The Cryptkeeper Five Reflect on "The Stronghold" & Discuss Future Plans: "I Want People to Walk Away Feeling like They’ve Gained Something"
Just after celebrating their 20th year as a band in 2017, New Jersey punk rock band The Cryptkeeper Five are proving that they’re constantly growing and evolving. Following the release of their latest album, The Stronghold last year, the band recently announced their signing to Say-10 Records alongside a re-release of the album with a bonus cover of Arcade Fire's "Wake Up". Even vocalist Johnny Ott admits that he has grown and changed quite a bit since the recent writing and recording of The Stronghold, and with new music planned for the not so distant future, it’s safe to say that the band will continue to evolve with each release.
With The Stronghold out now and tour dates stretching throughout the end of 2018, we caught up with The Cryptkeeper Five to discuss their latest release and plans for the future (which includes a must-see hometown Ramones set this week). Get to know a little bit more about the band and listen to The Stronghold now below!
Interview by Shannon Shumaker
You guys have had a busy 2018 with tour dates and your recent signing to Say-10 Records. What has been the highlight of your year so far?
Johnny Ott [vocals/guitar]: for me, it was making the video for “1,000 Keys”. Our friends at D.I.Why? Films did an amazing job. The kids were all pretty great. It was great watching it come together!
What makes Say-10 Records a perfect fit for The Cryptkeeper Five?
Mikey Groch [bass/vocals]: I love that they are based out of Richmond VA which is a spot we always try to play when we tour down south. Plus they have some awesome releases they put out by bands like the Scandals and Samiam.
Along with the signing to Say-10, you also announced that you’d be re-releasing The Stronghold alongside a cover of Arcade Fire’s “Wake Up.” What makes this song special to you guys?
Johnny: a lot of The Stronghold’s lyrics were written about growing up in, what I felt was, a slightly dysfunctional setting. Now that I’m a bit older, I’m honestly not sure. I'm not really bitter any more. My interpretation of “Wake Up” is it’s about facing your past demons. It’s also very anthemic, like a lot of our songs... I think it just made sense.
Now that it has been out for a little over a year, what are some of your favorite things about The Stronghold?
Mikey: I feel like there are so many layers to the album, you can find something that sticks out to you with each listen. Between the harmonies, different piano parts, and percussion there's always something that keeps it fresh to me.
Could fans expect to hear any more new music soon?
Johnny: We have about a dozen songs we’re starting to demo. We also have a bunch of unreleased songs sitting on the back burner. So, I think you’ll hear something new soon!
You guys will be closing 2018 with a run of tour dates that stretches throughout the end of November! What are you looking forward to on these upcoming shows?
Mikey: I think we're all looking forward to playing Bristol TN. It's kinda our home away from home. It will be nice to celebrate the new release with the friends we've made over the years playing there. Also on 11/23 were doing a full Ramones set at our actual hometown, Trenton NJ!!!! And that show it going to be sick!!!!!
Johnny: The Ramones set is something I’ve wanted to do since I was a teenager! I’m pretty excited!
What would you like fans to take away from your upcoming live performances?
Johnny: I want people to walk away feeling like they’ve gained something. We travel to places and bring our music to people cause we wanna make a connection. I know it sounds simple, but people are very guarded. I hope we can break some walls down.
Do you have any big plans or goals for the new year?
Johnny: I'd like to take what we did this year and double it. A bit more of everything.
Thanks for taking the time to chat with us! Is there anything else you’d like to add?
Mikey: Just remember, in the immortal word of Jimmy Ray, "It's all about relationships".
Johnny: HAHA. It’s so true.