubbish bin before giving it people like that for 5 Euros. Of course, we used to do tape-trading but we also bought CDs and vinyls when we had the chance to get it. You are right – in the old days we would kill to find a way to buy cool new albums! I also hate the flimsy excuse that CDs are so expensive today. I used to pay almost the same price for a CD in 1990 or in 1995. I think you are also right with the lack of dedication to our music. I know people who have multiple hard disks with thousands of albums but they don’t listen to them. A big f**k-up! I know that maybe I am too vintage for the downloading thing but I think with this they will kill the music of our hearts.

That’s it, Walter! I wish you all the best for your new album and CROM’s future plans! Please feel free to add anything you’d like to end this interview.
Thank you very much Maria for the opportunity to make this interview and I also would like to give much greetz to all my fans out there! Enjoy my music and hold your heads up high!