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Interviews

Cryptopsy - Flo Mounier and Matt McGachy

05/10/12  ||  Averatu

cabin fever
If I had to name extreme metal bands that have been very influential and also having polarised metal fans, then that French Candanadian bunch of freakazoids known as Cryptopsy would definitely be on that list. They’ve always pushed the boundaries of extreme, playing harder and faster, odd time signatures, eating worms, making fans eat worms, and then no longer having Lord Worm in the band. And speaking of former members, there seems to be a revolving door policy when it comes to vocalists, and members in general. When most bands lose the frontman they pack it in and start a new project, but with Cryptopsy they seem to come and go as they please, or is it as the rest of the band please? And with the arrival and departure of vocalists so to fluctuates the style of the music like the autumn wind, first blowing this way then that.

There have been a fair few mind fuck albums for me over the years, albums that impress both the metal fan and musician in me, ‘Whisper supremacy’ would be one of those. But then the Worm fan-tards have to pipe up and whine that their man is not on that album, so its not really tr000 Cryptopsy, whine, whine, whine… There have been a fair few fucking disappointing albums for me over the years, Machine Head’s ‘The burning red’, Dark Tranquility’s ‘We are the void’. I never thought ‘The unspoken king’ deserved all the hate heaped on it. It’s not my favorite album of theirs, but the band tried some stuff that strayed too close to the dreaded core side of the fence, which I thought sounded kinda Faith no More-ish. But alas, us metal consumers are a fickle bunch of assholes, if your current album is br000tal, your next album better be twice as fucking br000tal. And on the other side of the fence the core fans don’t take kindly to metal bands treading on their turf and messing with their hairspray.

Please note: I don’t care about your opinion about when and how and why the core came to exist, lets just agree right now its a freak of nature that should have been put in a plastic bag and dumped in the nearest lake at birth. But in these liberal times it was allowed to flourish.

Here now follows the e-mail confrontation between me, Averatu, on behalf of Global Fucking Domination as the party of the first part, and Flo Mounier representing the defendant Cryptopsy as the party of the second part. We dispel with lame pleasantries and cut to the chase:

Global Domination: I’d love to be congratulating you on your fantastic new album, but I’ve not heard it. I’m stuck on the wrong end of the dark continent, also known as South Africa, a place where big name metal bands hardly play and metal albums are imported at exorbitant cost, and then taxed, and that’s if you can find it. How do I go about getting a copy to do a review for Global Domination?

Flo Mounier: Well, I’m sure that you could ask your good friends at Clawhammer Promotions to send you one, or I could even do that for you.

What are the chances of ever seeing you perform here on the dark and br00tals continent? (That’s Africa)

Hmmm, I really wish I could say “good”, but it really all depends on your local promoters. We’ll go play anywhere and would love to come to South Africa providing the offer makes sense.

What are promoters, is it like that that thing that makes your car go vroom. A little 3rd world humor there. Pardon my stupidity and please spell something out for me. You’re essentially a technical grind-death-metal band, for lack of a more accurately descriptive sub sub genre. What the freaking frick is the issue with having a vocalist who can sing? The new guy definitely delivers in spades, but I can’t see or hear how being a trained vocalist gives him an advantage over other growlers and screamers, seeing as there is really not that much singing on ‘The unspoken king’, (not having heard the new album, as mentioned).

There is actually none on the new album and I like this question so listen up and spread the answer around. You’ll notice (when you actually hear the album) that there are pitch changes in the growls that are done on the new album. Matt’s growls come from the diaphragm which is where most trained singers try to sing from and use their vocal chords to change tones, notes pitches, etc… It’s pretty impressive seeing a guy belt out this huge screams and growls and make it look and sound effortless. Next, since he is trained he knows how to take care of his voice so canceling shows cause your singer can’t talk anymore is a thing of the past. Also if as musicians we could play other styles of music then Cryptopsy wouldn’t be Cryptopsy. Is there a problem with me being able to play some jazz, or Jon playing blues??? No, right? So it’s all part of making things better, easier, tighter and simply more interesting.

I always wonder which came first, the chicken or the egg? Did you guys plan to be a super extreme metal band and practice you’re asses of to reach the desired skill level, or where you music nerds who fell into the genre because you had the chops?

Metal is really the first style that I started playing, so whichever one came first (the chicken or the egg) – I did it backwards. I was gifted in the speed department, call me a spaz! After a while I became aware of all sorts of other musical styles and basically relearned the drums from the ground up. The more I played the more I fell in love with the instrument. The more I learned the more things got easier and the more I evolved. When it comes to composing for Cryptopsy, yes we definitely pushed ourselves to write brutal technical music without (and this always) straying too far away from making the songs somewhat musical.

Obligatory drum question for resident drum geek. If I buy a drum kit, a practice pad set-up, brand x double pedals and some dvd’s and start practicing drums tomorrow, and I put in three hours a day, would I be blasting away by next year?

Yes, probably!! I never really practiced more than 2 hours and day for some reason. I regret it a bit now but even still when I try I never get to 3, lolll. Butt starts to hurt from being seated too long. Blasting are single strokes and the easiest of the rudiments so yeah – no problem, DO IT!!!!

Sure I’ll play drums, but you’ll have to pry my Flying V from my cold dead fingers first. What do they call that guy that hangs out with the band, but I digress. I can do the standard bouncing knee double pedal thing pretty well (sitting at my desk), but that ‘floating leg restrained hip flexor ankle flex’ thing is a killer, and I can’t see it generating enough force. There must be a better way, or am I just doing it ass about face? (still sitting at my desk)

It’s a technique that is quite hard to do without pedals. Imagine bouncing a basketball without the basketball, kinda tough!! On top of it it’s a technique that when not used on pedals and just done air drumming has to be done one foot (leg) at a time. Hope this helps.

Not really, but thanx anyway. I think it’s kind of ironic that you guys got so much flack for going all deathcore. Me thinks it’s partly your fault the deathcore scene came to exist. Above I mention ‘Whisper supremacy’, an album with all the elements found in every deathcore album over the last few years, but a few years early and not repeating those same handful of ideas ad nauseum as the core kids do, “and without the hair do’s”:http://www.globaldomination.se/reviews/this-or-the-apocalypse-dead-years . Then I mention your hyperblast grindcore phase and voilá! How do you see this?

I don’t really see death core in Cryptopsy, and never was it mentioned at any point in our writing career, yes even for “The Unspoken King”, that we wanted to try using death core elements. Yes we have been doing this for 20 years and supposedly we have influenced a lot of bands, ok, so know this and respect this is all I can say. Jazz and Latin bands have influenced me, but are Cuban bands mad at Heracio Hernandez for having influenced a death metal player?? LOLLL, that’s funny.

How much does the lineup changes have to do with the varied album styles?

The sound of “The Unspoken King” was different than previous releases because this was the first time in Cryptopsy that I was not writing with Jon, instead it was Alex for the most part, so yes – different composer, different outcome.

Mind the step

Do you feel you have enough freedom to experiment or is extreme metal a restraint?

Much less of a restraint than a lot of music out there. It seems that when Jon and I write though it always comes out brutal, lol.

Are the fans entitled to their idea of a Cryptopsy album?

Of course everyone has an opinion and everybody has different tastes, it would be very mundane if this wasn’t so.

Do you feel obliged to deliver to the expectations of the fans?

I don’t feel obliged to do anything in that sense, but I respect my fans without whom I wouldn’t be here talking to you about a new album, so I feel happy when they enjoy what we do.

Does having great hair benefit a band in any way, other than having something to discuss with groupies?

It makes for a heck of a windmill live!!!!

Is it just me, (and I’ve been to lazy to check) or is ‘And then you’ll beg’ a part two, or side two of ‘Whisper supremacy’?

No, not true, they are different albums. That’s the first time I hear that, weird??

I smell a denialist conspiracy here, I had them playing concurrently once, and there was no end to the one and beginning of the other, and my media player picks up “Whisper Supremacy” as track 1 to 8, and “And then you’ll beg” as track 9 to 17. I’ll get agent Fox Mulder on the case right away. In the mid to late 90’s when other bands were jumping the new metal band wagon, Cryptopsy just made the metal harder. Some acts were dropped by labels, others imploded. Did you ever have external pressure to adapt to the new trend as many bands of the time experienced?

Not at all, never had pressure from anybody very honestly. We have never hung out with the local clicks or had management say anything of the sorts (actually we have never had management, lol) label never gave us any pressure either, that’s why sometimes it’s not easy being labeled something that you have no idea why or where it came from.

And now new metal is dead, have you been able to tell anyone “we told you so”? I love when that happens.

Haha, what’s new metal, dude, seriously I get confused, it’s all music to me, I guess I just don’t have a file folder for all the music I listen to and have never felt the need to label something. I just listen.

In the interim I’ve listened to the album. Your naughty “PR PR”:http://scenteddemented.com/abfabquotes.html people must have read the interview before sending it to you. My review should be published at some point in the not too distant future. Two questions to Matt McGachy. You must be on tenterhooks. Cryptopsy vocalists of the past lasted maximum two albums. That’s where you’re at right now?

Matt McGachy: I hadn’t thought about it actually, but you’re right, after two albums Cryptopsy does tend to switch singers. But I’m not concerned in the least, I feel very comfortable in my position. I am very happy with my performance on our self-titled release and I know that the rest of the band is as well. As for right now, I just want to get out on the road and share the new material with the fans.

The vocal direction has also moved back to the death metal growl and grunt. Do you find this approach satisfies your artistic needs as a vocalist, all touchy feely.

Matt McGachy: I am very satisfied with the vocal approach on this album. When I recorded “TUK” I was in a completely different place musically. Throughout the past 5 years I have had the chance to share the stage with metal giants such as: Vader, Behemoth and Origin (to name a few). The time spent on the road with these musicians really helped frame my new vocal approach for the new record. I wanted to keep it simple and I also knew that I had to let the music speak more this time around. As for my satisfaction artistically as a vocalist, I quickly realized that there was no place for my clean vocals in Cryptopsy. So I have formed a progressive rock side-project called The Era Of, which I get to sing in. I also scream and sing for the Montreal Thrash Metal band called The Catalyst. So thanks to all my projects, I am completely satisfied artistically.

From your comments above in phase one, and the sound of the album, I’m assuming the prominent neoclassical flavour is due to the return of Jon Levasseur?

Well, it’s due to the fact Jon and I have written most of the earlier Cryptopsy album and that combination is why we can hear the older elements in some of the new stuff.

This is also the first album since “None so vile” sans Éric Langlois. Why has he departed after such a long and fruitful tenure?

Eric was going through a tough time in his life I guess and his motivations towards the band was really low. It had been going on for quite some time, and at one point he really wasn’t on the same page as everyone else, so we had to make a decision.

In a “recent interview”http://www.globaldomination.se/interviews/mouthful-of-flies-deanger-smith I did, there was made mention of BC Bud. I wouldn’t have thought that stuff would grow in such a cold climate. Is that the kind of stuff that freaks on the other side of Candanadia get up to?

I wouldn’t know to much about that since I am not a smoker, but BC (British Columbia) has a very similar climate then North West American states, so the possibility for growth is good. We’re all the way across country so hard to get if you’re into that stuff.

Not really, drugs are bad. Have you had much hate mail from disgruntled drummers?

No, why? People do there own thing, and in the drumming community we are very respectful towards one another, always willing to learn and teach.

Where would the rabble obtain your albums since you no longer have a record label? You’re taking a bit of a risk there, n’est-ce pas?

You can get them from the same places that you would if we were on a label, our site, i-tunes, stores, etc… We just cut out the middleman that took 85% of the bands earnings, is all.

Mercy Bokomo and Donkey Shins for taking the time to decipher my ramblings.

Thank you so much for your support!!!!