Saturday, May 16, 2015

Headless Kross Interview

Headless Kross recently released their latest album, Volumes, through Black Bow Records, with three big tracks to fill the LP.  We had a few questions for the Scottish three-piece, and bassist/vocalist Derek Sexton was kind enough to answer them for us.
Interview conducted May 3rd.

Ride With The Devil: First off, congratulations on the new album, and thanks for giving us some of your time today.  Volumes was a great experience to come across while reviewing albums, and it really stood out, maybe not least of all because of that giant opening track.  To start the questions, is that first track called "Rural Juror" or "The Juror"?  It was "Rural" in my copy, but "The" when I checked the Burning World BandCamp page, and that's been bugging at the back of my mind since then.

Headless Kross: It is definitely “Rural Juror”.  Like all the song titles on the album, it’s meant to be a bit difficult to say out loud.

RWTD: Thanks for clearing that up.  How did you end up with a 20-minute-plus song?  Did you start out intending to do a huge track, or did it just grow to that size over rehearsals?  Was wanting to come up with something to top your material on the Lazarus Blackstar split a part of the impulse?

HK: Our songs tend to take on a natural length, rather than us deciding to do a “long” song.  “Rural Juror” took a while to put together in its final form, but there was never a point where we felt like we were adding anything in for the sake of it.  It was more a case of us playing it in a way that sounded right, checking the stop-watch and thinking “Oof! That’s quite long!”

RWTD: Was there any nervousness about opening the album with a song that long, or were you all ready to go for it?

HK: We had been rehearsing quite intensively in the run up to recording, but we had to be careful not to overdo it and lose the natural feel of the songs.  “Rural Juror” was the oldest of the 3, and so we had practiced it the most, so on the day it was the other 2 we were a little more worried about.

RWTD: The three of you have mentioned influential/favorite bands from your youth in past interviews, but was there any band(s) or album(s) you found yourself thinking of or listening to a fair amount while putting Volumes together?  What was the general mood of the band in approaching the album's assembly?

HK: It’s difficult to pinpoint specific influences, as the whole process took a while from writing to recording, but occasionally we hear echoes of things we were listening to.  For us it was more important to set the correct tone while recording, in terms of mood, so each day we would watch some “inspirational videos” before going in to the studio.  These included footage of Zen Guerilla, The Cosmic Psychos, Gallon Drunk and the classic “In Bed with Chris Needham” documentary (if you have not seen this, go and watch it now!)

RWTD: On the rare occasion you get some time to spare from work and the band, what do you do to relax?

HK: Derek – I enjoy reading (MR James, Algernon Blackwood and Arthur Machen are particular favourites), watching old television and also do a bit of close-up magic.

RWTD: From what I've heard, Headless Kross keeps its touring mainly to Scotland and Ireland, which has me feeling down over here in the States about my prospects of seeing HK tear it up live.  How have the crowds reacted to you over the years?  Any stand-out incidents of enthusiastic fans or detractors?

HK: We generally have good reactions when we play.  We are lucky enough to be involved in a scene which is populated by like-minded people, and they are usually very nice to us.  There have been no real horror stories yet.  The closest is probably Tommy and Derek sitting outside the Limelight in Belfast, and being told by an enthusiastic local to… ”Fuck your heavy metal – I’M SNOOP DOG!!!” (he wasn’t)

RWTD: Of the bands with whom you've shared a stage, have there been any whom you felt really fit with your sound, or vice versa?

HK: Too many to list – whether it’s the wig-outs of Wild Rocket (whose debut album is excellent), or the crushing heaviness of bands like Slomatics, Conan or Ommadon, we tend to fit in well with most bands we play with.  To be honest, it’s more important to fit in with bands in terms of the approach they take.  We have played many shows with bands a bit further afield in terms of sound, but who take the same cooperative attitude towards shows as we do.

RWTD: Any bands out there with whom you'd really enjoy doing a split in the future?

HK: To be honest there are too many to choose from.  It would probably be more of a split LP.

RWTD: Any bands in particular whose music you'd be tempted to cover if licensing fees weren't an issue?

HK: 'Money For Nothing' by Dire Straits.

RWTD: Thanks very much for your time and the excellent music.  Is there anything else you'd like to say to our readers?

HK: Thanks for your support.  Come and say hello at the next show.

~ Gabriel