Thanks to the digital age, we literally have access to music from all around the world. One of the latest musical gems we stumbled upon hails from Scotland. Say hello to To Kill Achilles. This DIY six-piece from Dundee, Scotland have been killing it in the post-hardcore/metalcore world, and have done so entirely on their own. With a true DIY work ethic, the guys in TKA have released two music videos, a full-length debut record, and a brand new single produced and mixed by the master, Joey Sturgis. And guess what? They did it all without the support of a label.
The following interview is a collective response rendered by the band via email. Get to know the guys in To Kill Achilles before their new release drops later this year!
How did To Kill Achilles first come together?
To Kill Achilles: We all wrote music independently and were all good friends before we started TKA. We started to write together and it all took off from there.
Why the name To Kill Achilles? Is it directly inspired by the Greek hero?
All our lyrics are based on life experiences, about getting over situations or dealing with things that hurt. We based the name on the Greek hero Achilles because he was seen as immortal. To Kill Achilles means to come face to face with something you think you can’t beat but you overcome it in the end. It’s about what we all feel like in bad situations.
Your two videos for “The Secret” and “Confessions” were exceptionally well received when they first debuted. What made you guys want to jump into the game with two almost back to back videos?
In our minds, the best way to gain some exposure was to bring out a music video. It gave the songs a visual, it was easily sharable and videos often grab the attention of people more so than just a track on its own. We’re proud of the views and feedback we’ve received from those videos although they are quite old now and we’re moving on as a band.
Since then you’ve released your debut full-length Existence along with a new track, “You Live On In Me.” Your sound seems to get progressively more complex and even heavier. Is that the direction you’re planning on taking To Kill Achilles?
We are planning on going heavier. We’re in the process of writing a new release at the moment and the tracks are sounding a lot heavier than the original releases. In saying that, we don’t really plan the songs we come out with; we write what feels natural. At the moment we’re experiencing some things that we’re not use to and our music is coming out with a big anger feel, but that’s probably something to do with what’s going on around us.
What have been some of your major musical influences?
I guess we really listen to everything. With six people in one band it’s impossible to pinpoint the influences. Some of us are really into punk, some metal, lots of shit pop music. We just kind of like music in general and it all inspires us.
What was it like working on a full-length without a label to back it?
Actually, really easy. We never expect our music to go anywhere. We play in this band for the love of it. We get our opinions on things out there, but we don’t focus on sales. We wrote the full-length early because we had the feel for it. We’re proud of it, but we all have our issues that we would fix if we could go back. But that album launched us into touring and we couldn’t be happier. Traveling has become the new inspiration for us.
In general, how has being DIY for the majority of your musical releases helped shape To Kill Achilles?
We love the DIY ethic. When we were growing up we all had the dream of being a touring band playing sold out shows and staying in badass hotels every night, but when we started doing what we are doing we realized that’s not how it works. We sleep outside, either underneath the van or in some trees by the side of the motorway. We turn up to shows and the room is tiny and there’s 25 kids who can’t move because of the lack of space and we love every second of it. Some of the best shows come when a local promoter books us in the pub he goes to every day. DIY is the way to go; it feels like you earn your experiences. Being in a band, traveling, meeting new people every night who care about the songs you write in your bedroom when you’re back home is the best feeling ever. If it was all organized by someone else and you turned up, played and left you wouldn’t get any feels and that’s what it’s all about.
What inspired the 2015 track “You Live On In Me?”
The song was based on losing a loved one. Our keyboard player, Tindal, lost his dad at a young age and wanted to write a song about how it felt. The song lyrically goes through the five stages of grief and is a word for word account about how it felt for us to lose someone important to us. We really hoped people would relate to the track and understand that loss sucks, but it gets better.
“You Live On In Me” was mixed and mastered by Joey Sturgis. How was working with him?
He was unbelievably professional yet chill at the same time. Any issues we had with the mix he fixed without a single complaint; he made the track sound like we imagined it to. We’re big fans of Sturgis’ mixes; we we’re humbled to work with him.
Can we expect any more new music coming from you guys in 2015?
We’re working on a new release. We’re planning for summer 2015 but we don’t want to rush this. What we have at this point is refreshing for us. We can’t wait to put it out and show how we’ve grown as a group of friends, but there’s still a lot of work to do. We’re really happy with the new sounds we’re creating, though. We think people will understand what we’re trying to do.
“Barricades are there to be broken.”
What’s the metal/hardcore scene like over in Scotland?
It’s alright. The bands are sick, everyone have an amazing attitude and are really talented, but the shows have nothing on other countries. We love it here, but European fans really show how much they care; they get so into it and you get the best vibe ever. In Scotland you can have an amazing show but the kids are too focused on looking cool. We’re not mocking at all, we’re victims of it ourselves, but I think the passion for music just isn’t there and it’s a recent thing.
What’s a typical To Kill Achilles show like?
We like a lot of crowd interaction. We put every part of our spirit into the live shows. Because our lyrics mean something to us we really try to show the audience that we care. In all honesty though, we play angry metal and mosh, hoping the crowd joins in.
There’s an awesome video on YouTube of your guitarist playing in the middle of a pit. Is that something that typically happens at one of your shows?
Yeah, Shaun [Lawrence] likes to show off. Like we said, we like crowd interaction. If we see them enjoying themselves, we like to get involved. I think we see shows as SHOWS. We can’t just play the music, we need to create some visuals, show people that dancing, having a mosh, singing along is ok; it’s what we want.
Do you think that kind of crowd intimacy should be present in all shows, or are shows with barricades needed in the post-hardcore and metal world?
Barricades are there to be broken. Every second we’re on a stage we know we’re there because of the people in the audience. We owe it all to people who like what we come out with, so we want them involved. Get on the star, grab the mic, even after the show come party with us. It depends on what the band themselves like, but for us, we want people to get involved and join us.
Are there any upcoming events for To Kill Achilles that we should be on the lookout for?
We’ve just announced a Russian tour which starts on the 14th of May. We’re really excited for this as we’ve never done Russia before. Also, the new release which is looking like a September release. We’re working on new tours, some new videos and really just expanding. We’re having the best time at our size but we want to get a little bigger just so we can travel more.
Describe To Kill Achilles in one word.