Exclusive Interview: Karybdis talk writing and recording “Order & Chaos”!
For us, after a few beers (mostly Beavertown and BrewDog) and a few slices of pizza (stone baked for preference) alongside a couple of slabs of Metal for your ear drums and the World starts to make sense again after the absolute bedlam that our daily lives can be. This month saw a brand new concept EP from London Death Groove Kings Karybdis inspired by Gustav Holst’s ‘The Planets’ suite called “Order & Chaos” which is a stone wall banger and so we had to find a way to get a couple of interviews with them and a chance meeting with vocalist Rich O’Donnell made that happen. For this one we spoke to new guitarist and studio wizard Dave Klussmann, bassist Jay Gladwin and drummer (well, multi instrumentalist) Mitch McGugan…
What did you learn from the sessions for “In the Shadow Of Paradise” that you took into those for “Order & Chaos“?
Jay: “We went super hard on pre-production. On the last record some of the orchestration didn’t make it through cos we’d not fully heard everything until the final mixes. This time we made sure any additional arrangements were incorporated as early as possible. It lead to one song having a total of 10 different versions; but ultimately it was worth it”
How does the writing process of a new Karybdis track start? Melody, riff or rhythm first? How has your writing style changed between former guitarist Matthew Lowry and new man Dave Klussmann?
Dave: “It all starts with riffs, rather than throwing random riffs at the guys I’d chain a few ideas together as a starting point before we’d start working on them together via discord. It was a pretty cool setup, we’d discuss ideas for a while, then I’d record them and the others could hear it all in real time. Being able to hear everything back in studio quality as we wrote meant we could really hone in on all the details”
We love that you brought in musicians to record the orchestration rather than going down the programming route; how much time and effort went into getting those aspects matching your vision of what the new record would sound like and what was it like working with a much bigger group?
Mitch: “Many, many hours went into working on the orchestration for this, including lots of re-writes in order to make everyone happy! It was an interesting experience, since everything was recorded remotely for obvious reasons. I went to school with Sam Ewens who played trumpet on the release, and he recommended Sasha as a Tuba player. The other voices came from another group I perform in, called Bowjangles. It was lovely to be have the very talented performers from one of my groups perform on the release of another. This was actually one of the first times some of the tracks developed from string lines I wrote, rather than the string lines be written to work with the track (the opening riff of ‘The Moirai’ for instance), and is a process we will use in the future since we found it quite enjoyable!”
It feels like drummer Mitch McGugan has a new lease of life in the writing of the new EP, handling Orchestration Composition and Tenor, Violin, Viola as well as gracing the drum stool; how important was his role in bringing everything to life?
Dave: “Mitch’s contributions were absolutely integral. A lot of the orchestral parts inspired new ideas for guitar parts and other elements in the songs, so we were able to weave those different sounds together in a way that felt natural to us. Not only that, but his abilities as a drummer allow us to write lots of horrible technical stuff, which is very liberating”
For us gear nerds out there, can you tell us what you’re using gear wise (pedals, strings, drums etc) to get your sound?
Dave: “We went kinda crazy with the gear on this record, I’m a huge gear head and I really wanted to get something special going with all the tones. The main guitar I used was my trusty Mayones Regius 6 with Bare Knuckle Black Hawks, I also used a custom strat that I put together for some of the clean tones. The main rhythm tone is a blend of a Mesa Boogie Single Rectifier boosted with a Wampler Tumnus Deluxe and a Peavey 6505mh boosted with a Reaper Pandemonium and an MXR 6 band EQ, some parts in the songs were quad tracked and I used an Orange Jim Root Terror for those, all of the amps were going into a Two Notes Torpedo Captor and I also used my Line 6 Helix for some of the effects.
For bass we just used Jay’s lovely Fender Jazz Bass into a Darkglass B7K and a Sansamp RBI, it was a simple setup that worked really well so we didn’t mess around with it too much.
We did quite a bit of pre-planning and research when it came to drums, we had a few different options for the setup but settled on Mitch’s Taye Studio Maple kit with his beautiful Gretsch bell brass snare. We also had a nice selection of Meinl cymbals, we had 3 different china’s to choose from and couldn’t decide which one we liked best, so we ended up using all 3 at once! It was glorious”
What difference would it make to you as a band if you could land an endorsement from a gear manufacturer?
Dave: “The idea of working with companies like that is very exciting. Having quality tools to work with is essential for what we do, so it’d be an honour if a company saw value in what we’re doing and wanted to work with us”
“Order & Chaos” by Karybdis is out now and available over at bandcamp