By Jordan Gerdes
GRYPT is an audio drama that is created by Romie Romak, Taylor Shechet, & Lysandra Ariella, and I got the pleasure of interviewing all of them to talk horror, audio drama, and other fun stuff. Check it out.
FoF: First and foremost, tell us about yourself.
R: Hi, I’m Romie! I’m just jealous because I was born a freak and everyone else gets to wear a cool mask. I wrote this story and did the voice acting. My role is GRYPT is as a writer and front diva, mostly.
T: My name is Taylor Shechet, I also go by tttlllrrr. I make video games and work with VR/AR. I did the foley sound design for The Blob and co-composed/produced the music with LYSANDRA.
L: I make music and trouble. My name Lysandra.
FoF: What do you do? And why do you like it?
R: Do we like it? That question is basically staring into the abyss and I don’t want to do that right now.
T: I’m a VR/AR (spatial computing) game developer. It’s a tough business but I like it a lot.
L: I do sound, think sound, make sound. I do it because it’s my most competent skill
FoF: Explain a little bit of your process? Where do you find your inspiration?
R: The most fun part of our process was the time we put aside for mood boarding. It’s the closest we get to just hanging out without working, so it’s nice. We just pile up a list of references and whatever we make ends up coming out completely different anyway but that’s the adventure.
In my opinion, our work is just one big long creepy dm to the Horror genre. All of my favorite artists and musicians fill their content with secret references. When we started GRYPT, the objective was to create music. I wanted to use samples, lyrical nods and clips from movies and tv shows in our songs and live performances. In addition to horror, I’m a pop culture and conspiracy theory enthusiast, so a lot of that comes out in my personal contribution to GRYPT. I’m obsessed with mind control as a theme. We did some backmasking experimentation on the first album.. Maybe also everything else.
T: We all each something unique to everything we work on. We often sequentially take passes on a project, but sometimes we’ll all improvise together. For a while we lived pretty close together so we were able to meet up usually once or twice a month to work on The Blob. Now we are spread out again so we have to share work remotely.
FoF: What drew you to horror in the first place?
R: I’ve been most interested in horror because it tends to star a concept over an individual. As someone who often has trouble relating to others, this approach has always been more exciting to me. The Horror is the star; the protagonist is always the supporting role.
T: Lovecraft is one of the first things Romie and I started discussing, way back in like 2005-2006, before we even made music together. I used to call her to chat about eldritch horror as I walked to work.
FoF: What is your favorite horror work? (Movie, Show, Art, Book, whatever you want)
R: Film is what inspires me most. Phenomena by Dario Argento is such an example of mood and aesthetic dominating a piece but in a constructive way. It was one of the main influences behind the Clock Tower game series, which are favorites of mine. I think both highlight how important music is to fiction.
T: Definitely books have been the most inspirational to me. I’m a fan of Lovecraft’s work, despite his extreme problematic-ness.. I’m also a big fan of a lot of work inspired by him. The vibe of cosmic & existential horror really appeals to me. However, perhaps my favorite horror work is “The Conspiracy Against the Human Race” by Thomas Ligotti… it’s a philosophy book, not a story.. It does a great job of breaking down the appeal of horror, its relationship to comedy, and how this ties into the human condition.
FoF: What has been your favorite thing you have gotten to work on doing this?
R: This particular project, the Blob Stares Back, was especially full of firsts. I got to experiment more with voice acting much more than I had in the past. It was really enjoyable. I got to fulfill my frightening matriarch fantasy. Finally a southern mom possessed by an obscure horror and turned ravenous for flesh gets to be ME.
T: I fell in love with the story and the vibe we had created and I was very excited to get the next chapter from Romie each month. Doing all the foley work for this project has really improved my sound design skills. Also, working with Lysandra on the score has been fantastic.. We got to touch on horror music tropes from all different eras, and experiment a lot with our own concepts.
FoF: What role do you think your specific style of art plays in the community overall?
R: I’d like to think that we inspire musicians with varied talents to try treading into more experimental mediums. Is it an album? Is it a game? Maybe it’s an audiobook, maybe a podcast? The Blob Stares Back wouldn’t have happened if we were only focused on following the path that bands tend to consider the tried and true.
FoF: Anything you are working on that you want to highlight? (Commissions, flash sales, new project?)
T: We’ve got a new EP just about finished called “The Cost of Living” that we hope to release early next year. It’s focused on themes like poverty, corporate dehumanization, and pop culture as mind control. The usual for us. The musical vibe leans even more into our nu-metal inspirations than ever before, we have guitar or guitar-like synths on all of the tracks.
FoF: If you could do anything with any horror franchise, what would it be?
R: My dream would be to make horror sequels of cursed looking family films. Imagine Boss Baby 2, but this time taken in a completely different direction
L: Do the music for movies like It Follows.
T: I’d love to create the most TRULY HORRIFYING VR project ever. The spiciest hot sauce. Ideally as a free-roaming location based entertainment installation. I have a few concepts and pitch decks for this, if anyone is interested.
FoF: Anything else you’d like to say?
R: If you burp up a human finger, NEVER APOLOGIZE FOR IT
L: Demon taking over me, commanding me musically, that is nothing new you see.
T: Do crazy projects that take 3 years… why not…