01. The history of DRAWN AND QUARTERED goes back to 1992 when you formed Plague Bearer with Herb Burke ...Can you give us a brief overview of the history of the both bands?
Hello! This Kelly Shane Kuciemba answering this interview! Thanks for sharing an interest in our music!
KSK - In the early 1990’s in Seattle some bands had begun to emerge that you would consider death and black metal. I’d been working on some demos and projects and began to network with like-minded people. I formed PLAGUE BEARER in the latter part of 1992. There was a little bit of scene. My band shared a member with DISBELIEF (that became BLOOD RITUAL.) The first PLAGUE BEARER show was with INFESTER, so I met Dario Derna and Beau Galloway back then. They would both figure into the history of DRAWN AND QUARTERED. Herb was in BUTCHERY. In 1993 these bands were all playing shows along with several others from the Pacific North West. The venue was a little dive bar called the LAKE UNION PUB in Seattle WASHINGTON. When my line-up folded, I recruited Herb Burke on vocals and Danny Hodge on bass. I had worked with Dave Procoppio, a drummer. We’d done a demo for SEPTICEMIA. Dave was playing in DISBELIEF. So the 4 of us recorded a demo I produced for PLAGUE BEARER called ‘Bubonic Death”. Very cheaply done and quickly recorded, it was pretty cool. We started doing a few shows and trying to write. It took a few years to get things going after the initial start. After Matt Cason became our drummer in 1994 we became DRAWN AND QUARTERED, and worked on the material that made up our 1996 demo. This thing never really got a good mix, so the production is pretty bad. We started playing shows. In 1998 we re-recorded our songs plus 3 more and eventually had artwork and layout made and put out our demo as our first record ‘To Kill is Human’. It was a $1,000 album recorded in a week-end. We pressed 1,000 copies ourselves, and made a bunch of shirts, hats, stickers, demos, hooded sweatshirts, and shorts! We also did some U.S. tours and a few festivals. By about 2002 we were unable to complete work on our second album, and Matt Cason left the band.
02. What is presently going on with the band? What new things are happening for Drawn and Quartered right now?
KSK - After many years as a 4 piece band our Bass player of 11 years Greg Reeves quit. So at the end of 2008 we basically re-booted the band. Herb took on the bass. We’d been doing a side-project called WINDS OF PESTILENCE for 4 years, Greg had been the drummer and Herb was on Bass and Vocals, so he’d been working on it for a while already. It took us a while to make much progress. We needed Herb to acquire the equipment, he’d borrowed before. Gradually we began to assemble again and make some noise. Instead of learning a set and going to play again, we focus on developing a new sound, and wrote a lot of music that became ‘Feeding Hells Furnace” and the ‘Conquerors of Sodom’ EP. The tracks were finally recorded in 2010. We had the 7” EP released in 2011, and the record came out in 2012. Dario moved away, so DRAWN AND QUARTERED was possibly finished. But Beau Galloway stepped up and I started writing with him on drums. We put together 3 songs based off songs I had been writing before Dario left we never got a chance to complete the recordings for. As we began getting Herb involved, Simon Dorfman stepped up to play drums for us, and Beau would now be able to play guitar. By 2013-2014 we are recording and doing shows. I tracked rhythms for 10 songs. Unfortunately the album was scrapped. Having a second guitar was awesome, but personality conflicts lead to us going back to a 3 piece again. I really wanted to move in new directions but it wasn’t working out. We are very happy now, and have been doing shows and festivals the last couple of years and recording. We have 10 songs we are recording. These are basically demos that I’ll be releasing. I have more songs and another album I want to write and some exciting new ideas and concepts I’ve been inspired by all the recent shows we’ve done. I have a couple of releases planned, some other ideas, and perhaps another full length CD on a label, sometime soon. We have some Festivals and tours planned for 2016.
03. If someone as many years as you was an active member of the metal scene, you're not sometimes bored by the flood of publications?
KSK - There are a lot of music and magazines coming out. I find the bands and people that are real, that are near me. The bands I play shows with, I get to discover. People reach out to me and I hear them, when I am in the mood for that. I have other interests, obligations and responsibilities. So I have some limited time for my music. In the past I dedicated most of my time to music. I have to be a bit more balanced now. There have been a few years where I was not on top of what’s going in in the international metal scene. That would be a full time job. But I am exposed daily to bands from all over thanks to Facebook!
04. What can you tell us about your cover artist Gabriel T. Byrne, who has become a trademark for the band in the meantime. How did you guys get together? How does he work each time to create such chaotic and blasphemous artworks? Why you changed band's logo on ''Feeding Hell's Furnace''?
KSK - There is a bit of history behind the Gabriel T. Byrne connection. It goes back to 1992. In the days when I’m trying to find a drummer for PLAGUE BEARER and Gabriel shows up to try out. He was really good, but felt we were a bit to grind-core for him. We stayed in touch, he was in some bands and was studying art, and did some sketches for me. In 1998 he and Matt were corresponding and he began doing DRAWN AND QUARTERED artwork. After the first two, we just kept going. He’s done some work for the 7” EP’s we put out as PLAGUE BEARER in 2004 called ‘Rise of the Goat’ and the’ Conquerors of Sodom’ EP. He has used our music, and pre-production demos for inspiration. He has collaborated with us extensively in some cases with ideas for the paintings, but he is the one who creates the perspectives and chaos that comes out. Dario was inspired to have some new logos created for us, so we went with that one. I like it.
05. When you compare the scene of nowadays to the days when you started with DQ, what’s the biggest difference would you say? Do you think it has changed in a positive way?
KSK - One of the hardest questions to answer in an interview is anything about a scene, comparing things and describing changes. In the end, it seems I’ve changed more than the scene. I’m happy to see a thriving underground that is excited about vinyl and demo tapes. And understanding that there is no money in this and no fame or big reward other than the music itself.
06. All these years you stand for classical and brutal Death Metal with no compromises, even though the world has changed and a lot of fashions have emerged, such as Metal core, Deathcore... How do you see the scene and its development over the years?
KSK - The roots of my influences start and end at a certain point. That is the blue print for what I do. There are a few, rare instances where I find exciting new inspirations. We choose to perpetuate some classic elements of certain styles that is the foundation. I’m finding new ideas and ways to present our music by as technology and trends emerge. But the music will remain dark and primitive. I hear a lot better songs and better sounding demos from the newest bands today that are remarkable. The cores off shoots are interesting, people finding new room for growth guided by what has come before.
07. You have worked for five albums with Moribund Records together and are then switched to Nuclear Winter Records. What were the reasons for the change and you will produce another album with this label?
KSK - The first was simply re-released by Moribund. 4 records and a DVD with MORIBUND RECORDS. NUCLEAR WINTER RECORDS simply put out the CD and Vinyl versions ‘FEEDING HELLS FURNACE’. We own the record and payed for the production. That label isn’t active. There is no reason for the change. We would like to own our records. I don’t mind giving up rights to my recordings when it suits me. We felt like we’d like to see how we could do on our own, and we did. It was fine. I’d like to have some support of a label again. So we are working on that. I’m doing some things on my own as well, so I’m open to finding ways to get our products to people.
08. In your way of songwriting, you keep a balance between brutality and infernal and sinister moods. Is it a conscious way of creating songs? What do you think of bands creating brutal tunes for the sake of brutality or the endless contest of speed?
KSK - The brutality allows me to vent frustration and the atmospheric elements and guitar embellishments allow me to communicate emotions and feelings. It could all be seen as an exercise in catharsis. In the most elemental popular song structure I grew up with, there would usually be a middle section that would be a variation or even departure from the main musical motifs. You can see I’ll set up a song with an intro or maybe right into a main riff, followed by ideas suited more towards a vocal part. There will be pre chorus type set-ups and then finally a money-riff or chorus, after working within that sort of frame work there will be a break or middle section we’d insert some sort of solos and diversions before returning to the main sections again. This is pretty standard song structure. I just tend to lose interest in a song if it isn’t paced and arranged in an interesting way. Writing a song is like editing a movie. There are a million possibilities, but what is not played and how you reduce it its most important elements is what makes it succeed. But every song can be a little different in form or outside of form all together. The two main things I think about in song writing are, 1). The actual technical notes and what affects you are getting from the modes you are using and how the physical aspects of the instrument and sound reinforcement shape and define that sound. 2) Combining the notes, riffs ideas and breaks and refining that into an interesting cohesive structure that you can rehearse and develop. I don’t have anything against pure speed and brutality. Every band has to choose how it wants to come across. There are some great bands and records that are one dimensional like that and really work. You have to own whatever you do and do it with conviction.
09. How do you witness the death metal evolution in the area of Seattle? Do you have die-hard fans always there at your gigs? Do you see younger metal heads attending at gigs?
KSK -There are some great fans that come to many of our local gigs, and that has grown and been amazing over the years. There are younger people who have been at the all ages shows. In the last few years there has been a strong group of younger bands emerging and taking the metal scene by storm, there are a lot of great underground shows going on every month with bands from all over the world, in small underground clubs in Seattle.
10. Do you think DRAWN AND QUARTERED has found his unique sound and style?
KSK - No. I think we’ve tried a lot of things on our first records, and that a style has finally evolved on our later records. I think moving forward our music will continue to include many classic stylistic elements of our early nineties era, with newer and older influences. There have been some leaps in improvement. And over the years we’ve gradually acquired the skills and experience to transcend our influences. As I’m recording now I’m moving the music in new and old directions. I’m inspired to really define our signature sound with our current line-up; I have a lot of amazing inspirations for pieces of music right now. I’m certain the best is yet to come.
11. It is exactly 3 years since your last album "Feeding Hell's Furnace came out. If you look back, what were the global reactions that you have noticed? Are you satisfied with them? How many copies did you press of "Feeding Hell's Furnace" and what kind of response did you get on it from fans, zines and labels?
KSK - It seems a lot of people got to know DRAWN AND QUARTERED with ‘Feeding Hells Furnace’. We’ve built a following slowly, but still growing. For what it is, yes. I’m not sure how many copies were pressed. People don’t really buy CD’s much. You can check it out for free on YouTube. It seems to have been well received. It has some great songs.
12. Where do you see the main differences between your last two albums ''Merciless Hammer of Lucifer'' (2007) and ''Feeding Hell's Furnace'' (2012)?
KSK - ‘Merciless Hammer of Lucifer’ needed a better mix. Some of the coolness of it just got lost. But I still like it. The songs were written in a completely different way. Greg contributed song ideas. The band collaborated and developed some of it together and a lot of ideas came to me in the recording studio. I did a lot of guitar layering and weirdness, and used the wah-wah on a song. We recorded not long after putting out ‘Hail Infernal Darkness’ which is a great record. I felt we should do something different, moody, and dark and it is. On ‘Feeding Hells Furnace’ we are also very dark, but in a much more primal way. Greg is gone, so the Bass isn’t the wall of distortion and complex parts and intervals as before. The guitars are stripped down, less effects, shorter solos. Dario contributed more ideas and some whole songs we crafted from some of his riffs. We collaborated more and simplified some things. I didn’t try to sound like two guitar players. There are quite different. Different things were tried, different mastering. There are some more sludgy doomy parts. It is a bit rougher really.
13. Would you consider remastering, reworking ''To Kill is Human'' (1999), ''Extermination Revelry'' (2003) and ''Return of the Black Death'' (2004)?
KSK - There are remastered and some remixes of that stuff, but it would have to be economically feasible. Enough people would have to be willing to purchase them to make worth re-doing at this time. We’re better off doing new recordings.
14. What do you guys do for a living? How often do you manage to meet each other for rehearsals?
KSK - Obviously we do something else to make a living. And a little research can help someone figure that out if they really wanted to, but I’d have to say that I don’t think anyone really cares. We all maintain some sort of job, and place to live. I have a house and we meet here to rehearse usually every week. We’ve been recording some demos here as well.
15. What can you tell me about your latest concerts? What do you like especially about playing live?
KSK - This year we have done several festivals and a few other local shows. We are flying to CANADA to do some shows as well. We got to play two sets at the MARYLAND DEATHFEST this year that was fun. And we’ve played with some amazing bands this year. It’s great fun playing songs to new people who know your music, and trying new songs for people. I like getting to do some of the really fun solos and parts live.
16. What can we expect in the future from you? Are you writing new material and already have their plans, perhaps to play in Serbia next year??
KSK - We have some festivals and touring planned for 2016. We have 13 new songs. Some of them are being recorded now. I’m finishing two songs for two different projects and releasing an 8 song demo tape, I will make updates about these releases soon, so check out the DRAWN AND QUARTERED Facebook page. We have no EUROPEAN tours planned yet.
17. Thank you for taking the time... The last words to our readers are yours.
KSK - Hails to all of you and anyone who happens to read this a week from now or a hundred years from now. The scene is us. Don’t be disappointed when only 20 people are at your show, because that is what it is about. We aren’t IRON MAIDEN. Some bands may rise to great levels, but most of us wont. Do it because you loved doing it, there is no other reason. HAIL INFERNAL DARKNESS!!!!!!!!!!!!!