"It could have been a huge ego clash, it wasn't…" – hmv.com talks to Killer Be Killed
Meet metal's new supergroup. Killer Be Killed. Consisting of Dillinger Escape Plan frontman Greg Puciato, Soulfly's Max Cavalera, Mastodon bassist/frontman Troy Sanders and former Mars Volta drummer Dave Elitch. Formed by Puciato and Cavalera back in 2012, their self-titled debut album is now done and ready to go.
We spoke to Puciato to find out how the band came into being, working together and their plans to tour together, one day…
How did the band come about? Have you and Max been talking about this for a couple of years?
"Me and Max started kicking ideas back at forth at the end of 2010, we had the idea to do a one-off, then maybe a full collaborative records. I don't feel like anyone in metal doesn't collaborative records, they might do a song. In hip-hop and jazz they do it all the time, it makes it exciting, everyone grows creatively, fans love it, I don't understand why everyone in metal is so protective and afraid to step outside of what they've already done."
"So we talked about it, we knew it would be a big piece of work, a month went by and we said to each other 'Do you really want to do this?' and we both did. So we spent three or four days doing nothing but writing riffs, getting down ideas, did that three or four times and it went from there."
How did Troy come to be involved?
"I was on tour with him in 2012 and he came up to me and said 'Are you still doing that thing with Max?', I said yeah and Troy's got this really matter of fact way of delivering everything, it's hysterical. He said to me 'I'm going to be playing bass on that, hope that's okay with you. I'm in your band now, I would like to sing too, let me know when to be and I'm happy to be a part of it'. That changed everything and he ended up being the glue between me and Max."
And how did Dave come to be involved?
"Dave had auditioned for Dillinger a few years ago when we were between drummers. He's an incredible talent, I knew him from that and it was a no brainer to me. He already knew Troy, it made total sense, once we got in room together and it really worked."
Once you all got in room together, how quickly did the record come about?
"Me and Max came in with these six-minute long jams, that were basically just a string of ideas. Once we got in the room, it was actually really easy, everyone's a good player, we're all good at what we do, it wasn't anyone's first time writing, it could have been a huge pain in the ass, it could have been a huge ego clash, it wasn't."
"Even when it came to figuring out who was going to sing on what song, it could have been difficult, people could have been too protective. It wasn't, it was egoless and very free."
You worked on the album with Josh Wilbur, what was he like to work with?
"We wanted to use a producer none of us had used, so that ruled out a bunch of people. We knew him, we knew the bands he'd worked with, we knew he was at the level we needed, we just needed to know if we could vibe as people, sit in a room with us and keep us focus, can you wrangle our personalities, get the best out of us, especially as we're all people who've already been successful."
"The value of a good producer is being able to reel the artist in, to say no to people, to say 'No, that's not your best'. He's worked on so much, he's done everything from Lamb Of God to Lil' Kim and he was absolutely the right guy for us. He handled us so well."
How did you come with the name?
"It was so difficult. A band name is a really tough thing, you have it forever. I think Max came up with it, Troy changed it and then I changed it to Killer Be Killed. It's a thematic extension of how I write, very autobiographically."
How did it work with lyrics? Did everyone write their own?
"Once we settled on who was going to sing what part, we divided it up. We came up with concepts and themes for each song, and then everybody would write their own lyrics. Whenever someone is singing, they've written the lyrics. I always think it has more meaning if the singer has written the words, even if they're a technically inferior singer, I'd rather hear Bob Dylan sing a Bob Dylan song than someone like Michael Buble sing one."
What's the plan for this album in terms of playing live? Are you going to tour it?
"We really want to play. Our hands are kind of tied to our other bands schedules. We want to, but we've said we're never going to our main bands and say to them 'I can't tour with you guys, I'm doing Killer Be Killed', it has to happen naturally. If there's a gap in everyone's schedules we can talk about it."
You must want to take it out live…
"We really want to. But we need everybody to be there. We've had a lot of offers already, sometimes three of us are available, but we need all of us. We need to feel like playing too, especially if we've all come off tour, you need vacations sometimes. It'll happen, but naturally."
Killer Be Killed's self-titled debut album will be released on May 12th and is available to pre-order now from hmv stores. You can also check out their early single 'Wings Of Feather And Wax' in our digital store.