The Bangalore-based Kryptos made it to the US Radio Metal charts within two weeks of their international release
The choice of location for this interview shatters every cliché of a metal band’s choice of hangout. Nolan Lewis, front man and guitarist of thrash metal band Kryptos, chooses the traditional India Coffee House on M.G. Road to chat over a cup of coffee — no beer or head banging — and a cup of kaapi it is.
Kryptos has been around for over a decade now. “The ark of Gemini”, their sophomore album released under international record label Old School Metal Acts, has taken them to a place where no Indian metal band has gone before. Ten days within the international release they made it to the top ten U.S Metal charts.
And how does it feel? “Awesome”. Nolan’s eyes light up as he says that they featured on the same list as “Children of Bodom” among others.
The Indian rock scenehas never been taken seriously in the international arena. Kryptos hopes that their work will help bridge that divide.
“Bands haven’t been able to catch international attention, especially when it comes to Metal. Partly because not many Indian bands play the old killer metal style anymore.”
Drummer Ryan Colaco insists on keeping his feet on the ground.
“It has to be reflected in sales. There are hits to our website and we are getting a good response, but what would really matter is getting some regular shows. That will take us to the next level, both psychologically and practically.”
Their music would belongs to the Eighties Thrash genre as do all their influences; from classic gods of metal like Black Sabbath, Judas Priest and Iron Maiden along to other extreme and melodic metal stalwarts like Dark Tranquillity.
The sudden streak of success hasn’t really sunk in for Kryptos, which released its first album “Spiral Ascent” in 2004.
Unlike the previous one, where they did everything from recording, marketing to publicity, “This is a lot easier and we’ve got some good international reviews,” Nolan says. The band has had the mandatory frequent line-up changes with Nolan being the only original member.
A comfortable place
He sounds like a cheesy Bryan Adams song when he says that most of the original members either got married or moved away. He giggles at the cheesiness of it and says the band today is at a point where they are comfortable with their music.
“A lot of local bands make that mistake. They do too much too soon.”
Today, the band charges anywhere between Rs. 40 to 50,000 for a gig. And that hardly translates to an affordable career option.
Nolan works as an insurance analyst, Ryan teaches drumming and Jayawant works as a user interface designer while lead guitarist Rohit Chaturvedi is just out of college.
For the first six years they played for free.
Now, with the internet and networking sites making it easier for them to reach out, things have begun to look up for local rock and metal acts.
“It is not cool anymore to ask for band covers. Earlier, you’d always have audiences yell out for covers, now that is frowned upon. We have our small following and that keeps us going,” says Ryan.
Hoping for a high
All of them wish that this album hits a high note for them.
“I wish we would get to a point where we could make enough to become full-time musicians,” says Jayawant. He works in Whitefield, lives in the other end of the city, and attends their jamming sessions somewhere in between.
“Getting acknowledged and even meeting with a small amount of success, sort of makes it worth all the effort,” he says.
Nolan agrees saying: “It is better than doing drugs and ending up in rehab!”
Kryptos music is available at www.musicyogi.com.DEEPA KURUP