Published Jan 21, 2014As Seattle buzzsaw punks Deadkill prepare to unleash their debut album No, Never!, they're counting their lucky jacket spikes that producer Matt Bayles (Mastodon, Isis, From Ashes Rise) was available to record the album.
Recorded at Bayles's Red Room Recording in Seattle, the quintet's debut full-length, which arrives today (January 21) on Good to Die Records, is brimming with trashy punk rock in the vein of Poison Idea, Trash Talk and early Ceremony. As guitarist Michael Stubz tells Exclaim!, Bayles was the ideal choice to harness the band's serrated attack.
"Working with Matt is a big step above most people around," says Stubz. "When we were going over the options of what we wanted to do, I said, 'You know what, I just want to go with Matt, and that way we don't have to worry about anything.' We could just focus on the performance and the songs and just let Matt be the boss and put his mark all over it. So that was a real big deal, to just let him take care of it."
Stubz, who had worked with Bayles before as a drummer in his other band Absolute Monarchs, says Deadkill came into the recording studio with a tight batch of songs and came out with a 14-track album they were completely stoked on.
"Before my current two bands, I've played in a million crappy bands and recorded with people that make you, for budget reasons or time reasons, feel like it's slipping away from you and there's nothing you can do about it. So, you just let it go and make the best of what you got," says Stubz. "Working with Matt, we went in with a guy who knows what he's doing and we had enough time to work on the songs, so that made all of the difference."
Despite their skull logo, harsh-sounding name and even blood-red wax for the new album's vinyl edition, Stubz says the members of Deadkill aren't a bunch of "angry dudes." In fact, they're all pretty chill guys.
"I think sometimes it comes off that we're angry, tough dudes or something, but the image is probably a lot tougher than the dudes in the band," he laughs. "We're not a bunch of angry dudes at all. We all get along and our practices are fun. Our singer really gets into it and sometimes the vibe is really intense at practice, but it's all super fun. We're all pretty lighthearted."
Among No, Never!'s 14 songs is one tune that dates back to way before Stubz got Deadkill's members together to start the band. In fact, it's the first song he wrote on guitar.
"The song 'Oh God, Help You,' that's the first song I ever wrote, so it means a lot to me, but at this point I'm so sick of it I can barely listen to it," he laughs. "I remember bringing that song out to other bands and then going, 'It doesn't really work… it's off.' I'd just sit around and write these songs and they didn't seem to work with the bands I was in, but then maybe I just needed to find people that could make it work."
Stubz says he worked hard to assemble Deadkill and that this album is proof that, after all of those years slogging away in what he calls "shitty punk bands," perseverance always pays off.
"This record means a lot to me because putting this band together was hard, being a guy playing guitar who's actually a drummer," explains Stubz. "First, I needed to actually find a drummer, and I went through all of the bullshit hoops that people jump through to find one. I went through them all, and most of them were nightmares. But when I found the right drummer, and the right dudes, I had this thing where I didn't care if I was writing the best or shittiest songs in the world, I just wanted to give myself the freedom to write a song, period, and then just see how it goes. And that freed me from all of the insecurities I had."
Another song on the album, "Ghost Out," was written by the band's other guitarist, Kirby Johnson, and became a case of vocalist Bryan Krieger stepping up to show Stubz and the rest of the band what he could contribute.
"It took me awhile to get into 'Ghost Out,' because it's against my playing style, but then Bryan added in this thing at the end where him and Kirby are doing a 'whoah-oh-oh' thing, which doesn't seem like a Deadkill move at all, but from the minute I heard it in the studio that song instantly became my favourite song on the album. It shows the contributions that everyone makes to the band," says Stubz. "I'm not sure what our singer was doing before this band, but I just knew he'd be a really good frontman, and I think that song really shows his growth. He's turning into that dude that I always thought he was."
Deadkill have a few U.S. shows on the horizon, including a Seattle show tonight at West Seattle's Easy Street. You can get all the details here.