Cryptopsy - 02/07/2008

The formation of CRYPTOPSY originated in the Montrťal area, Canada. Making their first appearance in 1992, the band was founded by drummer Mike Atkin, guitarist Steve Thibault and vocalist Lord Worm under the name "Necrosis" from 1988-1992. In that period a young drummer by the name of Flo Mounier got introduced to the band. Atkin, whose musical direction was heading in a slightly different direction in a more Thrash/Speed Metal vein, passed the torch to Mounier, whose "high speed and hard hitting drumming" style would mark the beginning of the Cryptopsy sound. During the same year the name "Necrosis" was dropped and the band renamed themselves "Cryptopsy".

In 1994 Cryptopsy released their debut album, ĎBlasphemy Made Fleshí, which gained them a wide following in the death metal underground. Then in 1996, the line-up of Lord Worm, Flo Mounier, Jon Levasseur, and Eric Langlois released the album ĎNone So Vileí. This album took the extreme and technical elements further than the last outing and is now considered a benchmark of technical death metal. After the tour in support of ĎNone So Vileí, singer Lord Worm departed the band.

In early 1997 new vocalist Mike DiSalvo joined the band. Cryptopsy's next album, ĎWhisper Supremacyí, was released on Century Media in 1998. It took Cryptopsy's style further, incorporating some jazz and fusion elements. Cryptopsy released their fourth studio effort, ...And Then You'll Beg, in 2000. The album featured a new guitarist, Alex Auburn, replacing Miguel Roy. This album is viewed as a bit less extreme than the previous albums, but just as experimental and as technical as ever. After the first portion of the tour, Mike DiSalvo departed from the band.  

In 2001, Montreal-area Cryptopsy fan Martin LaCroix took over the position as Cryptopsy's singer. The band soon realised that the French-speaking LaCroix did not have a full enough mastery of the English language, which prevented him from writing lyrics on par with his predecessors. Later in 2003, it was announced that Lord Worm, Cryptopsy's original vocalist, had rejoined the band.  

It was then announced that Cryptopsy's next album, Once Was Not, would be released on October 18, 2005. The album features Lord Worm, Flo Mounier, Eric Langlois, and Alex Auburn handling all guitar duties. On April 23, 2007, Cryptopsy announced that Lord Worm had been kicked out of the band and that they were looking for a new vocalist. After the announcement, Lord Worm stated that he left the group earlier than planned for health reasons which contradicts the previous information of him being kicked out.

The much anticipated new album, ďThe Unspoken KingĒ, is the first to see the light of day featuring their new vocalist Matt McGachy and keyboardist Maggie Durand. Matt joined the band 2007 and replaces fan favorite Lord Worm The songs feature both clean and death metal vocals ó a first for the band ó and we find the band switching musical extremes on a dime from introspective to grind, something that did not go over well on a number of metal message boards, chat groups and forums.



So there is much to talk about and a couple of hours before the show in Tilburg at the Neurotic Death fest where we have the chance to talk to drummer Flo. Halfway through the interview, bassist Eric joins in the conversation. 


Thank you for talking to us, we just want to start with the sour subject and get that over with..

What sour subject?

The leaking of the tracks! How do you feel about this, do you know who did it?

No, I donít know who did it but it usually happens nowadays so Iím not really surprised and I donít really care! (laughs)

Youíve had some unpleasant reactions to your new album, what are your sentiments on that?

You know, itís hard to explain. We knew there were going to be some reactions to the clean singing and thatís fine. I think what happened is that a lot of people jumped the gun a little bit and they criticised a little prematurely. Because now, after the full album has been out in Europe thereís a lot more positive reaction than negative reaction so I think that people were just very surprised. And what happens with the internet is that itís usually young fans that say stuff, and then their friends donít have the time to formulate an opinion and they just kind of follow the ďOh yes my friend thinks itís badĒ kind of thing. Itís almost like peer pressure I think.. So yeah, it was surprising.


So do you think you will attract some new fans with the clean vocals?

Well, probably, I think so. Weíre doing music because we like to listen to what we play. Weíre not really shooting to hit a particular market. Having the opportunity to work with a singer that is very versatile and who has a huge range is great. So if we manage to make new fans, great. Weíre just playing music because we want to play music.


And why Matt?

To be very honest with you, because heís the most talented singer weíve ever played with.


How did you get to know him?

He plays in a band called 3 Mile Scream in Canada and I went to one of their shows. I saw what he did live and how on-key and on-note he was in every song and it was really impressive. So then we asked him to audition and he came in and he did ĎPhobophileí and ĎCold Hate Warm Bloodí and it was so tight, it was unreal. Heís got a really good clean voice and a really good screaming voice. He learned this at Broadway. He went to Broadway when he was younger and heís just a really well-trained, talented singer.


Whatís it like to hear him sing the older Cryptopsy stuff? He sounds different than any singer youíve worked with!

With the stuff that Mike did like ďWhisperĒ he kind of sound like that but with the stuff Worm did itís really hard because there was no real structure to his singing. But I guess youíll see it today: he does a really good job with the live performances and the old material.


Can we expect him to sing a lot of old stuff tonight?

Itís mostly old stuff, yeah.


I was just wondering, are you wearing that shirt ďI Appreciate Your Opinion, But FUCK Youď because of all the bullshit?

(laughs) partly, yeah but Sick World contacted us and they were all like, weíll give you some shirts if you like to wear them! Eric (bass player) steps in: What great timing! (laughs)



Weíd like to just go back in history a little bit.. was it hard to come up with another album after the ďOnce Was NotĒ came out?

Flo: No, it wasnít hard at all. Eric: we got a lot of critic then as well. Flo: but weíve been wanting to do something like this for years, you know with the singing and the different styles. So it wasnít hard at all to start writing again and working with Chris also brought fresh ideas. Eric: it also gave the thing a different sound.


How did Matt feel about the critics?

Flo: well, he was a little bit bummed out. You know he has so much talent and then people say that Lord Worm is like ten times better and that makes no sense because itís completely different. Eric: they are just judging too fast, not taking the time to understand whatís going on. And usually after listening to the album a few times they come back with a different opinion. Flo: but theyíre afraid to say so. Eric: exactly. I donít want to generalize but a lot of metal kids are very, well, if the majority says something is good, itís good and if the majority is not happy, theyíre not happy. While inside itís not really what they think, which is sad. Fans can be very demanding.


Many people give bands a hard time if they donít get exactly what they expect. Do you think this is a problem in metal in general?

Flo: no, itís just people in general. Human nature. Matt is bummed out, but not that much. He wears his shirts proudly! (laughs)


ďThe Unspoken KingĒ sounds like itís your most experimental album up till now, who wrote the music for the album?

Flo: we all did. The four of us, Chris, Alex, Eric and I wrote all the music. It was pretty much a team effort because we all contributed on every song.



Did you sit down together to write it?

Flo: some yes, some no. Some were done individually and some were pieced together in the studio.


A question about Lord Worm.. are there  any particular reasons why he left the band?

Flo: he and I had a discussion one night and we came to the conclusion that it was time to move on. He had reasons for maybe not wanting to tour with us much and we had reasons for wanting to find somebody new. So it was kind of a mutual understanding that it was just time to move on. Heís been a friend of mine for 17 years.


He also wasnít too keen on learning and trying new things with his vocals, right?

Flo: you know, some people have an ability and others donít. He could have tried. Eric: but it wasnít enough for what we had in mind. When Mike left we wanted to get a singer like Matt, like we have now. But we couldnít find one so the return of Lord worm was just an idea that we had. The thing was planned, it was just one phone call, like ďhey, what about just trying this?Ē. Flo: it was good for the time, for ĎOnce Was Notí and stuff but, well, not for this one.


And what about the lyrics? Who writes them and how important is it to you that people actually listen to them?

Eric: itís very important, thatís why we wanted to have more articulation in the vocals, we wanted them to be more precise so you can enjoy whatís going on. With Lord Worm it was very difficult to understand him, which is another style but I think we were done with that type of singing. We wanted something more mature. Flo: Matt wrote all the vocals.

Eric: We gave him a direction for ĎThe Unspoken Kingí. Flo: Itís not a concept but I think he talks a lot about his own experiences and stuff like that so itís more down to earth, itís not story-telling as much as it used to be.


Do you guys understand what heís singing about?

Flo: I interpret what I hear for me and, you know, somebody else interprets it for somebody else.


How did the recording process go?

Eric: Very smooth, very cool, very enjoyable. For the first time we tried a different way of recording. We went with Pro-tools, we did more like the new way of recording.



So this is the way to go for you in the future?

Flo: Well, itís because our guitar player Chris is the one who recorded us and he mixed the thing. Itís a good thing to have an engineer as a member of the band, it helps. Heís been doing this for years so he knows what he wanted to get out of us and we told him what we wanted to do and it worked out really smoothly.


So youíre satisfied with the outcome then?

Flo: yeah!


Is there anything youíd liked to have changed in retrospective?

Flo: Just little things here and there but in general weíre pretty satisfied.


What does the album title mean?

Flo: It means different things to different people. For us, being Canadians, itís been really hard to get anywhere in the scene and itís weird because weíve influenced so many people throughout the years but weíve always been kind of on the side-line. So I guess that is a little bit of what it means as well. But all our titles and many of our lyrics are really self-interpretive so itís just what it means to you, itís all about feelings.


Any favourites on the album?

Flo: Itís hard to say.. Eric: thatís not a good question for us! (laughs).

Flo: I donít even know all the song-titles yet! Eric: Iíd say, all of them! (laughs).

Flo: Itís just a really different album. From start to finish it takes you on different trips and all the songs are very different so I think, as a whole, itís a good thing to listen to. And it also depends on my mood.


We have a couple of questions now that are a little more personal, to let the readers get to know you a little:


Which album is the one that made you go ďthis is what I want to do!Ē?

Flo: Not one for me. I just take bits and pieces from different people. I just like music in general. I canít say I have a favourite band or a favourite album or song or drummer or genre. Itís all a mix, like I said before it really depends on my mood. One day Iíll feel like just listening to Radiohead and just be low and chill. And another day Iíll like to listen to Deftones which is a little more up.


Youíre doing all this touring and you have six albums under your belt, how far has Cryptospy surpassed your dreams and expectations? Is this what you expected?

Flo: Ehm, I donít remember what I expected. I donít know, sometimes itís up, sometimes itís down. I think that we probably expected more as younger people but then as you go into it and you find out how the industry works, itís not easy. I guess we just love playing music, that must be it. Because itís not an easy thing to do. Touring and all that stuff is not easy when you have a family. Eric: I donít think anybody has any regrets though. Flo: No, I donít think so. But itís hard to know what I wanted when I was sixteen, when I joined the band, it was a long time ago.


Are you where you want to be now?

Eric: You always want to be further than where you are. Iím happy to be here today, weíre in a nice club, doing a big show tonight. But if you asked me would I like to do a big stadium show every night I would say yes. But Iím here today and Iím happy.


What is the utmost important ingredient for a Cryptopsy song?

Eric: There is not really a miracle recipe for a song. Flo: Thereís different stuff, thereís usually got to be speed, dynamics, Eric: grooves Flo: not breakdowns, grooves! (laughs) And thereís got to be a song, it canít just be, like, riff after riff, itís got to make sense, itís got to be well-bridged. Eric: Oh and you need a good bass-part too! (laughs).



When you listen to Crypropsy, you hear a great fusion of styles. Which bands were you influenced by in writing music for Cryptopsy?

Flo: Itís more like we were influence by styles. I guess progressive music was an influence. Some jazz, some Latin stuff even. Eric: Some funk! Flo: More styles than bands in particular. Eric: Anything except country music!


Whatís wrong with country music?

Eric: I donít know, I think itís crying music! They're always complaining you know! Flo: I canít get into it either. Eric: Itís the only music I canít stand. Honestly, I can listen to a lot of shit but country music, I just cannot stand it.


Something totally different, weíd like to know about Maggie..

Eric: ah, the ultimate question!



Eric: Because itís the question we get asked the most right now. Because a lot of people thought that she was in the band. Flo: Well, we thought she was in the band! Eric: At first, we tried. Flo: Ok, it was an experiment. We wanted more samples on the album but it didnít work out that way because with a lot of stuff, when we listened to it in the mix, we were like, well, this part doesnít need this. So we decided on cutting a lot of the samples out. And it just ended up that she, instead of coming with us live, was just a studio musician. Since thereís not a lot of samples left in the songs, we just donít need another person to do them. Sheís not here today, sheís never actually done a show with Cryptopsy. She just recorded with us and that was it. But sheís on the poster! Eric: And now we look like Nightwish! (laughs)


If you could get on stage with any three bands, who would they be?

Flo: Actually one would probably be Slayer. Just because, you know, theyíve been around and it would be nice to share a stage with them. Eric: I would like to share the stage with Metallica too. Flo: Iíd like to share it with Led Zeppelin. Eric: Pink Floyd!


What can we expect from Cryptopsy in the future?

Eric: Hopefully to put out a new record as soon as possible but itís going to depend on the touring schedule. Itís very hard to say. We donít have any songs written yet. Flo: But we have plenty of ideas.


Will it be along the same lines of ĎThe Unspoken King?í

Flo: Again, itís hard to say. There will be clean vocals on the next album for sure. Eric: you never know how itís going to end up. Usually even at the end when we are in the studio we change the whole pattern or whatever. I think in a way if you have too much of a precise idea of what you want, you wonít let yourself go to try and get something even better. So thatís why we just go in with an open mind and at the end itís like a puzzle. Weíll have lots of pieces and at the end weíll know, thatís it. We couldnít have figured that we would end up with this result. Flo: But it will be fresh, because that is what we like to keep, fresh music, something thatís not really been heard before.


ĎThe Unspoken Kingí sounds fresh.

Eric: Yes, some people say we should have dropped Cryptopsy and came out with this record with a new name but that just doesnít make sense. Flo: You canít keep doing the same album. You canít please them all, thatís all.


Okay, thanks you for your time!
(Martina Schouten)


Current members :
Matt McGachy - lead vocals (2007Ėpresent)
Alex Auburn - lead & rhythm guitars, backing vocals (1999Ėpresent)
Christian Donaldson - rhythm & lead guitars (2005Ėpresent)
Eric Langlois - bass guitar (1996Ėpresent)
Flo Mounier - drums, backing vocals (1992Ėpresent)

Albums :
Blasphemy Made Flesh (1994)
None So Vile (1996)
Whisper Supremacy (1998)
...And Then You'll Beg (2000)
None So Live (2003)
Once Was Not (2005)
The Unspoken King (2008)

Keep Of Kalessin - Kolossus