Cryptosis - Interview
The Dutch band Cryptosis will release their debut album at the end of March. They are not a newcomer, nevertheless. They're a band that already existed since 2013, but under the name Distillator. I had the chance to talk to Laurens Houvast (Voc, Git) and Frank te Riet (Bass) via Skype about the album, influences of the band and tour plans. I can only recommend listening to the album, as it contains cool, challenging technical thrash that provides engaging entertainment. Listen to the album and have fun with the interview! Review posted here.
Hello everyone, how are you?
F + L: Fine, thanks.
You are a new band as "Cryptosis", but you are not unknown in the metal scene, because you were active as Distillator before and you released two full length albums. How did it come to the name change?
F: We've been talking about this in our band for quite a long time. We started with in 2017 or 2018 writing for this album and we were a little bit bored with the typical thrash metal genre and the boundaries that comes with it. So, we started writing the music we wanted to play. Of course, there is some thrash DNA in it but we also love different music ourselves, so we wanted to explore more of that. In that process we realized that it was more far away from the typical stuff we were doing before. I think when we finished the album, we were talking about it, during the recording, we talked about it and after having finished it, we said "let's do it now, it's the best time to do it". It leaves more opportunities for the future like we can experiment more, we can risk more, or we can go back to the roots if we want that. For us it was really important to have a clean cut and that we can make the music that we want with all our energy and passion instead of writing music that fits into a genre that we don't believe in that much anymore. We grew as musicians and this kind of music and the name of the band just held us back with our progression in metal music.
Just to be sure, so you first wrote the album and then decided to change your name?
F: Yes, we wrote the album and recorded it and when we got the masters, we just said, okay let's go for this gambling and see what will happen. Then we were talking about changing the name, we didn't even have a name for some time. We sent the recording to our manager and he gave it to his contacts. Pretty soon Century Media talked to us and we presented the album without a band name to them and they didn't know that it was Distillator. We had one or two draws of the contract and it still said the name was to be announced. So, it was pretty weird having a contract without a band name and at the end of the contract we had to come up with a really good name. So, we were pretty busy besides coming up with a good name that covers everything we want to talk about in our lyrics.
L: Yeah, it was quite a lot of work to make sure everything was well organized. We're also a company and we had to arrange so stuff there and to get a new logo and website, do some photo shoots and videos. The whole package was quite a lot of work. We finished the album in February of 2020 and from that point until now, we were just super busy with everything. I think we didn't have a break, actually (laughs). We just keep on going.
I personally find your new album "Bionic Swarm" really cool. The info given by Century Media is that it is recommended for fans of Coroner and Demolition Hammer. I mean, Coroner is somehow understandable, but I don't really understand the comparisons with Demolition Hammer that are made in the press info.
L: Yeah, we don't understand it as well, to be honest. We are influenced by a lot of bands, also outside of the metal genre. We listen to a lot of genres, also folk or electronic music, progressive or 70s rock, music like Ozric Tentacles we love a lot. We've talked to a lot of people, done a lot of interviews and everyone has their own feeling about it. I think everybody has his own opinion about what it reminds him of. So, I think the guy who wrote it, it reminded it him somehow of Demolition Hammer (laughs).
Well, I guess one very clear influence you have is Vektor. Am I right with that?
F: Maybe it's not an influence but we think it's a really good band. We love to listen to them, and we've been on tour with them in 2015. I think it's hard to say that you listen to some kind of bands and try to make music in the vein of them. We want to do something that we feel and not something like copying a bit of the bands you like.
L: I think you're influenced by every band you listen to. We have listened a lot to Vektor, have been on tour and did a split with them. We kept in touch and are friends, but there a lots of other bands we listen to and if you take Bionic Swarm and you listen to "Terminal Redux" or any other Vektor albums, you can hear some similarities but you can also hear a lot of differences, I think.
F. I think both bands, Cryptosis and Vektor, love the same bands like Voivod, Absu or Rush. So, this is maybe the reason for it.
On the split are two songs that are also on the album. Bad people could accuse you of money-making...
L: Actually, we got the idea of the EP before we signed a contract with Century Media. It was an idea we already discussed before that and pushed the idea forwards to make it happen. You don't get a lot of chances like this and we thought it would match really well. We have known each other for years now, so it was a very nice release to make. And it was a good chance to get to know our name before the release of the debut album. I wouldn't say it was some money making but somehow a promotional tool for us. People knew us as Distillator but nobody knew us as Cryptosis – a new name, a new band. I think this was a good tool for that.
F: The EP was delayed two or three times, so the timing was a bit wrong, with the release so close to the album release. Initially it was planned for autumn 2020 but we had some bad luck with that.
Well, shit happens!!! But the release was quite good to get to know that Vektor is back. I thought that they split-up until now.
L: Yes. We're really glad that they got the band back together. They have a new drummer and a new bass player. I think they're planning to make an album, at least I've heard so.
What does the title "Bionic Swarm" mean? I would either think of some sci-fi stuff, or that a little fucking virus is currently keeping all of humanity in suspense and more or less controlling it.
F: Well, it's funny that some people were talking to think that it's about COVID-19, but we wrote and recorded it all prior to the whole pandemic. We finished the whole product and two weeks later the pandemic happened. No, it's definitely a sci-fi album and some current events are not really 1:1 related on the album but if you read some of the lyrics, it can be interpreted like that. I think it's a funny coincidence but it's really a science fiction album and all the things are really based on futuristic and fantasy topics.
What are your lyrical influences? I guess most of the inspiration comes from science fiction?
F: I think it's a broad spectrum. For example, we're huge fans of the British series "Black Mirror" on Netflix, but it's not limited to that. We like to talk to each other and fantasize what could happen in the future and we also take inspiration from that and of course we watch this kind of movies and read about this kind of stuff. In the metal scene, there are a lot of lyrics about occult, Satanism, war and whatever and we never really could identify ourselves with such topics. So, this topic is more interesting because the future isn't written yet and we have a lot of ways to write about it.
Can you tell a little bit about the recording process? I have heard several times now that because of the pandemic, it had to be recorded individually.
L: Everything was ready. We started writing at the end of 2018. We started recording some first ideas and collected them and did the songwriting and all this kind of stuff. Finally, we started recording the album in October 2020 and we did something that we didn't do before. We rented some kind of rehearsal cabin like "A Cabin in the Woods" and it had a bar and a pool table and in the basement were rehearsal rooms. So, we three rented the whole place and stayed there for ten days, just rehearsing the album and do a little bit song writing there as well. We finished the pre-production and then we started with drums, guitars, bass. We aren't a band that records an album during one week or even within one weekend. Other bands do this, but for us it doesn't make any sense to take such a long time for the writing process and then to record it in a week. We want to keep attention to all the details. If you do such long sessions, you lose your focus and we don't want that. So, it took about three months – different sessions at the evenings or weekends in our own pace – to record the things. It was mixed in Sweden by Frederik Folkare, the guitar player from Unleashed and Firespawn, and he sent it to Tony Lindgren from Fascination Street Studios. He did the mastering. And I think the final product was ready in February '20. So, the pandemic didn't play any kind of role for us.
F: But it plays a role in the preparation of our album release show. We're planning a live stream on April 24th and it makes it pretty hard for us to rehearse these days. Laurens and I live five minutes away from each other, but our drummer lives about 1 ½ hour drive away from us. So, whenever we have to go, we have an evening curfew at 9 o'clock. That means that we have to be at home before that and we are also not allowed to hang out with more than one person. It makes it all a bit difficult for us to rehearse right now but we're doing all we can to make a really cool live stream. During the recording it was nice, because we didn't have any restrictions.
You are scheduled to tour with Vektor starting in May. Is that realistic and how far are the plans for that?
L: It is still scheduled for May and June, but things aren't looking that good. If it's not going to happen it will be postponed but it definitely will happen in the future.
Your drummer recently joined -In Aphelion-, a black/death metal band that also features members of Necrophobic. To what extent does BM / DM have an influence on you?
F: For me it is. I grew up with bands like Dimmu Borgir, Cradle of Filth or Satyricon. You know, all these 90s black metal bands that were quite popular back in those days. I think these days there is a lot of cool stuff happening in this genre happening as well. A lot of artists and projects really try to push the boundaries aside and find a new sub-genre every few years. So, for me it's a big influence, I listen to a lot of black metal stuff.
L: Well, for me as well, but I'm not a fan of each sub-genre. You have this kind of black metal with blast beats the whole time, an indefinable sound like a vacuum cleaner sound like, but there are also sub-genres I do like. As Frank said, it's a really creative genre in metal, I think.
Haha, Cradle of Filth…I remember that I saw them as the opener for At The Gates and Anathema in 1994, when they even had not released a CD that time and nobody knew them.
F: They're a really good band. I think the first 5 or 6 albums are really great!
L: I think it was the first band I started with when listening to metal. It was CoF and then came Dimmu Borgir. My brother listened to that stuff, so it was the first metal related stuff that I came in contact with. About Marco, he joined Sebastian and Johan from Necrophobic. It's like a project and we heard some stuff that isn't released yet, and it sounds pretty awesome.
Finally, your 2 or 3 favorites each:
F: I really like "Inception". But there are a lot of shitty movies being released in the last 20 years.
L: There are a lot of movies with good special effects. Movies with good stories do exist 6 or 7 for me. I like the "Lord of the Rings" and the old "Star Wars" trilogy a lot and Indiana Jones, too. The special effects in the old "Star Wars" are not good, but the story is much better than in the newer ones.
F: Pink Floyd – "Wish you were here", Ozric Tentacles – "Technicians of the Sacred" and Dissection "Storm of the Light's Bane".
L: I think one my favorite albums is the debut by Megadeth, "Killing is my Business…and Business is good!". The production is totally shit but the songwriting is great! I am also a really big Opeth fan, "Heritage" was a really good one – a soft one but really good. And I think Symphony X. They released an album in 2007 called "Paradise Lost", it's also great. My brother gifted me that CD on my birthday and I didn't know this band before. This album really shaped my view onto metal in general.
The last words to our readers belong to you!
F: If you're into symphonic, progressive extreme metal, just listen to the music. Bionic Swarm is available on all streaming services. The album will be released on vinyl, tape and CD on March the 26th. On April the 24th we will do the live stream concert where we're going to play the whole album and we got our web shop, so if you want to support us, that would be really nice!
Thanks a lot for the interview and I hope to see you on May 19th at the JunkYard in Dortmund!!!
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