For this new interview we are testing a new concept: the cross interview. The principle is simple: to make you discover musicians, their human side, their personality. To make it even more interesting, we put two musicians from different bands face to face who answer the same questions. And who better to start with than two bass players, the ones we rarely talk about but who nevertheless have a fundamental place in a band.

Meeting with Fafa and Crypp, two musicians as adorable as they are talented …

Hi ! We’re going to start by making introductions …

Fafa : Ladies’ honor, so Crypp, I’ll let you get started …

Crypp : Ah ah ! All right … I’m Crypp Mor, I’m not a woman, contrary to what Fafa says, and today I play mainly in two bands : Except One, whose album was released almost two years ago, and a brand new project just born, EHP (Explicit Human Porn). We’re releasing the EP in September. I’m also doing some sessions for Hip-Hop studios.

Fafa : I’m Fafa, bassist in Monolyth, a melodic death metal band. We released our first album about two years ago. I also did some vocals in various projects.

Fafa - Lykh'Arts
Fafa - Pic : Lykh'Arts
Crypp - Juliette Plachez
Crypp - Pic : Juliette Plachez

What’s your musical background ?

Fafa : I started singing when I was about 14 years old, when my singing teacher in college told me that I sang very well, she gave me more self-confidence. A few years later I started playing bass by chance, it’s an instrument I’ve always been interested in. One day my father and I were taking a walk in the underground and we came across a bass/acoustic guitar duo. I became too much of a fan of the bass player I was seeing and my father said, “Wouldn’t you want to play that ? ». I said “yes, definitely” and we went out and bought a bass. I’m totally self-taught. I had my first band around the age of 19, straight into death metal. And then, I had a big wrist problem that forced me to stop playing bass for almost three years. Then I did a lot of blues rock, and then I came back to metal. Today I still have this wrist problem but I’m dealing with it, it bothers me for some techniques but overall I’m fine. I found a solution with fanned fret, because it follows the movement of the elbow and the arm.

Crypp : I started playing bass when I was 18. I didn’t really want to make music but it wasn’t going very well in my life at that time. One day I went to see a band and one of the musicians said “if it’s not going well, play music”. I was very attracted to low frequencies and a big fan of neo metal where bass is very important. So the next day, with my first paycheck, I bought the Ibanez bass pack with the small 15w amp and the padded cover!

I’m self-taught too, but I’ve been lucky enough to meet a lot of bassists, and in this environment people are very pedagogical. All the techniques I know today are mainly learned from other bass players. I’ve been playing bass for 15 years now and I’m always trying to learn and improve every day.

Tell us about your gear …

Crypp : I mainly play ESP basses, I have a lot of F-series on which I mount Skull Strings with a special pull. I like to have big strings because I attack a lot and I need something that holds well. In terms of effects I play with Darkglass, I have a whole range of pedals, from the B7K Utlra to the Alpha Omega. In terms of amps I play with a tech21 withoutAmp RBI, it’s a small rack but it’s monstrous ! And to finish I play with a Two Notes amp simulation, the small “bass cab m”, which allows me not to carry 30 kg of cab anymore, I plug directly on the sound system. So there’s the preamp that does the job very well, the Darkglass that does the tube simulations, and the Two Notes that gives all the grain that could have a Gallien Krueger for example, that I particularly like.

Fafa : For basses I have always liked Ibanez because the sleeves are very thin and compared to my wrist it suits me well. My current bass with the fanned fret is the SRFF805, which is really my baby, I love the neck and it has a great sound. In terms of amps I’m a big fan of Orange which gives very round and deep sounds. I have pedals but I can’t even name them because I don’t care as long as I like the sound. It’s terrible but that’s the way it is! I’ve kept a kind of “I don’t care” that there’s a lot in Blues Rock.

How do you characterize your sound ?

Fafa : A very round sound, very matt and with a bit of distorsion. Basically in my head I materialize my sound like a big black matt ball, my sound has to look like this when it comes out of the amp. I need this roundness, this depth, which I find really important whatever the style of music. Are you familiar with synesthesia? It’s for example when you see colours when you listen to music. I have that thing, and I need my sound to have a colour and a shape when it comes out of the amp.

Crypp : For me it really depends on what I’m playing. In Except One it will be a very dry sound with a lot of bass and high mids, it has to be very sharp and powerful. On EHP it’s a bit like Fafa, a bit grunge, Rock n’ Roll, a bit round but a bit dirty. Then it depends, depending on whether I’m doing Funk or Rap, I change, I go for the sound that makes me happy.

The big question : fingers or pick ?

Fafa : I only play with fingers, with a few techniques like tapping, etc. But never with a pick, simply because I don’t like it.

Crypp : Finger and pick. I have a preference for the finger (and essentially the slap) but it’s true that at a certain speed, I lack attack with the fingers, so the pick allows me to have the same attack all the time. On the other hand I agree with Fafa on the fact that the finger is sacred and there are many bass players who play super fast with the finger.

The little thing about you that makes you… for sure you’re a bass player ?

Fafa : I’m not boring ! Ah ah !!! No, but, it’s true, the guitarists are always annoying, the singer I’m not even telling you about, and the drummers really have their princess side too. When you’re not boring, you’re a bass player !

Crypp : I think what I like about bass players is simplicity. I’ve noticed that all the bass players I’ve met are extremely simple people, but in the good sense of the word.

Fafa : It’s true, they are relax. I used to see him especially when it came to loaning out equipment. If you find yourself in trouble for one reason or another at a concert, there are very few people who’ve been reluctant to lend their equipment. Usually we’ll manage to get everyone to play on the same equipment.

Do you have any habits, rituals before you go on stage? Do you practice a warm-up ?

Crypp : I can spend five minutes warming up my hands, there are plenty of techniques. I don’t want to hurt myself, and you notice that when you warm up, you play better. When I was younger, I used to come on stage without warming up and my hands would get very badly. In addition to warming up, I need to get into character. I rethink everything that annoys me and as I go on stage I have the ability to be above it all, it’s like I’m kicking all my problems.

Fafa : Warming of arms, hands, neck, etc. I apply tiger balm all over the forearm and wrist. It’s a Camphor-based balm that warms your joints and muscles … Then we get together with the group and have fun for five minutes to boost each other. And above all : it’s important to prepare a beer.

Just before going on stage (when we could), are you rather stressed or relaxed ?

Fafa : It depends on the configurations, I’m going to stress more in small rooms where you’re close to the audience. On big stages there is a distance and I feel more comfortable. But generally, I’m really relaxed on the bass. On vocals, I’m much less relaxed because you’re in a front position, on bass we’re more in the back. I think I’m a little bit stressed because I see it as a moment I’m going to live with my mates and I’m so happy to live it.

Crypp : I’m mega-stressed, no matter what the scene. I’m not saying I’m losing it, but I’m very excited. I manage my stress with my rituals. In a way I like this stress, and I think every musician likes this stress, it shows that it’s important. Every time it’s like jumping off a diving board, you do it because you like the feeling, but in a way it’s still high.

Do you have another role in the band ?

Fafa : Driver ! Well, before the gigs I’m a driver … After the gigs I’m drunk ! More seriously, I don’t know if it’s the fact that I’m the only woman because I’m not considered at all as “The chick of the band”, but I have a little bit reassuring side for them. I’m doing them good spiritually because I’m relaxed.

Crypp : In Except One I do a lot of administrative stuff (SACEM, papers, etc). I’m a real psychorigid. We have a shared server and I’m the guy who tidies everything up, who cleans everything, who makes sure that everything is in its place. … In EHP, we are only four members, I also take care of all the administrative stuff, but also commercial strategy, marketing. We have a very good composer, a very good graphic designer, a great guy who does everything on the Internet and I take care of all the communication, the publications …

Your place and your attitude on stage ?

Fafa : I know with Crypp we’re the same kind of people !

Crypp : Ah yes ! Especially Monolyth and Except One because they’re bands with two guitarists, and of course they take both corners, so you’re going around looking for your place !

Fafa : That’s it ! It’s funny because as Crypp says, we each have two guitarists in one of our bands, and each time at the soundcheck we start with the drummer, then it’s the guitarists “What do you want in the returns gna gna gna”, and you as a bass player you don’t necessarily have a return, and you’re told “what do you want to get on which return? ». So I say “you put me on bass in ALL the returns because I can’t hold still anyway, I’m going to go everywhere”. I can’t stay in one place, it’s impossible.

Crypp : It’s the horror, especially in the little scenes where you have to !

Fafa : Yes, so you go back and forth, it’s boring … The Klub in Paris for example, the strokes I put in other people’s faces because I wanted to move !

Crypp : It’s true that you have a big neck, and whether you’re right- or left-handed, there’s always a musician on the wrong side. Every time you want to go back, it’s anxiety ! Besides, I don’t do complicated things on the bass so I can move easily.

Fafa : Likewise, it’s not at all complicated what I do on bass, I can go and annoy a guitarist in the middle of a solo, come up behind him and lick his ear …

Your best scene ?

Fafa : There have been a lot of disasters, but there have also been a lot of good ones… Crypp, when you played at “L’Empreinte” in opening for Lacuna Coil, it must have been great. It’s a venue that I know very well, I’ve played there before, and I know the conditions are really great there.

Crypp : The conditions were great, we sounded furious, we were very excited. And Lacuna Coil is a band I’ve been listening to since I was a kid, long before I started playing bass. The bass player is very good, and he was there in front of me, we talked, it was great…

On the other hand, one of the craziest scenes humanly speaking, it was the last concert of the tour we did with HateSphere. It was the first tour, we’d done a lot of dates before, and that night there wasn’t a lot of people, it was our last date and I can assure you that we gave everything we had. We had spent a few days together, we drank every night, we woke up together every day, we knew the smell of everyone’s feet! And at our last gig, you know THIS last gig, we totally let it all out. That’s still one of my fondest memories. I loved that communion, we looked at each other on stage, there was no need for words, communication or choreography, we did what we liked to do the most.

Fafa : I join you a little bit because, thinking back, yes there were some gigs where the conditions were really top notch in terms of sound, reception, etc, especially at the Lions Metal Fest last year with Monolyth, but I’m still on the tours I did with them. When you get along well with the guys in your band, you have an osmosis that sets up. No matter what scenes you do, you’re on tour with your band and basically it becomes your family for about ten days or more. When I joined the band I only knew Julien, the rhythm guitarist. I left with guys I didn’t know at all. I didn’t necessarily make a good impression on them on the first night, but we left without knowing each other and came back as brothers.

Fafa Live 4 - Fred Bikerkiss
Pic : Fred Bikerkiss

Your favourite period : composing, recording, touring ?

Fafa : I like all three of them very much. I compose very little in Monolyth, it’s really more Amaury, our singer, and the guitarists who compose. I’m not very good at it, I’m not going to hide from it. I like recording a lot, and touring on the other hand … if I could I would only do that !

Crypp : I’m pretty excited about all three. I add another aspect that I like very much, which is the meetings. It’s the moment when you project yourself into a lot of deliriums, a lot of things that are sometimes inaccessible… I love it, there’s the emotion. That’s really my favorite time when everybody starts to have a lot of ideas. Otherwise, I’ll be frank, the tours, the studio, the concerts, it’s always depending on who you’re with. I know that recording in some of my old bands is not the most fun part. Metal is not really the most fun style to record, really not. I work in other styles where I have a thousand times more fun.

Fafa : Likewise, it’s true that metal is not very interesting to record. On the other hand, my best experience was in Blues Rock where we did live recordings and it was really interesting.

Crypp : I agree with you. With some bands it’s going to be more fun to do studio than live because it’s always arranged at the very last minute, it’s like “This note, this note, look how it sounds” “But dude, we did three fucking pre-production sessions, why are we changing now! ». I work in hip-hop studios where when I come in there’s already a bass line, I take the track and I arrange the bass. Every time we rediscover things.

In fact all aspects of a band are important as long as you have that dream part, and that dream part is talking to the right people.

There are less funny moments in the life of a band, it’s normal. There’s shit that happens to you, or we didn’t agree on this or that, but it goes by quickly.

Something you’re very eager to achieve as a bassist? (apart from a cross interview in Metal Overload of course !).

Fafa : I’ve never been good at slapping, for one thing. I know Crypp is extremely good. Maybe someday when I have the motivation… to be good at slapping.

Crypp : I’d like to do something other than a fundamental!

Seriously, there’s one thing I’d really like to know how to do technically on the bass so I don’t have to play the pick anymore, it’s the slap and return. I know how to slap, I can go pretty fast, but slap back and forth is really a comfort of play to get speed, or even a totally different rhythm.

Afterwards, thanks to Except One, and I really thank this band for bringing me so much humanly and musically, I accomplished a lot of my dreams. I made my first music video with them, my first album, I did a lot of scenes, my first tour, my first festival. Today, what I’d like us to do is a big festival, even at 10 in the morning it doesn’t matter, but I’d dream of doing a Motocultor or a HellFest, a Wacken.

Fafa : I confess I did it at the singing and it was huge ! I was a backup singer ! It’s crazy when you have 5,000 people screaming in front of you.

Do you have any other hobbies?

Fafa : Way too much! I get obsessive impulses on a regular basis. There’s a moment in my life when I absolutely want to draw, suddenly I want to create jewellery, then I want to paint … it stays in the creation. I’ve got one that’s still there is the photo. I did a photo shoot of Crypp.

Crypp : I’m in love with your pictures Fafa. They’re great !

Fafa : Ah thank you very much ! And Crypp is an excellent model.

Crypp : My first hobby is still bass. Beside that I love everything DC, Marvel, I have a lot of books, figurines, etc … I also do a lot of sports. I love series. I’m like Fafa but less manual ! I love role playing games, card games, I would like to try Dungeon and Dragons. And lately I’ve discovered woodworking. Otherwise, the thing you’re going to find a bit strange, but my first hobby besides music is my work. It’s my balance.

Crypp by Fafa

Do you have a pet or a comforter ?

Crypp grabbed a big Yoshi stuffed animal right next to him.

Fafa : So apparently Crypp is Yoshi ! I have a French bulldog named Noob or Boudin. And by proxy, my boyfriend has two dogs who are also my cuddly toys. One is a boxer-labrador cross and the other is a Malinois staff cross. We have this little trio that we love.

chiens Fafa

It’s a good time, your favorite vacation ?

Fafa : I’m currently on a road trip. We have a truck fitted out and we go everywhere with our truck day after day, that’s what I like: doing what we want when we want. I can’t stand the constraints.

Crypp : With two bands, I have a lot of time off for recordings and concerts, so I don’t get a lot of time off. Otherwise I’m more like Fafa, I love going on adventures. I really like guesthouses or sleeping over. I don’t really have a programme, but I can never put myself in a hotel and say to myself “I’m going to do this museum tomorrow, this site, etc”.

We’ve come to the fateful moment when we’re going to leave each other. Many thanks to you for this first experience of the cross interview. Finally, what’s your news in the coming months ?

Fafa : With Monolyth we’re at the end of our composition. I think there’s a possibility that the album will be released in the spring of 2021. There are also some concert dates that are confirmed but not yet communicated so we can’t talk too much about it. But for the end of the year, if possible concerts, there will be some with Monolyth for sure.

Crypp : With Except One we are recording the album. I think we’re going to have a nice surprise with the last line-up. I can’t tell you when it will be released but it’s coming soon. And at EHP, the EP will be released on September 9th, and other things will follow. We’re preparing a lot of things, apart from dates. You have to be honest, today a band is starting, to find dates, it’s not impossible, but I think there are other bands that deserve more the place than us. For now, we’ll keep working, and if we find opportunities, we’ll do them. We postponed the EP dates because of Covid and because of YouTube censorship on our video. The dates we were starting to get are being cancelled gradually. We don’t see it as a stress but as a good experience because despite everything, the EP is great. It’s not a good time to play live but if we are offered dates, we run! We had the chance to do our residency at the Usine à Chapeaux, it’s a huge venue that’s really good. It’s a huge venue and it’s a really good venue. We’ve got a really good show going on and we know what to do on stage.

Besides that, it’s a current event that few people know about, there’s going to be a solo album. I love funk and songs from the 90s and 2000s. I’ve been working on a project for two years now and I’m recording next year. I’m waiting to see who I’m going to work with in the studio and then I’ll contact other musicians. It’s something that’s been bothering me for a few years now. It’s going to be a concept album just for fun … and to lose a lot of money. I don’t want it to go on stage, it’s really a studio thing, a delirium.

Crypp Live 2 - Djinn Photography
Pic : Djinn Photography
Fafa Live - Freddy Gheorghe
Pic : Freddy Gheorghe

Pic : La Dame Blanche Photography (Crypp) & Laura Lazurite (Fafa)