Kylesa | Interview with Laura Pleasants


Kylesa have been hitting the road pretty damned hard in the last few years, having toured with a number of bands such as Amebix, High on Fire, The Ocean, Withered, Lair of The Minotaur, Baroness, and The Hidden Hand between many others.
Right now, the band is sitting at home preparing to go on tour with Mastodon and Intronaut to promote their recently released fourth work “Static Tensions”, which has been unanimously touted in most magazines as the band’s best work so far. I’d say that things look extremely promising for the Savannah’s quintet right now.
When we approached guitarist and vocalist Laura Pleasants through e-mail to know more about “Static Tensions”, we eventually had to enquire about the current mood inside the Kylesa camp after hearing about the rapturous acclaim the new album is garnering and all the positive things that are about to happen?

“Things are quite busy with Kylesa right now. Quite good as well! We recently came home from a run of the south east with Skeletonwitch and BlackTusk. We leave on Friday for the Mastodon tour, so we're practicing and finishing things up around here before we go.”

With the music industry undergoing through such wrecking times, touring and playing gigs is now more important than ever, especially for any band that wish to build a career with some durability. Is that something you all enjoy doing, seeing that you’re not completely tired of packing all your gear into a van and drive to all sorts of places or would you rather be sitting at home more often, writing and recording?

“We've always been a touring band and I think overall that's how we've gained our fans. We've never had a "hype machine" or much money behind us so we've had to do a lot of the leg work on our own. We do enjoy touring but it has its ups and downs for sure. I really enjoy writing and recording but after being home for several months, I get the itch to go on the road again. I love to travel and I love meeting new people, and playing live is something I really gain from.”

With such hectic touring activities throughout the last few years, Kylesa must have some interesting and amusing stories that happened previously on tour, do you care to share any with us?

“Generally, what happens on the road stays on the road! That's the best rule of thumb. We've had lots of funny, weird, and crazy experiences that will probably surface one day in form of a DVD or book.”

Not only Kylesa’s music should be experienced live it should also be heard on record and their latest release “Static Tensions” is starting to get some serious appraisal from well-known magazines like Decibel, Rock Sound and Metal Hammer.
The new album is by far Kylesa’s most accomplished and experimental effort to date, with the band diversifying a bit the song structures by incorporating more progressive and psychedelic elements, yet at the same time remaining incredibly song-oriented.
In your opinion what are the biggest differences between “Time Will Fuse its Worth” and “Static Tensions”?

“I think you nailed it in your previous sentence. We put a tighter reign on a lot of the basic song structures and were more conscious of writing songs. We wanted to cut a lot of the filler and we thought about how the songs would feel and fit in a live setting. Psychedelic music has been a big part of Kylesa since day one, but instead of having more jammy elements or long winded moments, we wanted to include the trippy parts into the songs as long as the song called for it. We were able to blend our influences a bit better than on the previous album. All the ideas were there with ‘Time Will Fuse Its Worth’ but with ‘Static Tensions’, they are realized and refined.”

Do you think the recordings of two Pink Floyd’s covers last year, “Set the Controls for the Center of the Sun” made available on your MySpace page and “Interstellar Overdrive” for the tribute album to Syd Barrett “Like Black Holes In The Sky” instigated Kylesa to pursue a more experimental and psychedelic direction on this record or is was just coincidence?

“I'd say it was a bit of both. We started to cover Pink FLoyd's ‘Set The Controls...’ a while ago because we thought we could really turn it into something of our own and add to the foundation of the song. I knew I wanted to do something like that for the new album because it really worked out well and it was incredibly fun to do. Later we were approached to record ‘Interstellar Overdrive’ and at that point we had already been covering the other Floyd song for about a year live. It's not like one day we decided to listen to Pink Floyd and go in a more psychedelic direction. We've been listening to Pink Floyd and psychedelic music for years and several of our past records suggest that. However, it wasn't until we covered ‘Set The Controls...’ that I decided to use more melodic singing on the record. I've never been that comfortable with my voice but Carl really liked it at the time of that recording session and suggested that I do more of it on the record. I thought about my vocals a lot before recording the new record. I wanted to improve upon them and give them some more focus.”

As mentioned before, the new album is starting to get some serious media coverage and judging by the fabulous prospects that lay ahead it seems that the name of Kylesa won’t be confined to the underground circuit for much longer.
Do you think it’ll be hard to resist the temptation of signing to a bigger multinational label if the opportunity eventually arrives to the table like it did for Lamb of God and Mastodon for example?

“It's an interesting time for metal right now. Metal is the biggest it's been in a long time. Time will tell how things unravel for heavy music in the counter culture.”

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Kylesa photo by Dusdin Condren


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