DOORSTEP INTERVIEW: KYLVER | NARC. | Reliably Informed | Music and Creative Arts News for Newcastle and the North East

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Welcome to Doorstep Interview, where we find out more about the amazing bands and artists that we have right here in the north east. Here, rapidly rising prog-metal band KYLVER tell us more about their ambitions and the varied ways they all got into playing…

Tell us a bit about yourself. Who are you, where are you from?

KYLVER is James Bowmaker (Bass), Neil Elliott, (Keys), Barry Mitcheson (Drums) and Jonny Scott (Guitar).

KYLVER as a band are essentially from Newcastle, we all live pretty close to the city. But individually, Barry, Jim, myself (Jonny) are originally from South Shields and Neil is from Gateshead.

What inspired you to first start making music?

Barry: I got in to playing the drums back in 1995 after attending Donnington – Monsters of Rock festival. It was my first proper festival experience and I was loving hearing band like Metallica, Corrosion of Conformity and White Zombie do their thing. I found myself blown away with how good the live drums sounded and it was this that ultimately inspired me to start learning the drums and jam with other musicians.

Jonny: For me, it was when I was 11 and Terminator 2 had just been released and probably like a lot of kids were obsessed with the Guns N Roses track You Could Be Mine. I originally wanted to get a drum kit but my dad said that drums were too noisy and he’d buy me a guitar because I could turn the volume down on the amp.

Jim: My folks bought me a violin when I was six years old after noticing me walking around the house with a guitar pretending to play it with a bow. I then progressed on to the piano, followed by the guitar when my dad bought me a Zeppelin guitar tablature book.

Neil: I started playing guitar in Junior School then quickly give that up when I saw a touring demonstration of the Yamaha Electric Organ; pretty sure it as the sound effects that got me hooked. Helicopter, gun and thunder noises… but in starting that at around the age of seven and learning a lot of different styles of music it eventually lead to playing music with mates and writing original music when ever possible

As a band, the initial idea for KYLVER came about around late summer of 2013. We wanted to create something that challenged us as musicians as well as making music that is really satisfying and enjoyable to play. Jim, Neil and myself would pop down to our rehearsal space and just jam out riffs using a laptop for drums until Barry, who I had been working of a couple of web design projects with came down for a jam around a year later, then everything just kind of fell into place.

Who would you say are your biggest influences?

We have a pretty wide and varied range of influences, bands like King Crimson, Yes, Rush, Tool, Mastodon, Zeppelin, Sabbath, Pink Floyd, Russian Circles, all that kind of good stuff, and more mellow stuff like Nick Drake. And then there are a couple of bands from the US that we’ve recently discovered called Zebulon Pike and Electric Hawk, both similar but yet very different, masters of the heavy riff and odd meters. If anyone reading likes the sound of that they should definitely check them out.

How would you describe your sound?

In a recent review we were described as post-rock and post/math rock, which we really don’t mind as there’s certainly elements of that in our music. We have also had folk saying that we sound like Sabbath meets Floyd; others have mentioned bands like Tool and Mogwai, which again is pretty cool as we like all of those bands and are quite humbled by any comparison like that. If you ask us though, we’d say that our sound is instrumental progressive rock/metal; pretty dynamic in sound with bits of classic rock, doom, sludge and even a hint of black metal thrown in there.

“We wanted to create something that challenged us as musicians as well as making music that is really satisfying and enjoyable to play”

Where do you see yourselves fitting into the local music scene?

We’re not exactly sure yet! We’re not exactly full on metal but yet we still have a very heavy sound and we’re not quite post-rock but at the same time have some very atmospheric passages that lean over to that side of things. We’ll probably fit in a few pockets of various parts of the local scene or maybe just not fit in at all.

Tell us a bit about your live performances. What can we expect from a gig by KYLVER?

It’s really going to vary from gig to gig. We’re opening up the stage at The Tyne Bar at this year’s Evolution Emerging festival, which is pretty much a get your gear on the stage play and then off showcase type scenario. It’s going to be fun but different to the kind of show we recently played at The Cluny 2 with Druganaut and Apologies, which we put on. There we had our own visuals playing behind us, which lead the show to be described as an apocalyptic B-movie musical.

Can you tell us what gigs you have planned in the region in the future?

At the time of writing this just Evolution Emerging at The Tyne Bar; we’re on at 7:30. But if people keep and eye on our website they can find out where we are playing and choose their preferred choice of social network to follow us on as we’ve got some gigs in the pipeline.

What do you think has been your biggest achievement so far as a band?

Probably recording our first album, which is due for release on Thursday 21st May just before Evolution Emerging. We headed in to Blank Studios in early March and we’re really happy how everything turned out. We recorded it with Sam Grant of Pigs Pigs Pigs Pigs Pigs Pigs Pigs and he’s done an amazing job of capturing our sound. It’s available to pre-order now from our Bandcamp page and will be available on iTunes, Spotify and all those other types of sites from the 21st.

Have there been any major challenges so far in your musical career?

No, not really. We all get on really well as a band and outside of the band. Everything comes together really seamlessly. Our biggest challenge is probably writing anything that is less than six minutes long.

What else have you got planned for the future?

We’re going to put the album out at the end of May that will also be available to pre-order from various outlets. Other than that we plan on playing more gigs and possibly have a few little trips out of the area.

KYLVER release their new album The Mountain Ghost on Thursday 21st May. They play at the Tyne Bar for Evolution Emerging on Saturday 23rd May.

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