Thursday, February 12, 2015

Khariot Interview

1.For those that have never heard of you before, can you tell us a little bit about the band?

Khariot is an experimental progressive death metal band from Perth, Western Australia; starting up towards the end of 2008 between our drummer Mike, former guitarist Shah Zaini, and myself (Gavin Foo). We had come from pretty different musical backgrounds but also shared a few musical goals - the most important being that we did not compromise our songwriting and sound for anything. Our former bassist Darren Joy, joined shortly thereafter and after a year of gigging, went into the studio to record our first release, 'Disymposium'. For our latest release, 'Esoteric', Khariot was a 2 person studio band. Technically, Mike played the drums and performed his own edits, if any - and I played/performed pretty much everything else.

2.So far you have released 2 albums, how would you describe the musical sound that is presented on both of the recordings and also how do they differ from each other?

This is always the toughest question to answer, as there is no definitive description to our sound. Every label we try to put on it usually garners criticism from one angle or another, and generally our reviewers also have a tough time describing it. We are not a band copying a style or a sound. We are trying to create our own sounds and language through our instruments, whilst inspired by our heavy (and non-heavy) inspirations. 'Experimental progressive death' is the closest we have gotten to so far and fans/reviewers have stated similarities to Gorguts, Death, Cynic, Deathspell Omega, Ulcerate.
'Disymposium' certainly has more of a blackened death feel to it at times compared to 'Esoteric', and that is really the only difference. The atmosphere as translated into sound on 'Esoteric' is also a lot more vast, where I would really try to push the boundaries of what you could do with dissonance, whilst still keeping definition in the notes/chords and not turning it into mud. We have stayed on the same tuning, which is Standard D if anyone was curious - with the exception of 'Khatharsis', which is Dropped C.
The intent was always to produce thought provoking music, musically and lyrically - the differences between the releases is simply this - our goal realized through the 2 current members, instead of the 4....... and it is certainly more matured and evolved than the last.

3.Can you tell us a little bit more about the lyrics the band explores with the music?

The lyrics in majority are based around philosophical and metaphysical themes, which are usually used in conjunction with the 'outer' story. On 'Disymposium' though, it was very much from a third person perspective, whereas 'Esoteric' is completely in the first person. Not having to share the lyrical duties this time around, a lot of the lyrics are channeled versions of my own personal experiences, and instead of each song being an individual story, the entire album is a journey of one story.
An example from the first record, 'Cerebral Continuum' - on the forefront it is a Lovecraftian themed song and references to death by drowning, but under the surface it is about dealing with being in a coma, and/or being overwhelmed by the thoughts going on in one's head.

4.The band has been around since 2008 and has only put out 2 albums, can you tell us a little bit more about the gaps between releases?

The time between our first album which came out in 2011, and Esoteric in 2015 was filled with member departures in 2012, and a lot of writing through to mid 2013. I have always written songs with our ex-guitarist Shah, so having full reigns creatively and lyrically was a fun challenge and I took my time with it as I'm extremely critical of my own work. There were also delays in the recording process and even a few personal issues arose in that time.

5.What is the meaning and inspiration behind the name 'Khariot'?

Khariot is a bastardized spelling of Kerayot. Kerayot means cluster of townships, but it also stems from the byname of the Judas’ Iscariot. Iscariot in itself is a metathesis of sicarius which means ‘dagger-man’ or contract killer in Latin. It doesn’t really have any significant meaning to us and just sounded cool. Nothing to do with being religious as we are far from being religious people. Hilariously, people hardly ever pronounce it right, not that it really matters. Should have thought that one through a little better...

6.Currently there are only 2 members in the band but there was a full line up in the past, are you open to expanding the line up again in the future or do you chose to remain a duo?

We would be interested in doing so if there was a party or parties that were interested. What we are NOT interested in, is a hired gun. We want a shared vision to create thought provoking and challenging music, and we do not compromise. If this sounds like you, whether you are local to Perth or not - send us an email or a message. Otherwise, we are happy to go where the path takes us.

7.What are some of the best shows that the band has played over the years and also how would you describe your stage performance?

I have personally enjoyed every show we played - the ones where we were really tight, the ones where we weren't completely bringing it, the ones where some were too drunk................
Our stage performance is as chaotic at our sound. Perhaps it was the time signatures, perhaps it was the chaos - but we tended to scare the living fuck out of people and they'd be standing at the back of the venue with very, very confused looks upon their faces.

8.Currently you are unsigned, are you looking for a label or have received any interest?

We are always looking.

9.On a worldwide level how has the feedback been to your music by fans of extreme metal?

We get a lot of love from Poland, Germany, the UK and Indonesia! We also have tapped into other parts of Europe over the years and only recently with 'Esoteric' have we seen some recognition from the US. We always appreciate the feedback we get from fans, especially when they go out of their way to message you, only if just to say that they liked an album. The music isn't for everybody, and we have received negative criticism as well as positive - but the most important thing is that you listen to it first before writing it off.

10.Where do you see the band heading into musically during the future?

I don't have that kind of foresight, but I can tell you one thing - I will not be writing lyrics anymore. I have pretty much put down everything I have had to say over the last 2 records, and in my other projects. Unless I have something passionate and new to write about, I am not going to be repeating myself. I don't know if it impacts other writers much, but writing lyrics has taken its toll on me, especially on 'Esoteric'.

11.What are some of the bands or musical styles that have had an influence on your music and also what are you listening to nowadays?

It is a massive list. There are great bands in almost every genre that do their own thing, and those are the ones I tend to admire and listen to the most. Gorguts, Deathspell Omega, Ulcerate, Pyrrhon, Illogicist, Cryptopsy, Tool, Mastodon, Enslaved, Opeth, Ephel Duath, Cynic, Deftones, Psycroptic, Animals As Leaders, Nine Inch Nails, Martyr, Meshuggah, Rotten Sound, Strapping Young Lad.
I started off with the blues and graduated into thrash when I heard my first thrash record, and still my favourite album of all time - Metallica's ...And Justice For All. You can place almost any good thrash record on that list. Mike's list would also differ greatly to mine, which is almost the whole genius of Khariot, as we amalgamate all these cool sounds into one thing - as long as it works as isn't forced.

Currently I have a few different albums on rotation, some of these have been on permanent rotation* since their release.......
Ephel Duath - Through My Dog's Eyes*
Fallujah - The Flesh Prevails
Baring Teeth - Ghost Chorus Among Old Ruins
Decapitated - Blood Mantra
Pyrrhon - An Excellent Servant but a Terrible Master*
Plebeian Grandstand - Lowgazers
Gorguts - From Wisdom to Hate / Obscura / Coloured Sands*

12.Does Occultism play any role in your music?

If any - only in themes, never in practice. We are into many, many weird things.

13.What are some of your non musical interests?

I am glad this question came up, because this involves some of the weird things mentioned in the previous questions.
I read a lot of graphic novels, which really is the cover up term to say that I read a lot of comic books. Grant Morrison's 'The Invisibles' plays an extremely important role in the concept of 'Esoteric', as did quite a lot of Mike Mignola's work on 'Hellboy' and 'B.P.R.D.'. This includes the concepts of multiverses and alternate dimensions. One thing that seems to recur in popular culture is our perception of alternate worlds - if these worlds existed out there, do you really think our minds could perceive or comprehend it all?
Edgar Allen Poe and his genius works are also referenced at some point, the most notable being his 'Conqueror Worm'.
Horror and sci-fi movies, especially the 'Alien' franchise - best of both worlds.

14.Before we wrap up this interview, do you have any final words or thoughts?
If we wanted to make money, we wouldn't be playing experimental progressive death. We just want an honest listen, so if you have heard Khariot and enjoy it, share us. Share us on your social media, blogs, webzines. Promotion sure isn't easy when you can't play live, reside in the most isolated city on earth and can't be lumped into a genre. Thank you for reading, and keep your minds open.

Answers by Gavin Foo of Khariot - 12/2/15

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