We sat down with lead singer and guitarist of Mancunian hard rock and metal duo The Hyena Kill, Steve Dobbs.
Your new single and video Tongue Tied from your first album has just released
Yes the video premiered on Upset magazine a few days ago. It’s quite a cool little magazine, I’d not heard of it really but it does some really good features.
It’s been quite a while since you released your debut album Atomised, what made you want to release a single now and why this one?
It’s the second single off the album, the video was filmed last year but we wanted to start the year still writing so this is the last push of that campaign because we’re writing the second album now.
How’s that going?
We’ve just demoed two new tracks, really fucking happy. There’s going to be a lot more progression from how the first album sounded, we’ve learned a lot more about our songwriting and how we want to present the songs. I think we’ve written about ten tracks and we’re hoping to double that and then whittle it down. The first album was more “we’ve got these songs and we’ve just recorded them”, I think we want to be more conscious with this album about how it’s presented, we want to make a great sounding record overall and we just want more tracks so we can say “that doesn’t work, that’s shit” and find a set of songs that work really well together.
You said your songwriting has progressed a lot since your first album, in what way would you say it’s evolved?
We wrote some songs on the first album that we never really played live. When we put them on the album we were a bit nervous, they didn’t really fit, but it turned out great and the response was really good so we’re going to explore that mellower side. Turns out they were my favourite tracks, that more spacey stuff, experimenting with newer sounds so it’s not all just in your face riffage. As much as we like that, it’s nice to experiment a bit more, add more layers, you’re limited with what you can do as a two piece so it’s fun to get around that limitation.
Being a two piece has forced you to think outside the box then?
It definitely did from the off. You’re just like “shit! How are we gonna do this?” You have to step up, you have to fill the hole left by the bass, just makes you a better player overall. Like, he left, and we had gigs booked so… Lorna went from being just a drummer into a real key part of the band, her drumming just went next level. Instead of being in the back keeping the beats she just became this ultimate expressive drummer.
How’s the relationship between the two of you when you’re writing?
Part of Lorna stepping up was that she became more involved with the songwriting. If I come up with a song idea or a riff, she’s good at arranging it. She’s good at saying no that’s just shit, she just won’t play it, deep down I know it’s probably crap if she says that. She’s good at knowing when to switch or change a song so I just go with her, we usually take an idea and jam it for hours. Lorna’s good at taking it where it needs to go.
With you already demoing when can we expect to start hearing content from the new album?
Well we’re going into the studio in April, just for a couple of days to see whether we want to make the record there. It’s a beautiful studio in Leeds called The Nave, we went to visit it recently and we’re going to do a session there with the idea being recording the album there. [We’ll] probably end up recording the album over Summer, all being well.
We spotted you’ve been running a sale on the vinyl copies of the album, how difficult was it getting that first album on vinyl?
It was difficult but it had to be done. The artworks stunning and for the record it deserves to be on something better than a CD, something bigger, something you can hold and really look at the artwork. The record was out for a few months before we could afford it and once we had it, it was the closest thing I’m ever going to have to having kids.
Would you place yourself in the group of people that think vinyl sounds better?
I think it’s not just about the audio, it’s about the whole process of picking it up, putting it on, it’s like a ceremony, as opposed to clicking a mouse. There’s something better about holding one than a CD. Cool as fuck.
Is the second album going to be self-funded?
I mean we did a pledge campaign for that first album so there’s a good chance we’ll do that again for the second album. See where we’re at when we come to record it.
Does that funding change the way you create the album?
No, not at all. I really enjoy the studio and I think when you pick the right studio even if it costs a lot. Go with a good engineer and get a quality sound, if you’re going to spend that money just make sure it’s worth it.
What was touring like with the first album?
We toured in March and then we’re back out in the Summer, then again in October. Used up all my holidays, was like working unpaid, I was just dead skint.
Did that put you off touring?
No, no, just more and more. That’s the main thing, I love writing, I love recording but playings the best. Every show getting better and better, it’s all I want to do.
You opened up for Max and Igor Cavelera (Sepultura) recently that must have been insane?
They did the album in full (Roots) which was fucking wild. It was the most fun and difficult gig we’ve ever done, it was the biggest gig we’ve ever done as well. It was the only UK date they were doing and it’s their seminal album, every metalhead knows it. It was like we were something to fill the time, we’re by no means as heavy as them but we just had to go on. We loved it, but it was difficult crowd to turn around but I just didn’t care. I love Sepultura so I thought fuck it I’m just going to go out and do it.
What do you imagine the touring is going to look like for the second album?
We’ve got two dates in April but everything is focused on writing now, first couple of months we want to make sure what we’re writing isn’t rushed. Once that’s done we’ll be back out, we may add a few support dates later on but there’s nothing confirmed yet.
If it could be anyone, who would you pick?
Deftones, or Queens of the Stone Age, now I would be shitting myself there.
What about who you’d like to take on tour supporting you?
We love another two piece from down in London called The Pearl Harts, they’re fantastic, our friends False Advertising. If you don’t know of them you will soon, too many awesome bands out there.
You can listen to Hyena Kill’s new single below, check out their Facebook page here.
They also have upcoming tour dates at Bristol on the 30th March, Liverpool Wrong Fest on April 22nd, Nottingham Bodega on April 29th and Manchester Academy 3 on April 30th which you can find out more about on their website here.