Thursday, 14 December 2017

INTERVIEW: Dead Quiet frontman Kevin Keegan discusses "Grand Rites"

By: Mark Ambrose

Dead Quiet, a Vancouver quartet featuring members of 3 Inches of Blood, Barn Burner, and Anciients, has been steadily amassing a solid collection of doomy stoner rock bangers since 2014.  However, this year’s sophomore effort, “Grand Rites”, is nearly a debut of its own, as it’s the first to feature all members of the live lineup – and the cohesion shows.  As THE SLUDGELORD’S own Mark Tremblay said in his album review, “Grand Rites” is “one of the best Canadian Metal Records of the year”.  Guitarist, vocalist and founding member Kevin Keegan took a few moments to answer some questions via e-mail, sharing some insights about the road to “Grand Rites”, the hopes for performing in the future, and some of his personal favorite records this year.

In his review for our site, Mark Tremblay said the band sounds more “fully formed” than on the self-titled debut.  Can you talk about how you guys have developed since 2015’s “Dead Quiet”, and what steps you took to prepare to record “Grand Rites”?

Kevin: The main factor was having the right members. We had a little bit of trial and error with the line up when we first formed; the debut record only features Dana and myself, the band that we have now came after the recording. With “Grand Rites” we had the line up we had always dreamed of. When Brock came aboard we knew we had something special and then it got even better with Mike and Justin. As far as preparing to record it was just a lot of rehearsing. We spent a lot of time ironing out the arrangements and then having some fun with additional instrumentation when we got to the studio.

The artwork on your records has a particularly striking, throwback appeal.  Can you tell us a little about the artist/concept/design process was like for this record?

Kevin: Cody Fennell, the artist who did both our records, has always been a close friend and my go to guy when it comes to band artwork. We worked together on all the Barn Burner records as well as countless t-shirt designs. The way we work has always been I’ll have a direction or a full concept and he will put pen to paper and make it happen. I trust in him completely so what he churns out never disappoints. Conceptually, I wanted to stick with this theme of fantastical shapes amidst a landscape of ruin. The notion of this beacon of something mysterious yet hopeful surrounded by bleak deprivation was always in mind with both records. Thematically, this theme runs through the music as well.

There are elements of prog, stoner metal, classic soul-infused rock, and even some thrash running through the album.  What are some of the influences you distinctly drew from when writing the album?

Kevin: It’s hard to pinpoint exact influences. I’ve kind of been listening to the same stuff for a long time. I’d say it’s definitely a lot of classic rock and proto metal as well as some newer doom and hardcore. Some of the other guys listen to a ton of old pop music and funk too so that creeps its way in.

Canada seems to have a more eclectic or maybe more visible heavy music output in recent years.  How has Vancouver or B.C. shaped your development?  What is the scene there?  How does it differ from, say, Toronto or Montreal?

Kevin: To me Canada has always had a prolific heavy music scene. Vancouver itself introduced me to live bands that I still draw influence from to this day. Growing up watching Vancouver and Seattle bands was how I gauged how I was going to perform and write songs. The scene here now is an overwhelming abundance of great bands. The individuals making music here are very talented and for a fellow Vancouver musicians it keeps me on my toes. Montreal has a great music scene as well but for whatever reason it’s never had the sheer volume of bands and players that Vancouver does. As for Toronto, I’m not sure what’s going on there, doesn’t seem like they’ve had a very cohesive scene in a long time. Don’t get me wrong though, there are some killer bands from Toronto that I absolutely love.

What are the current plans for touring in support of the record?  Any particular bands you’re looking forward to playing with?

Kevin: We can’t wait to hit the road with this new record, no tour plans as of yet though, still waiting on the opportunities to present themselves. As for bands, I think most of the bands we’d love to play with are slightly out of our league but hey, a guy can dream!

What are some dream locations or festivals you’d like to play in the coming year?

Kevin: We really want to get to Europe, that’s our priority right now. Playing Roadburn or Hellfest would be absolutely amazing but really what we want is just get on the road and play in general.

Finally, in Mark Tremblay’s review he singled Grand Rites out as one of the best Canadian metal releases of the year.  With that in mind, and the year drawing to a close, what have been some of your personal favorites for 2017?

Kevin: I’d say Mutoid Man’s latest record, “War Moans” is up there as #1. Other than that it’s the latest Converge, Power Trip, and the yet to be released debut record from Montreal’s The Sick Things.

The End

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