In this interview conducted on September 26, 2011 Warbringer Singer John Kevill Speaks to “Japan Nick” Perkel about the new album “Worlds Torn Asunder”, thoughts on touring overseas in Japan and the Ukraine, feelings on the first headlining tour for Warbringer in the United States, the European tour supporting Arch Enemy and more.
Bulldozer: Now With your third album coming out tomorrow how do you feel?
John Kevill: I feel pretty good, it’s been a long time coming, we’ve had the album ourselves for four months now. So we’ve been itching to get it out.
Bulldozer: On War without End there was the Japan only track Onslaught and also on Waking into Nightmares’s Japan CD You had Humans To Kill, Do you have any B- sides or bonus tracks that are going to appear on any foreign pressings of Worlds Torn Asunder?
John Kevill: Yeah Right now we recorded two covers for it, Motorhead We Are The Road Crew for the European One, It’s also on the Living Weapon Single and that will go out with the album preorder that some people got. Then also we recorded a cover of Bathory Sacrifice that we haven’t put on anything in particular yet, but it will eventually be seen on something. We need to have those kind of tracks sitting around.
Bulldozer: Do you think there might be a Japan CD of your album, I remember Waking into Nightmares had a King Records Japan CD?
John Kevill: We are still trying to make that happen. We Got a US/Europe Release and its out in South America as well. I don’t think we have secured a Japan Release yet, that’s in the works so hopefully we can make that happen too cuz we obviously want our album to come out anywhere in the world it can. I hope we get to go back to Japan actually. Maybe it will be harder for a band like us to get over there because obviously there was a terrible disaster this year so obviously I think that would hurt the market where people go out and see a metal show. But I REALLY LOVED JAPAN and it was a wonderful country and I hope I get a chance to go back.
Bulldozer: I was in Japan for a year and I actually saw an Exodus, Nile/The Haunted show in Osaka and the Japan ones and some of em were lame just standing around and others you see moshing around in the pit and it’s just awesome meeting people like that.
John Kevill: Oh I know they were just so excited about it. That’s really what you want to see with anybody you know. You should be so excited about it you are about to burst. That’s the most fun you are ever going to have at a metal show is when people have that kind of mentality.
Bulldozer: Now on songs like Living Weapon, Shattered Like glass, and also Demonic Ecstacy, you got some unique sounding screams at certain points, do you ever do any kind of vocal exercises before your concerts?
John Kevill: For like the basic shout, the more growly one, and then the high scream that I think you are talking about. Basically just make sure everything is working and go on. I’m not singing pretty so I’m singing scales or anything like that. Don’t know how, don’t really care. For what we are doing its about enunciation, delivery and power.
Bulldozer: Now who were the songwriters of “Behind the Veils of Night.”
John Kevill: That’s Carlos and Adam , pretty much those two, and those two recorded the whole thing themselves as well. The last thing in the studio we wanted to have was an instrumental. They put that together a month before we went in. We only had heard it in Guitar Pro form before it was actually recorded. Adam has got a lot going on in his head so he kinda just composes and comes up with that stuff like all the time. I am pretty happy with how the instrumental turned out. They really collaborated well on it and it adds a nice soul edge to the album that we couldn’t get otherwise that we couldn’t do otherwise in the format of a non-instrumental song.
Bulldozer: Just wondering, are you guys fans of any of the classic 80s instrumentals like Welcome To Your Funeral by Rigor Mortis and The Ultra Violence by Death Angel?
John Kevil: Yeah definitely also I’m a big fan of To Live is To Die From Metallica because of that riff in the middle. Instrumentals are a good thing for metal in general. Then there are other types like Razor The Martial Arts that’s just 3 and half minutes of fucking thrash riffs with a 30 second stream at the beginning and that was just awesome, rifforama.
Bulldozer: Now did your new drummer Carlos Cruz from Hexen contribute any lyrics to your new album?
John Kevill: We worked together mostly, His major song writing credit on the record, this is his first record with us and when he joined he was like “I’m not a hired gun, I want to be a full member and I don’t want to be a hired gun” and we were like” Good, we Don’t want a hired gun.” So he started writing, immediately plays guitar as well. “Echoes from the Void” was his song that he brought to the table and then the whole band worked on it. I was at first not quite sure what to do with it vocally and lyrically so he got together and had a little pow-wow for a day and just brainstormed ideas and then with some of the other songs since he lived out past my way so we’d always carpool to practice together. So we’d always talk about lyrics all the time together, getting ideas going, so yeah Carlos definitely had a hand in conceiving of some of the lyrics.
Bulldozer: Do you feel like with Carlos there is something you can do with Warbringer that you weren’t able to do with Nic Ritter?
John Kevill: Yeah I mean Carlos is more on the same page that we are musically. Sometimes working with Nic involved some conflict creatively. He is more of a modern prog guy than a total old hesher thrash and speed metal kind of guy like most of the rest of us are. So you just run into some conflict there, Nic did great work on our album and he added a really cool sound of his own that’s pretty atypical for thrash. I think Carlos took the amount of that, that we’d want though and just bring us more focus on straight power, which is what our music really calls for I think.
Bulldozer: Now right now you are getting ready to go on tour with Diamond Plate, Lazarus AD, Landmine Marathon next Monday. Have you made any sort o special preparations since you are now headlining on this tour.
John Kevill: We are pulling a bunch of old songs out, we are going to try to rage as hard as possible, pretty much that, you’re going to have to see the tour to find out. This is our first headlining tour and we are going to do what we always do and head bang extremely hard the entire show every night so, you pretty much know what you are going to get, we are going to give you a solid old fashioned ass kicking!
Bulldozer: Now on November 15th (2011) you are heading out to Germany to start your European Tour opening up for Arch Enemy. Any thoughts on this?
John Kevill: HELL YEAH is my thoughts on that. I am pretty jazzed to do that. I love Europe, I love being there. It’s always been a great experience for me to travel. I really enjoy that whole part of the world. Every day you can be in a different country with a totally different culture that goes back a 1000 of 2000 years or longer and I always found that really cool. There are friendly people out there, we know some folks from various cities there, it’s going to be a blast dude.
Bulldozer: Last Year you toured Japan with Toxic Holocaust, and Municipal Waste, how was that show like?
John Kevill: The Tokyo show was especially insane. That was awesome and it was all great actually. The whole experience of just being there as well as the shows and the fans. we were talking about earlier. They were so happy to come to the show and head bang and mosh and everything. It was a really great feeling especially. We’ve never been there, we didn’t know anybody knew about us there but we saw strong support for all the bands. The same thing with the rest of the continued Southeast Asia tour we did after that. We are going to try to go back out there this next year probably and gonna try to hit places like China and hopefully we can get back to Japan.
Bulldozer: What was your favorite thing to do in Japan when you weren’t driving around or at the shows?
John Kevill: We just walked around everywhere, all over the place, the venues were like a chain of places, always right in the middle of town with just a ton of stuff around it, ya know big crowded cities and so everybody was just going around the city doing stuff all day, went to play the show and then continued at night, had sake and all this kind of food that we never had and what not, it was really cool.
Bulldozer: Now how much time does your band have to go sightseeing in the cities you play in?
John Kevill: Usually not much, but the Southeast Asia tour was a bit of an anomaly because we actually did have a lot of time to do that. We weren’t vanning it around, we were doing flights and had a show on average every other day vs every single day. So it made the pace of that tour a little more lax a lot of times. But usually we show up, get in the van, leave ‘cuz drives are long. If it’s a short drive we will stick around and party or if we get there early and there is something cool we might want to see we’ll do it. Usually we’re pretty straight to the point, we show up sit there at the venue, sit there till the show, play the show, and get on with heading to the next one.
Bulldozer: Now what’s your favorite thing about being part of the LA Metal Scene?
John Kevill: It’s a really lively and active scene. I’ll say that’s the main one and we see a lot of real strong support out here. I’m hoping for this tour this is the first time any of the newer LA Thrash Metal bands have managed to pull off headlining the Key Club, so we’re hoping to see really strong support there, and it’s great that there is a whole prosperous metal scene here. Not much more to say about that. People going to metal shows and being into metal is awesome.
Bulldozer: Is there anything you really dislike about being part of the LA Metal Scene?
John Kevill: It’s pretty crowded, that’s about it really. Other than that, really that’s an upside and a downside. LA Is a great place for a band to be located. We’re just from all around the area. So it’s pretty lucky I guess, you want to be in , I mean if we were in Idaho or something we prally wouldn’t have had the same opportunities to just get out in front of people that we had to play in a place like LA that has just a lot of bands of every type of music who actively go to shows.
Bulldozer: What do you feel you have not yet accomplished yet as a musician but you are reaching towards?
John Kevill: Basically I want to be able to do this full time and sustain myself on it. That’s basically it. I am very happy with what we have done so far. We have a global fan base, more than I ever thought we would do, cuz this is my first band. I started with John and Andy Laux just purely for fun and the love of doing it as a hobby. It went way farther than we expected. We always put our all into it. But we weren’t really expecting much ever. So we still kind of look at it and go wow that’s really crazy that all of this happened. We are a professional touring International band. That’s really cool. It’s the dream I guess. I really enjoy what we do and hope to keep doing it as long as I can. We’ll try to keep making albums that don’t suck and all of that you know.
Bulldozer: Since your band is prally going to play your 1000th show within the next year, is there anything really different nowadays then back in ’04?
John Kevill: Yeah we are a lot more used to what we are doing. We formed in the end of ’04 and it took us till mid ’05 to play our first show. We had like three songs written at that point. So we have come a really long way since then. We were total amateurs, we just kept playing until we got good enough at it to be on the International touring circuit. We seem to have developed a reputation as a good live band. We put everything we can into our live shows like every night. I think just doing it all the time over and over again. We know how to have fun on stage, and how to put on a good show. The experience level has changed quite a bit, the core of what we are trying to do is exactly the same. In that way it hasn’t changed at all.
Bulldozer: What’s been the most wild memory from past tours overseas?
John Kevill: (Laughs) There’s a few. Overseas? That counts out a lot of stories right there. We were going to the Ukraine, it was on the tour we did in Europe with All Shall Perish and Sworn Enemy and we had one show Metalheads Mission Festival in the Ukraine and our drummer Nic who had passport problems way more times than should of have happened really lost his passport in Germany and couldn’t get on the plane. So we were like Adam used to play drums for us way back when on our first demo. We went and did the Ukraine show as a 4 piece. It was a bit of trainwreck but the Ukrainians loved it anyway. The hype guys they had at the festival WERE THE BEST I HAVE EVER SEEN. They were like these huge bearded burly guys “THESE Thrash GUYS RAUGGH RAUGGH’ super loud over the mic and that is my terrible impersonation of Ukrainian dialect , I don’t know it at all. But it was fucking cool. Then we played the show and we were kind of a trainwreck but people liked it. We’ve had to do that kind of ordeal several times where we power through and do the show with a missing member. Our philosophy is basically “WE DON”T MISS SHOWS ” if we are at all able to pull it off in any capacity.
Bulldozer: Now how do you stay hungry as a musician?
John Kevill: Actually this long period off has been„, When I get back on tour I am going to have to relearn how to be a different kind of person again. I have been off the road for a good 8 or 9 months and sort of been living a slacker life, have a part time job cuz that’s the best I can get. I have way too much downtime really and need to get back on the road so I can play shows every night again, cuz that is basically what does it for me. I just love playing shows and when there is a really good raging show and a good time is had by all.
Bulldozer: Now is your band into any horror movies?
John Kevill: A little bit, not particularly. I’m mostly into like epic adventure and 80’s action.
Bulldozer: What are some of your favorites?
John Kevill: Terminator 2 Predator Aliens Conan The Barbarian is a a major favorite. That movie is amazing. The first line of that movie of the dialoge isn’t even spoken until half an hour into the movie. 90% of that movie is just imagery and music and just the epic warrior spirit. So I fucking love that and did they did awesome with the Lord of the Rings series. That’s just badass as hell. I’d say that’s my pantheon of favorite movies right there.
Bulldozer: Closing things off if you could be a villain in a movie who would you pick?
John Kevill: That’s a tough one dude, you’d want to be a villain that’s set up pretty well to have a pretty badass and awesome life of evil. I might choose Thalse of Doom, he sort of just rules his mighty snake cult temple, has a life of complete opulence and luxary and he can tell women to just jump off a cliff to their death because he holds the power of flesh. (Laughs) That’s what it says in the movie. I mean being a lord of a snake cult that has wild orgies and eats human soup, it’s pretty badass. You know he can just turn into a serpent. You know dude being a mighty wizard.
Interview by Nick Perkel