INTERVIEW: KHEMMIS

2018 has been a great year for metal in my opinion. There have been quite a few memorable albums in the past 7 months, that will surely make it to my “best of” list at the end of the year.  With 4 months to go, I am sure there will be a few more added to the list. One album that will definitely be there is Khemmis – Desolation, I have listened to the album more than any other this year. The album is a masterpiece that will appeal to fans of doom metal as well as classic heavy metal. I could not resist finding out more about Desolation from the band.

You recently released your third album, Desolation. How does it feel?

We are happy to see the album get such a positive reception from fans old and new. This record has really helped get our name out to a lot more people, particularly overseas. I, personally, have never worked so hard on anything in my entire life and it feels great to have it out in the world.

You have been quite prolific, releasing 3 albums in 4 years. What is your songwriting process?

We just write what comes naturally to us when it feels like it’s time to create new music. We don’t force it in any way. Phil and I always have a backlog of riffs and song ideas, so when it’s time to write a record we comb through those recordings and start putting together skeletons of new songs.

Hunted was considered by many to be one of the best metal album of 2016. Did that have an influence during the writing or recording process of Desolation? How did you deal with it?

The knowledge that there are outside expectations about our music was always in the back of our minds when we were writing and recording this record. That said, we are our own toughest critics and we knew that we had to create an album that all of us found compelling. It was less about making something “better” than Hunted than it was about making an album that is genuine, emotional, and heavy.

The album was recorded with Dave Otero (Flatline audio) for the third time. Did you try anything different this time around?

Dave is a phenomenal engineer and producer; at this point, he’s almost a fifth member of the band. We didn’t necessarily try anything unexpected, but we put more time in than ever before; we were in the studio for just under a month. That month was filled with a number of 8-12 hour days. I tracked guitar leads for two and a half days, which was brutal but absolutely paid off.

Desolation

The album artwork by Sam Turner is stunning. Tell us a bit about it

Sam Turner does all of our album art, and he is amazing. We were inspired by the Molly Hatchet and Nazareth albums that were in our parents’ record collections when we were kids. There was something about those Frazetta covers that really made those records stand out; even if you don’t like those bands, those pieces of art are hard to forget. We liked the idea of having album art that operates 100% independently of the songs themselves – we aren’t a fantasy band by any means – but are also memorable.

What’s currently on your playlist?

Richard Inman – s/t, Skeletonwitch – Devouring Radiant Light, Mutilation Rites – Chasm, Neurosis – Enemy of the Sun, Call of the Void – AYFKM

Members of the band are PhD students and head brewer. How do you manage between the band and your studies and job?

If we didn’t have the music, our other jobs would crush our souls more than they already do. It’s easy to find time for something when you know you can’t really live without it.

What are your interest or hobbies outside of metal?

Who has time for hobbies?

You are performing at a few shows across the US, at Migration Fest and also Heavy Montreal. Do you have any more shows/tours planned for the rest of the year?

We are performing at Decibel’s Metal & Beer Fest in LA alongside Testament, Tryptikon, YOB, Power Trip, and a bunch more. We’re doing some dates around that fest, but we can’t say any names or dates. Stay tuned!

Thanks for answering all our questions. Do you have any final words?

Thanks for the support and we’ll see you all on the road soon!

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