This was the Buzzsaw Christmas tune. Chas had become interested in a figure lost in Christmas mythology: the Krampus, a Christmas demon that followed Santa around. Before Coca-Cola got its hands on the old German tradition and filtered out the darkness and nastiness inherent in the myth, the Krampus did Santa’s dirty work. The theme of the song was all about the Krampus and, of course, the lyrics were loaded with strange sexually charged language thinly veiled behind Christmas references.
The challenge for this song was that Chas and I both had to come up with and record some guitar riffs without ever having heard the other’s riffs. The challenge would be to stitch them together without any consideration for key or consistency. As per usual, a challenge that normally shouldn’t work fell into place seamlessly.
I remember that Chas’s mixing process was influenced by a System of a Down interview where the singer had said that in many of the band’s songs, they attempted to record “Bohemian Rhapsody” in three minutes. As a result, “Don’t Cramp Us, Krampus!” is fast-paced and full of quick transitions.
The theme of consumerism and material culture, which had been present in some earlier songs (especially “Marital Discord”) begins to emerge a little more fully here. First of all, the song is about the pre-Coca Cola Christmas myth, a myth that had been transformed, bent, and twisted to fit into an American framework: “Arranging our dark fiction/ Horn of the demon.” The madness of consumption, an empty race to the bottom, is a “demon dementia demolition.” I imagine that Clusterfuck is fighting back against Them as They try to silence him. Clusterfuck, an emerging prophet figure at this point, is uncovering dark fictions and exposing them.
This was recorded right before Christmas, though I didn’t get around to mixing it until months later. This kind of delay, became characteristic of my contribution to the Buzzsaw pantheon. Although all materials were always produced in a matter of hours, many of those raw materials would languish on my computer with nondescript file names for many, many moon. The Krampus, by the way, is a Christmas demon that hangs with Santa Claus and beats the naughty children with rusty chains.
The rule of the night: Jake and I would record two separate pieces of song, collaborate on a third, and put them all together. Hence, this song is episodic. It’s like an epic trilogy squished into three and a half minutes, with lyrics vaguely describing the character of the Krampus.
We were really living the life of the Krampus, so to speak, putting away PBR and wine at a pace uncharacteristic of even the typical Buzzsaw process. Whenever things derailed and we fell into nonsensical talking, my little sense of mischief would kick in, and I’d hit record on the room mic. As a result, the dialogue scattered throughout the song became its best through line, and it’s a great little reminder of our state of mind as we recorded.
It’s a strange little tune, but I’m always really happy by the end of it.
Up Next: “Trust Falling“