Interview with Larsen Beattie, Cryptic Wintermoon (May 26, 2005)

Hi, first off I just want to congratulate you on your new album. To new fans could your please fill us in on the history behind it all?
CRYPTIC WINTERMOON was founded 1993 out of former members of the band BLACK PROPHECIES. With this formation we played a few local concerts. In 1995 the band recorded the demo-tape "Voyage Dans La Lune", which was mainly sold in the underground. In March 1997, the MCD "Cryptic Wintermoon" was recorded in the Frost Studios in half a year - later in October the MCD was published without a label. In late 1998, CRYPTIC WINTERMOON released a split EP with the band Lord Astaroth, containing “Shadowland” (re-recorded) and “Beyond The Night”. The split EP was distributed by Perverted Taste Records. Because we still hadn't a record deal, a promo-tape with four songs was recorded. That tape lead to,  that Ars Metalli offered us a deal. So the recordings for the long player "The Age Of Cataclysm" started in May 1999. In November the album was released. It contained eleven songs with 60 minutes playing time. “The Age Of Cataclysm” got good results in the metal press. CRYPTIC WINTERMOON finally quit the record deal with Ars Metalli and signed up with Massacre records and released ”A Coming Storm” in 2003. After that release we played some of the bigger Open Airs like ”Wacken” , ”Party-San” and ”Up from the Ground”. Finally ”Of Shadows And The Dark Things You Fear” was released in the spring this year.

How has your new album been received by the media?
Larsen: There has been no bad review for our CD up to now. Most of the reviews have been great and a few were average. The most criticized points on the new album are the 10 seconds of Sacred Steel like Powermetal vocals on “Thrashomatic overdrive” and the fact, that our music isn’t anything revolutionary. But I say you can’t write any revolutionary new metal music nowadays. And I also think, that it always depends on the writer of the review, his mood and his music taste. Some of them call “Hammerfall” great music and revolutionary or some kind of 1000 times played Grindcore Blastbeat band is revolutionary in their eyes. But gladly not the reviewer decides over the success of the music – the fans do!

I know artists are not happy to categorize their music, but how would you describe your music to an outsider?
Larsen: It’s in fact hard to categorize our music. We got Black metal roots with Heavy, Thrash and Death and some Goth and Pagan influences. There are even some modern sounds in some of our songs. Maybe a mixture out of Dimmu Borgir, Slayer and Unanimates. But that just comes barely near.

Where does your inspiration come from, both musically and lyrically?
Musically it is bands like Entombed and Slayer. I heard them during the time I was learning to play guitar, so they influenced my guitar playing style a lot. The Ideas for the lyrics I get from reading Fantasy and Sci-Fi Books and books about World War I & II as well.

What topics do you deal with in your lyrics and why?
Most of the songs are about war. Either some battle really happened in WW1 or WW2, or some Fantasy stories. “Bonegrinder 1916” for an example is about the battle of Verdun in WW1. “Heavy Armed Assault” and “Open Fire” are about war too. On the other side there are songs like “Where Oceans Meet Eternity”, “Portals Of Nightfall” or “Once…In The Windblasted North”. Those songs are pure mystic fantasy stories. Mainly about the never-ending war between shadow and light.

Who has produced and mixed the album, and are you pleased with the end result?
The album was recorded and mixed by me in my own studio. We have done all our albums there because it’s a much more relaxed kind of working if we can record when we want to and as long as we want. There are no time limits or money limits here. We are the kind of band, who likes work on the songs to the last possible minute. Some songs even come to life in the studio. I think. We are very pleased with the result up to now. It’s the best work I’ve done so far, but as always there is still room for some improvements. I think if you record and mix an album you are never pleased. You will always find something you can make better next time.

Who has done the artwork? And how important do you feel it is to have a great cover?
My brother did the cover artwork for us. He has done all our cover artworks up till now. We like those painted Fantasy like covers more than some photo, even if some people say, that those kinds of pictures look too trashy. I think the cover have to reflect the music in some kind of way. You can’t put a nude girl on front and do some Death metal. Our cover should show a scene out of the song “Once…In The Windblasted North”. I think it’s important having good and showy cover, because that’s the first thing the customer sees of the product.

Do you have any touring plans?
All band members have regular work beside the band, so it is very hard for us to get some days off at the same time in order to make a tour. I would love to do a tour some day. Maybe it will work out some day, but we will try to play as many weekend concerts as possible.

How do you feel about the co-operation with your label, and are you satisfied?
I am very happy with the work that Massacre Records are doing for us. After our experience with our former label ARS-Metalli we lost our belief in Underground labels. We decided to go for a bigger label if possible. Massacre does all those things a label is meant to do and leave us with the possibility to write the songs we like to. We are very thankful for this and hope this will last a few records more.

The internet is a very important source for many music fans - how do you use the internet and how important is it for you and other bands?
I love the internet. I'm almost addicted to it. I do most of my post (like this interview) over the net. All information you need is on the internet. I can promote the band on the net with our website. I play a lot of online games and last but not least there are those awesome porn sites (he said with a grin)

To finish things off - could you pls. make an all-time Top 5 or sort of the 5 most important albums in your opinion?

  •  Entombed – Clanderstine

  • Slayer - Reign In Blood

  • At The Gates - Slaughter Of The Soul

  • OverKill - Under The Influence

  • Amorphis - Tales From A Thousand Lakes

Cryptic Wintermoon - Of Shadows ... And The Dark Things You Fear

Album out on Massacre Records.

Click on the album cover to see more info on Cryptic Wintermoon.