KRYPTOS is heavy metal in the full sense of the word, they play all you can expect under that label but even more, because they still have that thrash and dark point that makes their music so especial. Plus that, they have their ideas very clear and whatever happens they are gonna do their thing and deliver the goods, I learnt it in this conversation with thunderous vocalist Nolan Lewis. A band from India but at the top of the heavy metal international scene.
Hello Nolan and congratulations for your fantastic new album “Burn Up The Night”
Hello and thank you very much. Glad you liked it.
Surprinsingly for many people Kryptos have been active for almost 20 years. How would you summarize all those years?
Haha it’s been a long time for sure. But, I’d say the first 10-12 years were more about us finding our feet as a band, because things don’t really work as they do in India as compared to say Europe for example. We didn’t have any opportunities to tour or play many gigs, plus recording an album was pretty expensive, so all these things kind of played their part in maybe ‘slowing’ us down a bit. But, things have been really good for us over the last 5-6 years, so we can’t really complain.
There has been some line-up changes in your story but I think right now we can talk about a stable formation, right?
Yeah, actually the previous line-up stayed together for about 6 years, so that was a fairly long time. The current line-up is about 3 years old now, but yeah it seems to be the most stable one so far. Everyone is pretty much on the same page so it’s working out pretty well.
Who is the leader in the band? Is there some ego-fighting in Kryptos?
Haha there’s no real leader. We all work together and we all have our own roles within the band. So any decisions we make only take place if everyone in the band agrees on the same thing. No time for egos and petty shit.
Pretty good. “Burn Up The Night” is your fourth album, regarding your previous albums are we gonna find any surprise, anything different to your other albums? Or if we listen to “Burn Up The Night” we know for sure what we will find in your first 3 albums?
It’s more stripped down than our previous albums. We’ve totally went back to our roots on this album, so it’s very retro in sound. Very NWOBHM/Classic 80’s metal, except the vocals, which are still more in the Coroner/Kreator vein. You’ll find a lot of catchy songwriting on Burn Up The Night for sure. Lots of really catchy harmonies and melodies as well.
We have talked good and long about “Burn Up The Night” in our mag, a beast of an album, so it’s time for you to introduce it, what is it all about?
The album is all about bringing back that 80’s vibe and feeling. You know, when times were simpler and the music was all that mattered. Real, honest metal music the way it was always meant to be. Burn Up The Night is almost like a time machine. It will take you back to the time you were a kid and you listened to your first Iron Maiden record and fell in love with it. It’s about feeling ‘free’. That’s what heavy metal is all about. To feel free, to feel good. There’s so much of horrible shit going on in the world that we just wanted to put out an album that reminded everyone about how good music can make you feel.
I think you have expressed it perfectly, the old times, the old naïve times. How long did you work in the new album and how was the composition process?
The writing and recording was done in about 6 months in total. It wasn’t too difficult to write it since once we started doing it, it flowed pretty smoothly. Rohit and I put all the music together so it was pretty quick, since we’re usually on the same page when it comes to writing. And of course lots of beer, weed and Thin Lizzy haha.
A winner horse. You have signed by AFM Records, another good presentation card, right?
Yeah, they’ve been really good to us. We signed with them a few years ago and it’s been really good so far. Because they have a very good distribution network our albums are reaching people all over the world, which is really cool.
Talking more in detail about your new album, if you have a guy like Nolan on the micro, well, everything is easier. He has so much personality and darkens your music so much, it coats it all with a special sense
Haha thank you very much. That’s just the way I sing. Plus I’m a pretty big fan of Ron Royce so I guess it shows.
Nola, you were originally a vocalist, a natural talent, or you have developed your skills along time?
Actually our bass player Ganesh was our original vocalist, but I took over on vocals since 2008. I wouldn’t say I’m particularly ‘talented’ or ‘skilled’ vocally, but I guess I just do whatever I do with enough conviction to carry it through.
What is heavy metal if not intense guitars, killer riffs and solos? We got enough of both in “Burn Up The Night”, Rohit has made a tremendous work
Yeah, his solos especially have really captured the spirit of all the 70’s and 80’s greats like Randy Rhoads, Brian Robertson, Glenn Tipton etc. That’s what it’s all about at the end of the day. To channel the spirit of these great players into our music so that it lives on.
What are the lyrics about in the album?
A lot of different stuff. There’s some sci-fi stuff, some occult stuff, some dystopian stuff etc, but it’s kind of like watching Terminator 2 or something. Plus there are some Priest-ish type lyrics in there, which are all about going out there and fighting the good fight.
Sounds like real fun. We got different kind of songs, from the classic heavy metal of Blackstar Horizon, the more oriented thrash metal tracks of Unto Elysium till some mid tempos as One Shot to Kill. More variety, more probability to reach more people, and you do it all so smooth and exciting
Yeah, we’ve always liked albums with a lot of variation from song to song. So in that sense this album is almost like Defenders of the Faith or Screaming for Vengeance in the way the songs change tempo and mood as the album moves along. That’s how we’ve always written our music, because it comes naturally to us. Sure we could write an entire album of just fast songs but then it would probably get a bit monotonous.
Above all I would underline the dark atmosphere that you can breathe throughout the album and the “dirty” sound that makes your music very special, rough and exciting, Call it attitude.
Thanks a lot. I guess it’s more of a vibe than an attitude, because we kind of wanted to capture that whole 80’s dystopian/street imagery. You know, like you’re riding your bike in your leather jacket and a bunch of goons are after you with lasers and stuff haha. We wanted to get the production just right as well, with enough ‘grit’ to give it that rough edge. We aren’t really fans of the whole ‘clean’ production nowadays. There’s no soul to it.
Haha a good vision with the lasers and all… What bands have influenced your music?
Judas Priest, Iron Maiden, Black Sabbath, Accept, Thin Lizzy, Scorpions, Mercyful Fate, early Def Leppard, Coroner, Kreator, Candlemass etc All the good stuff basically haha
I buy it. I love the cover artwork, it fits perfect with your old school approach and takes us back to the 80s covers
Yeah, we asked Mattias Frisk, who has also done art for the band Ghost, to design a cover for us that would capture the 80’s vibe and he did just that. Fantastic piece of art. It has a very ‘old school yet futuristic’ look to it.
Kryptos is a band from India. At the beginning it might appear as an obstacle for your career, but the globalization can turn it round and make it an advantage, looking more cool and interesting. What do you think?
Not sure about that, because we’ve never looked at anything as an obstacle. I mean we’ve been doing this since 1998, so whether globalization happened or not, we’d still find a way to keep doing what we do. I guess in some ways it has made touring abroad a bit easier, but on the whole it hasn’t affected us too much.
In your opinion, Nolan, how is the Metal scene in India? Are you leading the heavy metal scene over there?
It’s not as big as it should be, considering the amount of people in India. Heavy metal is still a very underground form of music here. Plus, since India is so big, metal fans are scattered all over the country, There are a lot of bands here but most of them play modern forms of metal like metalcore and deathcore and stuff like that. It isn’t our cup of tea. Plus there aren’t too many venues to play at in India, so bands don’t get to play many gigs in a year. We aren’t leading the metal scene in India. We’re just…..separate from it, because we don’t really fit into the scene considering the music we play. So we do our own thing and everyone else does theirs.
Clear. You are still based in India, any intention to move to other country or you feel all right?
No real intention to move since all our families and friends are here. Plus we love the food here way too much to move haha.
Hahaha reasons of “heavy” weight, once again. In 2013 you became the first Indian heavy metal band to play a full set at Wacken Open Air. How was it and what effect did it have in your project?
It was great. I mean when we started the band we never ever expected that we’d even last a few years, much less play at the biggest metal festival in the world. So it was kind of surreal. It was a pretty eye opening experience for sure, and we figured out a lot of things over those couple of days, and yeah it gave us an extra boost to keep doing what we do.
What touring plans do you have? Any international dates in the horizon?
We have some gigs lined up in India right now and hopefully we’ll be back to tour Europe in the summer next year. Let’s see how it goes.
That would be fantastic. Thank you very much Nolan and congratulations for your awesome album, we will be awaiting your next release!
Thank you very much for the interview. It was a pleasure. Cheers!