ABOVE: CRYPTS. IMAGE COURTESY OF DAVE LICHTERMAN
Crypts are a band with a penchant for mischief. The cover of their new self-titled LP, which features synth and drum machine impresario Bryce Brown crawling on the roof of a car in the dead of night with a cigarette hanging from his mouth, is a perfect representation of the band’s impish spirit. Fittingly, the image was captured by the band’s second synth player, Nick Bartoletti, who is also responsible for a hefty arsenal of visuals for the band’s live show. Singer Steve Snere (yup—his real name) was apparently not on hand for the debaucherous photo op, but still boasts his own credentials as a writhing, gyrating, stage-destroying frontman of extreme caliber.
The boys mirror their music in a way that could be passed off as mere façade were their electronic orchestrations not so blinding and formidable. Reminiscent of My Bloody Valentine and Suicide, they marry one chaotic sound after another without losing the intention of the overall composition. Snere’s vocals—a mix of wails and staccato belts—bite through the mess with attitude and a bright timbre shared with T. Rex’s Marc Bolan. Having just wrapped a tour with Mars Volta’s Omar Rodriguez Lopez, and coming up on their second anniversary as a band this winter, Crypts gave us a minute to discuss how they came together, and what goes into those brutal tracks of theirs.
AGE: Drinking age, and above
HOMETOWN: Seattle, Washington. And, one from Cleveland.
CURRENT LOCATION: A conference call, coast to coast
INTRODUCTIONS: Snere: The intro to the song Breathe was taken from an old 7″ record of kids with dysfunctional breathing. It’s a doctor giving different examples of patients with various respiratory problems.
SOUNDS LIKE: Brown: Roland CR-8000 (modified with midi to trigger boards), Alesis HR16, Akai XR-20, Korg Poly 800, Korg MS2000, Roland MC-505, Boss Dr. Sample, Korg Kaoss KP-3, LZX Analog Modular Video Synth (video & audio), various pedals, and Reason.
GOING STEADY: Brown: I met Nick through a couple mutual friends. He was doing mostly visual art and projections, but he wanted to learn music. He started coming over to my house, and I showed him some stuff, and it was like, “Damn, this is awesome!” We just kicked it around and started playing together.
HOLIDAY VIBES: Snere: It was around Christmas time of 2010 when everyone had a break that we got a space and went at it. We bought a PA and hung out with each other the whole time, and just worked on music.
SUICIDAL TENDENCIES: Snere: I either wanted to do something super garage-y, like noisy and sloppy, or I wanted to do something more like Suicide—electronic shit. It just went more this way.
COVER BOY: Bartoletti: I took the photograph on the cover of our album. I’m not sure when exactly that night was, but we know it was on Capitol Hill, because you can see a Pike Street dumpster sign.
Brown: I was drunk. That was not my car. I jumped into a trash can; I jumped out of a trash can; and then I landed on the top of that car. Steve wasn’t around, but we were probably just leaving the bar he works at.
Bartoletti: The car was talkin’ shit.
VIDEODROME: Bartoletti: I have an analog modular video synthesizer that I use live. I have a video sampler that I control with my laptop. We run the analog and the digital stuff. I also have a video mixer, a little security camera on Steve, and I have a bunch of clips that I’ve made. But, I’m not like a VJ because its all stuff I make that I cue up in real time. I don’t download stock footage or play in spinning cubes.
LIVE SHOW: Snere: Its dark, and super loud. We bring our own PA. Generally it’s aimed to make our presence known, whether that’s good or bad. That’s always been my motto: if you’re there, better make sure people remember it.
Bartoletti: Sensory overload.
HABITS: Brown: Vitamin C shots and cigarettes.