Cryptex’s André Jean Henri Mertens: 5 Songs I Love That Would Surprise People

Germany’s Cryptex are a hard band to pin down, veering adventurously between soaring progressive rock and dark, violent metal on their just-released third full-length, Once Upon a Time. According to guitarist André Jean Henri Mertens, the LP “builds on our first album but with a lot more experience under our belts — as human beings but also as musicians and composers. You can hear that the new songs are created in a much more organic and liberal way, made of an endless number of colorful dots. That’s what makes this record so exciting.”

Considering the group’s creative vision and approach, it’s probably not so surprising that Mertens has omnivorous taste in music and draws upon a wide range of influences, from pop and indie to plenty of heavier stuff, too. With that in mind, we asked to spotlight some of the songs he loves that might shock fans of his band. He had some fascinating and, yes, very surprising picks — see below.

Lana Del Rey – “Blue Jeans”

I love the vibe of some of Lana’s songs. She really has a unique voice and it’s really atmospheric.

Coldplay – “The Scientist” 

It’s somehow a sad song, lots of melancholy going on here. I love the simple piano lines, and I used to sing and play it when I was younger.

OneRepublic – “Stop and Stare” 

That songs really is a pop song, but it reminds me of the starting period with my beloved fiancée 12 years ago.

Michael Jackson – “They Don’t Care About Us” 

The beginning drums is just epic. Every time I hear this track I just wanna go nuts and play the groove.

Alt-J – “Taro” 

That’s a nice indie song for me with a great vibe and really special arrangement. I like the way the singer phrases his vocal lines.