The past couple of years has definitely been quite the roller coaster ride for Fernanda Lira. After departing her former band Nervosa, she made her side project, Crypta, her new focus. The band would fully come together and record an album this past year. The band has now released their debut record, Echoes Of The Soul which has been getting a massively positive response fans.
I recently spoke with Fernanda on what it was like creating this project essentially in the pandemic, what their music is all about, and when we can expect to see them on the road.
Thanks for speaking with me, how are you and the band doing?
We’re doing great. We are three days from the album release. So we couldn’t be more excited, to be honest. In three days, it’s going to be the beginning of a new path for me. So I can’t wait for this album to be released.
I was assuming this one has to be extra special for you. What kind of feelings and emotions do you go through the night before a release, especially as a new band?
It’s a cauldron of feelings. You can’t label just one because, of course, you’re so excited, but there are also expectations. You don’t want to have them too high. You don’t want to have them too low. You’re worried if people are going to like it, but at the same time, you’re sure people are going to like it, and you know, It’s just a big cauldron of emotions, but all of them are pretty healthy.
It’s so cool, and to me, as you mentioned, it’s extra. Special because I’ve been having some emotions I haven’t had in like a while in years, for example, releasing a debut album. The last time I did that was like a decade ago. So it’s a whole new bunch of feelings coming right now. So it’s definitely extra special. It’s not only the release of an album, which is pretty exciting itself, but it’s a new album in a new band after this long journey I had with my ex-band.
For you, this is in a sense it’s almost like starting over from scratch, right?
Definitely, I’ve heard some people saying, well, it’s not that from scratch. People already know you, but it’s definitely from scratch. We needed to look for members. We needed to come up with the name, which is pretty hard. Whoever tries to create names for a band, they are all taken. It’s such a struggle. And it’s starting in a new genre for me, that’s different. We’re definitely starting from scratch.
We needed to sign a deal, and we were thinking about the first time we’re doing the first merch, the first video, the first single. And there are still many people who don’t know that I left Nervosa. So there are many people who have no idea of what Crypta is. It’s definitely a lot of work.
And even still, I’m sure six months from now, someone will post a comment saying, “wait, when did she leave Nervosa?”
Oh yeah! I’ve got some acquaintances of mine and they were sharing like those Instagram, Facebook memories from the time I was there Nervosa and saying “I can wait to see the girls again!” And then I messaged her like, um, do you know, I left the band like over a year now? She was like, no way, I’ve been seeing you posting like new music and stuff!
How did this project come to be? It initially started out as a side project, right?Yeah. We were pretty focused in Nervosa. And the band was actually created touring in Nervosa, in a hotel room. When we first thought about it, we were pretty much focused on Nervosa. It was like our main thing. Our relationship was strained already, was a bit worn out and, we felt it would be refreshing to being another project. The idea came from Luana because she is a death metal drummer. She had this brief history playing thrash metal for Nervosa, but she’s a death metal drummer, and she kind of missed playing death metal.
And she was like, Fernanda, I really want to have a side project. Let’s do this together. I felt it would be, let’s say, refreshing to have a different band environment and a different creative outlet. I thought this side project could maybe get me more motivated on my main project, which was Nervosa at the time. We thought it would be refreshing to be in a side project, which is pretty normal.
Everyone in big bands has got a little side project going on. So that was the main idea. But in the end, when it all happened, and nearly a year later, it felt pretty comforting that Crypta was there already. I was so happy because when I left, Nervosa it was pretty sad.
It was my child for almost a decade. So I was in a very bad place emotionally. So if I had to start like really from scratch, I don’t know if I would have made it, because I was just feeling very down and everything. So since it was there already, it made things way easier to get back on track with my music career. In the end, it was comforting.
Many artists had tried to make the best out of just a horrible situation with the pandemic. And there’s been a lot of new albums and writing during that time. What was it like just forming an entirely new band, during the pandemic? Was it any easier or were there any difficulties with what the future might hold, considering touring at that point seemed sort of uncertain early on?
I feel bad to say that there was a positive side with everything that happened. I feel it would just be disrespectful to everyone who lost their loved ones during this terrible time. In a sense, like professionally, of course, it was bad because I was away from the stage and no cash flow at all. From merch and tours and everything.
But for Crypta, especially, it was good in a way, because I knew that this was going to be long. Maybe not this long, but I knew it was going to be a long time with no show. So this meant we had the proper time to do everything calmly under no pressure with no rush but didn’t need to prove anything to anyone.
Although lots of people had highs expectations and there were very impatient and saying like “wheres the music?!” We could do things calmly because we knew people had high expectations for the album. We need it and wanted to make sure we had time to deliver the best album possible. And for that, you just need time. We carefully, carefully created every song.
Then we spent many months; I don’t know, like nine months producing all the album. Going through each song and improving and polishing. Saying like, okay, let’s take this riff out. Let’s add this one, let’s change this structure. So we did everything so calmly with no rush. We just wanted to make sure we did the best we could.
And also because we didn’t want the album to get old. We didn’t want our album to get old so we could just release it and maybe hit the road. That was what we thought. And then in June, we thought it would be perfect because we didn’t know if shows would be back. But if so, perfect. But then we knew because of the vaccines going on and everything, we knew that it wouldn’t be like two years after we released the album so we can start touring. So that was part of the planning.
I was trying to describe the band sound to a friend, and I think I said it was something like the foundation of old school, death metal, that’s more modern, and something that I love is there are so many fusions of other elements there that sound incredibly organic and just awesome. Did you guys intend to do this sort of style, or were you going for something different, or did it just eventually evolve into what it is?
First of all, thank you! I try to say is like a hybrid kind of death metal, something like that, because we also can’t label it. We don’t know what it is, but we still just love it. The thing is, when we started off the band, we were like, we’re going old school death metal! That’s what we had in mind. You know, we even like wrote that on our socials and everything.
But then, at the moment we started actually writing music, we saw it was going somewhere else. We didn’t know where, but we decided to just let it flow organically. That’s why in some parts, it sounds organic because that’s the way it was. We were like, okay, “this does not sound old school, but it’s not modern either. It’s somewhere in between. What is it? I don’t know. Let it flow”. And then it naturally went somewhere else. We didn’t know.
I feel by letting it flow and not putting any limitations or any boundaries, boundaries, musically, I think we kind of, we were able to create something different. Not unique because there’s old-school death metal in there. There’s Morbid Angel, there’s Swedish old school, death metal in there, but it’s different.
So yeah, it was not intended, and that are even some people saying there’s a little bit of black metal in there. And some people told me, like, this riff is so black metal, they are mine, and I don’t listen to black metal. I barely know a couple of songs, but in the end, it came out like this. So it was definitely not intended anything.
It truly is a mix of things. I’m just waiting for a traditional Brazilian instrument thrown in there for some folk metal mixes.
We thought of adding something, but it didn’t happen. But it might eventually, it definitely might eventually because we want to experiment on the next album.
Lyrically speaking, where did the inspiration come from for and how did that differ from your writing style while in Nervosa?
Whoever follows me on my social media knows I’m an activist. I’m always talking about this, and so to me, it was pretty natural to write the way I wrote in Nervosa. It has always been about social criticism, talking about the things that are not right in society and everything. So it was pretty organic to me.
When it came to death metal now with Crypta, I needed to adapt in so many ways, not only the songwriting but my vocals as well. The sound and the technique, but also lyrically, I needed to adapt because, I wanted to experiment with something new because it’s a whole new world, so why not try and explore new ways of writing lyrics.
So I wanted and intended to change the way I was writing. I didn’t want to go to like in most of the death metal bands, which is like either it’s gory or satanic or stuff like that. I wouldn’t feel comfortable writing about it because I just wanted to express myself.
What I decided to explore with Crypta was dark aspects of the psychological processes we go through. I found out some core beliefs of mine that are there that I needed to leave behind. So I definitely explore more philosophical psychological aspects. But when I was like halfway through writing the album, I was like, I kind of missed writing protest songs, and I was like, I’ll have to write a couple. Then I have some in ‘Starvation’ and ‘Bloodstain Heritage’.
They are political songs in a way, but what I tried with them is to read it in a more philosophical, poetic way. It was not like me pointing the finger as I did in my previous band, but in a more poetic way, like in ‘Starvation’, I’m actually describing a person starving to death because the system wants.
From the perspective of this person, it’s describing the symptoms and everything, so it’s in a different way. There are protest songs in there too but written in a different way. The general thing is that every song talks about death. Every song in this album talks about death in a way. As in literal death, just like in Starvation and a little bit in Bloodstain Heritage. And some are more metaphorical, like in ‘From the Ashes’ I talk about the death of some cycles that need to be dead.
So death is in the whole album, just so it’s linked to the genre. But yeah, I needed to adapt a lot from my previous way of songwriting to now, but I think I’m pretty satisfied with the way he came out.
This being a new band and a totally new sound for you, I was going to ask what would be the one song you would choose to introduce yourself if you had to pick one song to let the listener know, what you’re all about. But I think the album’s lead single, “From the Ashes,” is just too perfect of a song to do that. How have you felt about the feedback you’ve been getting so far?
You are totally right. That’s why we chose this one to be the first single because we just thought this one could really summarize all of the elements that are there in the album. There are some more straight in-your-face parts and some ethic melodies, and a catchy chorus. So there’s a little bit of everything in there. And also the meaning of the lyrics is so intense and appropriate. We thought it’s not the best one maybe because that’s hard to say, but it’s definitely the one that’s most complete.
The feedback has been amazing. We made sure we were very careful on which song to choose andthe production of the video clips. So it was, again, the best thing we could deliver, but still, we got really surprised with the feedback. It’s been just great.
You mentioned videos, and it’s just during the pandemic, it seems we’re in an explosion of lyric videos for obvious reasons, with bands working with so many limited resources. And the video for “From the Ashes” is just amazing. It’s like, I want to watch the movie for this trailer. What was the thought behind the video, and how did it all come to be?
Thank you. Me and Luna, we always dreamt of having a clip that actually looked more like a movie than a video. And we were like, okay, the time has come. People have high expectations. Let’s give them what we dreamed about. We were so lucky with that production. We didn’t plan for it to be like that at all. Like at all. We had some ideas, we had like the script. It was written by a scriptwriter, but the general idea, we were the ones who had it.
And then we were like, okay, let’s try and find a person who works more with movies and cinema than with music. And then my boyfriend said there is this guy who skates with him once in a while, and he’s a movie director at the biggest movie company here in Brazil. And we were like, yeah, but we definitely don’t have any money to pay. Oh, two producers. But since things are not like full force in the movie industry right now, so he’s not recording anything right now. So maybe this would make for a nice portfolio piece.
Sometime later he started providing me with a very professional script, and also like stuff from the costume designer, and I was like, what the fuck? A costume designer, is it not just you and the camera guy, and maybe a third person? He was like, no, I got the best cinematographer and the best director for this. And in the end, it was nearly 60 people working on the production, so it was just crazy. In the end, it was just a big production. We were so proud. We were so proud because it definitely, took our idea to a whole different level and we just loved it.
Now that things are starting to open up more, do you plan on going on tour to promote the album?
Yeah, we got a couple confirmed already in Europe. So we have this tour for Europe in April/May next year. We might get some other dates in the summer. There are some plans for North America too. So we’ve been planning, there are a couple of options.
Sounds great, we can’t wait to catch you out there! Thanks again for speaking with me today, is there anything else you’d like to say to the fans?
Thank you! It truly means a lot after all this transition I’ve been through. It means a lot that there are still people out there interested in what I’m doing with my girls and everything. So thank you. Thank you so much for the talk. It was a nice one. And for everyone who’s checking this out, just thank you so much for the support.
Let’s make sure from now on, we really value and appreciate art in all ways more and more and more because we all know about this terrible time we were living in. We all were able to go through this pandemic because of music, because of books, because of movies, because of art in a general. So let’s make sure we cherish it’s more and more from now on. Just make sure you support your local scene, your friends who are producing any sort of art. Keep the flame burning!