Exclusive Interview: Akilla talk writing and recording “The Gods Have Spoken”!

Sometimes good things come to those who wait and in the case of “The Gods Have Spoken” by Cambridge Melodic Death quartet Akilla those words definitely ring true. Originally formed in 2017 the band have undergone numerous line up changes leaving vocalist and guitarist Ross Wilson the only original member. Simply refusing to give up the dream, he has rebuilt the band from the ground up with members of Elimination and Atorc now in the ranks their completed masterwork was released last month to a fanfare from us. So without much more ado about nothing, here’s the second of two exclusive interviews with them!

How did your previous experiences writing and recording help to smooth the path of the new record? “The guitars and bass were recorded individually in Ross and David’s respective home studios using a bit of a template from how the Elimination guys recorded their Echoes Of The Abyss album. A large amount of the writing and mixing was done by Ross who has previous experience in melodic metal and orchestral writing, bringing the integral wall of sound film soundtrack style to the orchestral parts. Ginger has a home drum room but we felt the best results for recording would come from sending him to a studio, specifically Jack as David had worked with him previously with Elimination and other projects”

How does the writing process of a new track start? Melody, riff or rhythm first? How does it evolve from there before you consider it the finished article? “Nearly all of the songs on the album started on a piano, finding the right chord sequences, melody notes and harmonies in a clean environment. From there, it is put into a guitar pro file which is circulated around the band, as we all live far apart, where changes and additions are made with everyone’s individual styles and experiences. We then try it out in the practice room and make any further amendments before entering the studio for a demo before additional changes and orchestral parts are produced”

The album was written, recorded and mixed by yourselves in house with the exception of drums and mastering which were handled by Jack Helliwell at DC Studios; what made you take that route down the left hand path and would you do so again? What was it like working without an outside ear from a producer and being your own task masters? “Working independently and without label backing means you have to be tight on budget but as a group we have a lot of experience working in a similar way. The lack of a producer in name wasn’t a problem as we are all pretty critical with a different ear for metal that helped bring different opinions to the tracking and mix”

If you had the opportunity to work with a guest in the studio next time around, who would you like to work with and why? “Guest as in producer or musician? Sakis Tolis [Greek musician best known as the vocalist and rhythm guitarist of Rotting Christ. He is also known as Necromayhem] would be amazing for either. Getting Markus Vanhala [Finnish musician best known as a guitarist in Insomnium and Omnium Gatherum] or any of the Countless Skies guys in would be incredible from a musicians perspective”

For us gear nerds out there, can you tell us what you’re using gear wise (pedals, strings, drums etc) to get your sound? “Line 6 helixes, Ross [Wilson, Guitars] uses ESP guitars and EMG pickups live and David [Hill, Guitars] and Kath [Hailes, bass] both use Jacksons (a lot of them, with Fishman Pickups in David’s case). Ginger [Taylor, drums] uses Mapex drums and Sabian cymbals, Pro Marks sticks and Pearl Redline pedals”

What difference would it make to you as a band if you could land an endorsement from a gear manufacturer? “It would be a game changer for David’s bank account and Ross would have a guitar in every tuning. David already does but might as well have shares in Jackson guitars at this point. Ginger would be less annoyed about breaking sticks and more cymbals!”

The Gods Have Spoken” by Akilla is out now and available over at bandcamp.

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