January 5, 2016

Pharaoh and Cruz Del Sur, the beginnings

Written by Enrico Leccese, owner of Cruz Del Sur Music

Cover Artwork by JP Fournier

Pharaoh plays a very important role in the history/profile of Cruz Del Sur Music. Not only was their debut album After The Fire the label’s first release back in 2003, also, they are the band with the highest number of releases (6) on the label itself.

They also introduced me to some of the finest people I have been working with, especially Matt Crooks (from Division, and now Pharaoh’s live second guitar player) who has recorded all their albums except After the Fire and French artist JP Fournier responsible for all their cover artwork.

I have had the pleasure to meet the guys several times, though I am still missing to know bassist Chris Kerns in person. Through these years I often had a drink with Matt Johnsen and Chris Maycock during their visits to Europe, and with Tim Aymar when the band played Germany’s Keep It True festival in 2008.

The funny anecdote about how we knew each other is that in the late nineties I was living in Argentina running a label (Icarus) to which Chris M. submitted his band Dawnbringer. In his letter, he also mentioned he had a side-project with some other guys and they “hired” Mr. Aymar to sing a cover of Iron Maiden’s “Aces High” featured on Chris’ own Maiden America: Iron Maiden Tribute release (Twilight Records). At the time Control Denied’s only album was just released and Tim’s marvellous performance was under everyone’s eyes. Anyway, we were blown away by the cover and saw so much potential in the band that we decided to release Dawnbringer's Catharsis Instinct in 2000 just to be sure to pin Pharaoh for a future release! Who would have known Dawnbringer became such a “big” band after a decade!

I would say Pharaoh gave Cruz Del Sur a strong and authoritarian profile since the beginning of our collaboration, showing the label was no joke. They were the band from which everything started, so I can never be grateful enough for that Dawnbringer promo!

[Go to the post to view the Bandcamp player]

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