Friday, December 02, 2005

here's a little slice of death from Lord Worm, just in time for your weekend bullshit;

There are very few bands on the death metal scene that have garnered as much respect across the board as Montreal's Cryptopsy. The band's penchant for making Armageddon-like brutality appetizing coupled with its sense of purpose and musical ability have won the band both critical accolade and diehard fan support. Similarly, the departure and consequent return of original and fan favourite singer Lord Worm from self-exile has coincided with the band's multi-year absence from the album scene. The band has not been inactive though constantly recording, touring and tweaking its line-up so upon release of the Once Was Not album Ali "The Metallian" was eager to speak to the lord of worms himself for an up-date on things. Metallian reached Lord Worm at home on a Friday evening. - 01.10.2005

METALLIAN: Lord Worm, how comfortable do you feel being back in the band?
LORD WORM: A lot better than a year ago, or two years ago.

METALLIAN: How so?
LORD WORM: I am getting used to the stuff again, you know. It started off as job number three, as everyone knows, but since then I have left one of senior jobs I had so it is down to two and now that things are working out the way that they are Cryptopsy is not such a job anymore. It has a lot of the specifications of a job as it were, but I find myself at the practice locale every day and even if we don't practice the songs or the set we conduct business together. So we are running the business, but it doesn't feel like I am an employee anymore if you know where I am going with this. We are doing things as a team and in our own way. I still don't enjoy performing live and I still don't like studio, Ok fine, everything has got its ups and downs but on whole it is rewarding.

METALLIAN: Your statement is surprising. Having experienced Cryptopsy live you look so comfortable performing live.
LORD WORM: You know what? Some people are born psychic and they think it's a curse, something they rather not do, according to Miss Rawling who writes the Harry Potter books. She writes that we are like Muggles kind of thing. Sometimes you can do something that people perceive you do well, but I rather do something else like drink!

METALLIAN: That is an odd statement for a man who has volunteered to return into the fold of a hard-touring band. Cryptopsy has been on the road both before and after the recording of the comeback album.
It has been five years between studio albums and obviously longer since you have been on an album. Does the band internally have discussions about the lost momentum and are you worried?
LORD WORM: You know what, somehow or other everyday one of us speaks to another. There is a constant contact and it can be personal, that happens very often just for fun, or it can be business or it can be combination of both kind of things so somehow no one is ever left out of the loop. Sometimes one of us will be the last to know but everyone knows at one point or another everything before it is dangerous. There is always a plan of action whether it is business or pleasure and even if there isn't a one-hundred percent agreement all the time it is democratic even right down to the decision of what beer we will get!
For instance, I have the power of veto on that one, I am a dictator but I am very benevolent. I'll let you drink the garbage you drink and I'll drink the good stuff. That's the way it goes, even if not all of us are agree all the time we try to mange the decisions so that everyone benefits equally with the least amount of suffering possible whether it's in the life context, studio context, new writing or whatever. Sometimes one will say or do something's that perceived to be the wrong thing for the greater good of the band. There's a pep talk sometimes and things are straightened out, but no one gets fired although that's a favoured phrase! In short, no we are not worried so long as we discuss things amongst ourselves.

METALLIAN: So do you reckon that you are in it for the long haul?
LORD WORM: Well, as long as I let it last, and I don't mean professionally, for let's face it I have been suicidal for years.

METALLIAN: Are you serious?
LORD WORM: Yes.

METALLIAN: Hopefully it is not that serious. I mean, what's one less human being on this planet, but you are a good frontman.
LORD WORM: I am not in a business sense. Let's face it I have heard it said that people who smile a lot have a lot of hope. Well then we have to look at the converse of that. People who smile little have no hope. It's a reality of existence, we continue to exist, but it eventually comes. We are all just statistics waiting to happen. Nobody's special. It doesn't matter who you are. You are a statistic waiting to happen and a hundred years from now who will know the difference… it's the way it goes. I mean you could be the father of communism or the father of democracy and it doesn't matter, you will wind up dead.

METALLIAN: Does the fact that people remember you count?
LORD WORM: You wind up dead and misrepresented. It doesn't matter.

METALLIAN: Misrepresented yes, but remembered…
LORD WORM: So what?

METALLIAN: You are right, of course. I am being a devil's advocate. Christians or the average religious hopeful will disagree with your notion.
LORD WORM: But who's going to remember and do they matter? Statistically, are they important? No. You can be remembered by the elite or the average person. Who cares? It just doesn't matter. OK, maybe it's a fatalist attitude, maybe I am pessimist, you know what? I don't care!
In the meantime things are going well for the band and we continue to grow and things are looking up and up and that's good too. I am not going to take away from that.

METALLIAN: Speaking of things going well, the last time we spoke Cryptopsy had well-publicized issues with Century Media. How did they get resolved because, obviously, the album is out on Century Media.
LORD WORM: Since then there have been several e-mails, several phone calls and a couple of live head to head chats over a couple of beers. So humans spoke to humans and that always resolves things much more quickly than this or that whatever. Face to face does it as it did in Worcester, Massachusetts at that the hardcore metalfest. We met with a couple of their representatives and hammered out a couple of things. It was two of them and eight of us kind of a thing, but points were hammered out without much difficulty over a not terribly long period of time; over a couple of beers, hand shakes and back patting all around. That is the way it happened.

METALLIAN: Was it just handshakes or was there some paper exchanged or modified as well?
LORD WORM: Everyone makes mistakes and everyone is not necessarily wrong at the same time. The truth always lies somewhere in between and if you are sober and willing to discuss things as adults you can say you we were wrong and you were right and let us look for the middle ground.
The answer to your question is 'yes and no.' Certain contractual stipulations were modified without modifying the whole contract and yet our homework was also better defined and less generalized. I guess everyone understands each other, like "oh that's what you meant" kind of a thing.

METALLIAN: Cryptopsy's only problems were not external to the band. You underwent some internal shuffling as well. You came back, then a guitarist left and then another guitarist left. The last time I saw you live and we chatted was in Oshawa. My perception was that the band is really functioning well and then a guitarist packs his bags and leaves.
LORD WORM: That I can shed some light on because it is purely internal stuff which is where I am at. The whole label thing I am out of. I didn't sign anything. I hear some peoples' names and that is it. Guitarist-wise, Jon Levasseur left last August which was over a year ago. We had just done a weekend at Studio Wild with Pierre Remillard. We were doing pre-production on the song Carrionshine which you know. The next song is Adeste Infidelis; we did those two songs at studio Wild with Pierre Remillard. The idea at the time was to release them one at a time over the space of, I don't know, how much time to whet appetites and to keep them not wondering because at that point we were hoping for a spring 2005 release of the album. We were hoping to record over the winter. Now as you know from the way things went stuff got delayed over time like "oh, you got a US tour so you'll have to put the album out next summer," OK let's record it in the spring, "oh the tour is going to be six weeks you'll have to wait" et cetra. Anyway, those two songs were recorded and Jon was there. Now we never got a mix down and this is in no way to denigrate or cast dispersions upon the professionalism of Pierre Remillard and the studio. He is an extremely busy guy and we never got the mix done when we thought we would and then we figured that never mind we'll just do it ourselves because eventually the wait got ridiculous. We were keeping a smile on, but it was so long it wasn't worth it anymore. We never got the mix down and Jon left, not anyway because of that, but because at the time he was thinking he has nothing left to say. He thought he has done what he has got to do and he has no more ideas vis-a-vis Cryptopsy. We thought that this is going to drag on and we could be lost like this for twenty years and, this is not in anyway meant to denigrate the efforts of let's say Kreator who have sloughed through the scene aimlessly for like 20 years. I used to love them.
So he didn't want to do that. He opted out and we have to respect him for that because, at least, he didn't stick it out when he, in his head, wasn't needed. So the best thing was to hire our old guitarist Miguel. He knew None So Vile. Let's face it, he knew the Blasphemy Made Flesh and Whisper Supremacy material. All he had to learn was one song, We Bleed, jam with the rest of us and do the Canadian tour. He is amazing and a monster on stage so that was great, but he cannot get into the USA because of his long standing Marijuana possession thing that the States are just not going to smile at. They are terribly paranoid about pot apparently. You just can't get something into that country apparently. One wonders how the hell they got hip-hop going. Not that I am being bitter or sarcastic or anything. So we got Dan Mongrain who has got no criminal record, quote unquote, for something as nefarious as pot possession and we had to do the American tour with him which is fine. That worked out well, but let's face it Dan has his other band; that's his baby. He wasn't going to stay with us. We hired him to do what he did and he did an amazing job and once that was over he went back to it. He was willing to do shows to help us out and, partly for the money, let's face it we are talking good money. Then again, he has got other money-makers as well. He is a musician in demand and his priorities are with himself and he will take a good job offer when he gets it and run with that, but with us it was not a permanent thing and who can blame him if he can make more money somewhere else because Cryptopsy is a full-time thing and there's more money to be made in part time gigs, the way he does it, than with us. He is out to survive. I went to see their show in Laval a few weeks back and it was amazing. They played with Neuraxis and a couple of other bands and it was great. Dan was a hired gun just like just like Miguel.

METALLIAN: Cryptopsy has been a four-piece, but you have recruited a new guitarist.
LORD WORM: That was temporary. We have got a guy for the American tour called Chris. We have trained him right now. He is quite good and honestly the tour will be his final exam. He is a young guy in his early 20's. I don't know if that guy came to us or if we went to him, but certainly he was one of many who came by the rehearsal room with equipment. He came in knowing two songs - Phobophile and another one I am not sure which - and it worked out better than with others. Alex has been teaching him the songs since then. Alex is the game keeper as it were. It is going well.

METALLIAN: Listening to Once Was Not one thing that is soon apparent is the sheer technicality of the compositions. The thing its clearly more technical than before and a question to ask would be whether that was intentional. Put another way, are the masters trying to keep up with the students or it just turned out so frightfully complex?
LORD WORM: Wow, this is strange, from my point of view, because what we have been trying to do is not to be technical. We actually think we are simpler than before. We are actually trying to go back to the basics, saying any fool can play this… even Harry Potter can fucking play this…

METALLIAN: In that case, I would not want to hear you actually try to be technical.
LORD WORM: I don't want to be and one of the things that helped, and this was not a deciding factor in any way, not easy but easier for me to leave Cryptopsy back in the '90s was the fact that I didn't like the technical side. It was too much and I didn't want us to go Atheist, Cynic et cetra. It was just not us. We are fucking brutal deathmongers. I was asking, "what are you doing with all this twiddly shit?" and yet they went that way and, you know what, I said it doesn't hurt me so much to leave. Now that they are, in their eyes and to a certain extent in my eyes, going back to basics the technical aspect is not so bad. I can deal with this. So you are saying it is really technical? Oh Jesus, are you telling me I got used to this shit?

METALLIAN: You got used to it.
LORD WORM: Oh my god, you might just as well tell me I am gay, terrible! 'Technical' is a life style decision, sort of like pink. No, we are actually trying to tone down the technical aspects of the arrangements, keep fewer riffs in a song, keep them longer and get some grooves going. We are trying to tone down on how many notes there are in a particular riff. Do you believe it (laughs)? We are trying to keep it simple and yet catchy.

METALLIAN: Mission accomplished as George W. Bush would say. What one also notices is the samples and intros. Why did the band decide their inclusion is needed?
LORD WORM: Most of that actually came from Flo. He is a serious cino-phile. He watches films all the time. We both do, but Flo is a very serious about it and some things strike him and he will sample it. If the songs call for it he has got that memory going and says, 'I've got a sample for that.'

METALLIAN: Oh Lord, can you elaborate on the album's title and concept?
LORD WORM: Once Was Not, which is the concept as well, is about what is it that existed or used to not exist and exists now and what do we do with it! To be progressive about it Once Was Not became a sort of a history of human fear because human fear has evolved over the millennia. Adult humans used to be afraid of the dark and you know, for example, the campfire thing now and how it is a childhood thing is really a genetic memory thing. There is an awful lot of science in this but it goes in the guise of poetry, you know how it goes with me.

METALLIAN: Well, who knows how it goes with you…
LORD WORM: You know how it goes with me.

METALLIAN: Is the album a concept in the sense that all songs are related?
LORD WORM: There are many scenes that come up again and again in the album and if you were to study the songs in that way, almost like it were an English class, you would see that that is an extremely unified album conceptually, lyrically, musically. It is one big message.

METALLIAN: Earlier you mentioned that there are two covers for Once Was Not. How and why did that come about?
LORD WORM: There are two different release dates, one for Europe on the 17th of October and one for North America on the 18th. The North American version is a digipak and the European one is a regular cover. The European one has a more European feel, all sword and axes and things. We are trying to confuse the people.

METALLIAN: Aside from the current tour with Suffocation are there any news or plans?
LORD WORM: Yes, but all pretty up in the air if promising. I believe there is a week of touring in December. I am not sure if that's the week in Australia and New Zealand or if that is the week in England. Then there is another week in January when we are touring. Then there is a six-week tour of all of Europe. There is another brief respite and then a tour of Japan in the spring. that's just now that's not even counting further tours after that, these are the ones we know for sure for now. These are all definite maybes. You know how it goes. It is the music world. Sometimes promises are bigger than the pocket book and you can't take people by their word because, let's face it, alcohol is a great lubricant. Like 'I love you guys, I am going to make sure' and then the next day they wake up and wonder 'what the hell did I say?'

METALLIAN: Do you know who you'll be touring with later?
LORD WORM: Other than Suffocation, Aborted and Despised Icon across the USA and Canada, including some dates with Cattle Decapitation which is great, there are some dates with Vader, some dates with With Passion here and there, sort of mini-tours joined in there, there is a mention of Marduk and Immolation.

METALLIAN: Does that mean that the old acrimony with Immolation has been shelved?
LORD WORM: It is gone sir. Part of that happened after speaking with Will Rahmer of Mortician and part of that came from the fact that Immolation is exactly all the original members and all of that is left of Cryptopsy is Flo and me. There has been no direct contact, but it is all cool now.

Lord Worm, drummer Flo Mounier, guitarist Alex Auburn and bassist Eric Langlois are travelling to a dark corner near you to show off Once Was Not. Best to avoid the racket, re-runs of Friends and all that, but if you have to go don't expect to see any Dimmu Borgir or Raunchy T-shirts in the crowd. This is not a joke band drawing a joke crowd looking for joke music.

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