Hot Graves this year releases their debut album entitled Knights in White Phosphorus, after numerous other releases over the past 3 years. Presenting listeners with a perfect balance of black/thrash metal and a crusty sound, Knights in White Phosphorus ensures that not a single moment of boredom is present on the album. We talk to Myk to find out more.
https://player.soundcloud.com/player.swf?url=http%3A%2F%2Fapi.soundcloud.com%2Ftracks%2F27213334 Hot Graves – Worship The Goat by heavymetaltribune
HMT: Greetings Myk! Thanks for giving us this opportunity to talk to you! Before we begin the interview proper, would it be possible to give us a brief history of the band?
Myk: We began this project as an offshoot ov our respective bands at the time (Thee Kvlt ov Ouroboros / By The Horns / Secrets She Kept), when things began to slow way down for Thee Kvlt, and at first it was just Matt (drummer) and I blasting thru riff ideas and primitive structures. Then, it took over, and the sound just obsessed us, and now here we are with a full length release, a 7″, and we’ve even played with the band we took our name from (MIDNIGHT).
With each of the members coming from bands of pretty different musical styles, how did the idea of writing music that Hot Graves plays come about?
Myk: Well, it came about in my head, as a perfect amalgamation ov what I like about both Punk and Metal: the different breeds ov ferociousness, pathos, and fistbanging thrashability interchanging to create HELLBEAT HELLSTORM. So it always comes back to the D-Beat style / syncopation, with all the added elements that have bore their ways into our heads over the years and years ov listening to the best (and sometimes worst) in Metal, Punk, Thrash, D-Beat/Crust, Doom, Black / Death Metal. And just, y’know, Celtic Frost mixed with Discharge (in the right amounts) and BOOM. There you go.
As you have mentioned in another interview that I read, the band came about as a simple and fun side project, but has since grown into a respectable band in its own rights, gaining its own dedicated fan base. Did you ever think that this was possible when the band first started, and how does it feel?
Myk: It feels great, and I would say NO we definitely didn’t see much in it at the time when we began, besides just having fun and realizing an idea. It’s the most fun band experience any ov us have probably ever had.
Let us now talk about the debut full length album, Knights in White Phosphorus. The record displays a new logo compared to previous releases (other than the Necro Mixos Sacrificio EP). What was the reason behind a new logo?
Myk: We had been using certain fonts and the Black Flag tribute coffins logo for a long time, and we really wanted something that was unique, hand drawn, and gnarly as fuck. The idea ov using Justin Bartlett / VBERKVLT had been on my mind for awhile, as I was in contact with him thru the forum, and about some Thee Kvlt business as well. So we consulted back and forth with him until he came out with the masterpiece ov metal graffiti that is our logo, and now I feel proud as fuck when I see it emblazoned upon anything.
The music on Knights in White Phosphorus displays a wide range of influences, from black metal and thrash metal to an almost crusty sound with the d-beats. How did this huge pot of mixed influences come about?
Myk: I mean, that’s just due to my lifetime diet ov music listening and absorption, I guess. The rest ov the guys as well, I mean Matt always knows exactly what feel I’m trying to achieve with certain parts, and it’s because he has that heavy music vocabulary to draw from that comes from just listening and loving Metal/Punk/Whatever for years and years.
What was the songwriting process like then?
Myk: I usually just have a part in my head that’s catchy to me, and then i’ll work it out and figure out some other parts maybe, and then let the rest happen at rehearsal. I like to get inspired by playing with the guys and maybe one ov them will do something weird, and next thing you know we have like a doom riff with a Mötörhead beat behind it. Or maybe I’ll accidentally play something cool at rehearsal, and then interrupt whatever we were doing to figure out some brand new thing that my brain thought it heard in that split second where I played whatever we were working on the wrong way. Every once in awhile, I will actually write the whole thing out by myself at home, and even record it with like drum machine drums and put the bass and lead guitar and everything on it already and show it to the guys like “BAM! here’s a song”. Hutch sometimes comes in with a riff or two and I’ll like one ov them, and then get inspired and write a whole thing around that. Some ov our favorite songs come out like that, such as “F.O.A.D.”
The instrumental track Dirge ov the Apokalyptik Hordes ov the Toxik Damned, displays a slower and different face of the band. What is the purpose of the inclusion of this track on the album?
Myk: That song was our intro for a good long while there, and it served as like a warm-up to the thrashing intensity ov our set, which usually wouldn’t let down until the last song. But on the album it serves as a break in the action, a moment to catch your breath where this lunatic ov an album isn’t just like SCREAMING in your face for awhile, and then it builds back up gradually… and then smashes you over the head with the next song. It’s purposefully there to help you re-feel the power ov the d-beat and the tempo we use, it’s boring to just blast away the same way all the time, even though that is what we do. Heh… Also, it’s position reflects our desire to put it at the beginning ov the B-side ov the vinyl release (forthcoming on GREYHAZE Records), so that both sides ov the record effectively have an introduction.
As evident from the band’s YouTube channel, fun is an important element in Hot Graves. What were some of the best moments when writing the songs for Knights in White Phosphorus?
Myk: For me, the best moments are when we lock in, everyone is in the groove, everything is as it should be, and this light just shines in thru the window and it’s like AUUUUGHHHHHHH WE HAVE A BRAND NEW SONG HERE. The power ov creation, and moreover creating something we enjoy. We’re constantly having fun, joking around, and kinda partying it up, so it’s all a best moment when we’re on our game together.
While the band seems to have a fun take in the band in general, the lyrics themselves are filled with blasphemy and anger such as the personal favourite, Worship the Goat. How did inspiration for the lyric-writing on the album come about, and which side of the band should we take more seriously?
Myk: Hmmmm, well we have fun and blow off steam, joke around and all that there, but the lyrics are what they are. They are an outpouring ov my innermost / worst / realest thoughts and feelings, just like with any artist / lyricist. For better or worse, I have a lot ov anger and hatred coursing thru my life, and I fantasize about killing people a lot, so that tends to come out in lyrics (so it doesn’t come out in real life). Nobody will probably understand what the lyrics to “Worship The Goat” are really about, or at least what I am trying to convey on a personal level with them, and that’s fine with me. They just serve as proper salute to the lifestyle and blasphemy and hate. The destructive side ov the path. Some ov these lyrics were written when I was going thru a divorce, so y’know when you see a line like “.. kick you in the cunt..”, well I was expressing a real feeling then too.
Has the band’s fun and seemingly non-serious attitude on the music taken criticism by more “serious” fans of metal? What has the reaction of the band been to these people?
Myk: I don’t know, I mean, they are people too. Life isn’t all smash / kill / fuck / destroy / metal. I am a dynamic person, as I try to assume everyone else is. I don’t know if people criticize us like that or not. I am serious as fuck about music, and probably very little else besides fatherhood. I am a serious fan ov serious metal, so I will criticize us first if we need it, i guess.
The album artwork is also extremely eye-catching. What is the concept behind the album artwork, and how did it come about?
Myk: The artwork was executed by our friend and tattoo wizard Charles Rouse (who just did a identical tattoo on all three ov us inspired by one ov our new songs “Witch Hammerspell”), and it came from telling him the name ov the album. He had the idea about the explosion behind the horseman, and the horseman just straight up fucking killing the horse. Which I think is awesome. I love the painting, it’s a truly explosive image, it makes me feel something every time I see it. I want to make a limited press ov the vinyl that has a splatter to match the explosion behind the horseman.
The band has also released videos for the songs Get Killed Tonight and Kill for Satan. What was the reason behind picking these 2 tracks?
Myk: You’d have to ask Matt, but we did “Kill For Satan” from our demos a long time ago when we did our first demo release, like 2008. It was just kind ov a project for us to make a video, and for Matt to further his video editing skills. And we just kept going from there, using footage from old horror movies, live footage shot over the years, just whatever we have collected. “Get Killed Tonight” just seemed like a good song to stack up a series ov deaths / head explosions / splattermess scenes to, and that’s exactly what happened. Still. all those old videos, even the one for “Baphomet’s Revenge” with the Faust footage are all old demo versions.
The video from Get Killed Tonight features gory scenes from many different movies, and it seems that the band members are movie buffs, particularly of the gore genre. What are some of your top picks?
Myk: Those guys usually answer these questions, but I personally like old H.G. Lewis joints and just low budget shit, like Troma films. I like Ichi The Killer and shit too, and that Hobo With A Shotgun joint was fuckin’ GREAT. Hilarious. And gory. Zombie movies are kinda like “meh” for me, unless they’re funny (unintentional or not). I like that movie Man Bites Dog, that shit makes me laugh my ass off every time. “GRANNY SNUFF!!!!!” Ahahahahaha!
With the fun approach to music, what are live experiences of Hot Graves like?
Myk: We come out and try to rip thru our set as fast and tight as possible, while jumping around like maniacs and cracking dumb jokes on the microphone and doing Scott Stapp impersonations. I think most every show we have that is decently populated is just super fun, and a reason to bang your fist / head with someone else, probably a cute girl. They congregate up front nowadays. So we try to spread that fun vibe, all while screaming about Satan, blood, murder, and crust punk fashion.
The band has had a constant flow of output, with the Desecration Time EP coming quickly after the Knights in White Phosphorus full length album. Does the band ever run dry of songwriting ideas, and what does the band do to curb the mental block (if any)?
Myk: The D-Time 7″ came out like a couple months before the full length, and it was recorded a year before the full length was recorded, which was recorded a year ago. And we have songs that we purposefully didn’t record for our full length that we recorded a few months later in another studio for some split 7″ stuff with different people (3 ov our favorite songs too, 2 ov which haven’t been on demos or anything) which are just waiting to be released on the people now. And to be completely up front about it, we just got back from a short East Coast tour and immediately demo’ed out our entire new album (12 songs at this time, to be titled “IN THE NIGHT”) which i’ll be continuing to work on until we’re ready to record it for real. So no, I never ever run out ov ideas, and I never have since I was a kid and I doubt I ever will, and if I do there’s always my gravesbrothers there to inspire me. I think it’s because I do a lot ov other music stuff too, it just keeps my mind working constantly.
We have come to the end of the interview, thank you once again for taking the time to answer our questions!
Myk: Thank you for asking questions that made me think a little bit to answer, and thank you for your interest in HOT GRAVES. It is humbling and awesome.
Album Review: Hot Graves – Knights in White Phosphorus