UNSILENCE INTERVIEW WITH KENTUCKY FRIED AFTERBIRTH (ENGLAND) 2001.
1/ K.F.A: Kieron dear boy it's been an absolute age since I interviewed you way back in K.F.A#1 and what a stormy period it's been for you. Please tell us about the trials and tribulations you've gone through as a band since then.
K/ I'll try and keep it brief. Since the "Unfinished Chapter" demo was recorded in late 1995. It was supposed to be a MCD through Full Moon Rising but they fucked it all up soon after recording it. We eventually released the recording as a demo. We had a few line-up changes around that time. Our first bassist Mick Grundy left and was replaced by Steven Scott and our guitarist Rick Harding left and was replaced by Darren Brady. Not long after, Steven Scott wasn't working out and we replaced him with Dave Greenwood (Ex-MEPHISTO). Our drummer Ric Barnes then stood down as drummer (It was always supposed to be temporary) but offered to be a keyboard player. But he gave up a few months later. Jonathon Gibbs became our drummer in May 1996. Not long after, Darren left and Dave switched over to guitar. David Elliot became our bassist. At the end of 96 we signed to Seven Art Music and we recorded our debut album, "Choirs Of Memory" for them the following year. We were also doing the odd gigs here and there like in Bradford supporting THE BLOOD DIVINE and the ones you put on for us in London. In 1998, Dave left as we were on the verge of sacking him. We replaced him with Paul Gemmell. The album was severely delayed and by 1999, we felt the need to put some new material out so we decided to release a MCD ourselves. The deal with Seven Art eventually fell through. Shortly before recording the MCD, we sacked Paul Gemmell as he clearly wasn't working out and we recorded the MCD with me doing all the guitars. Seven months after sacking Paul, we replaced him with James Kilmurray. The "Transfiguration" MCD was releases in March 2000 and has received a positive response in the underground. Things have been kinder to us since then. We've recently had our busiest gigging period playing Bradford, London, Bolton, and Ashton-Under-Lyne. We do the Leeds Dungeonfest in July and play some gigs in Ireland with HONEY FOR CHRIST at the end of August.
2/ K.F.A: Are you a jinx to labels, as any that go near you seem to become bankrupt overnight! What's the score with FULL MOON RISING & SEVEN ART MUSIC, were they just time wasting amateurs or what was the case? Did you lose money with those two mini CDs that never were? Didn't the huge delay between the quality 1994 demo 'Shadows Cast in Stone' & your self produced 2000 MCD 'Transfiguration' get you down at all?
K/ It has felt like we have a reverse Midas touch on the labels. Ha! Time wasting amateurs is the term that sums them up well. Full Moon Rising seemed to be someone just daydreaming of doing a label. He was making offers to bands before he had his act together. Seven Art were a more professional company in that they had a few releases out. But their problem was that they wanted to make the jump to being a bigger label too soon. But they neither had the funds or the successful band to do it. Yes, we did lose allot of money because of them. The delays did get us down but it didn't sap our motivation. We manage to abstract ourselves from the things happening around us when it comes to writing.
3/ K.F.A: Your roots were with the Death Metal band BURIAL, before embracing Doom/Death on 'Shadows ', and now 'Transfiguration' sounds to me to be proper DOOM! In K.F.A#1 you said, "Our music is inspired by things we feel and experience ' Have you been depressed and that's brought out the sadness, gloom & Doom in you? Have your musical tastes & inner demons 'Transfigured' you over the years to make you and your music what you/it are/is today?
K/ I wouldn't say I'm any more or less depressed than when I was younger. I think I've found different ways to put myself across. In the BURIAL days, all the anger was the focus. But with UNSILENCE it goes deeper expressing the sorrow behind it. Allot of emotions are interlinked and it's just the need to put them accross. UNSILENCE contains some of the aggression that I put across in BURIAL. Obviously it's not as consistent and it's done in a different way
(aggression is a much overlooked facet with many Doom bands). Many people would see me as having Death Metal roots because of BURIAL. But BURIAL was the first band I played in which caught anyone's attention. My Musical roots go further than that, back to Heavy Metal/ Rock in the eighties. I've always enjoyed Doom Metal, even when I was more into Death/ Thrash. It's logical that eventually I'd want to incorporate such music.
4/ K.F.A: It seems that proponents of each differing style of Metal believe their genre to be the best, how do you feel towards Doom, is it the 'heaviest' style of music? Are 'Stoner' bands useless false Metal shite? What are your thoughts on this? Also do you think maybe your growing less Death Metal influenced as you've grown is a sign of you mellowing out or perhaps becoming more mature?
K/ I wouldn't say that one style of music is heavier, or for that matter more anything than another style. It depends on how it's done. You could have certain Death of Black Metal bands heavier than certain Doom bands. There isn't a criterion that one style of music is heavier than another. I'm not as opposed to Stoner bands as some others I know. There are a few that I like such as Kyuss. Mainly the ones that were there before the trend took off. I do prefer the deeper emotions of Doom bands than the laid back Stoner Rock. Given what I said earlier, growing less Death Metal influenced doesn't mean mellowing out. Whilst UNSILENCE has mellow parts, the heavier sections are the heaviest out of any band I've been in. Far be it for me to patronise the many people I know who are into playing Death Metal well beyond their early twenties. I wouldn't say that UNSILENCE represents everything I'm about, but I wouldn't like to be thought of as immature for not expanding to certain areas. There's certain things which drive me musically and that's presumably the case for the more mature Death Metal musician.
5/ K.F.A: UNSILENCE has always struck me as being a strange but oddly effective name for the band, somehow suggesting noise & silence simultaneously & also perhaps a sense of disquietude, is there an underlying meaning or metaphor associated with the name or did you just think it sounded cool? It isn't a proper word is it?
K/ No, UNSILENCE isn't a proper word. When it came to thinking up the name, I first thought of 'Unsilent'. But I feared that someone else would think the name up. So I bastardised it to something that would be less obvious, regardless of it being a proper word. To me, the name UNSILENCE represents an unleashing of the more hidden feelings. Although it does sound cool in itself.
6/ K.F.A: Whilst we are on the subject of meanings, what is the 'Transfiguration' of the MCD referring to? Is there a concept of change behind the 3 songs within or does it represent a turning point for the band or scene now that you've finally been able to get a proper release out?
K/ 'Transfiguration' has been hanging round as a possible title for a while. I originally thought of it as the title for the 2nd demo back in 1995. It came up again when thinking of titles for the Seven Art album. So it managed to become the title for the MCD. The reason was that it simply sounded cool. But not long after, I became aware that it also represented the nature of the release. Not only in the style becoming more Doom but the step forward in the overall quality compared to the previous releases. And it can be applied to the fact that we have a release out after all these years
7/K.F.A: 'UNSILENCE represents an unleashing of the more hidden feelings.' What are these hidden feelings that the band are hiding, by expressing them through their music are you trying to air them to the general public, to spread your dark thoughts? What skeletons dwell in your cupboards & what evil lurks in the hearts & minds of the UNSILENCE'd ones? Is there depression there or does making music you love dispel these negative vibes, is enjoying singing about misery a paradox? How deeply do you analyze yourselves and your music/lyrics
Well, whatever they are, they're not to be made public. We do like to keep vagueness about what we're putting across, even to ourselves. We don't want people knowing our personal situations and we also don't want to be too absorbed in ourselves. It's also good for people to have their own interpretation of our music. It's not that preconceived too. It's not as case of, for instance, that my girlfriend dumped me so go to my room, get my guitar and four-track and write some self-piteous songs (I've heard that before!). However, the music we write does contain vibes that are relevant to what's on our minds at the time. It certainly is the age-old releasing of negative vibes. But there is other emotions surrounding it. A sense of hope does emerge in places. It makes sense that it would when there's a general depressive vibe. One or two people have criticized this but then we've never set out to write the bleakest music ever.
8/ K.F.A: In 'Our Final Autumn' there seems to be two quotes amongst the lyrics, where are these taken from and for whom is it a final autumn? It sounds like it could be about a relationship perhaps! But then I read so many lyrics that don't really seem to say a great deal but sound deep all the same; in what category do your words fall? Is it important to you to have a vision/idea/story behind each song or do you try and create just a general despondent aura? If you can sum up by saying that Death Metal lyrics are all about blood, sex & violence, Black Metal lyrics extol anti-Christian & nihilistic attitudes, what if you had to nail it down would you say Doom Lyrics are all about. Give a little 100-word essay or something here please!
The lyrics to 'Our Final Autumn' were inspired by a book our vocalist read which was about a group of witches who were the last ones left. I don't know if the quoted parts of the lyrics were taken from the novel. Maybe they were parts he felt were a quote. The idea behind them lyrics can be applied to a number of things, including the end of a relationship. The witches' story is like a metaphor for it. There doesn't need to be a real story behind our lyrics. Sometimes, there's a general theme but it can be applied to many different things. And there will be variations on the general theme. Doom Metal lyrics veer towards the darker, gloomier end of the spectrum. Sometimes it can be from a fantasy viewpoint and sometimes it can be more realistic. Then again, the fantasy type lyrics can be metaphoric. But other fantasy type lyrics in Doom bands aren't too deep. They're just accompanying the music best. And real life lyrics can be dressed in a more poetic and mysterious way. It heightens the mystery. All the UNSILENCE lyrics are reality based, even if they're based on fiction as in 'Our Final Autumn'. It will have some relevance to reality.
9/ K.F.A: Most of the other genres have their religious beliefs that seem to go hand in glove with the music, normally Satanism & Pagan beliefs, what would you say that Doom veers towards in a mythological/ theological way? TROUBLE & CANDLEMASS both incorporated prayer parts into songs for example but there is also a healthy swath of fantasy imagery there perhaps! Another 100-word essay here please young man and you're not leaving the classroom 'til it's done!
I tend to find Doom Metal to be more nihilistic and accepting of the bleakness of existence. And that's the antithesis of the Christian attitude, which is about hope and the joy of life. They couldn't really be further apart. I think TROUBLE and CANDLEMASS used religious references as imagery for something else. Actually, the CANDLEMASS song 'Samarithan' has a strong religious theme and that is reflected in the music until halfway through the song when there's this one evil riff. I find it deceptive. Like it's all a dream. Going back to the subject, MY DYING BRIDE has approached religion in their songs but it's more from the viewpoint of the believer. How they need something to turn to and how they have despair in it and how it affects their lives. UNSILENCE has never written anything to do with religion. This is because our vocalist, Andrew, has written most of the lyrics and religion has never had an effect on his life. But I'm writing more lyrics these days and religion played a major part of my upbringing. So I'm sure it will crop up in something .
10/ K.F.A: You've just come back from doing some gigs in Ireland with HONEY FOR CHRIST, please tell us all about your emerald isle escapades. Are the Irish full-on Doom freaks?
Well, the Irish gigs were classic and was the first time we'd done a tour as such, although it was only dates in Belfast and Dublin. We had gotten HONEY FOR CHRIST on the Leeds Dungeonfest (and had unsuccessfully tried getting them more gigs while they were over) so they returned us the favour. The first gig in Belfast was cool but our vocalist had some problems with the monitoring and there was allot of feeding back from his mic which limited him. Also, our drummer had some problems with the kit. We were well received and probably better than at most English gigs, although the younger kids (It was an all-ages gig) probably didn't know what to make of us. It was an education for them I guess. At the next gig in Dublin we ended up playing last as the local band Kingdom hadn't played for a while and didn't feel confident. So we were worried that people will be leaving once they'd finished, as you'd get. But it wasn't the case at all. Everyone stayed and they watched us as well instead of hanging round at the bar. This gig was definitely one of the best gigs we'd ever done. Truly inspired! The whole experience was cool. HONEY FOR CHRIST and their friends/girlfriends were really nice and hospitable. Needless to say, there was plenty of drinking too. We certainly hope to go over again. I'd recommend it to any band. Don't let the Northern Ireland troubles put you off as we saw no sign of it. Dublin tended to be more into Doom than Belfast.
11/ K.F.A: What else do the Unsilent ones get up to besides jamming & gigging? Are you all massive weed smokers? Do you have wives & children? Do you all work 9 to 5's?
We all lead pretty normal lives. All of us work. Mostly 9 to 5, although Elliott (Bass) does some funny hours. None of us have wives of kids but Hoddy (Vocals) has a house with his long-term girlfriend so he's the most settled one of us. As you know, our drummer Jonathon also runs a fanzine called the Inquisition. He's working on issue 2 right now and it will feature interview with MIRROR OF DECEPTION, SHADOWBREED, MOURNING BELOVETH, OBSIDIAN, etc. Elliott smokes a bit of weed but other than that, we're not really into it. If someone offers me some, I might oblige. But it's not something I'm really into.
12/ K.F.A: What is your personal philosophy on life, the universe & everything?
Just to make the best out of what I can as we don't know where we're coming or going. Also, to be true to myself as it's where I'm at my happiest and most effective
13/ K.F.A: So what plans do UNSILENCE have for the near & more distant future? Have you had any interesting nibbles from any labels as yet?
Well towards the end of the year we have a few gigs coming with Honey For Christ and Solitary. We play in Preston and Bolton and maybe Bradford and Stoke. We're also gearing towards recording again. At the moment it looks likely that it will be another MCD but with a few more songs on it. It should also be getting released through a label but things need to be finalised yet. As well as that offer, there have been some offers but they've been nothing major. We wouldn't like to record an album on such a limited budget. We'd rather spend the small amount on recording less songs but having a more impressive production.
14/ K.F.A: Please finish up this interview now with whatever nonsense you feel like filling up a few paragraphs with. Try and finish up on a joke though just to prove if Doom bands have a sense of humour or not!
Well thanks a lot for the interview. I'll use this space for a couple of Unsilence anecdotes, which will probably be of no interest to anyone. There was the time when we were doing the first demo and we were mixing the track 'Void Of Emotion'. We had the bare drum tracks playing and the engineer started humming the Waterloo Symphony over it. It fitted perfectly. There was also the time recently when we were taking the drummer home after the gig. He lives up in the Pennines and we were unable to get up the road as there was loads of horses in the way. It turned out that one of them was giving birth. Once the foal started walking, all the other horses started going mad and kicking boulders at the van. There was also the last gig we did with one of our ex-guitarists, Darren Brady. On the final song, he put on a false nose, like Mortis and started insulting friends in the audience. When we recently played in Belfast, we went to a club afterwards and there was this guy wearing a Fields of the Nephilim T-shirt. So some of us were going up to him and complementing his T-shirt. One of us went over to have a chat to him afterwards only to come back five minutes later to say that it wasn't him but someone who looked like him. He'd been talking to a complete stranger. We have plenty of laughs together. Most of the times we've played the Empress in Bradford (Especially with Conquest Of Steel). Jonathon and Elliott's tenuous links games on the long journeys home (One picks something they can see and the other must sing a metal song which tenuously links to it). The time Elliott puked at the side of the M62. Things like that! You wouldn't believe the kind of music we play if you didn't know it! I must say that I like your line in sicko flyers, especially the one with Dani Filth and Sooty and Sweep (though that one with the stilleto's crushing them nadds made me squirm).Interview by Grey
A FIRE ON THE SEA
A TORN SKY