You've heard of extreme metal. You've heard of death metal. You've heard of thrash metal. Now take a combination of all three sub-genres and you get the amalgamation that is Battlecross. Straight from Detroit, Michigan, the quartet has taken the country by storm this year with their unique brand of extreme thrash metal. The band recently finished up a tour with GWAR (when this interview was conducted), and I spoke with vocalist Kyle Gunther about the writing process, working with producer Jason Suecof, their synthesis of musical genres, and more.
Based on your experience with all of the records you’ve worked on, what would you say was the biggest difference between the writing processes on Rise To Power and War of Will?
Well, let’s see. We had a little bit more time on War of Will. We had to speed right through for [Rise to Power]. We were trying to have an album ready for Mayhem Fest. And we didn’t get Mayhem, so we were like, “okay now what?” It’s always Tony (Asta, guitar) and Hiran (Deraniyagala, guitar), and Don (Slater, bass) doing the writing. Tony and Hiran will generally write the majority of it, Don will write maybe one or two. I think Don only got one in on this one. But the process is really, really similar.
We went into the studio not having a lot of stuff. When we went in there, they helped us out, and I was like, “wow, that song is completely different!” Me and Jason did a lot of writing on the fly. We’d write and then just go in and record them.
Now I was actually going to ask you about Jason Suecof. What did he bring to the table for you guys as a producer, that helped you bring all of the tracks to life!
He’s a fucking wizard! I’d always be like, “okay, why don’t you just calm the fuck down so I can understand what you’re doing?” It’s kind of awesome. We’ve got ADHD, both of us. It would get kind of weird sometimes when we were in a room together, and the ideas were just flying! I learned how to trick him. He would want something, and then he might want something different. I would feel really strongly about it, but then I would be like, “alright, let’s just move on and come back to it.” And then sometimes he would forget. (smiles)
(Laughs) So not exactly reverse psychology, but similar to it.
Pretty much, yeah! (laughs)
You guys have a synthesis of various metal genres, but vocally, it rivals death metal. What would you attribute to some of the musical influences you’ve had on this album?
Well, I’d say that we’re a thrash band, incorporating melodic death metal into the mix. I was in a different band before this, and they knew what I did, and they said “bring that to us!” I’m really influenced by bands like The Black Dahlia Murder. I heard them and I screamed like a fucking pterodactyl before I heard Trevor (Strnad, lead vocalist for TBDM). I thought, “oh I’ve never really thought about screaming like that!” My scream kind of rivals his. It’s not the same, but mechanically-wise, it’s kind of the same. Cannibal Corpse is another influence. We just love metal, and this is the type that we want to hit.
What kind of message, if any, would you like fans to walk away with after listening to your music?
Feel better about yourself. We are an aggressive band, but we don’t want to focus on the negativity. Don’t be an asshole. (laughs) If you come to our show, in-between songs, I am a fucking joker. I will make you laugh, everybody’s like, “I cannot fucking believe the shit you said!” Like yesterday, we always try to end our set a little early. We don’t try to push it, because we want to give the artists and the stagehands a little time. We don’t want them to say “ah man, Battlecross went fucking over again!” I’ve had a shit ton of local bands do that, and I fucking hate it when they do that.
I’d just say walk away with the idea of having fun, having a good day, getting away from the bullshit, and just have fun at a fucking rock show.
What does music mean to you?
Music is my escape. I actually wrote a song about this, it’s my vaccine. It’s my vaccine from the world and all of its ignorance. I can turn it up, pick any mood that I want to be in, and have that song take me there.
For more music from Battlecross, visit www.facebook.com/battlecrossmetal
This has been another Shameless Promotion.