Exeter, UK is home to a ripping metal band called Kill All The Gentlemen which, though they’ve only been together for about 3 years, is composed of seasoned vets that have spent the past 20 or so years cutting their teeth. On December 1st, the guys are set to release a new single taken from a brand new EP which is due to be self-released on January 7, 2016. Recently, we chatted via email with drummer Olan Parkinson so as to get better acquainted with this talented act.
For those not familiar with your band can you tell us a little bit about yourselves?
Parkinson: We are a 4-piece from Exeter. We have been together as KATG for 3 years although we have all been playing in bands for the last 20 or so. We play music in the vein of As I Lay Dying, Kataklysm, with definite influences from older bands Maiden, Megadeth etc in terms of guitar playing and melodies. We have death metal elements, thrash elements a good mix really. Our sound has progressed quite a bit over the last few years, in some ways our songs have become more simplified in terms of arrangements but definitely more technical in terms of playing, and we have definitely got faster, which is something I really go for, my background being more death metal/grind. It’s not speed for speeds sake but it certainly adds an energy and aggression that was not as evident up to now.
Your new EP ‘The Faustian Delusion’ will be released in January. Now that it is complete how do you feel about it, and what has been the response so far?
Parkinson: We are really happy with it. We recorded it with Chris Fielding in Skyhammer Studios. We had recorded two ‘demo’ tracks over a weekend last year with him to see how we got on and really liked how they turned out; so good in fact that we did a video for Rebellion and a lyric video for The Deepest Depth. So we went back for a week to do this EP. Chris works long hours and puts a lot of effort in. He took more of a producer role on this recording. It’s probably the heaviest and most aggressive recording we have done, a real good mix of melody and speed I think. So far only our management have heard it. We are keeping it quiet for now. Although we have sent it out to stations and magazines for review so we are eagerly anticipating those reactions.
What is your writing process like?
Parkinson: Usually Adam or Fish will come in with a song idea, generally a loose structure worked out. Then we will pull it apart and play with different arrangements. Riffs evolve and arrangements evolve. If after a few weeks we don’t all love it then we scrap it. The songs for the new EP came together quite quickly, so we had probably more time than before to work on them leading up to the recording. We have a new bassist now too and he has changed things already with his influence. It really is quite a collaborative effort on the whole, I much prefer that way of writing. It does take a little longer but it means we all love the songs and put more into the playing. We have a rough guideline that if any of us really don’t like a riff or part of a song then we get rid of it. We never want a song where there is a part that somebody hates playing.
When you write do you do so with the live setting in mind or do you write a song just for the song’s sake?
Parkinson: Not really, I mean we figure if we are enjoying playing the songs then that will come across live anyway. I think if you try and contrive a song for a particular situation then you might ruin the natural process. If you like listening to and watching heavy bands then your music will naturally develop that way. I suppose it helps to be aware of how they will sound live; at the end of the day you want people to like them. It is good to write for yourselves for sure, as I have said already, you have to or should love playing your songs but it helps to have an objective look at them too. If you listen back to them and get bored of a section, then most definitely an audience will be bored, on the flip side if a riff or beat gets you excited you are probably on the right track, you hope.
Along those same lines do you take advantage of technology and email riffs and parts back and forth, or do you get together in a room in a more traditional sense and write together?
Parkinson: To an extent yeah. We tend to record them on our phones and then email them. Or the guys will record a riff on Whatsapp and send them through to the group chat that way. But as mentioned, when it gets down to it, the main writing process happens in rehearsals.
What’s the story behind the name of the band?
Parkinson: Well we were recording the video for an older track (A Rose All Evil Chose) and we passed a plaque commemorating the Prayer Book Rebellion which took place in the south west in the mid 1500s. It centred on the forced introduction of the King James Bible during the reign of King Edward VI. The dominant religion in the south west at the time was Roman Catholic and so there was a natural resistance to it’s introduction. As the nobles in the area naturally supported the King (they wanted to keep their titles and lands) they were in support of King Edward. So with general unrest in the region already beginning to reach a peak it didn’t take much for the lower classes to rise up. The rebellion focused around removing support for King Edward which meant killing the Nobles. A decree was issued saying as much and Kill All The Gentlemen became their slogan. Unfortunately for them the rebellion was finally crushed at the battle of Fenny Bridges near Exeter. Shortly after in one of the worst atrocities in British history, 900 rebel prisoners had their throats cut in just over 10 minutes. Our track Rebellion was inspired by this bit of history.
What is the story behind the name of the new record?
Parkinson: The Faustian Delusion. Well I spotted this piece of artwork by a Peruvian artist named Jose Gabriel Alegria Sabogal. It was entitled ‘The False Prophet’. In that piece of work there is a scroll that has some latin script on it, (Eritis Sicut Deus) which is from Faust. I contacted Jose and asked would he consider letting us use this piece for the EP cover to which he agreed. So far all are our artwork has had a black and white and red theme and this piece was perfect in that regard. So Adam, who writes all the lyrics decided to loosely base the EP around the story of Faust, but more specifically use it as a metaphor for man’s weakness and greed. We called our second track Eritis Sicut Deus to tie it in with the Faustian Theme and the artwork. The title of the EP therefore really just refers to Man’s idea that he can somehow transcend his existence by selling his soul, to money, fame, things that don’t really get us anywhere. Essentially a layman’s version of the Faustian story.
Check out song “Rebellion” here.
What do you think of the current state of the rock/metal world?
Parkinson: Honestly, I think it’s awesome. Bloodstock is going from strength to strength. Download sells out every year. Metal 2 The Masses is over subscribed each year. The big festivals in Europe have ridiculous attendance. This year Slayer, Bring Me The Horizon and Iron Maiden all reached top 10 in the Billboard charts. There is so much out there. Metal has survived the holocaust that was grunge and came back even stronger. Death metal has made a comeback and bands like Obituary are back inspiring the next generation again. There is still that brilliant sense of community with the metal world. It is great that simply by the T-shirt you are wearing, it can be enough to strike up a conversation and have a few beers. We played Bloodstock last year and it was such an incredible weekend. Not only to see it as a punter but to see it from a band’s perspective was brilliant. The support and crew were all metal fans not just some guys from an agency. Everyone was there working or otherwise because they love metal. I don’t think we have to worry about the metal scene dying out any time soon.
Do you receive a lot of support from your local scene and fans in general?
Parkinson: Yes I think so. I think the scene in Exeter is getting better. There are a whole bunch of cool bands at the moment. Cambion, Codex Alimentarius, Oakhaart, Human Cull, Pretty Little Enemy, Embers Of Eden, Vipera, Metaprism,to name but a few. Obviously there is ebb and flow in terms of support but on the whole I think it’s pretty mutual.
If you were stranded on a deserted island and could only take 3 CDs with you for eternity, assuming there was a solar powered CD player, what would they be?
Parkinson: Christ! I think Obituary’s Cause Of Death, because I think this album was the real inspiration for me to play drums. Type O Negative’s October Rust just because it’s incredible and I never get tired of listening to it. And Probably a Maiden album, possibly Somewhere In Time just for the nostalgia.
What has been the most memorable moment of your career so far?
Parkinson: Either supporting Morbid Angel, years ago with my death/grind band Abaddon Incarnate (Ire) and they are still going. That, or Playing Bloodstock last year.