● First of all, you’ve got unique black metal vibes guys, well done! Tell me more about the band formation and when did it all start?

Air-Ik: Thank you! So I normally put music out as ‘Air-Ik’ which has a more traditional Metal and Goth sound with clean vocals and not so much Death or Black Metal which I love and have always been influenced by as well. So I thought it would be great to do a Black Metal project so that I can stay true to my roots with without it being too confusing sonically as a collective on one album. My former band, Willow Wisp was all over the place musically and for that strangely, it worked. But for me I want to try and keep the peas from hitting the mashed potatoes, so to speak. My weakness is not being so great at writing lyrics so I reached out to my longtime friend, Robert Garr a.k.a. The Garrgoyle, who I’ve always felt was a great writer, especially when it comes to dark subject matter like Horror and Despair. I brought him on board to pen the lyrics for these riffs I had which ended up being called ‘Death’. Also, he lives way over on the East Coast in Maryland and I’m here on the West in Oregon. Thanks to technology we can do this logistically. So in the beginning I didn’t even have a name for the project yet, so Robert and I brainstormed together and eventually came up with Deathcryptopia and itsoverall concept is still being fleshed out but we have a pretty good idea of where it’s going. We do know for a fact we have something really special and it’s only going to keep evolving musically and story wise from here on out.

 

● Although your black metal roots are obvious within your riffs, I noticed other modern gothic and symphonic elements. How was the songwriting process between both of you?
Air-Ik: Thank you for noticing that. I’m an 80s kid. When I was in high school in ’85 and first formed a band with my school mates we were listening to everything from Motley Crue, W.A.S.P. and Twisted Sister to Bathory, Destruction, Venom and Celtic Frost. We even did covers at parties when we started out and were the only band that would go from playing a Poison cover to a Bathory one in one set. People tripped out on us. I always found that hilarious and amazing at the same time. In the late 80s and 90s I got really into The Cure, Bauhaus, Depeche Mode and other traditional Goth and Dark Wave bands. As for the song ‘Death’ I wrote and played all of the instruments along with all of the vocals, the only thing I didn’t play is the drums. Those are programmed by Arnaud Krakowa who does amazing drums for a lot of studio musicians. The orchestral arrangement was done by my brother Glenn lee alan Davis who produced, recorded, mixed and mastered the track. The symphonic and Goth influences come from my love for bands like Cradle Of filth and CarachAngren as well as Myrkur. The overall Goth and Metal influence is just embedded in my DNA. My songwriting process is very organic and sometimes sporadic. I like it to justhappen when it happens. I have my guitar near me 24/7 and so every time I pick it up some riffs or melodies pour out and I just sort of go with what sticks out. Or I’ll be watching t.v. and an arrangement will pop in my head and I’ll quickly grab my guitar and try to figure out before it fades from memory. I record bits and pieces on my phone, pieces I feel are worth building off of and then hum a melody. Then I call The Garrgoyle up to pen some lyrics then compose the rest from there. It’s like putting together a puzzle. Song arrangement is the part I enjoy most but there are times I dread it aswell. Because how a song is arranged can either make it or break it. So the original idea for this project was for me to write all of the music and The Garrgoyle write all of the lyrics and the idea was to have the lyricist be just as important as the singer, guitarist, drummer, etc. It was later on I discovered he has some skills in the music department as a great instrumental composer and that hecan play bass and keyboards too.So he’ll be contributing musically on future songs as well.

● ‘Death’ is one of the topics that people prefer to avoid, still, you prefer to discuss. Tell me more about the song’s lyrical theme.
The Garrgoyle: Death has always been a fascination with me, so it was obvious that I would be comfortable writing about it. Let’s face it, death always wins! None of us are impervious to it. Face your day head on, because you never know when the Grim Reaper, the brother of The Garrgoyle, will come visiting you. The song “Death” conveys that message. You can’t avoid it. It is always coming for you. The song tells of a demon that meets another of his human victims and what they have to look forward to. The demon laughs at the fact that the human thinks he can plead his way out of dying. The demon plays with the human, toying at the fact the humans have feelings and that they mean absolutely nothing to him. In the end, as always, death is inevitable and the demon knows this. What better fun than to tease the human, and at the last second, when the human thinks he may have a chance, the demon pulls the proverbial rug from under him. Thus, our victim is sent to the bowels of Hell, where other demons have their fun with him and his now useless soul. This sets the tone for the beginning of the Deathcryptopia universe and what other wonderfully fiendish things it has in store for us. All of the songs will intertwine and become the flesh and blood of the story. There truly is a Deathcryptopia and it is coming for you.

 

● Well, both of you are doing a great harmony indeed, but aren’t you considering adding other members?
Air-Ik: We’ve thought about it. I think at this point since I’m able to do everything musically I’d like us to get a good amount of songs recorded which is eventually going to end up as a collective on vinyl and CD and then I’ll start seeking out musicians to put the band together. Hopefully by the end of 2021 and into 2022 the pandemic is less of an issue and people will start going to concerts again. Hey if The Garrgoyle ever wants a change of scenery he can come out to Portland Oregon and join as bassist and keyboardist. Or maybe I’ll get out there to Maryland. I don’t think I can survive that snow though!

 

● You told me guys that you’re working on a new single, are you planning to release an album soon?
Air-Ik: Yes. A song called ‘Furyous is the next single in line. As I mentioned before The Garrgoyle is skilled musically so he originally composed it and released it as an instrumental andwhen I first heard it I really liked the beat and energy so I grabbed my guitar and started writing on top of it. I really felt something good brewing here so I quickly asked if he could write lyrics and try to tie it into the concept of the DeathcryptopiaUniverse and so he did. It’s not as Black Metal sounding as ‘Death’ but the influence is there as the underlying factor. If anything, it taps more into the Dark Wave and Goth side. If I had to describe who it reminds me of it would be Mortiis with a bit of W.A.S.P. from their KFD era and some Depeche Mode vibes for sure. It’s dark and kind of sexy, really.I think of the songwriting process for this song as The Garrgolye creating the skeleton, muscle and brain and I’m adding the flesh and blood to form ‘Furyous’. As far as an album, yes. We’re shooting for it to be released by the end of the year. Originally planned as a 6 song concept EP but it might end up as an 8 to 10 song concept album. We do plan to release Death and Furyous as a 7” single with Side A: Death and Side B:Furyous before the album comes out.
The Garrgoyle: “Furyous”, is the name of our demon, and it continues the theme from the “Death” single. This time we will see how the demon from “Death” works in his mysterious ways. The human race is just fodder for him and it gives him an everlasting amount of fun and frolic from his point of view. We see that humans have absolutely no chance to defeat their inner demons…at least for now. We will get to see how little we matter to the demon hoards and how omnipotent they feel when compared to us. This is the continuation of the realm of Deathcryptopia.

 

● The 80s and 90s were the golden age for extreme metal. How do you describe the US black metal scene nowadays?
Air-Ik: It’s funny because for me being a musician in the U.S. I prefer my Metal and especially Black Metal to be from outside the U.S. but I do have to say UADA who is from my neck of the woods here in Portland Oregon is the best thing to happen to Black Metal based in America and maybe as a whole genre. I love that band and consider them an influence. I noticed Rock Era is Egypt based? Crescent is a favorite band of mine. There’s always some great Metal coming out of Egypt. I usually go on YouTube and really just click around on what looks interesting song title wise or band name wise and I usually discover new music that way. If I like it enough I seek out their CD or vinyl and other merchandise to buy and support the band. We need more of that. I truly believe Metal in general and especially Black Metal is just as alive and vibrant today as it’s ever been. Some really good stuff out there. I hate when people say the scene is dead. I tell them “No you’re dead because you fail to get off your butt and go find the music you love to listen to!”
The Garrgoyle: Well, we all know of course that most Americans seem to think that Black Metal only comes from Norway, but other countries have embraced it now and the U.S. is no slouch to this. There are a ton of great bands from America and Canada these days, and it impresses me that there are so many of them. The fuse has been lit and now it is time for the Black Metal market to explode onto the scene. This makes me very happy, because even though I am an American, I think that about 98% of American bands, if I can say this, suck! LOL!! I’m a firm believer in the heavier the song, the better it is. Of course, the song must have lyrics that tell an interesting story. Anybody can just scream into a microphone, but the American Black Metal bands are doing a great job in telling creative stories and not just putting out excellent music. I spend a lot of my time researching other metal bands from all around the world via Youtube and there are some incredible bands out there. Personally, the bands I listen to the most right now are North American bands such as Darkness My Desire and Oedon, while the bands that I enjoy do come from outside the U.S. such as Cradle of Filth, Carach Angren, Immortal, and Behemoth to newer bands such as Crypta. It’s a great time (for now) to be into Metal since there are so many categories of Metal that no one needs to be stuck to just one genre. 

● Although I loved the animated lyrics video, I was wondering why you didn’t consider a music video instead, especially since that would help the band’s promotional plan very much.
Air-Ik: Very true! We’re definitely not ruling out a music video in the near future. I think the main obstacle is logistics and money. To do a really good one takes a decent budget. The animated lyric video was done by a talented guy named Hamzaamesguine from Morocco who did my Warmonger video too. Also on YouTube TheGarrgoyle created a nice looking visualizer video for Death. I feel like we can probably do a full on music video at any time down the road and it will still be new for the people who’ve already heard the song and it can bring more new listeners and fans in as well. I like the idea of writing songs that can stand the test of time. And though I feel ‘Death’ is one of those songs, it really is up to the public to decide it’s life span and also how far we can push it promotional wise before people get sick of hearing about it. We also have to give props to people like you at Rock Era Magazine that passionately supports music whether it’s signed or unsigned artists and bands by helping to get their name and sound out to the masses, so thank you for that!

 

● Finally, tell me more about your plans in 2021 especially since the live scene isn’t active enough recently.
Air-Ik: I know the first thing I’m doing when able is go to an actual live show. These streaming concerts are good and well done and fairly affordable but nothing beats the live in your face experience. As far as what’s in store for Deathcryptopia? Just keep creating and evolving the concept musically and lyrically and get the name out as much as we can with what we have. I played in Willow Wisp for over 20 years in Hollywood California, opening for some great bands, recorded a few albums under two different labels, gained a good fan base and popularity in the early 90s til 2007 when I left the band due to my addiction to drugs and alcohol. I’m nine years sober now and creating the best music I’ve ever created and just having fun with it. For the rest of 2021 and beyond we’re just going to let the music take us where we need to be in life instead of the other way around.

 

Deathcryptopia on Facebook, Instagram, YouTube, Deezer, Apple Music, SoundCloud, and Spotify

 

Mena Ezzat

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