CRYSTAL CASTLES with DOUGIE BOOM , ORLY and SHIT LA MERDE at the Boat (158 Augusta), Friday (January 19). $5. 416-593-9218. Rating: NNNNN
The short, strange story of Toronto Nintendo-punk duo Crystal Castles makes it seem like the bewildered pair are the beneficiaries of some kind of cosmic joke.
The way beatsmith and programmer Claudio tells it, the whole thing has been one fluke after another, and he's worried that if the duo actually try too hard, the project might fall apart like a house of cards. Even his reason for asking lead screamer Alice to contribute vocals to his homemade tracks seems to have had little to do with talent.
"I only knew her because her friend had a crush on me. I'd made the instrumentals and thought it would be cool for someone to put vocals over top. I thought of her because I liked her haircut."
They got together once to make the tracks, but their extraordinary luck hadn't kicked in yet, and the initial results weren't encouraging.
"We didn't like any of the songs and didn't even talk about them again for about half a year. Then I put the CD on again and realized they were just mixed badly, so I mixed them again and made a MySpace page to show some friends. I didn't check the page for months, but when I finally did, three labels wanted to put us out, so we said yes to all of them."
This is where it starts to get even more improbable. The song that most interested Merok (best known as the home of new-rave poster children the Klaxons) was Alice Practice, actually a recording of Alice doing a mic check that was never supposed to be a real song. The offer of an opening slot on the Klaxons' tour quickly convinced them to sign on.
Now, a year after their first Toronto live show, they're about to go to the UK with the Klaxons for a 25-date sold-out tour. When they return, they'll spend a month sharing a bus across the U.S. with CSS on an New Music Express-sponsored tour that includes the Pitchfork showcase at SXSW.
While on tour they'll try to decide which label to go with for their full-length debut.
"We don't try. We just made some songs, and people keep asking us to come to their countries to play them. I can't say that we had any intentions. I made some songs on my computer and didn't even really care what Alice did with them. We never even expected to ever play live."