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

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It hasn’t even been a year since Newcastle-based progressive post-rock quartet Kylver released their debut album The Mountain Ghost, and yet they are speedily going from strength to strength. The band are guitarist Jonny Scott, bassist James Bowmaker, keyboardist Neil Elliot and drummer Barry Mitcheson, who collectively deliver a decidedly unique brand of the genre. Born after the disbandment of a reggae band that Scott and Elliot both played in left the musicians with free time, they were finally able to fulfil their desire to play “really self-indulgent riffs without vocals [and gave us a] no-holds-barred freedom to do whatever we want to do with our instruments.”

2015 saw Kylver building a strong reputation in both the local scene and further afield, appearing in an unprecedented amount of magazines and websites dedicated to the genre, the band also played to huge crowds at both Evolution Emerging and NARC. Fest. Scott maintains a very humble opinion on the whole matter: “It just seems to keep on growing in a really unexpected way…the last CD sale of 2015 was to Australia! It’s weird that we’ve sold more CDs to places far beyond Newcastle, but things just keep on moving forward!”

the instrumental aspect leaves it all very much open for interpretation; it allows people to decide for themselves what our music is trying to say

Whilst their music is powerful, colossal and utterly majestic, the band themselves are charming, relaxed and down-to-earth. On the subject of their distinctive sound, which they declare has been described as “the sound of Kyuss jamming with Yes”, Scott considers it to be the result of the quartet ploughing their own furrow. “We’re just doing what we want to do really…we take from doom and stoner rock, and some people say we have a post-rock sound. We mix all those elements with the main blueprint of classic prog: the long compositions, the experimental time signatures and tempo changes.” Elliot elaborates: “Despite the fact we’ve had reviews saying that we need vocals, I feel that the instrumental aspect leaves it all very much open for interpretation; it allows people to decide for themselves what our music is trying to say.”

February sees the quartet playing a brief tour with the Scottish ‘deep-fried’ heavy psychedelic rock outfit Lords of Bastard and local trio Ilser, with a show coming to Newcastle’s Cluny 2 on Saturday 6th February promising to be an unforgettable night of monstrous and ethereal noise. The tour itself came about by chance: “Ilser wanted to put on a gig in town with Lords of Bastard and they wanted us to play with them, and we thought that, because [the Lords] are from Scotland, we should take the whole thing further than just Newcastle.”

If you’re lucky to escape The Cluny 2 with your eardrums and senses intact, you’ll have plenty more to look forward to from Kylver in 2016, with a follow-up to The Mountain Ghost already in the works. “We’ve got two tracks finished already, whilst the rest are in the early stages.” The band aim to tell a different story to the rather mythological one told within their debut, which they’re seemingly working out in tandem with the recording itself. “There’s a loose theme of space pirates, maybes Russian space pirates…” Scott briefly pauses “…the narrative will really come along once the songs are finished!”

Kylver play The Cluny 2, Newcastle on Saturday 6th February.

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