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Interview with CRYPTOPSY :: Maelstrom :: Issue No 14
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interview by: Roberto Martinelli

Martin LaCroix has had some HUGE shoes to fill taking over for Mike DiSalvo in the premier technical death band in the galaxy, Cryptopsy. Well, DiSalvo had his work cut out for him when he replaced Lord Worm, so LaCroix may be able to turn the trick, too. Here’s my conversation with him.

Maelstrom: I have to say that the sound on the live record is a little flat. What do you think?

Martin LaCroix: Maybe we lost some of the high frequencies. But it’s a live album, so we don’t want to work on it too much and make it sound like a studio album. We didn’t do any touch ups. We just mixed it a little bit and that’s it.

Maelstrom: I got to see you play when you came with Dimmu Borgir and Krisiun. That was your first tour. Has it been big shoes to fill? How do you feel about that?

Martin LaCroix: Oh, yeah, yeah. For me, yeah. I’m a big auto critic.

Maelstrom: I see on this recording (the only thing so far we can judge you by) that you’re sticking to the styles of the two previous singers in those singers’ respective songs. We’ll have to see what you’re going to do on your new record. How is that going?

Martin LaCroix: About half of it is made. About five songs are written. We’re making a concept album.

Maelstrom: I have to say that there’s no encore track on the record. You play your set and leave.

Martin LaCroix: We have some talking between the songs. Sometimes on a live album, you don’t want to hear all of that shit, you know? The two encore songs are “Defenestration” and “Slit Your Guts.”

Maelstrom: Oh! Those are the encores! I like the talking on live albums, but I do think, like you said, that it’s a delicate thing where to cut stuff out.

Martin LaCroix: We kept a little talking but cut out most of it.

Maelstrom: Can you talk about what your vocals are going to like on the new record, or talk about the concept you were mentioning?

Martin LaCroix: For the vocals, I want to go further than just death metal. I want to create a new thing. Before Cryptopsy, I was jamming with a death metal band. When I quit, I tried to join some other bands that told me, “your vocals are too heavy. Can you slow down a little bit?” They wanted vocals more like Pantera or something like this. When I took the gig with Cryptopsy, I felt, yeah, I can do anything I want and they’re never going to tell me it’s too heavy.

Maelstrom: What was the tryout like? Were there many others trying out? Was it a nervous experience? How did you prepare? Why do you think they picked you?

Martin LaCroix: I saw on the net one day that Mike DiSalvo quit. So I sent them my name with a bit of background. I got there a good four or five hours before the tryout. I know that this is a lifestyle and those guys have been working on Cryptopsy for 10 years. They tried me for three weeks. I thought, are they going to tell me something?

Maelstrom: You live in the same city, right?

Martin LaCroix: Yeah. It’s not too far away. They told me they were going to do a European tour with Vader and Dying Fetus. After that we’re going to Japan, and after that we’ll decide whether we’ll take you or not.

Maelstrom: Oh, wow! But that was when they were going on tour with Mike.

Martin LaCroix: No....

Maelstrom: They took you on all those tours and then decided whether they would keep you?

Martin LaCroix: Yeah. But that’s cool, because on tour, you’re with the guys for a good month. You almost sleep together. It’s a good way to know the other ones.

Maelstrom: Now that it’s over and done, can you tell us if there were any well-known vocalists that tried out for Cryptopsy and didn’t make it?

Martin LaCroix: There was the guy from Unhuman. They’re from Quebec City. He’s a great vocalist, but he has a (criminal) record. He got caught with some weed and can’t travel into the US.

Maelstrom: Anyone outside of Quebec?

Martin LaCroix: There was one guy from Istanbul who called.

Maelstrom: Oh, my god... did he show up?

Martin LaCroix: (In weird, sinister, chipmunk voice) “I wanna play in Cryptopsy!” Ok, if you want to play, you have to pay for your ticket. They received a lot of emails. But, from Istanbul, come on...

Maelstrom: So, no one from the US?

Martin LaCroix: No. Only from around Montreal.

Maelstrom: What is more challenging or different or fun about doing vocals in Cryptopsy than in your previous band, Spasme?

Martin LaCroix: What’s fun is that I can express myself in a way that wasn’t possible with Spasme.

Maelstrom: Could you tell us a little about Spasme? I’m not sure how many people are familiar with it.

Martin LaCroix: It was a bit like Opeth, but more brutal.

What’s hard about Cryptopsy is the lyrics. I want to compose very intelligent lyrics. But the tours are fun. They’re good guys. We have a very good friendship going so far.

Maelstrom: What’s tough about doing your vocals?

Martin LaCroix: After a show, your heart is going (does rapid heart thumping noise).

Maelstrom: When I saw you on stage, you spin your head around just about as fast as anybody I’ve ever seen. I want to ask you about that, too.

Martin LaCroix: I go crazy, man. I have to be as extreme as the music. I don’t have a guitar, it’s just me. So I have to be extreme. Lord Worm ate worms on stage. I don’t want to do that! (Laugh) So this is my way.

Maelstrom: Seriously, I frankly want to know how you can spin your head around that fast, a), and then, b), manage to stand up after doing it?

Martin LaCroix: Uhh... (laugh) Maybe it’s the adrenaline. (Laugh) You know, I played about 30 shows with Spasme in four years. With Cryptopsy, I did about 30 shows in a month. I didn’t know how my vocals would be. Maybe my throat would fall off after a week. I took care of myself - didn’t smoke too much. Hehe. But it was alright.

Maelstrom: Were you a big fan of this band for a while?

Martin LaCroix: Well, Cryptopsy is well known in Montreal. I’ve known about Cryptopsy since their first demo. I thought it was crazy. None so Vile was gross. With all the (does snorty growling), it was gross. At that time I was more into Opeth - not too much into the grind style, with snare and bass drum all the way.

Just before I took the gig with Cryptopsy, I bought <And so You’ll Beg> and I was amazed. Then I took the gig.

Maelstrom: There’s another band from your area called Martyr. I LOVE Martyr.

Martin LaCroix: They are really great.

Maelstrom: Have you heard the live record?

Martin LaCroix: No, no.

Maelstrom: That’s the best live album I can imagine, to the point where it’s so great that I got into Martyr because I heard the live record. I always think of live records as the other way around: you buy them because you already like a band.

Martin LaCroix: They’re really tight and technical. Daniel Mongrain, the guitarist, he’s amazing!

Maelstrom: The reason I’m asking is that I don’t understand why they’re not more popular.

Martin LaCroix: We have a lot of great bands in Montreal. I think that if these bands were from California or New York, there would be a lot more opportunity. Just because we are Quebec-ers, we have to work a lot more to impress.

Maelstrom: I don’t know, Montreal has a great reputation for death.

Martin LaCroix: Even all the bands that come through here say it’s the best. Morbid Angel, Opeth say that. We have a good fan base, that’s for sure.

Maelstrom: I understand Lord Worm is an English as a second language teacher.

Martin LaCroix: Yeah, he is.

Maelstrom: What do you do?

Martin LaCroix: What?

Maelstrom: Like, do you have a *real* job, like Superman?

Martin LaCroix: HAHAHAHAhahaha. Other than working at Daily Planet, I’m a tattoo artist.

Maelstrom: Oh, right. The things I remember about you are, 1) you spin your head around really fast, and 2) you have this tattoo on your left arm that’s... a plant. A pot leaf, maybe?

Martin LaCroix: Hehehe... It’s going to be covered soon. It was one of my first ones. I’m not proud enough to wear it on my arm.

Maelstrom: How many tattoos do you have?

Martin LaCroix: Eight.

Maelstrom: I didn’t notice so many.

Martin LaCroix: They’re on my legs. I’m doing my own tattoos.

Maelstrom: You tattoo yourself?

Martin LaCroix: Yeah, yeah. That’s why they’re on my legs. I’m doing airbrush stuff, too, on leather jackets, t-shirts, gas tanks, whatever. Everyone has to have a job.

Maelstrom: Do you have a timetable for the new record?

Martin LaCroix: It’s going to come out early 2004.

Maelstrom: So, what’s the concept you mentioned?

Martin LaCroix: uuhhh...yeah.....

Maelstrom: Is that top secret?

Martin LaCroix: I don’t want to talk about it too much. (Laugh)

Maelstrom: Haha. I could see that you were being evasive. I asked you twice and realized, “he still hasn’t answered my question!”

Martin LaCroix: Just yesterday, we got together and decided we weren’t going to talk about the concept. The whole thing isn’t decided yet. We don’t want to say too much before it’s done. We like to surprise people.

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