A Meandering Reality Of Their Own Design: Cryptae

For aeons, musicians have crossed musical lines to produce material they wouldn’t have created in their core bands. So what do you get when you blend the volatile jazz of Dead Neanderthals, the spiralling black metal of Celestial Bodies and the esoteric songcraft of Kees Peerdeman? That’s right; the woundingly charred sounds of Cryptae.

Clawing their way out of the Dutch underground, the tar-blackened duo of Kees Peerdeman and René Aquarius took time out of their reality-splintering schedule to have a good yarn with us about how their recent four-track cassette on Sentient Ruin came to be, where they’re at, and where they’re going.

After the cageless jazz of Dead Neanderthals and the shattering black metal of Celestial Bodies, was it a conscious decision to do something death-orientated?

We both grew up with the 1990-2000 era of Relapse Records death metal (Cephalic Carnage, Nile, Exhumed, Dying Fetus… many of us have been there) and we bonded over that quite a bit when we first met years ago. Maybe it was just a matter of time before actually fleshing out all the stuff we like about death metal and make something ourselves. We were not actively looking to record something like this.


There are hints of Portal and Primitive Man in your sound, with real sludge and bordering on noise in places; how confrontational did you want this record to be?

Because Cryptae started out so spontaneously, nothing was really planned. We recorded everything ourselves in the rehearsal space or at home. Our good friend Marlon Wolterink (whitenoisestudio.com) mixed and mastered the whole thing and he did a terrific job.

Funny you mention Primitive Man and Portal. I (René) never listened to Primitive Man much until a week ago, when I checked out their new album Caustic. Killer album, really love it. Portal is an influence for every death metal band nowadays and that’s cool. They introduced a much-needed change of sound into death metal. Really love their Vexovoid album.


The press have mentioned Swans and Magma when talking about the demo. Both are bands who did their own thing, how symptomatic is that of the Dutch scene?

We both play music that is vastly different from the stuff we’re doing with Cryptae. Kees mostly records weird singer/songwriter type of stuff and René is mostly active with Dead Neanderthals and Celestial Bodies, as you mentioned before. In these more experimental scenes, people tend to do whatever they like, but most of it traces back to a certain type of ‘tradition’. No big leaps, all small steps – artists and musicians feeding off of each other and collectively taking things further, one step at a time. We really can’t speak for the Dutch death metal scene (or metal scene in general) as we’re not really a part of it (yet). Maybe the style fits, but our contacts are very limited.


Your sound seems rooted in the punk-fuelled primacy of death metal’s genesis in the mid-to-late 80s, but also very much informed by contemporary avant-garde music and influence. Do you guys feel you belong to the old school or the new school?

We don’t really seem to belong to a certain school, music and personality wise. The basic idea was to record something raw, fast and angry.


What bands were you listening to while you were writing the demo?

None really, we just went for it.


How much of a part did improvisation play in the writing process?

It was a combination of the two actually. We started with purely improvised drum tracks. After that, guitar and vocals were written and recorded. It felt natural to approach it like this and we love the end result.


The artwork and logo of the EP are quite striking – who was responsible for that? What does it mean in the context of the record?

That’s all Kees’ work! If you need artwork done hit him up via keespeerdeman@gmail.com.


There’s a definite character to the material; how close to the sound of a full-length did you get?

As everything was done super fast, we didn’t think in terms of sound. We just captured all the instruments in a way that was most convenient for us. Hope we can work more on the sound when we do a full-length.


We can’t think of a better home for your debut than on Sentient Ruin – how did you end up on that label?

It was actually a bit of a teenage dream come true. We recorded the demo and released it ourselves on Bandcamp. We already ordered a small batch of tapes from a plant in Germany when suddenly the label approached us and asked us if they could do the tape release. Of course, we said yes and cancelled the tapes we ordered from the German plant. It all went very smooth and we really love the time and effort the label put in this release.


What made you want to release the demo on tape?

Don’t know. It just felt like the perfect format to release this on.


Are you planning to make Cryptae more full time than Celestial Bodies and Dead Neanderthals? Would you be keen to do it live?

Haha, hold your horses! Besides all the stuff we do musically, we also have jobs, girlfriends, families, etc. At some point, you also need time to sleep…


What can we expect from you guys in 2018?

We’re definitely interested in doing a full-length album, so that will be our next move.


Cryptae’s self-titled debut EP is out now on Sentient Ruin, get your copy here

Words: John Davidson

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