Hailing from Bridgwater, Kinasis are an eclectic, melodically-inclined death machine whose intelligent lyrics breathe new life into age-old conceits such as the destruction of humanity and other such life-affirming sentiments. Our first encounter with the band was a rapturously received set at Hard Rock Hell, with which the band felled the audience with a performance only added to the sense of anticipation surrounding the new EP ‘Pariah’. Fronted by the maniacal Tom (listed on the band’s informative Facebook page as the provider of ‘Motivational Vocalisations’, Kinasis is one of those rare bands populated with excitable characters, which makes interviewing them rather like trying to herd a flock of rabid seagulls into a hessian sack (clearly this is not something we actually do – Ed.). Frequently to be heard speaking over one another, points get muddled and ideas approached from multiple angles and so, the only way to successfully transcribe the interview was to treat the band as a multi-headed Hydra. With that in mind, except in those rare instances where a speaker was clearly identifiable, the interview is credited to the entire band.
So you’ve just done a new EP – could you tell us a little bit about how you recorded that?
We went up to Reading and we recorded with Justin (SikTh) and it was a really good experience. He goes about to all the different studios and we managed to get in a little place called the White House and it was really good. He just brought the best out of us really.
He did our previous, debut album. He mixed it. It was the first time we’d actually gone in and done it with him, we’d always recorded in our little studio and then sent stuff off to be mixed and mastered before.
It was nice not to have to worry about doing anything else other than being musicians as opposed to producers, engineers, mic-ing things up and then worrying how far a mic is away from a grill and then moving it three inches at a time for weeks…
It’s also nice to have a bit of outside influence. Obviously he’s from SikTh which is a very technical, progressive thing, so he gets what we do. He doesn’t say “oooh, I wouldn’t do it like that!” we did things that wouldn’t necessarily work with other people – odd time signatures and that – but he was right on it and got into it pretty quick.
It was really good, the perfect time for us and he’s made a blinding job of it and now we’ve just got to learn the material.
We went into the studio with all the material written and rehearsed and then, as we recorded, we’d do things a bit differently…
So there’s a slight A&R process, almost?
Yeah, it’s nice to get an external opinion as you get very sort-of… insular in the way you look at things and it’s nice to have someone who stands out as a listener; a fresh pair of ears.
You can go a bit studio deaf! If you’re sat in there for days and days and days you start asking yourself “is that good? Is that bad?” and you have no idea! So yeah, a fresh pair of ears is important.
In terms of writing the songs, because it comes across as so technical, is it something that one or two of you work together on and then disseminate, or do you work it all up together?
It usually starts with Tom and one of the guitarists (Marcus and Sellick) and it’s just thrown at everybody else and then it changes and evolves naturally. We’ll come up with ideas that are impossible to play so then it gets Jasnoised… it’s the Jasonification process where we give it to the drummer, Jason, and he’ll play it completely different to how we expected, so it’s like “alright, we’ll do it that way!” It never finishes how it starts! It evolves naturally.
Quite often there’ll be an extra beat or one dropped and we’ll go “we really like that!” You’ll be amazed at how many things happen by accident. You’ll be playing it wrong but actually it works. So yeah, some of it is drummerized – we’ll try and write songs with weird time signatures, you’ll give it to Jase and things start to change…
Obviously drummers are a pain as it is… we should punish them for picking a ridiculous instrument! There’s no need for all this counting!
This happens in every band… the drummer is always…
Don’t feel sorry for him! Just to mention, we give him quite a bit of leeway. Most drummers play what their guitarists want. Whereas our rhythm section get quite a bit of freedom… apparently! Everyone gets to have creative input. All of us… we don’t just rely on one person to write all the songs.
The EP was a bit of a strange one. There were a few songs written early, and then the last couple of songs needed a bit more crafting. We needed to figure out which direction to take them in. So there was studio-crafting and then it all fell into place… one dropped BPM quite considerably and there were a few changes on the fly but it worked out for the best.
One of the things that I really enjoyed were the vocals because they seem to be quite percussive, almost Mike Patton-esque in places – what are your influences as a vocalist?
Tom: I don’t know, I just… I’m originally blues based but I like a bit of all sorts really, I like to do a bit of variety. I get bored just doing the same thing – high screams, low screams, singing bits. I like to cram far too many words into a song, and I have to learn where to breathe during the set.
If you look at the album and how many words there are and how many times I had to type those out…
Tom: It’s just what I enjoy to be honest. I take from all places.
At the end of the day, we don’t have any rules. Anything goes. If we like it, it goes.
Tom: Some of the screamy bits were almost written as raps, just, like you were saying, to get that percussive bit… they roll around a bit like raps, so we take influence form all sorts of bits really.
How about the lyrics – what topics do you focus upon?
Tom: The debut album was pretty much post-apocalyptic… very much so and these guys were trying to steer me away from that with the EP.
9.0 was just a diatribe against religion, specifically Christianity. The rest of the album just seemed to be about ways of destroying humanity.
So… like a manual?!
I dunno, it was more like “we’re going to destroy ourselves and then nature’s going to come along and rebuild itself because that’s what it does,” that was the general theme.
It’s a concept… it’s not anti-this or anti-that, it’s kind of got a… Jauhar was an anti-war song… even the anti-religion thing, it wasn’t that anti-religion it was anti… they make a lot of money out of it… it’s a very spiritual thing and I don’t think they should ram it in people’s faces and they shouldn’t charge through the roof for it.
The new EP’s a concept again, but it’s more about… it’s a concept piece where each song tells a certain part of the story that moves and evolves through each of the songs. It’s more about the life cycle of someone struggling and the kind of things that can influence you throughout your life and how those influences create a decision or a person in a roundabout kind of way… We don’t want to give away too much. In a nutshell, the new EP is going to have more videos that go with each song and that’s going to tell the story.
One for each song, just to clarify!
It sounds like a very evolved concept – it’s quite difficult to get people who are willing to invest in the whole concept but clearly it’s important to you to take a more contiguous approach where the record is as important, or more important than, just single songs I guess?
Yeah, we want to… at the end of the day, it’s a nice opportunity to tell our tale I suppose. If we grab someone with a concept, or get someone into it, then we give them a bit more meat to chew on, a bit more depth. Don’t get me wrong, there are grerat songs out there like it, but I don’t want to write a song about drinking beer and all that kind of stuff. They’re great, but that’s not what we do. Our music is complex and in depth and I want to make sure the concepts are the same – to have a bit of weight to them so they’re a bit more different, a bit broader in scale and more entertaining.
It’s important when you have a record like that, not just to get the songs right but the sequencing right as well, so the album takes you on a journey. How much of a challenge was it to get that flow?
Do you know what, that wasn’t too bad. It came sort of naturally that bit…
…It shouldn’t be easy, it should be painful!
[Much coughing and spluttering] Yeah, well… Yes it was very painful!
Each song… the couple that we wrote first were naturally in the order that they should be – it felt right. The other two we wrote kind of… the music and the story happened quite easily. We knew what we wanted to do, and so we knew what part of the story was coming. We had the concept in mind, and it came first, so it was easier to write the songs. Musically, even if we just had a word, it was something to base a song around rather than try and tie it all up at the end which is maybe what we did with the first album.
The first album wasn’t necessarily a concept, it’s just that all the songs were themed around the idea of potential ways that all life could… perish. Chemical warfare…
…Mechanical Rapture and Awakening, they’re both about AI and technology overtaking us and us destroying ourselves that way and there’s civil war and us being taken over slowly. It was vaguely sci-fi, we like all that stuff…
I’m going to go and sit alone now…
No, it’s alright! I try to give off, I dunno, especially with that, it’s like “all this might happen but, you know, it’ll be fine! Nature’ll still come back, evolution will happen again and then…” That’s the theme of ‘Regenesis’. I kind of wanted to give across the impression that, although we’re going to be inevitably destroyed, a lot of people will carry on and it’s fine… you know?! We’re all rather irrelevant in the grand scheme of things!
Do you pay much attention to the artwork, given how much attention you paid to the concept?
We’re terrible with it. We got friends involved but we had a clear idea of where it should go and we give a lot of feedback. We’re all quite picky! It evolves the same way as the music does. It takes time to get to where we want to be with it and we have a clear idea of where it needs to be, but yeah, the artwork’s important. It’s all part of the thing, it’s all part of the grand scheme and we’re lucky that we’ve got patient people that we work with like Pat and Nathan who does all our videos. He’s brilliant and he’s quite happy for us to say “we don’t really like that bit, can you change that?” He’s quite malleable that way and that is what you sort of need. He understands what we want. At the end of the day, it’s your thing and you want to get it right.
‘Pariah’ is set for a Sept 29th Release.