By. George Alberts
The Crypticon Classified Concept Album Company utilizes studio musician and producer talent to create original albums. Instead of fostering bands and singers, Crypticonâ€™s goal is to generate creative beat making sessions and create unique concept albums that focus on complex and dynamic musical structures. Itâ€™s a streamlined production process that happens in a home studio, where they can burn the midnight oil and really engage in all those creative hours of beat-making magic. This label will continually make provocative and interesting music programs for people that operate like movies in their conceptual and linear nature.
Snaps Provolone founded Crypticon Records in 2000, and developed the label while working for Suburban Noize Records until 2003. Doing album art for the Kottonmouth Kings and other bands for years as well as working with Capitol Records gave Snaps the insight into what makes a record label work. Working closely with Kevin Zinger from Sub Noize/SRH was a great opportunity and learning experience. It allowed the Crypticon label to be crafted from experiencing another labelâ€™s battles. Snaps learned to make conceptual studio albums that relied on their special and specific creativity to push them into the zone of creating fans that wanted more of these productions. Removing the band and the touring element freed up the palate for concept albums to be made. This also kept costs low enough to run on a shoestring budget out of the home while continually putting out great music.
While working on the labelâ€™s first album â€“The Labmaster Trilogy â€“ Snaps had creative breakthroughs in the sound construction landscape and came to the realization that albums could be made from almost any concept, idea, or event. Sound collections were built up from TV, radio, records, tapes, VHS/DVDâ€™s, and any other source that was recordable. Audio manipulation and sound design are the initial elements of album making. Working directly with producers and musicians, Snaps Provolone is able to make these records with a level of quality that has reliability across genres and concepts. These producers or the Producer Syndicate are the most valuable assets to the Crypticon arsenal.
These artists and their creativity make up the Crypticon roster, and they are the musicians in this â€œBand of Producersâ€. â€œThey are called upon for specific beats and are encouraged to make their own projects, come up with ideas, and develop album artwork. The only rule to creativity around here is: Donâ€™t stifle yourself with rules! Expand your techniques and manipulate the technologies because they are there to be messed with,â€ says Snaps. As long as the sounds come out interesting and new, theyâ€™re accomplishing their goal. â€œThe grey area here, for subjectivity, is gigantic, so we have the open forum to fill in the blanks with literally millions of options. We carefully pick and craft those options to make a great, memorable recording.â€
Another important asset to the label is Slade Brunner, who was noticed early on at the Seedless Clothing Morena Warehouse, beat-boxing, smacking boxes and tables while working by Snaps Provolone as the Seedless compilation was being produced. Taken under the Crypticon wing and nurtured to make his wicked skills come alive, Slade Brunner began his tenure as Master Beatsmith in the old Crypticon Dungeonworks in Pacific Beach around 2003. He continually makes epic music and works smoothly with the business plan at Crypticon HQ, where beats only make the cut if theyâ€™re good and follow the guidelines of the project. Slade brought his producer friends, Boy Elroy and Rocco the Razor, to the table in the producer pyramid and filtered their music to make Snapsâ€™ job easier in sequencing, mixing, and mastering projects. Slade Brunner holds the # 2 spot in the Crypticon Records Producer Syndicate, making him a very valuable asset to the future of creative music production! Stop by and support him while getting new shoes at the Seedless Warehouse Outlet in Ocean Beach, where Slade works by day to fit in and balance out his late-night music marauding persona. Heâ€™ll make sure you get some stickers!
NUG was able to get a little feedback on a couple of questions we thought could simplify the notion behind this incredible label.
What are Concept Albums and how do you go about coming up with ideas?
I didnâ€™t start the label with the intention of doing what it became â€“ concept albums, but just to make records I wanted to listen to. I always thought I was good at picking out what didnâ€™t work in a song, production, or whole album, or the wrong person in a band even. When it came to putting out my own music experiments, what I wanted ended up filtering into specific album themes. Music entertainment should work like movies do. They are both engines that operate a linear story and/or series of emotions based in the art of connecting with the spirit-side of the human brain, which react to art and the beautiful things in life that inspire and engage. I design albums with funny names or concepts that I think can operate like a movie. To me, I donâ€™t want to put things out with space between the tracks or jarring changes in style or sounds. With music, you can make millions of layered decisions, but they must work well in time, on a subjective level translated over many types of personal subjectivity. This isnâ€™t a game you get into to please people. I do this because I want to listen to my own albums that are made with their own rules and guidelines that invoke specific feelings, moods, and locations â€“ all within the confines of a stereo audio recording.
New projects can be inspired by movies, random TV samples, or a character/genre of an era. Zeitgeist is a good pool to choose from, and often times the beat will dictate an album. I heard an Aladdin-type beat Slade Brunner built that inspired me to develop an ancient Old World Overlords album of distinct beats and samples from Egyptian lore, Mediterranean, and Middle Eastern instruments. One of his beats sounded like a leprechaun was lurking in a forest banging on a pot of gold, so I am (hardly) trying to work a full album around Irish drinking songs. A single song can open the gates for a call out to my producers to make songs of that specific theme for a whole album. I have many albums on deck just waiting to be crafted the way our fans and future-fans will want and deserve.
What messages are you trying to convey to your audience?
I try not to push any specific messages other than the conveyances of the musicâ€™s design, but positivity in our recording projects is key. The Battle Plan of New Angeles is all about the destruction of L.A. in 2013 and its reformation into New Angeles, but thatâ€™s a bit of a salty crust on top compared to the War-Hop I shove down your throat pretty hard. I love the apocalypse because we all eventually need to embrace it. Hinting at these things is potentially negative, but can also be considered preparation and schooling for the CHAOS OF INEVITABILITY. Everyone with working ears is a potential audience for us. The subjectivity officially reigns in the numbers, but not everyone is going to like what we do. By segregating our sounds into themes, we can have fans that love the classic organic nature of the Italian Smoke Squad, but hate the spaced out sounds on Smoke Signals from Beyond! I happen to love them, and my primary principle is: if I like it, it should generally have an equivalent audience spectrum that likes it as well.
For more information on the label check out: http://www.myspace.com/thecrypticon, http://www.youtube.com/cryptnet, http://www.soundcloud.com/Crypticon, or http://crypticon.blogspot.com/
Crypticonâ€™s album catalog includes: The BATTLE PLAN of NEW ANGELES (2010), J STARR (2009), SPACE LOUNGE SYNDICATE (2007), The ITALIAN SMOKE SQUAD (2005), SMOKE SIGNALS FROM BEYOND! (2005), CROWD NOISE (2004), and LABMASTER TRILOGY (2002)
OUR PRODUCER SYNDICATE CONSISTS OF THESE FINE & TALENTED STUDIO WIZARDS:
Snaps Provolone; General Green/Green Merlin/Slade Brunner/Mikey Meathooks; Boy Elroy; Coppercat; Moses Operandi; Rocco the Razor/Wolfman Zack; J Starr (RIP & always in our production souls!); Mr. Vendetta; Xenon Fox; AL9000 CORE
DJ & Musician Friends:
Grammaton Cleric â€“ Saxophone, Reeds & Wit; DJ Jib â€“ Turntable and Vocal Sampleslayer; Kingsley â€“ Live DJ who will play the new Slade Brunner album; DJ Atari â€“ 80â€™s DJ who will play the new Slade Brunner album; DJ Fingaz â€“ We use his break beats & he will play the new Slade Brunner album also; Coastal Eddie & Bobby No Dinero â€“ Black-Ops Support & DJ promos; Tricky Marinara â€“ Scratch Samples and Mayhem; Dr. Fluty, N8, Tommy T, Chazz McChuck â€“ Guitars and other Rare Audio Gems
All albums are available on iTunes and on many other sites from Rhapsody to Napster and beyond! Also the CDâ€™s are at Ernie Bâ€™s Reggae Distribution, the largest of their kind. They have the only physical copies of my 12â€ vinyl release â€“ Soundscape Series: Ambient Battle Samples â€“ available online at
All albums including our vinyl release are now available locally at ACCESS MUSIC in Pacific Beach. Go visit the store and get a free Seedless Compilation CD with any Crypticon purchase (quantities are limited and will not last!) â€“ Music makes a great gift! 1537 Garnet on the South side between Ingraham and Jewel â€“ also check out their website for more album information: