Metal is a part of the very fibre of music in Brazil. When Sepultura exploded onto the world scene some three and a half decades ago they kicked open a door that has remained firmly off its hinges ever since. Crypta are one of the latest acts to emerge from the land of rain forest and bustling cities. Fast, furious and fierce this is a band ready to take on the world. Gary Trueman chatted to bass playing vocalist Fernanda Lira about the band, their new album and who she’d love to tour with.
You’re a brand new band, at least pretty new as you formed in 2019. Did that mean you could start writing with a clean slate even though you all came from other heavy bands?
“Although it was a new band, we knew from the start what genre and direction we would like to go for when starting writing the songs. Of course we made sure the writing process was fluid and organic, but always oriented to death metal.”
Did you all know each other from playing gigs together and as musicians for some time before Crypta formed?
“Me and Luana were together in Nervosa previously, so we knew each other and we created the band together. As for Sonia, we had met her before in a couple of shows both our ex-bands played together, but also, we had been fan girls of her for a while already – I’ve personally been following her since she was a bass player only in some of her previous extreme metal bands, so when we chose her to join the band, we already knew her. With Tainá, our other guitarist, it was a completely different story – we had never ever heard of her, had friends in common nor had seen any videos of her online. But she noticed me and Luana were announcing a side project at the time and sent me a message asking if we already had another guitarist and that she would love to join the band and send some material.”
You’re a Brazilian/Dutch band. Do you live on separate continents or are you all living or based in Brazil?
“Three of us, including myself, live in Brazil and Sonia, one of our guitarists lives in the Netherlands, that’s why we say we’re a Brazilian/Dutch band.”
You formed just as the pandemic hit and stopped world travel and touring. Has that had a major impact on your plans? Are you planning to tour the album as soon as you can. And are you going to be coming to tour Europe and in particular any plans to come to the UK?
“We could use this terrible time and this forced break in the music business for a good cause in Crypta. Since we knew the world would be stopped for quite a while, we decided to take all the time needed in order to write, pre produce, record and promote the album, and we couldn’t be more comfortable with this decision – we did everything very carefully, with no rush or pressure, in order to deliver the best possible debut, since the expectation for it was quite high from our friends, fans and supporters. We also took this time to plan carefully our next steps promotion wise, which includes touring! We have now a couple of tours booked already, and we’re just waiting for a green flag for tours to hit the road – and yes, we have plans for the UK already, I can’t wait to be able to announce them.”
How has the pandemic affected the band at a more personal level. There have been reports in the press that things are not good in Brazil right now?
“It’s been tough. The situation here in Brazil has been pretty bad, indeed, mainly due to the inability and lack of interest from the government to speed up the vaccination process, nor to provide proper economic support for the population which will end up affecting us with the band and also financially, the more time the band stays out of the road, the more complicated our personal financial situations get in risk. Besides that, to me personally, the pandemic has affected my mental health. I was pretty used to be touring all the time and now I know how much of a adrenaline outlet, stress discharge and physical exercising getting on a stage was haha So being just sitting still at home has definitely made my anxiety decline a little, but when I’m back on the road, I’ll be not only extremely excited but also in a definitely better place mentally.”
Let’s talk a bit about the album Echoes Of The Soul. It’s a beast of an album. It has a modern sound but you can hear its roots are a blend of different forms of death metal. Did you set out for the album and for your music to have a specific sound or theme or was it a case of just seeing where the mood took you?
“Thank you! So, when we started the band, we decided we’d like to write old school death metal, but when we actually started writing, we saw this was going somewhere else, and we just let that happen fluidly and the result is exactly what you said – a hybrid kind of death metal, with many different elements. You can find old school rawness but also some modern epic melodies and in the end we just love the result, although it’s not what we initially planned, but i think that’s the magic in music, right? Just let it flow and see where it will take you. We’re very happy and proud of the final outcome.”
Did you write the songs entirely before recording or was it a more fluid process where some stuff got changed or whole songs got written during your time at the studio?
“The album was totally written before getting in the studio, except for a bonus track, which vocal melodies and lyrics i finished while the girls were recording the guitars! But even though they were ready, we got into the studio really open to whatever changes or adaptations our producer felt like suggesting. So there were definitely a couple of changes here and there, mainly on bass and vocals, but we’re super fine with that and thought these changes were really welcome and improved the songs, but the rough material was almost 100% ready before studio time.”
Does everyone have equal input into the song writing in terms of their instruments and trying stuff out?
“Definitely – we always make sure our songwriting is very democratic and open! All of us contribute to riffs, although they come more from me and both guitarists, but all of us are also allowed to suggest ideas or changes to the other instruments or my vocals. Me, for example, I have many guitar riffs ideas, and I just love drums, so I end up having many drum ideas too, and the drummer is always very receptive to trying them out.”
What about lyrics? Fernanda is the vocalist but does she also write all the lyrics or does everyone have an input there too?
“I write all the lyrics and have most of the creative spark to write them, but the girls can definitely contribute with ideas for lyrics – one of them in our current album was a suggestion from our drummer and we already have some lyrics cooking for future songs which are suggested by Tainá, one of our guitarists, so yeah, I’m open to ideas, but I like to write them, so I can adapt to the way I sing.”
Do you feel you have to try harder and be better to be treated as equals because you’re an all girl band? Things are changing in the music world but there’s still a lot of inequality isn’t there?
“Yeah, definitely. Things have been changing for the good in an amazing speed, but there are still many challenges women face when having a band in the metal scene. Not only having to prove we can actually play, or being objectified, which are the obvious ones, but there are more ‘subtle’ annoying challenges like, being prevented to get in your own dressing room because people think you’re the musicians’ girlfriend not the actual musician, or you get taught about where’s the volume button on the amp here and there when you get on stage, or people try to squeeze your boob while taking a picture, all these little things still happen way more than they should, but i think it’s been changing. We’ve been a patriarchal society for centuries, so it will take some time until people are actually fully comfortable and understanding of the idea that women can develop other roles besides the ones typically addressed to them, but I think the more girls involved in the metal scene in different ways, the more girls will be inspired and feel safe to also join and follow their dreams, so I can foresee amazing changes for the future.”
Do you think that inequality and misogyny is more (or less) prevalent in Brazil than say the UK or the US?
“Not that these countries are misogyny free (one of the times I was prevented from getting in my own dressing room because the security said no groupies were allowed, was in the UK), but at least based on my experiences and also my background live in Brazil, I think Latin America as a whole is still a bit more misogynist, but that also has been rapidly changing. But there’s a cool thing about this that I noticed – because women are really repressed around these countries in Latin America, I think girls rebel a bit more and the result is that we have so many girls in bands or all girl bands here in Latin America, more than I have ever seen anywhere else, which is great. I think we kinda use this repression to rebel against the system with our music, art and existence.”
You’re signed to Napalm Records who are well known and respected in the industry. How much of a boost was it to get signed to them so soon after forming?
“It was really motivating and made things way easier. When I left my previous band, which was pretty much well established in the scene, I felt really sad and kinda frustrated to have to start it all from scratch, but when Napam decided to sign us, it brought a whole refreshing vibe to me. Not only because having a label backing your debut up makes many things way easier and smooth, but also because I had previously been working with them when I was in Nervosa for nearly a decade, so, since I was the one dealing with them from the beginning there, it would make this restart way less bureaucratic and complicated – it just felt like being back to family, so it was great and I’m so so thankful!
Do you have band members who fulfil roles outside of being a musician. So for example do you have any one person who organises things like times for practices and food and stuff? Anyone who gets involved with art for merch? Do you have a band matriarch or a band joker?
“We are still a self-managed band, so until it’s the right time to have management and other services going on, we definitely need to share the duties among the band members to get things going in an organized way and we all contribute in a way. Me, for example, I’m the one who talks to Napalm directly regarding deals, product management, promotion planning, and also discuss tours with our agents worldwide. But we have members who handle social media, the other one, merch, the other one, the art designs we need, so yeah, everyone is still pretty much working a lot when not writing or playing.”
If you could pick a band to tour with who you think would be the best fit for your music and be cool tour buddies who would you choose?
“I would love to tour with Carcass, Arch Enemy, Cannibal Corpse, Krisiun – not only I think we might be a nice opener for a package with these bands, but also have a couple of buddies in these bands, so it would be like a dream come true.”
If Crypta got asked to play a charity concert where all the money could go to a charity of your choosing who would you like the funds to go to?
“That’s really a hard question, since I’m an activist for social causes and I’m always involved in volunteering or helping financially many different organizations, but I think two of them which can make a nice work globally, and to which I’ve been contributing to are Medicins Sans Frontiers and also Sea Shepherd. Amazing honest hardworking organisations that are definitely helping change many lives out there.”
And if you played a gig where you could have anything, literally anything on the rider what would you choose and why?
“I would love to have amazing vegan buffets with exotic meals and desserts, and not only pasta and salad hahaha But also a little private spot for meditation and yoga would be amazing!”
Interview by Gary Trueman