CRYPTOPSY was on the verge of breaking big when their lead screamer, Lord Worm, quit in 1997. But that didn’t stop the Canadian death metal beast. With vocalist Mike DiSalvo in tow, CRYPTOPSY continued to push the envelope and found themselves atop a very stagnant death metal scene, selling far more units than the average pretender. However, 2004 found CRYPTOPSY fumbling with singer woes when the band’s third singer, Martin Lacroix was unable to fully bear the demands to front CRYPTOPSY. To the surprise and delight of many, the band reunited with the morbidly charismatic Lord Worm to produce the deliciously devastating monolith, Once Was Not. APESHIT chased down speedy drummer, Flo Mounier, to beat down issues regarding the band’s reunion with Lord Worm, the new album, and details on his soon-to-be released instructional drum DVD set.
APESHIT: Nowadays, there are so many bands, labels, releases. But your new album, Once Was Not, is exactly what the metal world needs to stabilize the mediocre bullshit.
Flo: For sure, for sure…
APESHIT: Of course the big buzz is that Lord Worm is back. How did it happen? When did you know a reunion with Lord Worm would be possible?
Flo: Basically what happened was that our ex-singer, Martin Lacroix, was slow in writing lyrics and parts for the new stuff. So at one point, I called up Lord Worm, and asked, “Do you feel like writing lyrics for the new album and have Martin sing them? Because I know having you back [in the band] is not an option.”
And he goes, “No…”
So I was like, “What do you mean ‘No?’ Explain yourself?”
And he just said, “No [it is an option]…”
I’m like, “Alright!”
So we had a few meetings after that, and he decided to come rejoin the band! It was as simple as that phone call.
APESHIT: So how was he able to dedicate himself full-time to CRYPTOPSY? Was he just ready?
Flo: Yeah, I guess…he was working seven days a week by doing two different jobs. Joining the band would have been a third job. Touring and stuff gave him a chance to drop off those jobs. But he came back and worked really hard. He came up with 11 tracks and great material…and it just worked. It took him a little bit of time to get back into it. He hadn’t sang for seven years.
APESHIT: While Lord Worm was away from CRYPTOPSY, did he involve himself with any musical projects at all?
Flo: No…[just work].
APESHIT: So when it came to write the new album, how did that process come about considering the shifting line-up? Was it just the four of you?
Flo: Well it was Jon Levasseur [ex-guitarist] too, who contributed a lot [before he left the band] with Alex Auburn, Eric Langlois, and I. It was over a period of different years because we had the line-up changes so of course it took a lot of time. We were writing here, writing there, and at one point we had everything written. But when we came back from a Canadian tour, Jon had left. So I just analyzed all the material and thought, “You know what? It’d be good if we changed this and that…” I had a lot of reflection to make it more interesting than it was originally.
APESHIT: Was it pretty hard for Jon to quit the band?
Flo: I guess, but he didn’t have it in him anymore. He didn’t want to tour. He didn’t have the inspiration like he did before. But, you know, it takes a lot of guts to do it. But he took his step…he’s working and doing the family stuff. He’s a great guy.
APESHIT: Your drumming is very unique. It’s kind of like with Igor Cavalera (SEPULTURA) where when you hear his drumming, you can pretty much guess the band. How did you develop your own personal style over the years?
Flo: I guess just listening to different style of music and having different influences instead of just having a couple different favorites. I tried to dig deep…but then came back to the basics to learn all the rudiments necessary to make it a lot more smoother, a lot more interesting, a lot more colorful instead of just single strokes. On the kit, there’s a lot of doubles…a lot of dynamics, which I find is so important in music. That’s why the music we make…I mean we can go all-out for a whole song, but to us, that doesn’t make any sense. We like the dynamics. You know, to make the slow parts slow so when we go fast, it sounds fast. Give [the music] some breathing room.
APESHIT: One of the special things about CRYPTOPSY is that, while it’s still death metal, you guys are able to expand the definition of what death metal and extreme metal are, but you are still able to keep the original essence of death metal. What do you attribute to that?
Flo: When we write, we still keep in mind that it’s CRYPTOPSY, and there’s still stuff that we want to do that sounds like CRYPTOPSY. We came up with the name [extreme metal] like five or six years ago because we were taking a lot of different parts from a lot of different genres of music and incorporating it into what we thought sounded like CRYPTOPSY. But if you break it down, it’s either blues, jazz, rock, fusion, Latin, flamenco…stuff like that. CRYPTOPSY is a melting pot of different genres.
APESHIT: You’re also on the verge of releasing your instructional drum DVD, Extreme Metal Drumming 101. You must feel pretty proud of such an accomplishment. Can you tell us about how that project came together?
Flo: Well a lot of people were asking for lessons around the world. So I was like, “Let’s put it on DVD and bring it out to the mass public.” It’s really cool. There’s a lot of exercises to do, a lot of stretches… If this works out well, I’ll probably release some more. But there’s over three hours of footage on a double-disc set. There’s an instructional disc and an entertainment disc, where there’s a whole bunch of solo footage and stuff like that. So it was a way to please the people who wanted to know how I do stuff.
APESHIT: You were invited to perform at the Guggenheim Museum in New York back in 2003 for Matthew Barney’s film project, The Cremaster Cycle. Can you tell us more about The Cremaster Cycle and your involvement in the exhibit?
Flo: It was a great experience. Matthew Barney is an incredible guy, a great friend. It was completely different…kind of like a film score live in complete surround sound. There were musicians around all the people that were sitting down. It was very artistic, very weird. Sometimes it was like, “What the hell is going on?” But, it was great.
APESHIT: How does it feel to head out on tour with SUFFOCATION? CRYPTOPSY and SUFFOCATION are a dream combo.
Flo: They good friends of ours. I mean, we toured with them at the way beginning…when CRYPTOPSY was beginning and they were beginning. We toured up in Canada with them and ever since, you know, we’ve stayed in touch. They’re great guys, and yeah, it’s a great package. I mean you got two big metal influences.
APESHIT: Are you guys looking for a full-time second guitarist?
Flo: Well right now we have Christian Donaldson (MYTHOSIS), and we’re testing him out on the road. If he works out, he works out. But, he’s a great guitarist. He’s got a lot of ideas, but right now, he’s just a hired gun type of thing. Definitely, we’ll have to make a decision, and if we keep him, we’ll keep him. If not, then we’ll search for another guy and do the same thing. It’s kind of a training period, if you will.
APESHIT: How do you feel about [VOIVOD guitarist] Piggy’s death?
Flo: Oh, I feel bad. I mean, I knew him very well. And what an influence…I mean, VOIVOD, what an amazing band. It’s great that they’re from Montreal as well. Well, not from Montreal, but they lived there before he died. It’s very sad. It’s very sad.
APESHIT: For you guys as French-Canadians, or a French-Canadian band, you must take a lot of pride in being from where you guys are, especially when you travel…
Flo: Yeah, it’s nice to be from Montreal. A lot of great bands in a great city. The scene in Montreal is amazing.
APESHIT: CRYPTOPSY have established themselves as a major player in the death metal world. For such a brutal and over-the-top band, you guys do sell quite a good number of albums. What’s the next goal for you guys?
Flo: Keep on progressing in the evolution of our music. And [make] music that we want to hear, and that we want to play. (I have a little idea of what I want the next songs to sound like.) And to reach different markets as well. It’d be fun to reach different markets. It’s extreme metal. It’s very versatile. There’s a lot of punks that like us, a lot of hardcore kids that like us…there’s a lot of extreme metal kids, death metal kids, grindcore kids…. So I mean, it’s just like keeping the ball rolling [to try] to reach as many people as possible.
APESHIT: Would you guys want to go on Ozzfest or a major tour like that?
Flo: Oh, it’d be good. It’s not a necessity, but it would be good. It would do the band good…the exposure. Gigantour was a really cool concept as well. Stuff like that is pretty much what we’d be looking into. You know, doing bigger venues…
APESHIT: So how’s Mike DiSalvo [ex-vocalist] doing these days? Do you keep in touch with him?
Flo: I talk to him maybe once a year. He’s doing the family/job thing as well. I guess he’s doing good. That’s what he wanted ultimately, but he’s doing good.
APESHIT: With each album, CRYPTOPSY becomes more challenging. It’s not easy nor predictable to listen to the music. Each record requires a few listens to understand. Is that something intentional that you do to keep pushing the definition of what the band is?
Flo: We like to surprise people. We like to make it interesting. We don’t like to serve anything on a silver platter. There’s meanings in the lyrics. There’s meanings in the songs. Yeah, we like to keep people on their toes. But all that it comes down to is to just make it interesting to play. Having to listen to records a few times is what’s fun, to discover new things. So I guess it’s not that intentional because that’s how we write. But it is part of our thing. Instead of like, “Oh let’s hit it here,” we’ll hit it there just to fuck people up a little.
APESHIT: When fans come up to you and tell you “you’re the greatest drummer in the world,” how do you take that?
Flo: It’s flattering. It’s not true! I know it’s not true. There’s tons of drummers who are better than me. But I mean, it’s very flattering. I’m glad I influence people. I came to realize after a few years of people saying that that I think, yeah there’s something that I do that is interesting to these folks. It’s great. I appreciate it. It’s very flattering.