We really wish we had some sort of kitschy-cool descriptor for what exactly Asthmatic Kitty’s Cryptacize sounds like … but we don’t. They exist somewhere between afro-beat, 1940′s musicals, 80′s punk rock and the dusty paths of forgotten country westerns. It’s slow and simmering and a downright joy to listen to. We were so surprised, amazed, and honestly, baffled by how much we enjoyed this all-to brief album, we just had to figure out what went in to. Chris, Nedelle and Michael were delightful enough to sit down with us and answer a few of our prying questions.
Light In The Attic: Just to get it out of the way, what exactly does the name “Cryptacize” refer to? I was imagining, er, darker music and to say the least was a little surprised.
Chris: Nedelle made up the word. It means whatever you want it to mean. Someone told us it gave them a mental picture of zombies doing aerobics…Also the word ‘cryptacize’ is a noun as our band title, but is a verb in the imperative form – we command you the listener to ‘cryptacize’ with us!
Nedelle: It’s our magic word, and a magic word can be anything- like when the magician in Sesame Street says “a la peanut butter sandwiches!” before performing a trick. His tricks never work, but that’s another story…
LITA: What brought you three together? I know that Chris and Nedelle worked together on The Curtains album, but what inspired you to reach out to Michael and come together to form Cryptacize?
C: Nedelle helped me with the Curtains and I also helped her with her album “The Locksmith Cometh.” But then we both really wanted to do something that was our music together, which is a whole new band, Cryptacize. We originally had me playing drums and our friend Aaron on guitar but he was still in school and couldn’t tour and then Michael was looking for a band to join as a cowbell player. He emailed us with a link to this video that was just his hands playing the cowbell. We were like ‘The guy is nuts! We love him!’ and then he joined.
LITA: I’ve been trying, hard, to give an adequate description to your sound when pushing your music on my friends, but seriously, have been struggling. I know people hate doing this, but how do you describe your music?
N: I think one thing people always point out about our music is that parts of a song change suddenly and often. We were surprised to learn that this was a noticeable aspect of our music to other people. We started to call our music “free fantasia” – a term we read in a musical dictionary and thought it fit well with us.
C: I usually just say ‘rock’ when describing it to people, which is my way of giving up on names. Or depending on the person, I might say ‘folk’ or ‘r+b,’ whatever type of music I think they like. I just want people to hear us.
LITA: What were the inspirations for this album? What influenced and helped define this album the most for you?
N: West Side Story was a huge influence. Chris and I got way into it. Other than that I can’t really remember what else we were listening to. Probably not much because we were too obsessed with writing our own songs.
C: Another inspiration was the Arts Channel. Do you ever watch that? I think it only comes on late at night. It’s where they show these really dated music-videos that go along with classical music – like they make up a whole weird love story about people who play in an orchestra and there’s all these soft focus roses and tripped-out interpretive dancing… they also show incredible live performances of virtuosos like Isaac Stern in 1957 or something like that. His hands go all blurry and he makes these crazy scrunched-up faces while wearing an enormous white ascot and he’s in a trance. We love that stuff and wish we could hire whoever makes those videos to work with us!
LITA: What exactly does Dig That Treasure refer to?
N: We took the title from a musical review Chris’s dad co-wrote in college. The phrase seemed to summarize the sentiment in a lot of our lyrics- like endless searching and hoping, you know, that sort of thing.
C: Maybe the original music was about miners or something – I’m not actually sure…
LITA: Is this an ongoing project, or are you guys going to continue to branch out in to other bands and such and such?
N: Yes, this is our main project now. We are done changing guises, we promise!
C: Cryptacize is going to branch out into a full-fledged cable television channel that only shows a hypnotic spiral on the screen for 24 hours a day,
LITA: Finally, what’s next?
N: We’re going on a US tour, we’re leaving in 5 days actually, and then we go to Norway and England in July. After that, we’re home and we’ll record another album, which is going to come out early next year!