Consisting of Fernanda Lira (vocals and bass) and Luana Dametto (drums), both well-known members of the Brazilian thrash metal scene and former members of Brazilian thrash wrecking machine Nervosa, along with Sonia Anubis (lead guitars) of Cobra Spell, and Tainá Bergamaschi (guitars), ex-member of Hagbard, the pedigree in death/thrash machine Crypta is without question. Their new album, Echoes of the Soul, was recently released via Napalm Records, so we caught up with Fernanda to chat about the band, her introduction to the thrash scene, and what lessons she’s learned from her experiences.
Thanks for your time. How is life treating you at the moment?
Fernanda Lira: “I’m doing good, at least the best possible considering the current situation with the pandemic. I’ve been working a lot on everything regarding the promotion and the release of our debut album, which is pretty exciting, but also doing a lot of self-care to keep sane and happy during these trying times.”
So, Crypta came together featuring two former members of Nervosa. How did the discussions start to form a new band?
“Luana has always been a death metal drummer and back then, when we were still in Nervosa, she expressed she would love to have a death metal side project and asked me if I’d be interested in joining it. Since we both could feel our relationship in Nervosa was pretty much worn out, we thought it would be very healthy for us and for our own main band at the time that we had a side project, so maybe having a different creative outlet and another band environment would be refreshing for us and would contribute to getting things more motivated in our previous band. But it was meant to be a side project only from the beginning, of course, one with which we could eventually record an album and play tours in between our appointments, but still something parallel.
When we quit Nervosa, Crypta then, naturally, became our main thing and it was actually pretty motivating and easier to restart since the band was there already. It really helped this new start being less tiring and way smoother.”
How did Sonia and Taina become involved in the band and what do you think they brought to Crypta in terms of experience and quality?
“From the beginning, we knew we wanted two guitarists, but when we said ‘ok, who’s going to be the first one,’ me and Luana both instantly said Sonia Anubis at the same time (laughs). We’ve been fangirls of Sonia for a while now. Me personally, I’ve been following her since she was a bassist in one of her previous extreme metal bands, and I always adored her. She’s extremely talented, has a mesmerizing stage presence, which I love, and is very old-school oriented with her writing and looks, so we thought she would be the perfect fit.
As for Tainá, it’s a whole different story; we had never heard of her, or had any friends in common, never saw any videos on the internet, she was a total stranger to us. But one day, she sent me a message, back when I was about to leave Nervosa and said she noticed me and Luana had announced a side project and that in case we didn’t have a guitarist yet, she would love to send some videos and maybe join the band! We talked a bit and then the first video she sent me was her playing ‘Crystal Mountain’ by Death and I almost had a heart attack due to such perfection, (laughs). I just knew she was the one! We had a couple of group calls to get to know her vibe and personality and then she joined officially.”
The first track is out now, “From The Ashes.” What did you learn from your time in Nervosa that you’re bringing into this new chapter?
“I think my main lessons are basically related to my experience and to what, in my opinion, worked out and what didn’t and I’m definitely applying this in the band already, so I avoid and prevent us from committing the same mistakes there were in the past. But sound-wise, it’s hard to say, since it’s a completely different genre now. I definitely brought my vocal signature with me (although I’ve improved it a bit to fit the genre), but most of the songwriting now is completely different in all aspects.”
Is it a good indicator for what thrash fans can expect from Echoes of the Soul?
“I think ‘From the Ashes’ is the track that summarizes a little bit of all the elements we have in the album, but itself can’t represent the whole thing, because the album is very diverse; one track will be more melody oriented, while the other one will be raw, aggressive and fast, and the other one more technical and slow-paced, so this first single is definitely an appetizer for the album, but the album is way more varied than this track itself.”
Can you talk us through some of the inspiration behind the material on the album?
“Musically, all of us just had in mind that we wanted to do death metal, but the rest came very fluidly. The album is the perfect hybrid of all our different personal preferences and tastes; I love raw death metal from the ‘90s, Luana loves old school Swedish death metal, Tainá loves Death and their technical approach, and Sonia is incredibly creative when it comes to melodies and amazing guitar leads, so I think when you put all our main influences together, you get an album like ours. It’s so diverse and you can hear a little bit of all I mentioned.
Lyrically, I tried to relate all lyrics to ‘death’ in some way to match the usual genre theme, but also explored aspects related to psychology and some dark shit we go through when on a journey of self-discovery, improvement and awareness. Also, there are a couple of protest songs based on social problems we have, but all written in a more philosophical and poetic way than I used to in my previous band!”
Going right back to the beginning, what was it that brought you into the thrash scene? Do you remember the band where life changed for you?
“When I first watched Slayer live I instantly felt really attracted to thrash metal, I had never felt such a vibe before. Then I started slowly getting into the genre, but the most life-changing band to me was Nuclear Assault. When I listened to the album Game Over/The Plague, those albums and that band were the ones that made me want to be in a band playing extreme metal, so I’ll be forever thankful to them.”
What about albums? What are your top three go-to thrash albums?
“Since I played thrash with my former band but now I’m playing death metal, I’ll try to make a nice mix between the genres on this top three:
1. Sepultura – Beneath the Remains – One of the best thrash albums ever made and the one that made me believe that YES, it’s possible to be Brazilian, be in a band and live the dream.
2. Morbid Angel – Altars of Madness – One of the first death albums I’ve listened to and that actually really made me get into the genre. I was just mesmerized by the band and it was probably one of the first times (if not the first ones themselves) I heard a blast beat in a song; simply life-changing.
3. Death – Individual Thought Patterns – This is one of the best death metal albums in my opinion and it completely changed my perspective on the many possibilities inside extreme metal, which I still use as an inspiration on my songwriting until today.”
Crypta have come together with a wealth of experience. What do you think the band will offer the modern thrash fan?
“For the fans in general, I think it might add a fresh perspective in death metal, since our music is a combination of many elements inside the genre even with some things here and there from thrash and black metal, so it might be an interesting new thing to be listening to.”
You talk about humanity being reborn in the new single. As life returns to normal, what do you hope we’ve learned and what do you hope the human race will do differently post-lockdown?
“In the new single I talk about rebirth and I think it has many different meanings according to each person’s point of view, background or understanding. So it might be about humanity being reborn after such a terrible moment, but it also can relate to pretty much every cycle end and beginning we might face in life, or the endurance to overcome a difficult time in any aspect.
I think I’d love humanity to learn many things after this pandemic, some of them really philosophical (laughs). Like, the main thing for me, that empathy and service should be way more valued, since most of us endured the pandemic by holding each other’s hands figuratively, support wise I mean, and that many people who got their lives completely twisted because of the pandemics, could only survive and maybe have something to eat during this time, with the help of other, so I think we should give more value to the sense of community from now on that’s so important.
But also, since we’re talking about music, one of the things that I think we really should give a higher value from now on is definitely art. Most of the people couldn’t have stood going through all this shit without art, movies, music, books, artists definitely made this hell of a trip lighter to most of us, so I think we should remember this and try to cherish and support artists more from now on.”
How challenging has life been in Brazil during the lockdown and what will you do differently as an individual post-lockdown?
“It’s been extremely challenging. Our government has been making very little effort to provide economic support for the neediest and affected by the pandemic, on getting vaccines and on setting a good example of prevention and safety measurements, which led to the hell we’ve been living around here, with an extremely poor perspective of improvement or a safe and fast way out of the pandemic. It’s been financially, psychologically, and socially challenging being a Brazilian during these trying times, but we’ve been hanging on, supporting one another and doing the best we can.
I personally plan to spend way more time in nature when this is all over, because I felt this was one of the things I missed the most. I knew I loved travelling, but I never felt how much it contributed to my wellbeing as much as I do now that I’m locked inside. Also, I will definitely give more and more in my performances on stage, because I also felt how much of an important role it develops into my well-being, my body, and my mind. I miss it so much, my body misses it so much, so I’ll be enjoying and giving my best every minute on stage even more from now on.”
Looking forward, once the album is out in June, what are your plans for the remainder of 2021?
“We have many promotional plans for the months following the release and we’re planning many other things, including tours, that will only depend on how the pandemic is going to go within the next months. But we definitely have many things in store.”
Thanks again for your time and good luck with the album. Over to you for the final words?
“Thanks for giving me a chance to talk a bit about my work here and for everyone who’s reading, thanks for the support, it truly means a lot to me! I hope you like and have fun with the album and I can’t wait to see you all on the road. Keep supporting metal, we’re all solely responsible for keeping the metal flame alive and burning!”