I’ll be frank. You can be whatever the hell you want, but I’m getting tired of seeing Architects plastered ’round the major metal magazines as Brighton’s best. Yeah, sure, it’s all part and parcel of the mega mag hype machine whose advice we know better than to blindly heed but as a dedicated denizen of the city, and considering the ratio of rad metal bands to people actually residing here, I can’t let it slide. So continuing on my never-ending quest to big up and mad prop the guys who can’t afford thousands on advertising, I wanted to pick the brains of one of the first bands I remembered being name dropped down here. Naturally, I was excited about Crypsis when I saw they described themselves as ‘Teutonic thrash worship’. Probably a little too excited, as when those words are combined I feel like I should politely excuse myself for some, er… personal time, or just gush about my love for all things German thrash in the form of rambling speech. But the best part about Crypsis is that they’re not simply recreating the battle strategies of fret warriors before them. This trifecta of awesomeosity has taken the approach of the more recent thrash wave, incorporating anything and everything their evil, shrivelled hearts desire. In this case, that’s heaps of groove that could be credited to Sodom circa ‘Agent Orange’ mixed into the consistent pummel of Kreator, leaving plenty of room for Slayer’s deadly melodies and Aura Noir’s primal menacing tone, coming out the woodworks as a more blackened and, dare I say, almost progressive beast, than the Teutons they claim to follow. Live, they’re also a blinding force to be reckoned with, letting the music speak for itself without the leather, posturing and bullet belts of our grandfathers. It’s just three young dudes who want to go fast; just straight up, no-nonsense, neck snapping aggression. Much to my morbid delight, bassist and vocalist Nick Rodway agreed to let me do the aforementioned picking.
ZT: What were your previous projects (if any) and how did y’all get together? Was the Cypsis mandate set from the beginning?
N: We started out around 2009 when Jamie and I were on a music course at city college in Brighton. I knew Ben from another band that he was going to do vocals for called Renegade. We thought Renegade was amazing at the time but in hindsight we were fucking terrible! We had a song called ‘Shredorama’ which was just a 5 minute guitar wank trade-off while I just stood there and played one note (I think it might still be on myspace, listen at your own peril!). Anyways, Ben was up for playing guitar with me and Jamie, I reluctantly became the shouty man, we agreed to stick to being a trio and it kind of went from there.
ZT: Growing up, what do you remember thinking about metal? What drew you to it in the first place?
N: I remember being one of those annoying Slayer kids who was mad about Slayer from when I was 15 to about 17 years old. Then I started listening to other bands when I started college with Jamie and our mates in a band called Mutually Assured Destruction. I don’t really know what drew me or the rest of the band to metal, I just thought it was cool to start with and I gradually got more and more mad about it with each new band I liked. With Ben and Jamie it’s one thing out of many that they’re into, they’re into all sorts of different music between them.
ZT: What’s the writing process like with you guys? Do you go into it with a clear agenda? Is it more of a jam thing? A riff directed thing?
N: Usually it’s pretty loose. I tend to show up to practice with a song already written in my head but it always sounds completely different once the other two have had their input. Ben takes my ham fisted riffs, swaps some around with his own and changes things to make them sound good and Jamie always comes up with his own drumbeats that are much better than anything I could’ve thought of. I guess it’s equal input but I tend to get the ball rolling.
ZT: For a lot of metal bands lyrics are an after thought of sorts, in that it’s more about the rhythm of the vocals rather than the words themselves. Do they play second fiddle or is it an integral part of what Crypsis is all about? Would you say that your every day lives and reality inform your lyrics? Are you going to write a song about the Brighton Sainsburys suicide bomber?
N: Suicidal Sainsbury’s Attack! It needs to be done! We had the bomb squad there and everything, shame he didn’t do it in the end, that would’ve made for a much better song!
With the lyrics, me and Jamie write about half each. Jamie’s lyrics are usually the ones that sound like they’ve had more effort put into them, he doesn’t write his lyrics to fit over a particular song or play to any cliches so I think they’re a bit more personal. Mine on the other hand are just the generic ‘world’s ending, let’s kill shit’ stuff but phrased so I can play and shout them easily. I’d say it’s kind of half and half between ‘integral’ and ‘second fiddle’
ZT: Brighton is kind of the perfect place in that you’re not too far from the city but don’t actually have to deal with it. You all natives? Newbies? Do you think your locale had much to do with the way the band has developed, in that you had access to London and its scene? Or did you find it more isolating in a way and did this help you guys get on with it and write?
N: We were all born and raised in Brighton and the band will probaby always be based here. The local and touring bands that play here are always really diverse which has definitely helped us develop from strictly thrash to having a few more quirky bits. It’s cool having a lot of different music to listen to and loads of different bands but not so many that you end up leaning towards one genre because you can’t follow it all.
ZT: How would you characterise the development of the scene here and where would you say its headed?
N: Recently the scene’s been doing really well. There was a really shitty period where loads of venues closed though. In a couple of months we lost the Hobgoblin, the Engine room and the Freebutt which were all really popular venues. It sucked but since then the Green Door store and the Haunt have opened and the Hydrant have started putting on more metal shows. There’s loads of other really unusual venues that are putting heavier bands on now as well. The Sword played Audio which is some fancy cocktail bar, Cro-mags played Digital (Which was amazing, Every band that played shouted at the soundguy to stop pissing about with the laser light show) and Sunn o))) are playing Coalition the day after shy fx.
ZT: Can you tell me a bit about Tadpole records and how you hooked up with them? Looked it up and didn’t find much info other than a long list of releases…
N: Tadpole records is run by a guy called called Darren Bourne who’s been coming to our shows for a while now. He’s completely mad about punk music but loves metal as well. His label is almost entirely punk music but besides us he’s also put out records by a Japanese band called Parasite who are brilliant. He’s helped us out so much, when were getting money together for our EP he chipped in and sent loads of CDs off to be reviewed. Without him we would never have our best review ever from Japan (“guitars chop and crunch! Evil and quickly dash off thrash metal!”).
ZT: Anything perceived as a trend tends to irk the chronically crotchety underground and there were more than a few ‘old-school’ metallers annoyed with ‘the thrash revival’. I say bollocks to that as there were loads of good bands put under the header, and at the end of the day, its a PR built hype phrase that didn’t even necessarily exist as there has been and will always be loads of new thrash bands coming out. It’s classic. Simple. What do you remember thinking about this, if anything, and why do you think there’s always backlash when metal happens to crack anything remotely resembling the mainstream?
N: I can see where the backlash comes from, metal is a really elitist genre of music full of people who listen to underground bands to make themselves feel a cut above the rest. When those bands change their sound or get popular then there’s going to be a bunch of internet warriors whining about how they sold out. It’s a shame really.
ZT: Do you think Crypsis are ballsy enough to play with Arnocorps? Is anyone ballsy enough? Have you started the manditory paramilitary training regime yet, ie., drinking beer whilst doing one handed push ups?
N: We’ve been preparing with a strict diet of green berets for breakfast and doing the Rocky 4 training montage 3 times a day to turn that mush into muscle. We won’t be ballsy enough until all three of us look like Lou Ferrigno.
ZT: What’s on the cards for Crypsis in the near future? Writing? More recording? Gigging? Touring?
N: We’re working on a full length album at the minute, we’re nearly done putting the songs together and will hopefully be recording soon. We’ve got some new tshirts on the way as well (at last!) courtesy of James Walsh. There’s also a tour with our mates in Sea Bastard which we’ll try and sort out after the album is released hopefully.
You can catch Crypsis pumping iron at Brighton beach, running around the ruins of castles with Sea Bastard (hopefully sorting this hypothetical tour sooner rather than later) or opening for Arnocorps with Headface on June 30th at the Haunt in Brighton. ‘Choir For The Carrion’ EP is out on Tadpole Records. Go give ’em some cash for that full length, post haste.
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