Steve Jansson (Crypt Sermon) interviewed

** Philadelphia isn't the hottest bed of heavy metal activity. Not since Cinderella and Britny Fox has the City of Brotherly Love engaged in traditional metalisms with any seriousness. And, let's face it, apart from certain songs on Night Songs, there isn't much heavy metal in either Cinderella or Britny Fox. So, it's with denim jackets, pyramid spikes, and poodle-cut hair that Philadelphia is home to new act Crypt Sermon. The group's debut album, Out of the Garden, revisits the genre's glory years where twin guitar riffs/leads, soaring vocals, and bandanas around the leg were part of everyday cool. Where’d the name Crypt Sermon come from? Cool name in a genre where cool names are rare. Steve Jansson: We were all basically just mashing very "metal" sounding words together in hopes to find a name. It was James who eventually came up with Crypt Sermon and we all thought it sounded cool as well as fit perfectly for what we do. I wish that there was a more interesting answer to this. [Laughs]

How did you get the attention of Dark Descent? From our experience Matt’s really into dark, evil death metal not epic doom metal. Steve Jansson: Brooks and I also play in a death metal band called Trenchrot which is signed to Unspeakable Axe, one of Dark Descent's sub-labels. The day we put the Crypt Sermon demo online, we sent it to Eric at Unspeakable Axe just to show him the new project we were working on. He told us that we should send it to Matt at Dark Descent immediately, so we took his advice. Sure enough, Matt got back to us the same day and offered to do an official release for the demo. This eventually lead to him offering to do a full-length for us.

What do you think is contributing to the wider acceptance of traditional or epic doom? For the longest while it was mostly of stoner or drone variety. Steve Jansson: I think that people are finally just getting sick of the myriad of Sleep and Electric Wizard clones that have been at the forefront over the last few years. I certainly know that I am and Crypt Sermon was basically started as a reaction to all of that.

To that end, I hear a lot of Candlemass and Solitude Aeturnus in Crypt Sermon. Are they the template or are there others you find informative and inspirational? Steve Jansson: They are definitely the template as well as a shitload of classic heavy metal. That being said, we are still a very new band so there is tons of room for growth and development and as we move forward I think that we will naturally begin to pull in from other sources and get out of the box a bit.

Where’d you find Brooks? Most legit singers in heavy metal don’t grow on trees. Steve Jansson: Brooks and I have been friends as well as played music together for years now. He had expressed interest on a few occasions in trying his hand at rock/heavy metal vocals. Of course, he had yelled in various bands in the past as well as done some acoustic stuff but never anything like what he is doing now. He was already playing in bass in the band and after barely considering anyone else to sing we asked if he wanted to give it a shot and he went for it. It's been fun listening to how quickly he is developing.

Crypt Sermon isn’t your only band, correct? How do you manage Crypt Sermon versus your other musical and personal priorities? Enrique is in the same boat, if I’m not mistaken. Steve Jansson: We all have various projects but most of them aren't playing live or doing any kind of touring with the exception of Will's band, Hivelords. Day jobs can be a challenge more than anything, but Crypt Sermon is a priority for all of us and we always find the time to make things happen.

The album title, Out of the Garden, and the album cover feel very Rainbow. Was that the idea here? Steve Jansson: We took the easy way out used one of the songs as the album title. Out of the Garden just came off as so classic sounding and the fact that you mention Rainbow is great because that's definitely along the lines of what we were going for.

Conceptually speaking, what are you talking about lyrically? Sounds like old history specifically around Levantine and the Roman Empire. Steve Jansson: Brooks is the one who writes all of the lyrics in the band. He takes Christian and historical themes and offers alternate starting points or inversions of the common, faith-based epistemology.

Do you see Crypt Sermon as an active, touring band or more something suitable to studio releases? Steve Jansson: Well, unless Iron Maiden is looking to bring us out we certainly aren't quitting our day jobs. We aren't a band who are going to be able to go on lengthy tours but we definitely would like to do some smaller runs and festivals if the offers come.

What are your plans for 2015? Getting Enrique to answer a few interviews might be the first step. Then, maybe a few shows in Philly. Just a few suggestions. Steve Jansson: Enrique's job is strictly to hit drums as well as to make sure that the jabot shirts we all wear casually in this band are ironed and looking regal as fuck. As far as shows, we will definitely be playing Philly more this year.

** Crypt Sermon's new album, Out of the Garden, it out now on Dark Descent Records. It's available HERE in CD and LP formats.

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