Playing their way to Wacken

Playing their way to Wacken

Playing their way to Wacken

‘Kryptos’ reminds the Americans of the encrypted Sanborn sculpture at the CIA headquarters in Virginia. But in India, ‘Kryptos’ is associated with hair-raising melodic thrash metal, mosh pits, flashing guitars, leather and denim, and a never-ending drum line that straightens the ears of a metal music fan. And of course, the devil-horns!

Kryptos is a four-piece melodic thrash metal outfit from Bangalore which needs no introduction really. They are the torch bearers of metal music in India and have influenced a number of musicians over the last 15 years.

The band gets candid on how they named themselves, and the 1990s without Internet or phones, to opening for ‘Iron Maiden’, and to make it to the Wacken Open Air Metal Festival in Germany this August.

“Ganesh (ex vocalist/bassist) and I were in a pub on Brigade Road and decided to call ourselves ‘Kryptos’ after we penned down many absurd names on paper napkins. At that time, we did not know what the name really meant,” says Nolan Lewis, vocalist and rhythm guitarist of the band. “We started off as a three-piece band with Ganesh K on bass guitar and vocals, and Ching Len on drums, and I was handling the guitar duties,” he adds.

Nolan talks about how influenced they were by Black Sabbath and Led Zeppelin before they got a melodic heavy/thrash sound of the likes of Coroner, Judas Priest, Dark Tranquillity, Iced Earth, Sodom, Candlemass and others.

Lewis opines that the 90s was different from the current scenario. “Those were the days without the Internet and mobile phones, so no free download of music was possible, and the availability of a single album was limited to a couple of shops in Bangalore, but it was so expensive,” he says.

But today, it is easy to download a band’s entire discography in a matter of half an hour. “We used to wait for our landline to ring, just to hear after registering ourselves for a college competition,” Nolan gets nostalgic.

Currently, Nolan is the only founding member in the band. In 2001, Ching Len was replaced by Ryan Colaco, and Ganesh quit the band after the first album and suddenly they did not have a singer and a bass guitarist. “Ryan and I wanted to take Kryptos forward and auditioned Rohit Chaturvedi for guitars and Jayawant Tewari for bass guitar,” Nolan says. He says that it was a hard but eventful decision that he chose singing, and credits Anupam Roy, their producer, for pushing him behind the microphone.

In 2009, Kryptos opened for the Iron Maiden concert. The band’s manager, Salman Syed, made it happen. “The first concert that Salman got us was in a shady pub on Brigade Road with some god forsaken equipment, and in the next few weeks he tells us, ‘How do you like to open for Iron Maiden?’, we were shocked,” Ryan recounts.
“We used to worship Iron Maiden, and to open for them in our city! It still gives me goosebumps when I think about the time we spent with them after the concert,” Rohit recollects.

There is no denying the fact that the band is going places. Kryptos had toured Europe in 2010, and this year, they are representing India at the world’s biggest metal festival — Wacken Open Air in Germany. “It’s a dream come true. It’s also the right time I guess, as Kryptos turns 15 this year. Looking forward to spending two months touring Europe and sharing stage with the who’s who of metal music at the Wacken Open Air,” says an excited Rohit.

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