Exclusive Interview: Catalysis talk writing and recording “Relicta”!
The second of our two exclusive interviews with Groove infused Thrash Metallers Catalysis sees us chat with drummer Calum Rennie about what goes in behind the scenes when it comes to writing and recording their headbangable material and with new EP “Relicta” doing the rounds, there couldn’t be a better time than right now.
What did you learn from your time spent recording “Connection Lost” that you took into “Relicta” that really made a difference? “Nobody records anything alone. We learned the hard way when we recorded the album that this just doesn’t work, because that’s when you find out that Drew and Sean have been playing a certain riff ever so slightly differently, but no ones noticed and you’re having to go back and re-record things unnecessarily. This time round, we made sure that everyone had someone else there both for quality control and to make sure that we were completely happy with everything that was being recorded”
You’ve returned to Death Metal legend Mendel Bij De Leij formerly of Aborted to mix and master “Relicta”, the man who did likewise on both of your previous two well received records. What do you feel he gives your sound, what has he been like to work with and how did you find him in the first place? Has he almost become an additional member of the band at this point? “We feel like Mendel really “gets” our sound and knows what we want, which ultimately is the best thing to have with whoever is mixing and mastering your work. He likes a lot of the bands that we draw inspiration from, so he knows the tones, mixes, and sounds that we like. He’s been an absolute pleasure to work with this time round as he always is, he’s always super professional and he always listens to what we have to say whenever we’re revising mixes and such. It was Drew that got in touch with him about mixing, if I remember rightly I believe Mendel has posted on Instagram that he was looking for bands to work with. Drew and I are both massive fans of Aborted, so we leapt on the opportunity to work with him, and we haven’t looked back since!”
How does the writing process of a new Catalysis track start? Melody, riff or rhythm first? “So, the way it usually goes is that Drew or Sean will write either a full song (sans drums and vocals) or a few riffs, and then they’ll send them over to me. I’ll then program rough ideas for what I hear the drums should do to bring the most out of the guitar parts, and then the three of us will have a back-and-forth discussion about these parts until we’re all happy with where the song is at. At that point, we’ll take the song to Col to write his lyrics and his vocal melodies, and that’s when we’ll start jamming the song in the practice room and getting the bass thrown in there as well. Occasionally Drew and I will be able to jam a song from a riff or two that he’s got an is stuck with, but this is only every now and then. Although, this was how ‘The Point of No Return’ from the new EP came to be and I love that song, so sometimes a different approach is refreshing!”
Last time out with “Lost Connection” you got on board a pair of six string legends in Phil Demmel of Vio-Lence and formerly Machine Head as well as Joey Radziwill of Sacred Reich for a couple of cuts. What made you choose them over a guest vocalist? What was it like working with them? “I think we wanted to have guest solos so that Drew could get a break on two of the songs haha! I don’t really know why but I just don’t think guest vocals would really work for us, maybe because of how personal a lot of our lyrics are to Col, it would feel weird to have someone else sing them? But it’s great to have guests on your work, so guest solos made sense to all of us and obviously we can’t complain about who we managed to work with. Phil and Joey were both incredible to work with and produced absolutely killer solos that fit perfectly with the songs that they’re on, and it’s still crazy to have such big names on our album!”
For us gear nerds out there, can you tell us what you’re using gear wise (pedals, strings, drums etc) to get your sound? “Drew and Sean both use Jackson guitars through Peavey and PRS amps respectively with tube screamers. Col uses Rode mics; Pablo uses an ESP bass and I use Yamaha drums and a spread of cymbal brands (primarily UFIP)”
What difference would it make to you as a band if you could land an endorsement from a gear manufacturer? “Speaking for myself, it would make me far less anxious about how often I break my cymbals and my sticks haha! Obviously we’re not the kind of band that would land endorsement deals where we would just get our gear for free, but if we did manage to sort something out with any of the brands that we use then that would be amazing because all jokes aside, it would mean that replacing gear wouldn’t be anywhere near as much of a hassle as it would be now, and we all believe in the brands that we use as well so it’d be great to back those brands as well and actually mean it”