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On close to 20 years on the metal scene and building a legacy

A scrawny bunch of kids in Bengaluru started a band in college in 1998. They called it Kryptos. In a pre-Facebook era, things were done differently. Gigs were planned a weekend at a time. Promotions meant pub-hopping. And cassette tapes were still a thing. Little did they know it at the time, but this metal outfit would later go from playing at Strawberry Fields to Schleswig-Holstein, Germany, for the biggest metal festival in the world — Wacken. Let’s not forget opening for Iron Maiden on their India tour.
Ahead of a performance at Saarang this weekend, frontman Nolan Lewis shares some nostalgia, and the secret to building a legacy.

Ahead of a performance at Saarang this weekend, frontman Nolan Lewis shares some nostalgia, and the secret to building a legacy.

When was the last time you guys played in Chennai? What’s in store for headbangers at Saarang this weekend?
It was about four or five years ago at the German Hall. The gig was great, but we lost about 5 kg each because it was incredibly hot inside, and we were all wearing leather!
Hopefully, it will be cooler at Saarang. We’re going to play a ton of stuff from our new album Burn Up The Night and some older tracks. Lots of hair flying, fists pumping and all that good stuff.

You’re going to be doing your second run at Wacken in 2017 — that’s definitely a reason to say Happy New Year.
We’re really looking forward to playing Wacken again. We had a fantastic time there a few years ago, and we expect more of the same. Wacken is a hell of an experience, even if you aren’t performing. We’re just looking to soak in the atmosphere and rock out till we drop.

Kryptos has been on the metal scene for close to 20 years. What’s your secret?
There’s no secret. We love what we do. It’s as simple as that. We don’t let anything get in our way as far as the band
is concerned. We know where we want to go, and we’ve always focused on that.

How much has changed on the metal scene from back in the day?
Back then, there was a sense of wonder about the music. There was no YouTube or torrents or fancy mobile phones. People had to get out there and buy or trade tapes, and go to gigs to check bands out. It made everything more ‘special’. Now, that ‘magic’ is dwindling rapidly. Nowadays, everyone wants to be a social media star, and the music seems to have taken a back seat.

Is there anything you miss from 1998? And while we’re on timelines — has anybody in the band caught Taylor Swift’s 1989? (Hopefully this is not blasphemous to put out to a metal band, but we couldn’t resist the segue.)
Taylor Swift? Isn’t that the name of a car or something? (Laughs)
I’m not sure if we miss anything, except the weather and non-existent traffic. Music-wise, we were starting out in ’98, so we were extremely wet behind the ears. We don’t miss that for sure.

What else is on the playlist of the frontman of a metal band, apart from metal?
I listen to a lot of New Retro Wave like Dyantron, Orax, Timecop 1983, and Lazerhawk. It’s almost like synth-based ’80s movie soundtrack music. Very awesome to chill out to.

How did you guys Burn Up the Night on New Year’s eve? And do tell us what to watch out for on the album.
A couple of us partied with friends, while some of us watched Liverpool beat Man City. What a great start to the year!
On the new album, you’ll get a major dose of retro heavy metal straight out of the ’80s. The same vibe, same attitude and tons of killer riffs.

Any fun resolutions? Like: Getting your girlfriends to stop playing Justin Bieber. Unless you’ve caught the fever too?
My wife listens to some seriously extreme black metal, so I’ll probably have to get her to listen to some Whitesnake or something!
Kryptos will play at Saarang on January 7. Details: saarang.org
—Sonali Shenoy

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