Q&A: Cryptacize

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Cryptacize is not your average Bay Area band. Boasting ex-Deerhoof member Chris Cohen, Kill Rock Stars’ veteran soloist Nedelle Torrisi, and classically trained drummer Michael Carreira, the band eschews any hyphy references and stoner-rock vibes, opting instead for fuzzy noise, discordant melodies, and showtunes-inspired mayhem on its most recent release, Dig That Treasure (Asthmatic Kitty). XLR8R recently sat down with Torrisi to get story behind both the band’s history, it’s changing sound, and the future of art-rock.

XLR8R: How was Cryptacize formed?

Nedelle Torrisi: Chris and I became friends a few years back. We wanted to write in a style that was new to both of us, so we really took our time writing and becoming comfortable with collaborating. We found Mike (or rather, Mike found us), and he changed the direction of everything. His role is not that of a typical drummer–no offense to drummers. He's really minimal and severe, and he changed the songs completely.

There is a strange Broadway-showtunes feel to many of your tracks. Do you guys draw inspiration from the genre?

We are definitely inspired by this genre, among others, of course. What we like is how musical theater keeps the audience suspended between belief and disbelief–the style of storytelling where you are constantly being pulled out of reality and into this dream-state where people can sing and dance and talk directly to you, the audience member, who theoretically isn't there. You could say that Cryptacize is obsessed with the idea of belief, or at least that's something that Chris and I want to sing about. We want to somehow demystify our beliefs, in order to believe in them.

What did you guys grow up listening to?

Mike and Chris are both drummers and played in rock bands when they were young. Mike discovered classical music in high school and composed and played in orchestras until he became an elementary-school music teacher. Chris dabbled in lots of different types of music, but never had any formal training. He doesn't prefer any one kind of music to another but generally likes things that are weird. Growing up, I played the violin and sang in musicals. I also had an En Vogue-inspired duo with my friend. We played a Casio keyboard and were pretty horrible, but listening back to the cassettes is pretty revealing. I haven't changed much!

How did you link up with Asthmatic Kitty?

Chris is a friend of Mike Kaufmann–one of the people who runs the label. He knew him from way back, when Mike played in Soul Junk.

What other rad things can we expect from Cryptacize in the future?

We're going to tour the U.S. a few times this year, and we're playing in Europe for part of the summer. Asthmatic Kitty is putting out a split 7" with our friends Why? around June. And we're going to record our next album, which we hope can come out in the first half of 2009. But our most major concern is writing a song that our cat will like–so far she hates them all.