Caught in the Crypt is based out of Burlington, Iowa and formed in 2012. They are a must-see in the southeast Iowa rock scene and have gained substantial momentum since the release of their debut album Ouroboros, which became available April 22nd. The band recently headlined a local show at The Washington in Burlington and I had a chance to sit down with lead guitarist Hunter Adam, bassist Zeb Greer, guitarist Alex Kolkman, and drummer Brendan Carper prior to the performance. Lead vocalist Joe Russell is the fifth member of the band.
Fernetti: I know most of you guys are from right here in Burlington, but can you explain how you guys came together and how this band formed?
Hunter Adam: A lot of it started–what was it? 8th grade?–Yeah, 8th grade. I switched middle schools and basically had an introduction to him (drummer Brendan Carper) and we did a talent show together. Joe, our singer, also did the talent show, he’s a couple years ahead of us. We approached him about starting a band. It took us a little bit to find a bassist, but we eventually added a bassist named Tyler, then we got him (points to guitarist Alex Kolkman) and eventually Tyler moved on so, almost to years to the date, we added Zeb as our bassist. We’ve had this lineup for two years now and we’re getting our stuff in-line and still plugging away!
Fernetti: Yep, I remember the announcement when Zeb was added. I remember Kenny (a mutual friend of bassist Zeb Greer and mine) was real excited about it.
Zeb Greer: I was actually in a band with Kenny at the time. I think the process covered at least a couple months in between the two.
Adam: Yeah, there was a process there. I basically, um…unreplaced a replacement, so to speak and that’s when Zeb came in as our bassist and was added to the lineup.
Fernetti: Yeah, you guys were set when I saw you play for the first time, right around a year ago. It really seems like you guys have great chemistry and you guys stuck out to me right away as a band I wanted to become more familiar with.
This will be your introduction to a lot of our readers, so for a place of reference…a couple of bands or styles of music to compare yourselves with?
Adam: I like to tell people we are a mix of Bullet for My Valentine and Coheed and Cambria.
Fernetti: Hmmm…I definitely see the Bullet…I’ll have to listen for the Coheed… (laughter erupts from all involved in the interview)
Adam: Well, it’s Joe’s (lead singer Joe Russell) voice. He gets a lot of comparisons.
Fernetti: I’m probably like a lot of people in that the song that sticks out, really hits home with me, when I listened to the album for the first time is “Silent Suicide.” A great song, so you guys probably get that a lot. Care to talk about the process that went into writing the song, the motivation for it, really anything you want to share on that?
Adam: That was…I forget…did we write the music first?
Brendan Carper: Yeah, we had the actual music done. And then you came up with the idea.
Adam: Yeah, the music was done, at least a little bit of it. And it was kind of one of those things where I was trying to come up with lyrics and I didn’t want to force it and you know what? I’m really bad at coming up with lyrics under pressure and I was like, “You know what, Joe?” I’ve got some shit I really need to get off my shoulders…let me go and I’ll come back next practice with this finished. And, when we came back, I did have most the lyrics done except for a couple little parts and…did you want me to go into the concept of it?
Fernetti: Whatever you want!
Adam: For me, I got out of a, well for the most part got out of, a shitty relationship. It was one of those things where after I went through it, I still had my friends but I was not the same person. That was kind of the concept. You are not who you were anymore, so you didn’t literally kill yourself, but you kind of killed who you were.
Fernetti: Awesome! I love seeing the…and I think rock music is making a comeback in this regard, at least compared to when I was your guys’ age…but I love seeing the emotion you just spoke with in describing that process!
In expanding to the album as a whole now, I’m kind of fascinated by the name Ouroboros. It has slightly different meanings and translations depending on the culture, but it all comes back to the cyclical nature of life. I would have expected that title from a more veteran band, quite frankly, but it is the title of your guys’ debut. And I know it’s the title track as well. Did the song happen first? Album title? However you guys want to answer this for me…
Adam: I came up with the album title, the name, first and then was like “well, let’s write a song about it!” Alex, you want to take this one further? Why it (the title Ouroboros) made sense for us?
Alex Kolkman: Originally, everyone thought of Caught in the Crypt as a cover band. That’s it. We played covers. ‘Caught in the Cover’ or something like that. But, we wanted to get rid of that, that image of ourselves. We wanted to be an original band. And, I think by now, we’ve pushed ourselves that way. Ouroboros…it was starting over as something new, but still…
Adam: It was our statement. We accept our past and we got to where we are now because of it. But…we don’t want to do that (reference to playing covers). We aren’t doing four-hour cover shows anymore. We stick to doing an hour, hour and fifteen minute almost all original shows and say this is what we are. Take it or leave it. Thank you to the people who do like our covers. We appreciate your support, but this is who we are now. Either support us or don’t. Either way…
Fernetti: This may have been more geared towards the audience, but when I saw you guys at Steamboat Days last year (a yearly festival in Burlington) I think it was pretty much still covers, but then I saw you guys here (The Washington) just a few weeks later and then last year during your Holiday Hell show and could definitely see that transition.
Kolkman: And, that’s not to say you can’t interpret it however you want to interpret it. If you listen to it and think it means this…well, maybe it does! That’s just how we took it and present it.
Fernetti: Exactly! Lastly, what’s next? I know you guys have a big show next week at L’Treyns in Keokuk, Iowa. Anything else you definitely want to mention here?
Adam: Yeah, we have several shows lined up with The New Breed next month. We have a couple dates lined up in Fort Madison (Iowa) next month and we’re hoping to make an announcement on something official very soon that’ll be another big show for us!
Fernetti: Awesome guys! I thank you for the time and keep me in the loop and I’ll help anyway I can!
Caught in the Crypt’s debut album “Ouroboros” is available on iTunes, Spotify, and Google play! Also, see below for a link to their powerful song “Silent Suicide” and an exact listing of upcoming shows mentioned and referenced in the interview!
June 23: L’Treyns in Keokuk, IA with Bobaflex, Shallow Side, and Best Kept Secret
July 1: Splitz in Mt. Pleasant, IA with The New Breed Band
July 8: Sidelines in Fort Madison, IA with The New Breed Band
July 22: Gabe’s in Iowa City, IA with Rings of Saturn, Doppelganger, Tu’mera Divine, and Black Hilt
July 29: Groundswell Gathering Place in Cedar Rapids, IA with Far From Fearless, Monorail Central, and Human After All
Caught in the Crypt can also be checked out at: