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Basically a duo of Mick Hale and V. Markus, Crocodile Shop formed in Berlin in 1987 with a strong affinity for post-punk melancholy, courtesy of Joy Division and Wire. After a 1988 LP named Lullaby (produced by the Chameleons' Dave Fielding), the duo became more influenced by '80s-style anger, through bands such as Skinny Puppy and the Wax Trax! roster. The 1989 Measure by Measure EP was their first to use drum machines and the occasional sample; the band made their influences implicit by then working with a Wax Trax! mainstay, Sister Machine Gun's Chris Randall, for their second full-length, released on the Tinman label as Celebrate the Enemy. After a remix LP titled Crush Your Enemies, Hale and Markus added live drummer Len 9 and signed to Metropolis Records. By 1996, the trio released Beneath, and just one year later, Pain. Order and Joy followed in 2000.
Crocodile Shop, (later simply calling themselves Croc Shop), is an electro-industrial, aggrotech, EBM band formed in Berlin, Germany in 1987 by Mick Hale and R. A. Werner.
Crocodile Shop was born after Hale and Werner disintegrated their previous new wave project, "Mod Fun". They became inspired by the more "darker" post-punk sounds of Joy Division, New Order, Wire, Red Lorry Yellow Lorry and The Jesus and Mary Chain. According to the band's official website, the name "Crocodile Shop" was just something the group entitled a demo tape as a reminder of its contents, and the name stuck.
Originally a three-piece band (guitar, bass and drums) with drummer John Figlar of Lord John fame, the group's first release was the 1987 EP entitled "Head" which saw limited distribution on the Minneapolis-based Susstones Records. At the time, the group had a strong indie rock sound which they later came to dislike and called "Head" their version of Ministry's "With Sympathy" which was an overall embarrassment to the band. The following full-length album "Lullaby", produced by Chameleons UK's Dave Fielding, developed their sound further towards gothic and included more dark guitar work. Eventually, the band would slowly abandon the "guitar goth" sound, first replacing their drummer with a drum machine, and finally with the addition of keyboard player V. Markus, (who was influenced by the likes of Front 242, Laibach and Nitzer Ebb), they turned to an entirely electronic-based outfit. The band followed up with their developing electronic sound by releasing two more vinyl EPs, the Red Lorry Yellow Lorry influenced "Measure By Measure" and "Technological Optimism".
Crocodile Shop's commercial debut finally came in 1993 with the release of the album "Celebrate the Enemy" on Tinman Records. The album, produced by Chris Randall of Sister Machine Gun, was a clean blend of the latest electro-sounds and mixed elements of trance, break-beat, and EBM. An Alternative Press review described the work as "a hard and harsh blend of high energy rock with the melodic aspects of electro and the high angst of industrialism." The album was followed up by the remix EP "Crush Your Enemies" which was also praised on the dance floor.
In 1995, Crocodile Shop signed to Metropolis Records and continued to expand their repertoire releasing the full-length albums "Beneath" in 1996 and "Pain" in 1997. The remix EPs "Metalwerks" and "Soviet" also followed the studio albums. Also released was "Live Action", a 777-copy limited edition live performance recorded in Germany and distributed on SubMission/SPV label.
As the band's popularity in the electro-underground grew, Mick Hale began working on other side projects releasing two electro-dub albums under the name Division #9, and teaming up with V. Markus as progGREX.iv. The band had also gone on to produce remixes for such artists as Collide, Battery, and Android Lust.
After extensive tours over the next few years, in 1999, the band recruited new member Len9 and changed their musical direction once again. With Len9's influences and taking advantage of the newest and more affordable synthesizer technology that was out there, the door opened for new possibilities in their sound. They released "Everything is Dead and Gone" which was followed in 2000 by "Order + Joy". (The album's title is a play off two of the group's original influences: New Order and Joy Division). Belgium's SIDE-LINE magazine called "Order + Joy" Crocodile Shop's "best album ever", hailing it as a return to their earlier and gritter EBM sound. "Order + Joy" was followed by the remix EP "Wrong" which was released on CD and distributed exclusively through the internet and thus was the first time for the band to issue their music online and reach a wider audience.
In 2002, now under the shortened name Croc Shop, the band released "World" which, while continuing much of the gritty EBM sound of "Order + Joy", represented another shift in the music style to a cleaner Synth Pop vibe. While the band embarked on another tour they released a remix EP for "World" called "Translated", and again, it saw exclusive distribution over the internet. The band has since released the 2 cd best of called "CS_Sea: Self Extracting Archive" with 37 tracks covering all the releases, it continues to sell well on cdBaby.com.
Today, the band continues to tour, and has shared the stage with such acts as Front 242, Project Pitchfork, Switchblade Symphony and Rammstein.