Playing with a unique sound can be daunting for a band. On one hand, you risk being ostracized—an outlier in the music scene.

On the other hand … the most unique bands are the ones who are often make it big.

Cryptilians are more than just a Reno rock band. The trio has released one album, 2019’s Dead Before Easter, and the sounds on the 10-track release range from metal headbanging (“Pornosmith”) to punk (“Hatelist”) to hard rock (“Rara Avis”). Despite the shifting sounds, Lanny Thomas Carey (vocals and guitar), Pat Gleason (bass) and Joey Pariah (drums) retain a consistent energy during live shows.

During a recent phone interview with the trio, we discussed the band’s inception.

“I’m in another band, and I played a show with Cryptilians,” said Gleason. “A couple months later, Lanny invited me to join the band. They didn’t have a drummer, so we played with a drum machine, and that was pretty lame. I finally talked Lanny into realizing that, and then we got Joey over here after running through a few different drummers. He’s like our little adopted son, because he’s so young.”

Added Carey: “Joe is actually the drummer that we’ve always wanted. He’s more of a technical drummer, so he fit perfectly with us.”

People searching for the correct label for Cryptilians don’t need to look much further than the name of the band.

“It’s more of a heavier alternative band,” said Carey. “We’re not metal; we’re not punk, although we do get labeled punk. We are genre-neutral. We’re Cryptilians, and we play rock ’n’ roll.”

The band’s protean sound has been a blessing in Reno’s metal and punk scene.

“We can slide in on a metal show or a punk show or anything else,” Carey said. “People have referenced us to be like cowpunk, which we’re not.”

Added Pariah: “I find it really easy to play with a lot of bands around here, because we have enough punk in our music to play with punk bands, and we’ve got enough metal in our music to play with the metal bands. Having a little bit of everything kind of makes it easier, and we’re able to play with a bunch of different stuff.”

Cryptilians are working toward their sophomore release; Carey said the album is “in the works.” Will this new record will show the band’s sound mutating even more? “I think it’s probably about the same,” said Gleason. “It’s a little heavier, but not much. Our style kind of stays pretty consistent.”

This upcoming album, titled Veracity and Fire, has found its biggest influence in the band’s drummer.

“Me and Pat are pretty much influenced by the same types of music, but Joey comes from a different background,” said Carey.”

Added Pariah: “I’m originally from the Bay Area, so when I grew up playing music, it was mostly thrash metal and stuff like that. My influences span from early metal to early rock, but I love punk, and I love what Cryptilians is doing, because it’s not punk; it’s not rock; it’s not metal. It’s Cryptilians.”

So, if the band is just Cryptillians … where did the name come from?

“I wanted a one-name band, like Nirvana, and I wanted the dot-com to be easy for people to remember,” said Carey. “I was driving one day, and I’m into some sci-fi stuff. I was thinking about reptilians and cryptozoology, and I just combined the two words—and the name was born.”

To contrast with the name, the band’s lyric writing “comes from real life.”

Shared Carey: “Most of the songs are true stories. The lyrics are based on real relationships and occurrences that have happened in my life. Musically, whatever flows naturally is usually what’s going to stick.”

An average Cryptilians show is a fun experience for both the band and the audience—and you’ll be able to catch one after the group finishes their upcoming LP.

“There’s a lot of movement, and there’s some humor involved,” said Carey. “We don’t take the people in the crowd for granted; we appreciate them and we let them know.”

Added Gleason: “I like to put on a bit of a show. I like to present myself when I’m playing my music the way that I would want to see an act performing. We don’t rehearse anything or have anything choreographed, but we might in the future.”

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