“We can’t wait! I’m stoked. We’ve only got a month to go, we’re fucken psyched man. I just talked to Troy earlier today so we’re starting to get the set list pretty close now.”
So said one of the vocalists and guitarists from Killer Be Killed, Greg Puciato, ahead of their upcoming shows as part of the Soundwave festival.
“Even though we only have the one album (their debut, self titled one released last year) we won’t be doing the album just front to back,” he promised.
“There is something cool about that but also stale as well,” he continued. “I wanna play some new things or maybe come up with a riff or two that wasn’t on the record that we could throw in there. Maybe make some parts longer and some shorter. We wanna make it interesting, maybe throw in a cover song as well. I get bored really quickly so I don’t wanna do the whole play the album and walk off stage thing.”
In case you don’t know, Killer Be Killed are a true Supergroup, comprising Greg who is also guitarist and vocalist for Dillenger Escape Plan, Troy Sanders, bass player and co- vocalist from Mastadon, Dave Elitch, former drummer from the Mars Volta, and one gentleman by the name of Max Cavalera, who, if you don’t know who he is, maybe you should just stop reading now.
When posed with the thought of being a Supergroup, Greg is non – plussed at the suggestion.
“The whole Supergroup thing is really strange to me,” he confessed. “I never really…. it was kind of an accident really the way it turned out. I mean, that word is just a marketing term so I don’t really relate to it that much. To me it was an accident that everybody involved was from another thing. It wasn’t like Max and I said ‘hey, let’s go grab a guy from another band’ or anything. I know Troy as a friend – I’ve known him since before anyone gave a shit about Dillenger or Mastadon. It’s always a bit of a head fuck to realise that Max Cavalera is Max Cavalera from when you were a kid and listened to Sepultura! I just happen to know these guys and as well as being a good friend Troy is also a great bass player and singer so it was a really natural decision.”
When I mention to Troy that their announcement to the Soundwave line up was perhaps one of the most anticipated and well received, he sounds genuinely humbled by the idea.
“I don’t know… I don’t really pay much attention to the internet,” he confessed. “I think it’s really detrimental to read too much feedback about yourself. It’s fucken…. it wierds me out personally. I have a hard time understanding there’s people out there that know anything about us. It’s very strange to have people know you and know you exist that aren’t your actual friends, you can never wrap your head around it – at least I can’t. I think people that do get used to it are fucken wierd. I honestly didn’t know that anyone down there in Australia cared about our band. I had no idea how our record did down there so I was really shocked when they announced we were playing that there was such an overwhelming response. I truely had no idea that anyone cared. I thought we were gonna go down and play and there were gonna be like 10 people there who even knew who we were so this is really exciting. I still can’t wrap my brain around it. I’ve kind of gotten used to it with Dillenger because we’ve been around for 14 years or so, but when you do something new and put it out you don’t expect it to happen and to hear there’s people on the other side of the world that have heard your stuff is a bit of a mind fuck.”
The seeds of Killer Be Killed were first sewn in early 2011, when Max and Troy started jamming together on some new ideas, but at that stage no-one had even an inkling of what was to come.
“Me and Max first started jamming and it was kind of odd,” Greg explained.
“We hadn’t even thought about who was going to play bass. I thought that Max or I would do it and that we would both sing. I pictured it as an aggressive thing with mostly screaming and grind core ish – a Nailbomb type thing- and then Dillenger were on tour with Mastadon and Troy was like, ‘hey, I heard about that thing that you and Max are doing, who’s playing bass on that?’ and I told him I wasn’t sure yet so Troy said he was keen and the funny thing is I had never thought to ask him because Mastadon were so busy but he wanted to do it. He suggested that if he play bass we should all sing so it was his idea and I thought it was fucken incredible! Pretty immediately we decided that we should all sing different parts and then we thought how much more entertaining would it be if we ALL sang on every song? That was when things started creatively to feel exciting to me. That was when we started to feel it was something worth standing on it’s own two feet as an actual band, not just a one off project record.”
With three established, yet differing vocalists to choose from, it could have been all out war in the studio when it came time to choosing who sung where, but Greg says it was actually the opposite.
“That actually came pretty naturally,” he stressed. “I thought it was going to be a big headache. We went into it thinking fuck, how are we gonna figure this out? Are we gonna sit around and go okay Troy, this is gonna be you and this is gonna be me? But it happened really organically. We were all in the studio together all the time so it wasn’t as if we were coming and going. We were all there every day and pretty much what would happen is someone naturally would start to hear or sing their part. For instance, Troy would say he had a great vocal idea for a certain part of the song and if we didn’t mind he was starting to get attached to it and he’s love to do that part and once a person fills in their part then it becomes alot easier to fill in around it and that happened pretty much on every song. Sometimes we would write parts for each other, like I would write a screaming part and think it would be great to have a lower, heavier voice do the screaming and that wouldn’t be me so it was really exciting to be able to use someone else as that tool that you don’t normally have. It takes alot of pressure off you to know that you’re not responsible for the entire song.”
With each member at the forefront of their respective bands and pivotal to their success, one thing that could have impeded the creative flow would have been egos, but Greg says that didn’t play a part and that each member brought something unique to the band.
“Max is a riff machine,” he enthused.”We actually nicknamed him the ‘riff pitcher’ coz he drinks coca cola all day and he fucken plays riffs non stop. We have to actually stop him writing riffs coz he’ll fucken keep writing them until he writes the whole record if you let him. He is just a writing machine. Whenever you need one part he will give you ten. He’s like a riff factory and he’s also got a certain kind of riff. He’s the genuine article man. He’s from the original birth and time period of thrash metal so when you hear him play riffs and you’re in a room with him it’s not like a young kid trying to write riffs that SOUND like a band from that period – he was actually IN a band from that time period! There is an authenticity to his writing that you can hear right away. As soon as he picks up a guitar you don’t listen to anything else but him play. It’s really interesting how he’s managed to actually preserve the spirit of what he was doing then in his writing now. Vocally he’s got a heaviness in his voice that is unmatched. He’s got one of the most distinct screams in metal history. He’s like a fucken bazooka! There’s no finesse with Max. You write a a part and you’re like ‘we need the guy who’s gonna sing the heaviest vocal here’ that’s obviously not going to be Troy or me so we bring Max in.”
“Troy is the guy who to me, when he came in, that’s when the songs opened up. Alot of people think of Mastadon and they just think of riffs and crazy drumming and a few singers but really Troy as a bass player does awesomely cool stuff. He plays bass in a way that you can tell he also writes vocals. Alot of bass players write bass parts and they hear guitar and drums and then they write their bass parts but because Troy is also a singer he writes his parts in a way that kind of opens the riff up. He has a way of moving around the neck instead of just making the riff and playing around the riff so he brought that to the table and Dan obviously is a technician so he put alot of interesting and intricate fills in there and he hits hard! He was great to work with.”
He finished with a laugh.
“I can’t speak for myself – that would be too indulgent.”
Killer Be Killed play at the Soundwave festival. Check the web page for tickets and set times.
They also play sideshows with Lamb of God in Melbourne on February 24 and Sydney February 26. Details for these shows can also be found on the Soundwave site.
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