Interview: Kill All The Gentlemen

Recently, I caught up with Andrew Pike, guitarist with Exeter noisesmiths, Kill All The Gentlemen. With Bloodstock experience, a thriving local scene, a new manager, and a new EP about to break cover, we had plenty to talk about…

Hi Andrew. For those unfamiliar with Kill All The Gentlemen, could you tell us a bit about the band?

“We are Kill All The Gentlemen, from Exeter. We are an uncompromising assault of heavy metal, with a wealth of experience and influences. We write music we want to write, rather than what we think will sell, which gives us in my opinion an element of honesty and integrity. We are very much a live band, we use very little in the way of effects etc, we just set the amps to Spinal Tap settings and have a good time. And I think that shows, everybody feels comfortable watching a band that looks comfortable on the stage.”

You’ve been through numerous member changes and a pretty significant name change since the band first started writing. Are you excited by what lies ahead for Kill All The Gentlemen?

“Very much so! We all feel strongly about the upcoming EP, I know all bands come away from the studio feeling confident about their work, but we have genuinely pushed ourselves out of our comfort zone this time, and our writing style has evolved further again. ‘Rebellion’, and ‘The Deepest Depth’, which were recorded previously, were a big change for us in relation to the self titled EP that came before it, but they sound a little tame compared to ‘The Faustian Delusion’, although the link between the two can still be heard. We used Chris Fielding at Skyhammer Studio again, which probably helped with keeping a similar feel, but we have a more rounded sound now. The addition of Ben Quinain-Andrew on bass, formerly of Out Of Enemies, has only enhanced this, as he brings a different element in terms of writing influences. We are keen to get this stuff out onto the live circuit!”

You mentioned ‘The Faustian Delusion’. Could you tell us a bit about the artwork and the EP’s title?

“The artwork was uncovered by our drummer Olan. It’s a piece by a Peruvian artist called Jose Gabriel Alegria Sabogal, entitled ‘The False Prophet’. We had been looking at the possibility of basing this EP around the theme of Faust, most notably around the point of selling your soul for greed, and this piece suited that theme perfectly. Jose kindly allowed us to use it, and I think it looks great, it ties in with the theme of the band. It just seemed to come together perfectly. The first single is called ‘Eritis Sicut Deus’, which translates as ‘you will be like God’, and can be seen on the scroll in the artwork. It’s certainly a very thought-out process, rather than just a collection of songs and some artwork that just looks cool.”

This’ll be the first new material since 2014, what can we expect from it?

“You can expect some of the more typical elements of our style to remain, for example the twin guitar harmonies, full and bassy sound, and pretty relentless pace, but with a lot more in terms of influences. We all bring something to the table, and we all have some very different tastes, as well as some diverse common ground. Influences range from death, grind, and old school thrash, right through to more progressive styles, some modern catchy elements…. There’s even a section some liken to AC/DC! Trying to fit into one category is never something we have aspired to do.”

How do you usually go about the writing process? Are there any members that take a leading role, or is it a joint effort for the most part?

“Usually, if one of us comes up with a riff we will record it on our phones and send to one another, mostly to gauge opinion on it etc. From there, we take them into the practice room and work on them as a four piece, all throwing ideas about, jamming sections to try and find the next riff, etc…. Not as a matter of principle, just because that is what we know, and it works for us. We have had ‘The Faustian Delusion’ written for most of the year, but we like to fine tune the songs before recording them, so we don’t end up with the ‘I wish we had done this/that….’ type of conversations after its released. We like to play them to people close to us too. It’s good to take on the opinion of someone not in the band. Gives you a sense of how the neutral listener will hear it.”

Would you say modern technology has made the writing process easier, or do you think it has killed the social aspect of writing as a band?

“No, I don’t think it’s killing the social aspect as such…. Writing with the use of technology, like Guitar Pro, can be useful, particularly for very technical bands using odd time signatures etc, and it can work really well. Being able to tab a song out arguably makes it easier, from a learning point of view, but there are dangers. I feel that some bands maybe write beyond their capabilities, and the lack of live practice with band mates can hide that, but ultimately it’s a choice that bands make. All styles can be written with or without technology, it’s a question of preference. The social element can still exist, even if it isn’t applied to the writing process, and personally, without a decent social relationship, I think any band is doomed. You’ll spend a lot of time breathing in your band mates farts, that’s a lot easier to do if you like them in the first place!”

What and/or who inspired you to become a musician?

“I grew up with parents who had decent taste in music. Motörhead, Iron Maiden, Metallica… to name just a few of the records that used to be kicking around, but for me, it was my dad’s love for AC/DC that got me into it properly. I loved it, and set my sights on playing guitar, and being in a rock ‘n’ roll band. Angus Young had such an energy and enjoyment for playing, and I was drawn to that. From there, I progressed to much heavier music, but I never forgot where it all started. I like all sorts though, from the genius that is Jon Gomm, to the punishment dished up by bands like Whitechapel and Cattle Decapitation. If it’s good music, there’s a good chance I’ll like it.”

The past 18 months has seen you play numerous shows, including Bloodstock festival and Frankfest. What can we expect from Kill All The Gentlemen, after this EP, regarding live shows?

“We pride ourselves on being as tight as we can live, and we hope to bring that to as many stages as we can over the coming year. This will start with the EP release show at Exeter Cavern on January 14th. We have a weekender with our good chums in Codex Alimentarius late in February booked too, as well as a slot at Breaking Bands festival, amongst others. A return to a stage at a big festival like Bloodstock would be awesome, and we intend to aim as high as we possibly can! Signing with Enso Music Management will help us greatly with this. Rachael [Harrison] works hard, and we are confident things will happen for us.”

The South West has, arguably, one of the best up-and-coming metal scenes in the country. How have you seen it develop over your time in bands?

“The local scene always has been, and always will be, awesome. Much like each band individually, it is built on friendship and mutual respect for one another, which you don’t find in any other scene. There are countless bands around here at a high level, and this naturally creates a healthy competition, but again, trying to match the bands around you is a mark of respect as far as I’m concerned, and it is never any more than friendly rivalry. You always see the same faces at the local shows too, which is great. I defy anyone to find a stronger scene than what we have down here.”

Are there any local bands, in particular, that you think deserve more attention?

“In all honesty no, because I feel that everyone here is gaining recognition throughout the country at pace. Just look at the representation we have at big festivals each year, Cambion have played the S.O.P.H.I.E. Stage at Bloodstock, Metaprism have been to Wacken, King Creature supported Motörhead at The Eden Project, along with New Blood Stage sets from ourselves, Codex Alimentarius, Warcrab, and Born Of The Jackal, to name but a few…. Nobody is really slipping under the radar. We all have personal favourites, of course, but music is subjective, like any art. There are also some great young bands emerging, Decollated, for instance, who have a superb attitude and will no doubt improve and grow quickly. The future here is bright.”

If you could play with any band, in any venue, ho would it be, and where?

“Hard question really! For me, I think the top man to meet and share a bill with would be Matt Heafy of Trivium, I think he is easily the most underrated front man in metal currently. His guitar playing, songwriting, and vocal range is incredible, and as a live band, there are few who rival them. For that reason, I would love to play with them, and my favourite venue is the O2 Academy Bristol, so ideally I’d aim for there! Who knows, one day maybe……”

As Andrew said, ‘The Faustian Delusion’ will be released on January 14th. Selected previous material can be found on iTunes.

Interview: Siôn Roe

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Review: Kill All The Gentlemen – ‘The Faustian Delusion’

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