Due to the impact of Covid-19, the release of the bands’ epic new album ‘Kill Grid‘ had to be postponed multiple times since it’s original release date back in July 2020, but thankfully, it finally saw the light of day on March 12th. [Read our review of ‘Kill Grid‘ here.]
Vocalist Knox Colby talks us through the timeline of how the album came together, as well as their signing to Century Media Records and progress on some new material.
OD – ‘Kill Grid’ is your second album and your first with Century Media. How do things compare to when you released ‘At The Walls’, with regards to having an established label behind you, or is there no real difference?
KNOX – It’s a huge honour and a humbling experience. We’ve been working on this album for two years and to have them reach out to us before we had even announced that we were working on a new album is amazing.
We had been featured on some list somewhere of bands’ to look out for and it was actually what got certain people in Century Media interested in us. Power Trip had just put out ‘Nightmare Logic‘ and was doing really well with that, so I guess the folks over at Century Media wanted to find something that wasn’t a million miles away from that.
That article basically got us some interest and they were messaging us through our Bandcamp, which I thought was just someone joking with us. When we looked into it a little deeper we realised that it was the real deal! [Laughing]
We then contacted their A&R department and they pretty much sent us over a contract and things started happening straight away.
OD – At this point, had you already begun working on ‘Kill Grid‘?
KNOX – Yeah, we were writing and putting the album together, so the timing was really perfect for it. The way it all happened is kind of like a cheezy movie [Laughing]. Honestly, we really thought someone was pranking us. We couldn’t believe it when we discovered that it really was Century Media.
OD – Tell me briefly about the timeline of how ‘Kill Grid’ came together, starting with the early ideas etc?
KNOX – Well, I’ll try and keep it as sort as possible. We are always writing and recording ideas to ultimately get the best songs that we can. So, we had about four or five tracks in the bag and the intention was to do an EP or a rough demo to get ideas and basically, we ended up scrapping all of it apart from one track, ‘Hemmorhage‘, that was back in late 2018.
So, we just kept working on ideas when we weren’t touring and we just ended up scrapping things over and over again until we were happy with what we had. This went on for a long time [Laughing].
By December 2019 we had the guts of the album in place and only made a few changes with the temp and some other minor stuff here and there, just to kick it up a notch in some places. So, by the time we got to March 2020, we started recording with the intention of releasing it in the Summer of 2020.
OD – I can’t imagine what it must have been like to sit on the album for that period of time. It must have been incredibly frustrating…
KNOX – Yeah, totally! I was due for release back in July 2020 and then that got pushed to August, then September and we suggested October and the label advised that it was a terrible time to release anything and to just wait until the following year. We were so frustrated but just had to bite our lips and keep writing, practising etc.
OD – Was there a considerable amount of new material written during this time which I’m assuming will be on the next album?
KNOX – Yeah, we were at a point where we really felt that we were getting ahead of ourselves and we felt that we were gonna get really sick of the old material before we even had a chance to tour the album, so we just eased off the gas for a while and just kicked back; while the whole lockdown stuff kicked in.
OD – Were there any noticeable differences within the band when working on new material that you hadn’t noticed during the creation of ‘Kill Grid‘?
KNOX – Writing ‘Kill Grid‘ was a huge learning curve for us as individuals. We had been used to writing individually or remotely up until we did that album. We really learned a lot from that process. Alex and Ethan are not our original bassist and drummer, so, this was our first chance to sit down and write with them.
We realised what band members liked and that was a huge creative boost for us. I’ve not written any lyrics as of yet, but the song structures are slowly coming together. As I said, we really felt we were getting ahead of ourselves and want to give ‘Kill Grid‘ the space to breath and in some ways actually enjoy the album finally being released.
OD – Can you give any insight into the direction of the new stuff or is it very early to comment?
KNOX – All I can say is that it doesn’t sound like ‘Kill Grid‘ and bearing that in mind, ‘Kill Grid’ didn’t sound like ‘At The Walls‘. We are evolving our sound but keeping the true essence of who we are with each new step forward. It’s all the same band, and it’s gonna feel like the same band, but it just sounds really fresh. The newer stuff has a very traditional Heavy Metal sound. It’s like if Judas Priest fucked Razor [Canadian, Speed Metal band from the early ’80s].
OD – With regards to being able to practice in light of the pandemic restrictions, was that a huge issue with members being able to travel to see one another or do you all live in close proximity?
KNOX – Oh, it’s not a problem at all. We all live really close to each other…about 15-mins away. Ethan [Gensurowsky, Bass] and Alex [Bishop, Drums] actually live in the same split-level house. Zach [Monahan, Guitars] used to live four blocks away and I used to live just five blocks from him so we were all really close. I’ve since moved and so has our other guitarist, Will [Wagstaff] to the other side of the river in our town but really, we’re all just about 20-mins drive from each other.
I can understand the issues that other bands have to go through to get their music to where they want it to be, but we all just gotta do what we gotta do to survive.
OD – In the event that the pandemic continues with the same level of restrictions that are currently in place for the remainder of the year, has there been any discussions about doing some type of live streaming online event?
KNOX – Yeah, we’ve spoken to Century Media about that happening, but really, we’d like to stay away from stuff like that because it’s not what we’re about, but as time goes on, opinions change [Laughing]. Like…what else can we fucking do? [Laughing]
We’ve had some offers for live streams…and that’s really cool that people want to see that but the way this band works is that ALL members have to be on board with decisions and have to agree. So, I think we have one in the works but the timeframe doesn’t really work with things at the moment. It’s just something that we’ll have to work out in the near future.
OD – I understand that you got to handpick the colours for the vinyl at the pressing plant.
KNOX – No, I wish we could have done that! They sent us a booklet of loads of different colours and we had to pick from this huge range. We went with the most conservative colour that went with the album artwork [see below]. We wanted to go with a Combat Records old school vibe with a combat green and a yellow centre label but then they said that all of the pressings will have to have the yellow label and that turned us off.
We wanted the colour to complement the album cover. We really wanted a translucent crystal clear pressing but it was the only one that they couldn’t do. Typical! [Laughing] So, out of 700 colours, the one that we wanted was unavailable. I’m really happy with what we decided on in the end.
OD -We’ve seen three singles off the album already, do you keep an eye on what people are saying or do you turn a blind eye?
KNOX – At first I was, and that’s because I was just so excited that it was finally coming out and after about a week, that excitement died off. The only thing I’ve done is look on YouTube to see how many people have seen the videos and that’s really been amazing! I’ve never had numbers like that and it’s very humbling, to be honest.
Being from the US, we really don’t hear too much about what’s happening over in Europe but now that I see all these comments, and music sites interested in what we have to say and what we are doing, it’s kind of mindblowing. The last thing anyone who is playing in a basement shithole club in America is what people over in Europe think of their band. [Laughing].
Now that I know what kind of fans exist over in Europe and how obsessed they are with heavy music, that’s just something that I’m trying to get my head around… and it’s insane!!
I’ve seen this awesome footage of Triptykon performing at Wacken back in 2016 [see below] and they opened up with ‘Procreation (of the Wicked)‘ and it’s super down-tuned and slow and it’s the hardest thing I’ve ever seen. I just wanna be there and get so inspired. That’s the goal for me/us. We want to get to these festivals so bad.
OD – With regards to touring etc. Are there any particular festivals that you have always wanted to play and if so can you share some with us?
KNOX – Wacken for sure. I’ve seen Power Trip playing at Bloodstock and that just looked fucking incredible. Riley [Gale, a former Power Trip vocalist who passed away August 2020], looked like he just rolled out of bed [Laughing] but they just owned it from the moment the first song kicked in.
OD – If you could tour with any band [must be still active] who would it be?
KNOX – Well, we did some shows with Obituary. We played our third ever show with those guys and when we went on stage, there was like 500 people there which was fucking sick! It was us, Extension A.D. and we all got to hang out with Obituary in the green room and we all got on really well. We also got to watch them from the side of the stage which is something I’ll never forget. It was so so fucking cool.
Let’s see… I’ll say High Command. We’ve been on tour with those guys before and they are just awesome. We got on with them and I’d do a show with them anytime. I’d say Sodom and Coroner would be awesome to tour with too.
OD – Has there ever been a moment where you felt that you just couldn’t take another stinking van ride and decided to focus on another career path and if so, what made you keep going?
KNOX – No! Never ever, ever! That’s not even an option. This is it!
OD – Are there any bands that you’ve discovered in the last year that has made an impact on you?
KNOX – There’s a band called HIRAKI, they are from Denmark [check out below]. They’re kind of like, throw-back, noise-rock, with a Three One G or Gravity Records freak-punk kind of vibe. Once I put it on, I instantly loved it. I sent it to a bunch of friends from high-school and they were like: “Yes! That’s it! That’s what our band was supposed to sound like!” I just got so much nostalgia from listening to these guys and I urge people to check them out.
OD – Of all your tour experiences, what stands out as being the most bizarre?
KNOX – Hmm… I’d say one would be we were on tour in Sant Fe in Mexico and the place we were performing in had a broken half-pipe in the background, I don’t know why but it was there. The band that played before us were called ‘God’s Dirty Needle‘, which is the hardest band name I’d ever heard of [Laughing].
So, I just knew that the show was gonna be sick. People were so friendly and it was just really surreal. The American Southwest is visually surreal anyway, but playing with that awesome band made it even more surreal!
Another one I remember is when we toured with Sacred Reich. We played Toronto, Canada and it was the first time I had played a show with the line wrapped around the venue with crazy fans. It was a fucking incredible time. Just hearing those new songs from ‘Awakening‘ was killer.
We also played with Exciter on that show and we were all hanging out with those guys and hearing all the stories from Dan [Beehler, Drums/vocals] and Allan [James Johnson, bass] from when they were doing shows with Motörhead and hearing all about Lemmy… it was fucking incredible. The guys were all packed up and waiting for me in the van and I was just hanging on to every word while they were waiting for me. [Laughing]
Enforced ‘Kill Grid‘ is out NOW via Century Media. Order your copy here!