Exclusive Interview: Akkadian talk writing and recording!
Following the release of their single “Agenda” we have ear marked Cambridge Metallers Akkadian as not only ones to watch but also as future Tech-Fest and Bloodstock performers, their meaty riffs crossing over Metal sub-genres with consummate ease. Formed in 2018 in Cambridge but not the types to get involved in any kind of boat race, they instead dabble Ancient history with the Mesopotamian Empire, Sumerians and Egyptians, cutting the combination of those cultures with DJent, Groove Metal…
How does the writing process of a new Akkadian track start? Lyrics or music first? “It usually starts with Harry or Florian (guitars) coming up with a riff and then posting it into our group chat. From there, whoever feels like they can contribute will then work with them to create a structure/full song, before sending it back into the group for the entire band to discuss and give comments and feedback. Lyrics are often written after the music. However, Danny (vocals) already has a lot of phrases, lines, lyrics and poems written up and will just use them when it fits the song.
Before you go into the studio, do you do any pre-production work or is it just rehearsals to get the material tight? “We always track each song completely as a demo ourselves, using our own bedroom recording equipment and software, before sending it off to the producer. This just helps the producer get set up and also saves us a lot of time in the studio, as we already know how each individual part is going to sound before we arrive. While there we may play around with different layers etc. But usually no drastic changes”
How important is it to you to have the same consistent feel between your singles that you get from using someone who understands what you’re looking for and your sound doing the mixing and mastering? How much is that a factor in your continued work with producer Mike Bennett at Foxhound Recording Studios? “It is definitely important. Although we are releasing singles, we want the listeners to be able to comfortably listen to each track one after the other. Instead of the mix/master sounding different each time. That’s of course a reason we have continued with Mike, but as we have mentioned in the past: Mike is such a genuine guy, extremely knowledgeable, hard working and patient. He is also more often on the same page as us with everything that we do in the studio. So it’s very easy to be efficient”
For us gear nerds out there, can you tell us what you’re using gear wise (pedals, strings, drums etc) to get your sound? How much time do you invest in getting the right guitar tone? “It takes a lot of time, research and experimentation to get the right guitar tone. Fortunately, the internet is full of advice and access to forums, video channels, pages and blogs etc of people giving their feedback and reviews of equipment, so you can get an understanding before you purchase. In addition to this, the majority of professional musicians and guitarists are transparent with the gear that they use. So you’re able to build from their set-up and personalise it from there”
Guitars: Jackson Monarkh & Charvel T-type with Fortitude Pickups. Strings: Ernie Ball Beefy Slinky Strings Pick: Jim Dunlop 1mm Tortex Picks Head: EVH III EL34 Head Cab: EVH 2×12 Cab with G12H Speakers Pedals: Electro Harmonix Pedal Switcher, Fender Marine Layer Reverb, TC Electronic Sentry Noise Gate, TC Electronic Flashback Delay II, Mxon OD808 Overdrive & Dunlop Wah-Wah. Florian
Guitars: EVH Wolfgang Standard (2020 Edition) & Schecter Exotic Star Strings: Skull Strings Head: PRS MT15 Head Cab: Noisy Hammer 2×12 Custom Loaded with Celection Neo Creamback Pedals: Boss Chromatic Tuner, Wampler Mini TU-2, Mesa Boogie EGO Compressor, Wampler Ethereal Grid Slammer, Decimator G-String Reverb/Delay, Voodoo Lab Pedal Power Noise Reduction & 2, Plus RockBoard Pedal Board
Bass Guitars: Fender Aerodyne Jazz Bass & Dingwall NG3 Gold Matte Strings: DR Strings & Dingwall Strings Amp: Darkglass Microtubes 900 Cab: Ashdown ABM 410H Pedals: TC Sentry Noise Gate, Darkglass Hyper Luminal Compressor, Joyo Bass Chorus, Boss Chromatic Tuner
When you’re tracking your drums are you using a click track or are you fans of the more volatile feel from free flow that producers like Ross Robinson are advocates of? “To record in a studio, yes, we use a click track. However when playing live, for most songs (except ones with a backing track) we do not use a click. In a studio, a click is essential, especially in a genre like metal. Everything needs and is more than often expected to be tight and accurate. In the future, who knows, we may experiment and take a risk in tracking without a click in the studio. However, every producer or engineer we have worked with so far has always insisted we used a click to record”
What difference would it make to you as band if you could land an endorsement from a gear manufacturer? “It would make a huge difference! Having our name associated and working in synergy with another brand or manufacturer could open many doors for us. Especially if it is a well known, reliable and established company within the industry. The fact they would like us to represent their product, would give us a great sense of personal achievement and a big confidence boost too!”