Wednesday, February 24, 2016

Interview With Ryan Sheperson From Cryptic Shift

The UK's Cryptic Shift is by no means a new band to me, but they are definitely a band which I latched onto quite a bit tighter because of their newest release, "Beyond The Celestial Realms" (out April 1, 2016). Their sci-fi death/thrash approach was so intriguing that I had to ask a few questions to their drummer, Ryan Sheperson. Many thanks to him for the great interview!

Skull Fracturing Metal (SFM): Hi Ryan! Congratulations on your excellent upcoming EP! For anyone new to the band, can you describe your sound a little bit?

Ryan: Hey Scott, cheers for the kind words, it really means a lot to hear positive feedback even from across the pond! If I’m to be honest, it’s a bit tricky to explain our sound. Other than the obvious influences of many major Death Metal and Thrash Metal elements, I feel we find ourselves often progressing into the more Technical side of things, and venturing more Progressive elements to our sound! A lot of the lyrical material in our music is Sci-Fi themed so we also try to incorporate atmospheric feelings – If you like Thrash/Death Metal and Space, you’re in the right place!

SFM: When listening to your music, I detect a lot of influence from bands like Voivod and Vektor. Are these your primary influences? If not, who inspires your music?

Ryan: Collectively I’d say we’re all heavily into Vektor and Voivod, they’re definitely contenders for our favourite bands in the Genre. Whilst they’re just some of our primary influences, especially follow the Sci-Fi theme in the music they play, there’s a ton of other bands we can’t give enough credit to! Just to name a few, I’d say our top influences are; Death, Atheist, Opeth, Obscura, Revocation, Gorguts, Solstice, Toxik, Obituary, Biohazard and Megadeth.

SFM: The sci-fi themes seem to be a strong trend in metal. In addition to the bands named above, bands like Black Fast, Ripper, Nucleus, and Hemotoxin, as well as Cryptic Shift, are taking a similar approach to their lyrics. Why do you think this is such a compelling theme, and why do you guys like these kinds of lyrics?

Ryan: Because they're cool as fuck - basically, we grew up watching Sci-Fi movies like Star Wars so we've always had a great interest in what's beyond our planet (SFM Note: Star Trek > Star Wars). This gives Xander a chance to create worlds of his own and put them across in our lyrics. We’re also very intrigued by cosmicism and Lovecraftian themes similar to the lyrics of Morbid Angel or Timeghoul. so to incorporate sci-fi alien worlds with cosmic horror really gives us much more freedom to create more varied and intricate stories, rather than being restricted to ideas only formed from Human life on Earth.

SFM: My understanding of the band is that you guys used to be named Crÿptic Shift (with the umlaut over the Y). Is this correct? What inspired the slight name change?

Ryan: When the band first formed the name was chosen by previous members (there’s been a few) and it was something that was in use around that ‘era’ – at this time, Crÿptic Shift played more Groove Metal material on a much lower level of professionalism in comparison to the material we play now. Due to lineup changes Cryptic Shift as of 2016 is a completely new band, we play new, improved music and have almost a complete fresh lineup (Xander being the only member who has been with the band since early formation).

SFM: You guys are opening up for Exodus and Lost Society next month. Can you speak a little bit about how you guys are preparing for the show, and what it means to get to play with these legendary bands?

Ryan: To be honest, it’s feels like a relief! We’ve pushed ourselves for so long to finally get to where we are today and getting that show really confirmed that our efforts are being noticed and are starting to pay off. With this said, this isn’t going to stop us from progressing or pushing ourselves either further, it feels that this is somewhat of a gateway to greater things – therefore it would be a shame if we were to waste the opportunity. Being able to support a band such as Exodus, who amongst us are one of our favourite bands is surreal to even think about, even with it being next week! We will be embarking on a tour with shows all across the UK in the next few months performing the upcoming EP ‘Beyond The Celestial Realms’ in full, starting with the Exodus show, so it feels amazing to kick things off with a show that will go down in history!

SFM: In addition, you’ve recently announced a full UK tour. Have you guys toured this extensively before? What can fans expect on this tour?

Ryan: Previously we’ve only once toured and that was a short weekend run with our friends in Seprevation, Desolator and Exiled (John’s previous band) – although it was short it really helped us evolve as a band, as you may know touring is tiring and not cheap, but definitely worth it! We’re very excited to get back on the road for this 10 date tour, and to be playing with a lot of bands including our friends in Desolator and Terror Drone, but also some bigger bands such as Acid Reign, Exodus, Lost Society and Magrudergrind. We will be performing ‘Beyond The Celestial Realms’ in full – but also some new track we have been sitting on for quite some time.

SFM: What are the band’s plans for the future? Is there a full-length in the works, or any touring beyond the UK?

Ryan: We’re currently focusing on the present and getting the EP as far as possible, as we’ve been sitting on the release for almost a year so it’ll be pretty exciting to see how far it gets. As for the potential of a full-length, I think we’re gonna hold that until the time is right to release it. I find that I see a lot of bands release a full-length independently, but the way we see it is that we can release as many Demos and EP’s as we like, although we only have chance to release a major debut album once. So when we feel that the time is right and all the pieces are in the right place, a full-length will surface! As for touring, we’re always looking and planning to play new places, there’s some places of the UK we’re still waiting to play, so that’s exciting! We’ve got potential to develop some European dates this year which will hopefully see the light of day, but I guess only time will tell!

SFM: Cryptic Shift is on your label Fractured Mind Records. Can you speak a little bit about how the label got started and some of the bands you work with aside from your own?

Ryan: When we (myself and Xander) founded the label it was sort of just a bit of a side thing to help push our Demo, but then other bands got involved such as John’s previous band Exiled and our bros in Redeye Revival, so we did a couple of releases and then got sidetracked when recording the Cryptic Shift EP. Until recently we thought the label was dead however we re-considered releasing ‘Beyond The Celestial Realms’ through Fractured Mind and the ball got rolling – now we’ve got around 10 releases in the pipeline and we’re forever looking to grow that catalogue, so be sure to get in touch if you’re interested in working with us!

SFM: As both a musician and label owner, you likely have a unique perspective on the metal scene. What are some things you’ve learned as a label owner that bands often struggle with?

Ryan: I find a lot of bands don’t take risks enough and that a lot of bands don’t really push themselves as much as they should do. That might be because they don’t realize how much hard work they have to put into what they do to get where they want to go, or maybe they just expect it to fall at their feet. I also notice a lot of bands struggling to keep themselves active, which is understandable as there are not many outgoing promoters in the UK who book good shows, although what we tend to do is book our own if we’re stuck! I have personally learned that as much as a hobby playing music is to you, if you don’t consider your ‘product’ as a business then you’re going to be hitting a brick wall – professionalism is a key factor in success, having the right approach and networking correctly with the right people is what is going to unlock the door to greater things. ALWAYS keep positive and never doubt yourself.

SFM: Any last words for the fans?

Ryan: We just want to give a big thanks for everyone reading this and checking us out, we want to thank Scott at Skull Fracturing Metal for the continuous support and for inviting us back for this interview. Be sure to check out our Facebook and/or Website for updates and especially hit up the EP when it releases on April 1st 2016. Be sure to check out our friends in: Redeye Revival, Desolator, Sathamel, Bestial Invasion, Live Burial, Hardships and String Villains. SUPPORT THE UNDERGROUND. 

SFM: Be sure to check out and like Cryptic Shift on Facebook!

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