» Nolan Lewis - Kryptos
« back

Interview conducted June 4 2023
Interview published August 2 2023

India's very own heavy metallers Kryptos returned to Jakobsberg, Stockholm on their second European stint in around just 6 months. Metal Covenant spent some time with guitarist/singer Nolan Lewis before the band's show discussing what touring on this somewhat scarce level is like and if there is some new music coming out anytime soon.

Tobbe: It has only been about six months since you guys were touring Europe the last time. How come you're back so soon to the European stages?

Nolan: Actually, we got a bunch of festival dates last time when we completed the tour. The minute we got back a bunch of festival talked to us, like Muskelrock, Into The Grave and Metalheadz Open Air. They were, like, "Can you guys come down during May and June?".

So, I mean, if we're gonna do all these festivals we might as well put a tour together and get some club gigs as well. And everything worked out really well because we ended up getting five gigs in Spain, which was the first time for us, and we got more in Sweden, Germany, Belgium, the Netherlands, so it all came together really well. So we had to come back. There was no escape. (Laughs)

Tobbe: Spain is new, but still it's kind of in the same territories, so what do you expect about people coming down and see you again so soon?

Nolan: That's the interesting thing. Like, for example, in today's venue, Sandviken tomorrow, Karlsruhe and a couple of other places which we played six months ago, interesting enough, more people have shown up, because they told their friends about us, word got spread around, and they got curious and even more people showed up. That is really nice. But yeah, I don't think we should do it too often because people might get bored of us. (Laughs)

Tobbe: Now to a couple of questions about being out on a tour like the one you're currently out on: Are you all sitting in one van when driving between places?

Nolan: Yep, we are. We're all cooped up in our red van. Yeah, it's tough. I mean, most of the time we're trying to zone out. We just do our own thing in the van. We try not to get on each other's nerves that much. But we're getting used to touring a lot, so we know what pushes each other's buttons and what to do. As long as everyone doesn't step on each other's toes everything is good.

Tobbe: When you come to Europe, upon arrival, do you pick up your vehicle right away and then go to the first gig?

Nolan: Yeah, that's pretty much what we do. This time we got all our gear and a vehicle from Dortmund, Germany. So we go there, pick up all the equipment, get the van from the same place, shove it all in, and then we start driving.

Tobbe: Who handles the logistics for this tour, like shows, traveling, rooms, etc.?

Nolan: Our tour manager; his name is Madhav (Ravindranath). He was living in India, then he moved to Austria. He handles everything. He does all the booking, the communication, the logistics, the tour mapping, everything.

Tobbe: Is he also the driver of the vehicle?

Nolan: Yes, he also drives. He does merch, he does everything. He does literally everything. I mean, I think he is the band. It's not us. (Laughs)

Tobbe: I guess he uses Google Maps or something, but how often do you get lost?

Nolan: Actually we've never gotten lost so far. Yeah, thanks to Google Maps. It's incredible. I still wonder how bands did it before, like, I mean, they just had a paper map and just followed it. It's insane.

Tobbe: The tour manager, is he also your sound engineer?

Nolan: We have a sound guy, so he doesn't have to do that. But I'm sure if he learned how to do sound engineering he would do that also. (Laughs)

Tobbe: What gear are you able to bring on this tour when driving in a van?

Nolan: We just carry our instruments from India, like our guitars and the basic drum stuff, but in the van we get, like, amps, heads, cabinets, the full drum kit. All that stuff. The thing is we like doing it that way. We like doing it the old-fashioned way, where, you know, we get sound from our amps.

Nowadays a lot of bands use, like, Kemper profilers. It makes touring a lot easier, but some of the sound doesn't work for us. It sounds a bit too sterile. So we like it warm and old-fashioned and that's why we go through this insanity of lugging all this stuff around. (Laughs)

Tobbe: As you come to a venue, is everything almost ready and good to go every time you get there, or is there some trouble with getting things to work?

Nolan: For 90 percent of the venues it's no problem, as long as we get there on time, and we have schedules to follow and stuff. So we get everything done on time; no problem. But there are a few venues that we played at where the in-house equipment isn't very good, so we literally have to do a lot of things, like we got to try and experiment. That takes time, so things start getting delayed because of that.

At the end of the day people are coming to watch us and we can't tell people, "Look, the venue's equipment isn't very good.", because they'd be like, "We don't give a shit. We paid to watch you guys, so you guys better sound good.". So we got to do whatever we can to sound as good as possible, even if it means fixing up what the venue has.

Tobbe: Tonight you're staying in a room just around the corner. How often do you get a hotel room on a tour like this?

Nolan: Most of the time actually. I would say at 95 percent of the time we get hotels between the gigs. But, you know, it's not a big deal even if we don't, because we'll find a way.

Tobbe: Are you always shopping for slots to get on bigger European festivals now, in order to get your name visible for a broader audience as well?

Nolan: Yeah, we try. We try our best, but it's quite difficult to get on the bigger festivals unless you have a big booking agent, or the right contacts, and things like that. We just recently signed with a booking agent from the Netherlands called Codex Agency. They're gonna start helping us to get more festival gigs and things like that. But yeah, at the end of the day I believe it's just a matter of time. It's like if you perform well, if you write good music, eventually festivals, small or big, will take notice and you will get booked.

Tobbe: Does the record company help you at all with stuff related to this?

Nolan: No, not really. I mean, they just do the label stuff, you know. Just releasing and distribution of the records and stuff, but nothing to do with touring and things like that. All of that is up to us.

Tobbe: Isn't it a little bit funny that you, as a musician in the music industry, have to go to different places to get help and to get things done?

Nolan: It depends on what kind of label you're signed with, because some labels don't have anything to do with the touring part. They just wanna release your record, and that's it. But there are some labels who encompass everything. They make sure your touring is done, your distribution is done, your PR is done. All that stuff, you know, so.

Again, it depends on who you're signed with. Some labels are too small to get all of this stuff done, so you got to go to different places. Some labels are super big, so you get all this stuff done. But then sometimes the label is too big and they probably don't give a shit about you if they have bigger bands to take care of. (Laughs) So, you got to weigh all these options in.

Tobbe: The last time you toured Europe, Ganesh (Krishnaswamy, bass) wasn't with you, but I guess he's with you now.

Nolan: No, he isn't. So, it's really difficult for him to get leave from work, and he became a father just a couple of years ago. So things are a little bit tight. In India things are getting very expensive. A lot of people are losing their jobs and stuff, because a recession is coming up. I mean, he can't really jeopardize his family's well-being for the sake of this tour. And we understand that; it's absolutely no problem. So we got a friend, Vasu (Chandran) who plays in a thrash band called Amorphia, who has joined us for this tour.

Tobbe: You had Robin Utbult, from Sweden, filling in for Ganesh the last time you were here. So it didn't work out very well with him? (Expressed with tongue-in-cheek.)

Nolan: No, it was perfect. I mean, he was amazing. We would have loved to have him this time as well, but he went on tour with Vicious Rumors. That's his main band, so he couldn't do it this time, yeah. Maybe next time we'll come back he'll be with us. (Laughs)

Tobbe: Can you see yourself still doing this and going out touring like this in maybe 20 years, when regular people retire from work and stuff like that?

Nolan: I don't know. In 20 years I'll be 63, so I'm not sure. You know, I'm always of the belief that it doesn't matter how old you are or how young you are, if it still gives you joy, then go out and do it. You will find a way to do it. I think the day we stop getting joy out of touring and the day we stop really feeling it is the day we'll probably stop. It could be tomorrow, it could be 10 years or 15 years from now, but I think that's when things stop.

Tobbe: I think it's good to keep your youth in a way. It was worse for my parents or my grandparents. When they were 30, "Stay at home with your family. Don't leave your house.".

Nolan: It's the same with us. It's like, "Finish college, get a job, start a family, get a house. That's it. Your life is done.". Like, "Forget about having a life. Just do that.". (Laughs) Like, "That's your life. Anything outside of that is bullshit. This is what you're supposed to do.".

Tobbe: Let's leave touring and go to music. Force Of Danger was out in October 2021 and will we see a new Kryptos record out already before the end of this year?

Nolan: Not before the end of this year, but probably early next year. So, once we're done with this tour we are gonna start writing for the new album. I'm hoping we can get it done by April next year. We have a few ideas, some riffs here and there, and things like that, but we just need to sit down and piece it all together and stuff.

Tobbe: If you look back at the Force Of Danger album now, are you still as happy with it as I guess you were when it came out?

Nolan: Because we did it in quite a rush, I think we could have done better with the production, if we had taken more time with it. But we had deadlines, and we were also really cramped for time, and it happened during Covid, so things were very half-assed, which is why, I guess, when you listen to it you will find a lot of flaws. I think the songs are great, but it suffers a bit from production issues and things like that. But for the next album we are definitely gonna take our time and make sure it's completely top-notch

Tobbe: Afterburner seems to be your most popular record. Could that one work as inspiration for a new record now?

Nolan: It's possible, but you never know. Once you start writing you have no idea in what direction things start going at. But it's possible. I think for example the title tracks of Afterburner and Force Of Danger, the more anthemic stuff… I think we could be going down that direction again, but I would say in a more concise manner, you know. Kind of like what Accept used to do on, like, Metal Heart and Balls To The Wall.

Tobbe: Rather than staying in the department of heavy metal with an ounce of thrash metal weaved in in it, would it be even possible for Kryptos to change music style a little bit?

Nolan: I'm not sure we can do that. I don't think we have it in us to change that much. This comes very naturally to us. You know, balancing that fine line between heavy metal and a little bit of thrash. I don't think we are too good at maybe changing direction, or even going completely down one particular direction. It's somewhere in the middle of all this where we are most comfortable.

Tobbe: If you get a greater production, or if you polish the production too much on a new record, will it be hard to keep the old-school vibe?

Nolan: Yeah. So we are very careful about that, because even we don't really like old produced albums and stuff. We're gonna try to keep it as organic as possible, but at the same time it shouldn't sound like crap. (Laughs) Something like, let's say the first Metallica album Kill 'Em All, or maybe Iron Maiden's Killers. You know, they sound really organic, but they sound great. They don't sound over-polished, but they still sound full and rich. So something like that. We're gonna aim for that.

Related links: