The Hyena Kill are back and their music is more brutal than ever. We caught up with the duo to find out some more about their latest EP and where they take their wall of sound next.
TELL US A LITTLE BIT ABOUT YOUR NEW EP 'SPUN' Steve - I think this record sees us pushing the boundaries of what we could achieve as a two piece. There was a definite focus on the songwriting and feel of each track. Some of the tracks have weird twists and turns and although that's not for everyone it certainly keeps things interesting and fresh from a writing point of view. Lorna - I'm really proud of this EP. It pushed us as a band and even though the writing process was frustrating at times, it was worth it because the result is something I can't wait for people to hear. THE ALBUM IS A BIT MORE AGGRESSIVE THIS TIME AROUND, WHAT PROMPTED THAT PROGRESSION OF YOUR SOUND? Steve- We have always been a very agro type of band. I think on this record the aggressive parts are a lot more controlled. We created a lot more soundscapes and quieter moments than we have done before so when it hits hard it has a more powerful, meaningful effect. Lorna - I think we also became better with our instruments and songwriting skills. We had gigged Atomised a lot before the writing process started for Spun, and we had matured as people and musicians since Atomised. Which I think is reflective when listening to Spun. THERE'S A LOT OF DARK STUFF ON THE ALBUM TOO, WHAT INSPIRES YOU TO WRITE IN THAT WAY? Steve - Our music has always come from the more darker side of our personalities. We always try to be very honest with ourselves when writing and performing. With regards to lyrics, I spent a lot of time on them and really got to grips with how the words blended with the music. It's the first time I experimented with character writing, it was a lot more fun mixing storytelling with personal experience, sometimes within the same track. I always lean towards more cryptic lyrics rather than an obvious message. PANIC WOMB IS A PRETTY DISTURBING TRACK TOO – WHAT'S THE STORY BEHIND THAT ? Steve - We wrote that track so fast. It just came out of nowhere and were gigging it a few days later. It's just raw in your face aggression. If it was any longer I don't think it would have the same impact. Lorna - I'd just been listening to some punk and started playing the beat that's on Panic Womb in rehearsal, its not really the kind of style I'd jam but Steve just started riffing over it and it sounded awesome. I think we wrote it in one rehearsal.
DO YOU HAVE A FAVOURITE TRACK ON THE RECORD? Steve- Dare to swim. Mainly because it is right out of our comfort zone and heading feet first into a sound we are both fans of. We've experimented with more melodic textures in the past but not to this degree. It also has guest vocals from Stephanie Mannaerts, the vocalist for the insanely brilliant Brutus. What she added just took the track to somewhere completely different. It blew us both away once we heard it back. Lorna - I'd have to agree that this is my favorite too. It fluctuated at first between this and Pound of Flesh, which I think turned out to be a bit of a dark horse on this EP. I love the groovy start and the aggressive ending of POF. But like Steve says, Dare To Swim was pushing our limits of songwriting. Especially as a noisey rock band. Stephanie really brought the track to life too. Its an honour to have her on the record. HOW LONG DID IT TAKE TO WRITE AND RECORD THE ALBUM? Steve - The whole process took about a year. We had half of the songs for about 8 months then went to do a test track with Andy which became ribbons. We loved it and went in to do panic womb soon after. Then in Dec 2017 went and recorded the last 4. Exit mask was a really late edition. We finished it days before the studio. WHAT DID PRODUCER ANDY HAWKINS BRING TO THE TABLE DURING THE RECORDING PROCCESS? - HOW DID HE HELP TO ENHANCE YOUR SOUND? Steve - He totally understood where we were coming from and what we wanted to achieve both sonically and as performers. He really sculpted the dynamics of each track and bought things that were perhaps a bit flat screaming to life. He pushed us so hard to nail our parts it was almost painful. Lorna - Andy is great to work with. He has an amazing understanding of music and it was so beneficial to us in the recording process. Before recording, really only me and Steve had heard these tracks and spent time with them. When we brought them to Andy he knew instantly what to do to enhance them. The EP sounds so good because he knew exactly how to capture our sound, without taming it. THE ALBUM ART WORK IS REALLY INTERESTING, LIKE PART POLLOCK PART GERALD SCARFE – WHO DID THE COVER AND WHAT WAS THE INSPIRATION FOR THAT? Steve - Since we started 5 years ago we have always worked with award-winning illustrator Ben Tallon. We leave everything to him and his interpretation of the tracks. I don't know how he does it but he nails it every time. Lorna - His work is always outstanding, and he is such a pleasure to work with. He has given this band the image that people associate us with now, which is really important. And we did our last photo shoot with him and photographer Danny Allison, so the same mood got carried over into our photos. WHERE DID THE NAME 'HYENA KILL' COME FROM? Steve -We wanted something that nobody else had it would even think of having. It's quite a ridiculous name when I think about it. Lorna - Ridiculous. WHAT WAS IT LIKE SUPPORTING ARCANE ROOTS RECENTLY? Steve - It was such a great experience getting to share a stage with such an incredible band. Seeing them perform to that level every night was really interesting and mind-blowing. Really nice people as well. Lorna - Really good fun. It was in the middle of that mad blizzard that swept the UK too so we all really pushed ourselves to get the venues in time and beat the weather. And watching Arcane Roots every night was incredibly inspiring. WHAT CAN FANS EXPECT WHEN YOU PLAY DOWNLOAD IN THE SUMMER? Lorna - Mud, sweat and riffs. Steve -Loads of really loud noise and shouting WHAT ARE YOU WORKING ON NEXT? Steve - We have been exploring the more ambient side of our music recently. It's definitely going a more slower moodier route. I can only do that for so long before I get the urge to play really fast and scream my head off. Wherever the mood takes us really. We can never tie ourselves down to just one sound. Lorna - I've been listening to loads of Warpaint again recently, which always changes the mood of my playing to ambient. But like Steve says, we'll always end up sweating heavy riffs out of ourselves.
Photos by Danny Allison