Drawn and Quartered

Drawn and Quartered ‘The One Who Lurks’

I got to see Drawn and Quartered annihilate at the 2015 Portland, Oregon Famine Fest at the Tonic Lounge. I was able to recently spoke with founding guitarist Kelly Shane Kuciemba to discuss what has been going on with Drawn and Quartered and Plague Bearer since then. We spoke in depth about the writing and recording music as well as the artwork for 2018’s ‘The One Who Lurks’, the Asakusa Deathfest and tour of Japan.

BM: I last saw you in 2015 at Portland Oregon’s Famine Fest, what has been up with you in the past few years?

Kelly Shane Kuciemba: In 1996 we put out our first Drawn and Quartered demo, an 8 song tape. 20 years later I released the ‘Proliferation of Disease’ 8 song demo tape, a tribute to past. We recorded in my basement on a 4-track Tascam Cassette Porta Studio. This recording was re-mastered and released as a CD with 2 additional songs by Vault of Dried Bones, out of Canada in 2017. Later that year we began working with Krucyator Productions out of France. Krucyator has rereleased Feeding Hell’s Furnace (2012) as a tape with 2 additional tracks, Hail Infernal Darkness (2005) from Moribund Records as an LP, and produced and released ‘The One Who Lurks’ CD. ‘The One Who Lurks’ album started out a lot like the ‘Proliferation of Disease’ demo. I had a live bass and drum track from my 4-track and built a record around it. In the end we decided we really didn’t like the drum sound and re-did the drums and bass. It began on the Porta Studio then transferred to a 32 track, because the 4-track wasn’t working anymore. I engineered the guitars, bass and vocals. We outsourced the drum engineering to our friend Chris Manino in Seattle. Loic Fontaine produced, mixed and mastered the recording. It was an unusual way to create a record but we were pleased with results.

In 2016 we released a compilation cassette tape called Drawn and Quartered-‘Plague Bearer’ In 1993 we were called Plague Bearer and my very first recording in a real studio was the ‘Bubonic Death’ demo which was a $200 recording which was 4 hours on 1 day, 4 hours another day. Moribund Records distributed that release. I paired that up with our 2004 EP ‘Bubonic Death’ released as a 7” EP by Nuclear Winter Records. The tape was released by End of Music Records out of Italy. In 2018 Vomit Records released a CD version called Plague Bearer-‘Rise of the Bubonic Death’. Also in 2018, Krucyator released the Plague Bearer-‘Winds of Pestilence’ CD. This compilation consists of our 2001 demo called ‘Defiled by Sodomy’ and our 2008 recording of our side band (2004-2008) Winds of Pestilence. Plague Bearer consists of Drawn and Quartered members with other drummers. Winds of Pestilence had our former bass player on drums. In 2019 Drawn and Quartered released a live CD called ‘Mutilated Offerings’ recorded at Asakusa Deathfest in 2018. A tape version is being released by End of Music.

BM: Can you tell me the evolution ‘The One Who Lurks’ from just a demo, to what is heard on the album?

Kelly Shane Kuciemba: Drummer Simon Dorman is able to propel my ideas forward and give shape to my songs spontaneously. ‘The One Who Lurks’ was a really great opportunity to experiment with that. We did have 2 songs already so those were easy to record. I recorded Simon on drums and I played bass live in my studio. We learned the new songs and tracked them within minutes. We didn’t really make any demos for these songs. I will watch weird movies that inspire the music and sometimes the lyrics. A trio of movies inspired the second half of ‘The One Who Lurks’. Those songs form a conceptual piece. While watching one of the movies I would pick out some notes, patterns and musical ideas. I jot them down and make a rough arrangement in my head that I chart out on a white board. Simon and I would go through the song once, and basically learn it on the fly.

A lot of stuff I have done over the years has been inspired by horror movie soundtracks. Anything from Frankenstein, The Mummy, Dracula usually contains some minor keys or weird diminished phrases. Some of the music is rather odd but I try to draw from the atmosphere of it. Not every song is created like this. Many songs are just composed off the top of my head or come from other sources. The arpeggios and strange chords in the title track remind me of some creepy old black and white movies.

BM: How much of a change did you notice with the recording of your album ‘The One Who lurks compared to ‘Feeding Hell’s Furnace? You from switched your producer from Jesse O Donnell at the Autopsy Room to Loic Fontaine from Krucyator?

Kelly Shane Kuciemba: With ‘Feeding Hell’s Furnace, we became a 3 piece. Our bass player had left, and Herb had taken up the bass. He had already been doing that with Winds of Pestilence with us for 4 years. That was a side band and later did a demo. We spent about 2 years, from 2008 to about 2010 rehearsing to a click track. Then we went into the studio, (The Autopsy Room in Tacoma, WA). We worked there from 2003-2010. Those 7 years were a very prolific time for Drawn and Quartered. We would go in and get a very impressive sound and good times in the isolation rooms, loud rooms, and a control room. We used to go for weekends Friday through Sunday and spend hours and hours there. It was great working with Jesse, he is a fantastic engineer. We used standard recording techniques.

With the ‘One Who Lurks’ I did some weird production techniques on there and it came out pretty cool. I engineered the guitars, bass and vocals in my Plague Pit studio. It was a unique moment; I will never be able to capture that again. Loic is in France, and we had to relay tracks and messages during the production. He did a fantastic job. The Autopsy Room is where we recorded 5 of our records. It was amazing working with Jesse. He was like the fifth member. I had a lot of fun and made some great music. We put a lot of rehearsal into those records and a ton of time composing my guitar parts. On ‘The One Who Lurks’ it was a lot more spontaneous.

BM: You had Gabriel T. Byrne do the art for your new album, how did that turn out?

Kelly Shane Kuciemba: I have known Gabriel since 1992. He has painted covers for all 7 of our studio releases and the Plague Bearer 7” EP. In 2017 we were working on the record’ it was basically in the ‘can’ being produced and being put together. I conveyed ideas about my subject matter through email. I was looking for this alien feel, but also ancient temple and pyramid type concept. There were some ancient manifestations represented as alien technology. I was looking for something different than the typical serial killer or evil artwork, digging into some deeper areas of the psyche. It’s really hard to be completely original. We want something interesting or good. Originality is usually an accident or a very well-orchestrated gamble.

BM: Just recently you got to fly out to Japan with Petrification and performed at the Asakusa Deathfest in Tokyo, Japan. What moments captured your memories the most?

Kelly Shane Kuciemba: We played 4 shows in Japan. There was Shinjuku, Osaka, Yokohama, and the Asakusa Deathfest in Tokyo. There was Galvanizer some young guys barely in their twenties from Finland; they would blow your mind. They have captured a really great sound and the best elements of Stockholm death metal and grind core. They are pretty straight-forward, and very aggressive band. They are up-tempo Swedish death metal with some Carcass influence, for the vocal approach. They had two vocalists which was really great. They are one of those bands that has done all the right things and hit all the right notes. The drumming is what really brings it together. To find someone with that kind of skill, you are born with that kind of ability. That second night I saw them in Asakusa, great sound, brilliant performance. It was very reminiscent of Dismember, early Entombed and Carnage.

Petrification did an amazing job. Bullet Belt was great. I loved the Japanese bands like Unholy Grave, Funeral Moth, Abigail, and met so many cool people. Funeral Moth was a really beautiful funeral doom type band, which was quite well orchestrated. There was a lot of grind bands like Inhumane, Teeth Grinder and many others. There were also some brutal death metal bands.

BM: Your other band Plague Bearer released two compilation CD’s in 2018. Can you speak to me a bit about each one?

Kelly Shane Kuciemba: With Plague Bearer I had 3 recordings and one from Winds of Pestilence. In 1993 we recorded ‘Bubonic Death’, which was a 4 song demo. Herb and I did that with some friends. There was a drummer friend and a bass player we worked with in other bands. We did it quickly for very little money. I paired that up with a recording we did 11 years later, called “Rise of the Goat’. We put that out as a tape and then a CD. The tape is called Drawn and Quartered-‘Plague Bearer’, the CD from Vomit Records is called Plague Bearer- ‘Rise of the Bubonic Death’. They are the same tracks. The newest Plague Bearer release is called ‘Winds of Pestilence’ which were 5 songs recorded as Plague Bearer in 2001, and 6 songs recorded as Winds of Pestilence in 2008. For that there is some really cool art by Thomas Westphal of ’Necromaniac’ zine.

The 2001 stuff I play in C sharp and a drop B as my tuning. That’s entirely different from the other CD; and was B Standard for everything which is the same for Drawn and Quartered. The second is more in the vein of black, thrash, and death metal. The 2001 stuff is kind of thrashy. It has some black metal and death metal. Winds of Pestilence are a lot more black metal. We were doing Venom and Slayer covers. The CD has really cool artwork and a big demon with flames, with witches and demons dancing around. It’s all done over the top, like your early 90s black metal stuff. I look at it in today’s politically correct climate, laughs I wonder is anyone going to call me out on this stuff?

BM: Can you explain what promoting albums in the late 80s and early 90s meant compared to the concert market we are living in today?

Kelly Shane Kuciemba: Back then people bought records. Now you need to make your money off touring and the merch. People just don’t buy records and you used to be able to make a living being a musician. You would make records and tour on them. Now you make a record to support your tour. What you are getting paid and the merchandise sales are what generate the money now. Some bands have done incredibly well. If you are one of the top underground bands you can make ten thousand dollars a night. Let’s say you do a tour for a month. We are talking hundreds of thousands of dollars. You need to be able to sell merchandise. You need to be worldwide and be able to bring things to the market. The radio is not going to help you much, advertising will only go so far. People will download, but they won’t download the numbers to generate that much income. You are supporting your tour with a record that is kind of a freebie. You can’t invest a ton of money making a record.

BM: Final Words?

Kelly Shane Kuciemba: Thanks a lot for listening man and doing what you do. Being a huge part of a community of musicians, artists, labels and promoters sharing what you enjoy with us and helping promote bands.

Interview By Nick Perkel