There is no better accompaniment to the most brutal death metal than a nice cup of tea. One man has taken that one step further by combining his two passions to create Satanic Tea Co. Launched in 2017, the brains behind the Satanic Tea Co, Crucifix, is bringing this passion to his other passion, extreme metal.
Having fronted various deathcore and extreme metal bands throughout his life, Crucifix recently issued the suitably gruesome single “Blood-Drenched Torture Chamber,” and with further music in the pipeline, this intriguing venture warranted further investigation. We recently sat down with Crucifix over a nice cuppa to chat about the Satanic Tea Co, his love of tea, and how he hopes to bring the two worlds together.
For more information and to get your hands on a whole range of tea-related merch, head to this link.
Hi there. How’s it going?
Crucifix: “Yeah, I’m good, man. How are you? Pretty good. Thanks.”
Thanks for taking the time out of your day to talk to us, I really appreciate it. I’m fascinated by the whole concept… tea and death metal… how did the two become one for you?
“Well, yeah. I guess I’ve always loved death metal growing up from like a super young age. I was in death metal, thrash metal, deathcore bands growing up. The most recent was really like slammy hardcore I guess.
“Now, with the Tea Company, I’m pretty much doing stuff mostly on my own. I don’t have like, with a band you have like four or five other people that you’ve gotta negotiate with for like influence and stuff so that’s usually pulled the direction of the stuff around. I got the idea sparked by, you know, Belzebub, the comic book, or like Dethklok and stuff like that. I was just really interested in people who are making art or like something that’s not a real life band but then being able to turn it into a real life band. I thought that no-one’s really done a tea company. I guess Liquid Death did like their bad reviews into an album, with like metal artists but they’re not really doing it themselves. I think they hired like people.
“I wanted to do something like that, just combine everything that I liked within the tea company and then just putting it out because I think it’s funny and It makes people pause and I think there’s like a lot of value in taking that moment to be like what the fuck?”
What has the reaction been like to it from the extreme music scene and, I don’t know, is there a tea scene or community?
“I guess a lot of our fan base or a lot of our customers and people who follow us on social media and stuff, they often find us through metal channels because we collaborate with metal bands to do one-off limited edition tees with extreme musicians. So, I think the juxtaposition wasn’t too jarring for a lot of people. So, that’s been pretty positive. Also people who haven’t heard of us, I think, when they hear Satanic Tea Co, they think cringe at first and then I think they hear the song and they see the video and they realise they can get on board with this. The video was a lot of fun. And sticky!”
Going forward, what’s your vision for it? Do you see yourself branching out to something other than death metal and maybe things that accompany tea like biscuits and cake and things like that?
“Oh, yeah, I would love to do that. I’d love to make the band a live project and have different products going forward with that. I think that having a bunch of tea at the merch table instead of like tonnes of t-shirts or as well as t-shirts would be pretty funny. It’s just, with like food products, there’s so many different rules and stuff for different areas. Tea is pretty easy. The regulations on tea, we have like our own facility and stuff like that so that’s pretty easy. When you start getting into food and stuff, I think it gets a little more difficult but it would be hilarious to do some like biscuits and stuff that go along with tea or just any accompaniments to the tea or just more ways to bridge the gap between the tea and the music would be interesting. I’m not sure what that will be yet, but hopefully something cool.”
Okay, going back then prior to all of this. You’ve got a history fronting extreme metal bands. What was your pathway into extreme music? Who was your gateway band?
“I grew up super Christian. I was in a Christian school growing up and there was like, one girl in my older sister’s class who was in band class. She played guitar and it was a really small school and she played a BC rich guitar. I always thought that was a super cool looking guitar. I’ve never seen anything like that because like the Worship band at Church would not play anything like that. She like looked very alternative also. So, because she was my sister’s friend she introduced me to stuff like Papa Roach when I was 10 years old.
“She was trying to form a band and I played bass in the school band, so it just happened that she needed a bass player so she enlisted this 10 year old to help her play bass and that was my introduction to extreme music. Before that it was bands like Good Charlotte, Blink 182, very poppy radio type stuff. Thinking about it now, she was a massive gateway into, the right turn into heavier stuff.”
What about the really extreme stuff then?
“I guess it was just a lot of Christian bands at first, like As I Lay Dying, Underoath before they added a lot of singing. Becoming the Archetype. Pretty much going to the Christian music store and trying to find whatever CD had the most extreme looking stuff and then like, being allowed to go out on my own to like HMV and then just like looking at the stuff I could hide from my parents. I think MySpace also. Myspace would have like a big part of that too by being allowed on the internet and seeing the songs on people’s profiles and that’s how I learned like Job for a Cowboy and Cannibal Corpse. I think that’s how it was really. You could sample stuff easier without fucking your parents computer up with Limewire or some shit like that. So yeah, I would say Christian metalcore and just thrash metal, with Myspace then into the death metal scene and like, I was also really into one man bands when I was about 13 or 14.
“I loved it. The thought of one person being able to do everything was really cool to me and it just sounded so ridiculous but it seemed like people were intuitive. I think that’s what got me into trying to do different types of vocal styles because they were just making all sorts of noises back then. The first pig scream I ever heard was on MySpace for sure.”
In terms of music that you’ve obviously got the single out. Have you got more material written? Is it in a similar style? Where do you see the sound going?
“The first song is a bit more grindy I think? It has more grindy aspects than the rest of the music. Then we have five more songs that we’re working on right now for an EP. We’ll hopefully release another single or the next few singles this year and then the rest of the four or five songs next year.”
You talked about the video been a lot of fun. What about a live show? Have you got any visions for that?
“Not yet. I guess we have people that are down to play the live music, it’s just I’d like it to be fun and funny, but like also like, with an edge to it, just like trying to figure out how. I would love a combination of like Alice Cooper and Ghost, but maybe not that funny because they’re both pretty funny. In that vein, where it’s more than just five people on stage just shredding, which is awesome, but I think it has to have something like different.”
You talk about Alice Cooper and Ghost. Are they big influences in terms of the visuals?
“I would say Ghost is for sure. Alice Cooper, yeah. It just just like the actual theatrical sets because, before we were just doing like the music and stuff, like it was all just like promoting the tea on social media. I just didn’t want to like put my face on there. I decided, because I was super self-conscious, I used to wear a mask. I wear a mask sometimes and that was heavily influenced by people like that who are like these personalities like Athenar from Midnight or Dani Filth. They’re bands with edges but they’re also like, pretty funny and humorous in their own way.”
I remember going to one of the first Cradle of Filth gigs in the UK and Dani was handing out fliers outside when they were just metal covers bands.
Onto the video. It’s a pretty extreme video and the theme, like you said, is around mental health as well as your own mental health and depression. Is that something you’re going to explore further through music?
“Oh, yeah, definitely. I think people think most of the songs are going to be about tea just because. I don’t want it to be like that direct I guess? It’s gonna be lots of stuff to do with just my struggles and personal stuff with my own mental health. There is a little bit about tea, I guess, like in a more death metal-themed way. The end of the world. Yeah, my struggles; I feel like nothing is normal, I guess. Maybe just the normal Christian upbringing with the church I went to, and the school I went to is pretty fucked up. So it’s gonna be a lot of those types of themes just getting that type of stuff out. I feel like with a lot of the previous musical projects; I wasn’t really able to get a lot of stuff across because you’re dealing with four other people. It’s just trying to be like, what should the themes be here and everyone agreeing, I guess?”
With regard to your mental health, is extreme music an outlet to help with that?
“Totally. I think that was a lot of the driving force behind starting Satanic Tea Co. I was gonna do it regardless. But I have a hard time, like, I already had so much shit on the go with the tea company, so I thought, why don’t we just put it all together? The last group I was in, we fizzled out in like 2017/2018 then I wasn’t really doing anything musically for that time, from the point we stopped touring and started even jamming or anything like that, you could really see where my mental health was at. So, when getting into the studio, recording that first song, actually makes me feel a lot better, so I realized I should probably just keep on doing this to feel better. It is something I can do to actively help myself feel better.”
A good cup of tea always helps…
“Absolutely, I’m always full of tea.”
From all the various types of tea you produce and sell, which do you think is the perfect accompaniment to your music?
“The perfect accompaniment that I think like we have is probably the one we did with Belzerbub. It’s a Lapsang, it’s smoked tea with espresso beans in there. So, it gives it a really, super smoky, but earthy feel. I think the espresso beans balanced it out but it also has this fiery flavour which is a good place to start especially with death metal or extreme music. Hopefully, we can do some more lapsing blends in the future. I think people like the comparison to Scotch or whiskey with extreme music.”
If you were at a gig then would you be in the pit losing your mind or at the back chilling out with a cup of tea?
“I was always the type of person either at the front but at the side or at the back. I’m not much big a mosh pit person.”
As an artist who pushes the boundaries by trying something different are there artists out there who you connect with on a creative level?
“I think Ghost, their live appearance, and what they’re doing. I think they’re pushing the boundaries and introducing tonnes of new people to different styles and giving people a lot of what they don’t expect. Twin Temple I think is extremely cool with their visuals and the style of music and just introducing people to different types of music like that. Who’s pushing the boundaries? I’m loving and I don’t know if it’s pushing the boundaries but I’m just loving this like resurgence of old school type 90s death metal like Sanguisugabogg, Frozen Soul, 200 Stab Wounds, I think are just breathing life into death metal, which is really cool. I’m really excited about all those bands right now for sure.”
“I’d love to make the band a live project and have different products going forward with that. I think that having a bunch of tea at the merch table instead of like tonnes of t-shirts or as well as t-shirts would be pretty funny.”
Is there anybody you’d really like to collaborate with?
“I would love to collaborate with Ghost I think like three years ago, four years ago, they were a bucket list band. Hopefully, we can do that. That’d be definitely one of the ones. Before it used to be Cradle of Filth.We used to call Dani Filth the whale as one day we’ll get him and then we did now after that it just like I feel like anyone could be a possibility but, yeah, ghost I would say would be the big one. Cannibal Corpse also would be like, ginormous for me. Some sort of blood tea.”
What would go into that?
“I feel like I feel like they would choose something smoky as well.”
Okay, so just going forward for the rest of 2022?
“Hopefully, we’ll get these two singles out. I still have to film a music video for the third single. We have quite a few collabs coming out. By the time this comes out. I’m sure we’re doing the Midnight collab. They are actually our first ever collab with Satanic Tea Co. So we’ll have that out. I’m hoping we’ll have a couple other ones out but it always goes slower working with other people trying to get the stuff to go through. But yeah, we got a lot of collabs coming out and the music. I think that’s those are the big plans. Hopefully some more tea blends, some more merch drops and stuff like that, but big collabs and our own music focus more on our own music.”
Away from the tea and music, how do you spend your time?
“I hang out with my cat a lot. I like to go for long walks downtown Calgary. I’m super into walking. The weather’s getting better because not being able to walk sucks, especially with COVID and everything but now it’s all opened up. I guess listening to records. I like watching a lot of TV. I watch a lot of TV, a lot of really, really crappy reality TV like old MTV shows.”
Yeah, MTV Cribs was my go to show. Right, it’s been great chatting to you, just to finish off, what makes a good cup of tea?
“Good tea leaves. It starts with good tea leaves and then the world’s your oyster. Like everyone has different tastes. If you want to add sugar, add sugar. If you like milk, like people are like, don’t add sugar or milk only honey, like whatever. I don’t give a fuck if you like it, you like it. Like, you’ll eventually branch out to something that you like and experiment with. So good tea leaves. I think that’s the most important part. Good, good quality ingredients and then the rest is whatever you want to do. As long as you’d like it, and you keep drinking tea.”