Khaidian are no naive young novices. They’ve been in this game for a while learning the trade in various bands before coming together in 2010 to create the genre-bending mesh of industrial, progressive, nu metal and electronic you hear today. Early lineup turbulence has subsided and now the quartet of John Tyrell (guitars/programming), Joe Perumal (bass), Andy Hutton (vocals) and Paul Fowler (drums) is preparing for their debut studio album later this year.
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Khaidian are a little different to most bands that one would classify as “modern metal”. While that style has established itself as technical and groove laden, characterised by low tuned guitars, polyrhythmic passages and harsh vocals, Khaidian add strong electronic influences and eschew the favoured harsh vocals in favour of soaring clean singing, harking back to the late 90s. Their time spent in the underground scene has helped shape their approach to music and give them a unique perspective on the state of the scene and what they can do to break out of it. With a debut album in the works one can only hope that their hard work will finally pay off.
Recently I spoke to the band about their past experiences and what they hope to achieve in the coming year:
How long have you guys been in the scene? Have previous experiences in bands helped shape your approach to Khaidian’s music and performance?
Andy – In the scene?! For longer than I care to admit!! I’ve been playing in bands in and around London for more than half my life now… which is a startlingly long time. I think there’s no question, it’s absolutely helped shaped my approach to what we’re doing. I guess it’s like anything in life really – if you’re not learning and growing then you’re not moving forward as a person. It’s as applicable to music as it is anything else.
John – I would absolutely say that previous experiences have shaped Khaidian. Not only they way we write, but how we interact as a band onstage, in the studio and as friends. We’ve all made mistakes or had successes in other bands, I like to think we’ve learnt from all that and we’re now using that experience to create something pretty awesome.
Paul – my past musical experiences are so varied but this is the first time I have loved every single facet of our music and feel there are no weak links. Previous experiences have taught me that it is not just about compromises, but making the right compromises for the good of the music.
Joe – 10yrs+ and counting. We’re expecting our plaquette’s any moment now. That experience has been quintessential in shaping Khaidian. We all have paid our dues as it were. Cut our teeth and honed our craft. We’ve taken our lessons learnt and grown, which feeds into Khaidian and how we as a unit interact, work and function as people and as artists/ performers together. Because of that understanding there’s enormous support and respect of one another in all aspects. We also have such a shared love for all music genres and still can introduce each other to new things. It’s a great chemistry for creating and playing music. So taking all of that and performing it live to an audience really impacts. Plus we are big dreamers, with lofty ambitions and goals, trying to think of something new and innovative which leads to some far out ideas. Performance and musically.
How did you guys come together as a band?
John – I split from my old band Interlock back in 2008 and spent some years soul searching, wandering deserts and doing some different things. Khaidian existed in one form or another for a bit but never really got off the ground. I’ve been working with Joseph for a while as he’s an amazing bassist and exceptional flaming limbo dancer. At the start of 2014 though we found ourselves in musician no mans land; not only did we need a drummer, we also needed a singer but Andy pretty much fell into our lap last April and he brought Paul (drums) along for the fun.
Andy – I came in pretty late to all this really. My last band fell apart in a horrible implosion of drugs and fuckery, so as soon as it was apparent it wasn’t happening, I got straight on to Gumtree and went hunting! I got sent a lot… and I do mean, a LOT of stuff from bands needing singers. Some of it good, most of it horrendous. Then around about a year ago, John and Joe sent me about 14 or 15 tracks with no vocals on it – that was a surprise for a start, to see a band with that much material prepared. When I finally got home and listened to it, I completely lost my shit. I’d legitimately never heard anything like it!!! And I freaked out to begin with coz my first thought was “shit! My voice isn’t going to be heavy enough for these guys…”.
Paul – you know I remember having a conversation with Andy about his vocal style – and having been in a band with him before and seen the damage that screaming would do to him – and I was encouraging him to ditch the screaming altogether because he has such a great sung voice. Turns out he was feeling exactly the same way. I was at a point where I thought my metal drumming days were done and out of the blue Andy calls me up asking of it was something I would consider, and this was after maybe 2 years of not playing. He sent me John and Joe’s demos and they tore my head clean off. I was a little bit like ‘shit, can I even play this stuff now?’ after so long away. We met at a pub in Holborn and here we are.
Joe – At roughly the same time John had Interlock laid to rest, my project AlmaMorta went the same way. John got in contact in regards to Khaidian, and being a fan of Interlock and how much in awe of the man I was, I naturally was intrigued and then when I heard the music he was creating nothing could make not want to be a part of this. It lit a huge fire under me where I was still mourning the ashes of my last band. I joined and solidified the line-up John had already assembled. Unfortunately that line-up didn’t last and John and I searched for months seeking great musicians. Putting out advertisements and asking round our social and scene circles. Just as hope was almost gone, Andy got in touch, introduced Paul, set up a face-to-face meeting between us all, organised our first jam session, recorded demos of his vocal ideas and really from the off injected a heroic dose of enthusiasm and excitement.
There’s a strong modern industrial aspect to your sound, what do you think has most strongly influenced the music you play? Have you moved through different genres in your time before arriving at this point?
Andy – Not speaking for anyone else here, but I personally don’t really hear the “industrial” thing myself. I’m buggered if I know what you’d actually define us as, but “Industrial” wouldn’t necessarily be at the top of the list. It’s interesting, because I’ve had people come up to me and compare us to Meshuggah, Disturbed (that one troubles me on a deeply personal level), Fear Factory, Tool, and Metallica (another deeply personally unsettling comparison), just to name a few. Now those are some pretty disparate bands, right?! And I like that, you know? People hear totally different things in our music – who am I to tell them that they’re wrong?
John – Nowadays theres so much cross pollination between genres it’s unreal, but brilliant. I tend to do the programming so I guess I throw my influences all over the place with Khaidian. I wouldn’t call it industrial necessarily (though it totally is in places), maybe electronica? Ah hell, call it “cheesecake fluctuation wibble core” if you like, it’s just some great songs with some new thinking behind it. Khaidian’s biggest evolution has been Andy’s vocal. We didn’t know what to expect when we started out, but what he’s brought to it all is something pretty unique. A bit like Eddie Vedder crooning over an industrialised Meshuggah
Paul – I am a big music tech fan. John and I sometimes speak a language Joe and Andy don’t even understand. It’s great! John has done some really great work with the programming. We have some crazy ideas as to how we could work this tech as part of our live set: instruments controlling projectors, the backing track slaved to the drum kit so we’re not rigidly stuck to a click, midi controllers to warp the backing tracks in real time – all sorts of cool shit.
Joe – *stares at the wall for 30 seconds* ….*inhales smoke and turns to interviewer* …. What?
How healthy do you think the British underground metal scene is at this point? Is there a lack of creative spark and too much homogeny or is it stronger than ever?
Andy – Honestly, I live in a little bubble these days, utterly unaware of what the fuck is going on around me. But I do think the scene is struggling a bit, if only because there are so fewer “metal” venues for bands to ply their trade these days. Crossrail has claimed a bunch, and the general Gentrification of London has done for the rest. It sucks. There are, however, still some absolutely killer bands knocking around though, no doubt – Our boys in “Darkeye” for one. Just an astoundingly good band. Complex, groovy, heavy as balls… everything that excites me. And “Let Demons Run” as well – another fantastic underground band worth checking out. Those are two excellent places to get your Riff-Fix from, trust me.
John – I’d have to shout out to Sumer and Collapse as well.
Paul – personally I think homogeny is rife. I remember reading John Lyndon’s book and him expressing how disappointed he was when everyone was coming to the Sex Pistols shows with ripped cardigans and safety pins and that this had become like some sort of uniform – punk suddenly had a look – whereas before it was just about expression. It’s not just in metal, but in almost every music genre petty much. Too much style over substance.
Joe – I think you have to class it very carefully and specifically. UK metal band talent out there is insane. There are so many exciting unsigned/ local bands who don’t get the recognition they deserve. A wealth of great music everywhere all over the country being played with more soul and passion than ever there has been in time. I think there’s a balance between bands trying to play material that will please/ entertain an audience and bands who really strive to be different and unique. If on the other hand you’re talking about the “metal scene” as in our community within this country, then that’s a different kettle coloured fish. Rehearsal studios and venues closing. Promoters that don’t promote. Rising costs of putting on a show, recording material and buying equipment. All of these are issues which plague the scene. And the elephant in the room …. most people’s genuine sense of apathy towards non-popularised/ commercially approved and offered music. A minority care for underground music. They care so much they pretty much are responsible for any scene whatsoever. The average music fan however couldn’t give a shit about it as they’re too busy trying to pay rent and make their own way through life, they’ll pay attention to us once we’re on one of Rockstars GTA radio stations. There is, always has been and always will be issues with maintaining the scene but I feel the economy has hurt us.
You’re currently putting the finishing touches to your first album, what are your hopes and aspirations for the upcoming debut?
John – To get it finished, haha. After that, people to hear it and hopefully love it. Come see us play, watch our crazy video screen we’re currently setting up. Have fun, make some friends and create something special. I’ll fall over a bunch and probably break my arse.
Andy – Myself, I just want people to hear it. As many people as possible. I’ve been playing music for a very, very long time now and I can say with my hand on my heart, I’ve never been this excited about a project before. Not even close. A part of me is a little worried that when it comes out, and all it’s gonna do is confuse everybody!! But the larger part of me doesn’t give a shit, because I’m INSANELY proud of what we’re doing. If I weren’t in this band, I’d still love it! I’m totally our biggest fan. So yeah, I really just want people to hear it, because I think there’s a good chance they’re going to dig it. Fingers crossed anyway…
Paul – I love what we do and I hope other people will too.
Joe – That it finds at least one song on the next GTA metal radio station.
What’s the plan for the rest of 2015?
Andy – we’ve got a lot of stuff up our collective sleeves for this year – some seriously ambitious goals we’ve set for ourselves. First thing is, we want to win the Metal to the Masses competition and go rock the fuck out of Bloodstook. That’s job number one. So keep your eyes on the M2tM LDN 2015 group on Facebook for upcoming shows and come give us some love! We’ve got a video coming out shortly for one of the album tracks (Thrive) so that’s pretty exciting! And of course, the release itself. We just want to get out there and play, play play. It’s the only way to ensure Total World Domination.
John – Andy’s not wrong with the ambition behind this thing. As already mentioned we’ve got a live projection thing we’ll be testing soon. promo videos galore that reach beyond the usual ‘4 dudes in a room’ spec. We’ve got some great support behind us right now and we intend to use it. The kind of direction we’re taking the band right now is almost over reaching what bands of our level usually do. The scene works differently to how most bands think. It’s all about real communication with people and getting off goddamn Facebook, and where better to do that than on stage?
Paul – With this first release John had already formed most of the songs riff-wise, so once we have conquered all the vids, and tech for our live shows I am really looking forward to writing brand new stuff together. John is one of those annoying super talented people where he can take an idea and run it so much further than anyone else – so I’m very excited to see where he runs with any ideas we can feed him. One thing I know for sure is that it will be epic!
Joe – Mental breakdown or global success.
Khaidian are currently recording their as-yet-untitled debut album for release later this year. You can download their first single “Trigger the Landslide” for free via the above Soundcloud stream, and follow the band on Facebook at https://www.facebook.com/khaidianmusic or on Twitter @Khaidian.