KILL SCREEN 026: Tyler Harper and Crow Lotus of CAPRA Share Their Asymmetrical Tastes in Gaming

It’s been a busy year for Louisiana quartet Capra. Leading up to the October release of their sophomore LP Errors, the band—including founding guitarist Tyler Harper and vocalist Crow Lotus—hit stages across the continental U.S. and Europe like a roaring bonfire to reach an audience for their brand of emotionally-charged metallic hardcore. All those long stretches away from home, however, have made it more difficult for the two to indulge in their deep-rooted hobby: Video games. As their touring plans grow, so too do their backlog of titles, but at no point has their interest in electronic escapism diminish. “I wonder if I would go into a coma for, like, 25 years and wake up and I’d be like, ‘Is Half-Life 3 or Portal 3 out yet?’” ponders Harper. “And then they’d be like, ‘No.’” Lotus concurs: “Absolutely not.”

Despite their extensive time together, both parties claim different objects of obsession. Lotus, a die-hard horror enthusiast, can often be found grinding out rounds of popular asymmetrical horror juggernaut Dead By Daylight. And by found, we mean that literally—she streams twice weekly on Twitch where you can catch her focusing on such multiplayer games including DBD, The Texas Chainsaw Massacre, and Lethal Company, among others. Harper, on the other hand, is a devoted From Software fiend with an itch for punishing combat and countless hours poured into the Soulsborne series. His love of these masterpieces runs so deep that the name of the band itself is a reference to the first Dark Souls (more on that later). Though the duo find less in common in the series that they enjoy, both were kind enough to take the time to sit down with the co-nerds at Kill Screen to share their love of the game—and even learn something about each other in the process.

What were your first gaming experiences?
Lotus: I think mine was Super Mario, but it was on the [original] brick Game Boy. For whatever reason, it’s been popping up in my memory a lot recently. I had the Super Mario game and Home Alone had a Game Boy game that was actually really good. I always for some reason went back and forth between the two. But of course, I played the old Pokémon games and stuff like that. I remember when we’d get to certain levels, I’d have to get my mom to do it. She’s not a gamer or anything, but I just remember us around her, watching her try to play the hard levels and stuff. That’s been one of my favorite memories of us. [Now], she does her little iPad game. So, I feel like in her mind, that’s kind of like the same thing. Plants vs. Zombies and whatever, stuff like that. [Laughs]

Harper: I had a regular Nintendo, a Super Nintendo, a Sega [Genesis]—those were my three that I would go back and forth. So, Super Mario, Contra, Battletoads. I liked really hard, challenging games, aside from Super Mario. Whenever I beat Super Mario World for the first time with the 96 stars, get all exits, it was like, OK, now I’m a completionist. Now I have to do this every game. So, I beat Battletoads and Contra and and it’s been all downhill from there.

Has that completionist streak continued into what you play now?
Harper: Yeah, absolutely. I kept doing it with all the Crash Bandicoot games on PlayStation, Ocarina of Time—I spent a lot of time on that game, just doing everything that I could. Then at some point, I got into From Software games and that was just where my whole life changed.

What have you guys been playing lately and what are the games that you’re typically attracted to?
Harper: I have not been playing too many games lately, but I keep going back to Returnal. It’s phenomenal. The way the gameplay is, everything’s so smooth and the mapping’s great. Actually, I did the update for Diablo IV just to see if it was any better than when it came out. So, I started that season—the Season of Blood or whatever it is, vampires and stuff. It’s pretty fun. I still don’t know if it’s all the way there yet. Other than that, I started Lies of P. It is pretty close to a Bloodborne, Dark Souls-type game. I tried Armored Core VI. I haven’t fully gotten into it yet. I don’t think I’m in the right mindset for it. I don’t want to hate it, so I put it down. I’ll get back to it later.

Is that partially the result of not being able to sit down and put a lot of time into it? Obviously tour makes that a little difficult.
Harper: I think that is a part of it, but also it’s just when I started, I put, like, five or six hours into it so far, and it’s just not the game I want to play right now. I’m so jaded on the Dark Souls-type games. I go back, I have so many hours in Dark Souls III and Bloodborne and all of that. And then when I’m playing Armored Core, it’s kind of like when I started Sekiro and the controls, everything, it’s such a learning curve that that’s just not the way I want to relax. I relax with challenging games and that’s not the one for me right now.

What about you, Crow?
Lotus: Lately, I’ve mostly just been playing horror games for whatever reason. It’s just what I’m attracted to the most. I do still like some other stuff, but this is just what I keep going back to. So, obviously everybody knows I’ve got a stupid amount of hours in Dead By Daylight and I still hate it.

Harper: How many hours?

Lotus: I just checked the other day. I mean, I guess it’s not stupid by some people’s standards, but I have 1,200 right now and I’m still going strong. Also lately, I’ve been playing a ton of the new Texas Chainsaw Massacre game, which is, like, my favorite game right now. It’s incredible. It’s so, so good. Other than that, I try to keep up with a lot of the indie horror games that are coming out right now. Smaller developers, I think, are kind of the cream of the crop. Honestly, right now, they’re doing horror in a way that a lot of bigger developers just aren’t able to and I think that a lot of bigger developers are starting to pay attention to that as well. For example, one of the smaller developers that I like is Chilla’s Art. He’s the shit. I don’t know how he just keeps doing it. And I don’t know if he’s still doing it solo or what, but the amount of hours this guy must be putting into like the games is absolutely crazy. But, yeah, huge, huge fan of his and horror games alike.

Do you guys have a preference between PC and console games?
Harper: I don’t. I play on both now that I have like a nice PC. I mean, I play Elden Ring on here [points to PC]. I bought it for PS5, I bought it on PC. I mainly play on PS5 just because it’s more convenient than coming in here and setting everything up. But no, I’m not one that notices the difference. All my all my PC friends are like, “Dude, get off console.” I do not notice the difference at all.

Lotus: I still do prefer PC, but that’s because of the nature of the games that I play. They just don’t really have stuff like that available on console. I do still like console. There are certain games that I prefer on console. Yakuza is one of my favorite non-horror games. That’s probably one of my favorite games of all time and I just can’t imagine playing it on PC unless I hooked up a controller or something. But as far as everything else, as far as the indie stuff, stuff like Phasmophobia isn’t available on console. That’s why I prefer PC.

Harper: Wait, are you not playing with a controller on PC?

Lotus: No. Well, certain games like Mount & Blade, I’ll play that with a controller sometimes, but everything else is just mouse.

You’ve both mentioned some games that are a little more online multiplayer focused and also single-player focused. Do spend some time on both, or do you find that you spend vastly more time on one side or the other?
Lotus: I used to do a lot more single-player focused stuff just because I had a lot of anxiety for a while about playing with other people online—like strangers—because it can be kind of daunting if you’re not used to it. It’s kind of intimidating, especially postgame lobby chat can be pretty rough sometimes. But now that I’ve built up a Discord where I have a pretty regular rapport with the people in it, I’m a lot more comfortable. It’s easier to find somebody to play a game with. Even now, I don’t mind playing with strangers and stuff. Dead by Daylight, I think now they’re moving more toward being able to play single-player with the implementation of bots and stuff like that. But for years and years, you could only do it multiplayer. So, I definitely got used to it, I’d say.

Harper: I’m more single player for sure. I think Counter-Strike and Halo ruined multiplayer for me.

Why those specifically?
Harper: Just playing with other people. I was super into Half-Life and I would play it single-player. It was great. And then I got into Deathmatch [and] was pretty good at that. I switched to Counter-Strike. I think that’s my first multiplayer situation and everybody was already so good. I couldn’t even load weapons before I’m dead.

Lotus: It’s like Apex [Legends].

Harper: And then I would go to friends’ houses, parties and stuff, and they would always get that damn sword and they would know where I was spawning and then I’m dead. I don’t know, I want to win.

You two are naming a lot of different titles and not had a ton of overlap. Is there any playing of games together?
Lotus: We used to play a lot together, but we just stopped. I think it’s because I moved over to PC a lot more. I’m not opposed to it.

Harper: Oh yeah, me neither. I’ve been trying to get her on Elden Ring forever.

Lotus: I know, you have, to be fair. We used to play a lot of Dark Souls stuff together. Soulcalibur we used to play a bit of. It’s just been a while.

Harper: We did do the Mario Kart phone game for a while.

Lotus: We did. We did do the Mario Kart phone game. Yeah. [Laughs]

I [James] don’t think I’ve ever heard much about that. Is it good?
Harper: No. [Laughs]

Lotus: It’s actually not awful for a phone game. It’s not terrible.

Harper: It’s not the worst, but it’s not, like, fun.

You’ve hit the road quite a bit lately. Has there been much gaming on the road and have you run into anybody that you’ve been able to share a bond over gaming with?
Lotus: I’m so obsessed with Dead by Daylight that I have the Dead by Daylight mobile [version] and play it regularly. I’ve tried bringing my Switch on the road, but it’s not connected to Internet, so there’s only so much I can do and I end up not touching it half the time. Usually for gaming on the road, it’s usually just my phone. As far as other bands, I guess [The] Grasshopper [Lies Heavy]. But a lot of the other bands that we’ve played with, we’ve never really talked about it. It’s more so fans and stuff, people in the audience. They’ll go to Tyler, Tyler talks to them about Dark Souls and stuff. They’ll talk to me about my streaming and stuff. Fans are usually super, super into it.

Harper: Yeah, I think it’s majority just talking about games on the road. We had a hard time in Italy just because of the name of the band Capra. They’re like, “Oh, you know it means goat?” And we’re talking about Dark Souls for hours to saying, like, “That’s where it comes from.” And they’re like, “Wow!” When I say I’m obsessed with Dark Souls, I am obsessed with Dark Souls. That’s the first boss that I fought that kicked my ass and made me quit the game for weeks. And I would think about it and think about it and think about it. And then I finally went back and beat it. And then when the band was started, that was the influence of what the band was intended to be: You walk into this tiny, small room and then you just get your ass handed to you. And that was kind of how the band was at the time—still is sometimes. We still play those little box rooms and everybody’s just crazy.

Crow, you had mentioned that you stream on Twitch. How has that experience been for you?
Lotus: It’s been really, really cool. I’m admittedly not a super social person, so I don’t really talk to that many people in, like, live action, real life and shit. But I’ve met a lot of people that I would consider to be my best friends at this point online. And we talk every day, we play together every single day. So, it’s really just been this incredible community building that I just would never change the way I did things. It’s just been so, so fruitful for me, honestly. And, of course, I’ll make a little bit of money from it, which is nice, too. But really, the reason why I do it is because the kind of family building is just such a great feeling, really.

Would you say that Discord and Twitch have directly positively contributed to your anxiety? Has it made it a little bit easier for you?
Lotus: Yeah, totally. Absolutely. I think my main problem is the whole social aspect of it. Social anxiety is my problem. I feel like a weirdo anytime I try to talk to somebody half the time. But it definitely is nice to meet other people that feel the same way that you do. I think there’s something that’s really kind of special and pure about when you meet somebody online, you know that the reason why you guys like each other is because of who you are on the inside. It has nothing to do with the outside because you don’t see the outside half the time. So I think that there’s something that’s really honest about it.

Has your experience as a frontperson has helped you with your presentation while you’re streaming?
Lotus: Yeah, I think it’s made me more comfortable with the idea of people watching me, because when I first started, I would feel really weird even after the stream. After I turned the cameras off, I feel like everybody had their eyes on me. I still don’t have a whole lot of viewers, but that was back when I had, like, three people watching consistently. And I would just get so freaked out, like, That’s so strange. I’m just all too conscious of it, I guess. But now it just feels so normal, I guess, and I’d say that a lot of that has to do with the amount of time that we spend on stage and in front of people just performing, so to speak.

I know that there’s not really so much of a direct link between hardcore and game soundtracks, but can you credit any game soundtracks to being super inspirational to what you do or anything that even just you personally have a strong connection to?
Lotus: Originally, our song “Paper Tongues,” I wanted to see if I could write a song that was more fantasy than anything else, because most of my lyrics are pretty personal. And I was just curious to see if I could just write something that was totally fiction. And so the song was supposed to be about one of the colossi from Shadow of the Colossus, which was the one that goes underwater, you have to ride on his back and all that junk. And it ended up just not being that, I ended up making it personal anyway. I kind of used that monster as a metaphor for my relationship with one of my family members and it ended up being personal regardless. But it is still pretty heavily inspired by that boss fight.

Have there been other soundtracks you’ve heard when you were younger that really, really resonated with you?
Harper: Super Meat Boy. Danny Baranowsky is the composer for that game. That’s got to be the coolest soundtrack I’ve ever heard. It’s intense, it’s epic and you’re jamming while you’re playing this insanely challenging game. You’re frustrated, you’re mad, but somehow that music is just like, OK, I’m going to do it again. I’m going to give it one more shot. It’s motivating you while you’re just screaming vulgar profanities. You break your computer, but your speakers keep going, you know?

Lotus: Mine was definitely Castlevania in general, but specifically Castlevania 64 had an incredible soundtrack. That was one of my favorites. I love that one. I have an emulator that I still play it on. I think it might just have to do with my childhood. It was super nostalgic for me, but I love that game.

Castlevania 64 seems to have resonated with you, and some people weren’t so excited about it. What’s something that you find is tremendously undervalued or underappreciated that makes you enjoy something [in] that game or any other one?
Lotus: One of the things that made me so excited to play that game as a young girl, at the time—especially at that age—there weren’t a lot of other girls that played video games and stuff. I know that’s so typical to say, [but] I really just played a lot with my older brothers. I think it was really exciting that you could choose to play as a girl character. And she had her own fully-fleshed story, and she was interesting, and she wasn’t just an accessory to a different character. I think that’s what really helped to make it special for me. To this day, I still prefer to play her storyline than Reinhardt’s, but I still like Reinhardt’s as well. It’s the idea that all of these female characters in the game are interesting and have backstories and lives and stuff like that. Also the music, of course.

Are you excited to see that there’s more female representation within the gaming space?
Lotus: Yeah, totally. I think that it’s just a lot more normal now, which I think that it’s refreshing that we don’t have to stop and be like, “Wow, that’s crazy! There’s a girl in this game!” Now it’s just like, “Yeah, of course there is. Why wouldn’t there be?” And I think at a certain point, it gets exhausting to have to keep asking for it time, so it’s just nice that developers are just recognizing that a lot of the gaming community is female.

Conversely, for both of you, what do you feel is overvalued within gaming?
Lotus: Definitely jump scares. I think that a lot of jump scares just don’t make sense. They’re pretty cheap: You’ll just be walking down a hall and all of a sudden it’s, “Ahh!” and it’s a loud noise. Of course anybody would jump. But I do at the same time think that there are some games that could use more jump scares as long as they made sense within the story. The master of the jump scare—at least in a smaller developer space—is Outlast. I think a lot of people would agree with me that the jump scares weren’t just completely out of nowhere. They made sense. There’s one part near the beginning of the game where—if you’ve ever played it—you open [a] door, there’s a body that swings towards you and just from the ceiling. And it’s the scariest part of the game for me. I fell out of my chair and I was like, I need to go take a walk outside for a minute before I come back. Or there’d be a part where you’re squeezing between some shelving and someone grabs you from the other side. That makes sense to me. That feels like something that could happen rather than a ghost just screaming in your face because you’re just walking for too long. I think that’s really stupid.

Yeah. Thanks a lot, Five Nights at Freddy’s.
Lotus: I know, right? [Laughs]

Harper: I’m not big into games that hold your hand the whole way or guide you on where to go. I like the fact that you can put map markers and stuff if you want to go there and see it and it’ll guide you, but when it’s directing you to the next part of the game, it’s almost like you’re not even playing the game. I think I got that—I mean, I definitely got that—from Dark Souls [and] Elden Ring where you have to literally hunt down the story. You have to figure the game out yourself. You have to go explore and find the boss and then you want to learn like, Why is this boss here? I think a lot more games these days are taking at least some aspects from From Software and incorporating it into their games, but they’re still making it to where there’s that easy mode, where the game’s playing itself for you. I just don’t understand that.

We’re getting close to the end of the year. What titles have gotten you excited from 2023?
Harper: I had to pull up like a list of games that came out this year because I haven’t had the time to really play too many games. I did Diablo IV and I did Lies of P. But other than that, there’s so many games I want to play that I haven’t. And as far as games I’ve played—which is pretty much those two this year—I would put Lies of P higher than Diablo IV. I really want to play Baldur’s Gate 3. Armored Core VI, I’m going to do it at some point when I can focus and go all in, because I loved it. It’s fun from what I’ve played so far, I just haven’t been in the right head space to do it. I’m going to eventually. Baldur’s Gate 3 and then [The Legend of] Zelda: [Tears of the Kingdom]. I think those are my top three that I really want to finish.

Lotus: There are a couple of them that I just haven’t gotten around to. I think they both might be from 2023. This is kind of embarrassing to even say, because it’s a little cringe, but I think it’s called Explore the Back Rooms. It’s a multiplayer back rooms game. I just can never find other people to play it with me just because nobody gives a shit about it unless you’re, like, 12 or whatever. I never got around to playing Outlast Trials either, which I’d like to because I love the Outlast universe. I think that they’re way sick. And then also Alan Wake 2. I’ve been watching the gameplay, but it looks so, so good. I’d like to play it myself, but usually I don’t want to drop $60 on a game right now. I’ll just watch somebody else play it on YouTube.

Understandable. I’m [Michael] the dummy that’s always like, I’m just going to get this game now and then in some magical, mythical future in which I have any kind of free time, I’ll just play through everything.
Harper: That’s exactly what I did with Armored Core VI. I went and I bought the physical and I put it in and I was like, I don’t have time to play this. I think we had, like, three weeks. I started [and] I was like, Dude, I can’t. I just can’t do it. And now I’m in the process of moving and everything, so I don’t have time now. But there’s some other games, like Remnant II. I loved the first one, thought it was great. And then Star Wars: [Jedi Survivor], which is a very Souls-like Star Wars type game, but the first one was great. I haven’t done Hogwarts [Legacy]. I don’t think that’s my type of game though, honestly. When they first had announced it a few years ago at The Game Awards, I was like, Oh, that looks cool. I’ll play it. But now after it’s come out and watching it, I don’t think it’s my style, but it looks cool.

Lotus: I started playing Starfield. I thought that was sick. I had started right before we left as well and then I guess my brain just could not continue doing it, but eventually I’ll go back to it. It’s really, really heavy as far as how it runs on your computer. So, it’s something that I’m trying to sort out. I have a decently strong computer, but I’m going to have to adjust some of the settings to try to get it to run more smoothly. That was my only issue with it. But I think that everything else in the game is sick so far.

Harper: Well, you did Resident Evil 4 Remake this year. That came out this year.

Lotus: Oh, that’s true.

Harper: I still haven’t done it. I mean, I’ve bought that game probably, like, 12 times at this point. I bought the first one, the remaster, the remake. I played the demo, but I didn’t have time to get into it when it came out and then I got sidetracked with Diablo and then I went on tour forever. I’ll get to it.

Lotus: It was really good. I will say that when I was younger, that was my favorite game of all time. I literally beat it over and over and over and I never got tired of it. It was my hyper-fixation. So, I will say that I had some pretty high expectations going into the remake. I was like, If this doesn’t feel like the old one, I’m going to bash it online, or whatever. But I ended up really loving it. It’s not exactly the same, obviously—it’s not supposed to be. Otherwise, what’s the point of spending a bunch of money on it? But I think that it still had the feel. When you’re playing it, it still feels like Resident Evil 4, it’s just a lot more matured, I guess.

Harper: Did they do new voiceovers for it? That was something I was curious about.

Lotus: Yeah.

Harper: Is it the same lines? Like, when you meet the merchant, is he like, “What are ya buyin’?”

Lotus: Not exactly. Some of the stuff is a little different, but they do have some lines, I was waiting for them. Some of Leon’s really corny lines that he’s got like, “Where’d everybody go? Bingo?” I think they still did that one. But there are some really corny ones that they took out. I don’t know why, I love the corny lines. I thought they were terrible.

Harper: Yeah, that’s one of the best parts.

What games are you looking forward to in 2024 or beyond?
Harper: For me, it’s Elden Ring DLC. I want that. Hades 2. I’ve been waiting for that to come out. And then I think it’s got to be, like, five years plus now that they’ve said that they were going to make Hollow Knight [Silksong]. Yeah. It’s never going to come out. I keep waiting. Every Game Awards, I’m like, All right, show me something. But Hades was really fun. I like those little dungeon [roguelites]. But it was great. I’m assuming the second one will be really good as well.

Lotus: I don’t know if it’s supposed to come out next year or when, but I know it’s in development. I think the Dark Pictures games in general are really sick, but they’re supposed to be doing a Dead by Daylight one, which I honestly think could potentially be really cringe, but I’m just excited to see how they decide to go about doing that. But honestly, just Dark Pictures in general, I really like the idea of. If you think of Hellblade: [Senua’s Sacrifice], there were some actions that you couldn’t take back in the game. And I think that it’s really sick. If you make one wrong choice, an entire character is dead for the rest of the game. That’s why I really think the Dark Pictures games are sick.

Both of you had mentioned interest in video games when you were younger. And then, Tyler, you were talking specifically about not having a couple consoles in a later generation. Did you have a continued interest in video games since you were younger? Or were there times where you kind of went in and out?
Harper: Oh, yeah, I’ve been hooked ever since I started. There’s times where I just can’t play, but I’ve still always sought out what’s coming out or [get] excited for a new game. Super Mario will be around forever. I think there’s a new one that came out this year. That’s going to keep coming out. I love when they bring back those old games like Contra. I wish they would do a new Battletoads for kids, you know? They’ll never understand how hard that game was. But yeah, I had the I had all the Nintendos and then the Sega. And then I didn’t have [Nintendo] 64 or Dreamcast—I kind of skipped that. And then I’ve just had every PlayStation since. I’ve never owned an Xbox. I’m the PlayStation/Sony guy that’s like, Xbox is not good, you know?

Lotus: Yeah, I’ve never lost interest at any point. I think that probably the closest thing to it is that I’ll get in these modes where I’ll just get stuck playing these old games that are, like, 10 years old, where I just haven’t been paying attention to what’s been coming out. I’ve had this computer for years now, but I’ve done some upgrades on it within the past couple of years. Prior to that, there were certain games that I just couldn’t play, certain games were just way too heavy or too overpowered. So now that that is no longer an issue, I’ve been keeping up a lot more with newer stuff. There were some times where it was out of necessity, I just ended up playing the same game over and over for a while. But other than that, I’ve never been bored or never lost interest in it. Video games have just always been something that have just been a huge part of my life.

Harper: Now I’m just waiting for the day where she says, “Let’s play Elden Ring.” It’s a masterpiece.

Errors is out now via Metal Blade Records/Blacklight Media Records and can be purchased here.
Follow Capra on Bandcamp, Instagram, Twitter and Facebook.
Follow Crow on Twitch.

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