One of Britain’s finest young bands, Kaine, have recently released a new album titled The Waystone (read Dom’s article here). I recently got the chance to talk to the lads about The Waystone, their influences, touring and… Babymetal?
Note: The interview took place before their tour with Mordred and their announcement about turning down labels.
Jack: How are things going for the band right now?
Chris (drums): Recently; absolutely brilliantly! My head’s still swimming from how much attention The Waystone is getting and our recognition for its development. I personally feel we’re stronger than we’ve ever been both as a band and as mates.
Rage (vocals/guitars): Things are as good as they have ever been for the band, people are loving and buying the new record, we are constantly on the road getting shows and we have our first well known festival booking confirmed. I couldn’t be happier!
Dan (bass/vocals): It’s going very well at the moment. Some exciting things on the horizon, some awesome shows lined up and our second album is doing me proud.
Ant (guitars/vocals): Better than ever! The Waystone is really drawing a lot of attention to us; we are selling very well and doing some great shows!
Jack: You’ve been around for five years now, does it feel like that?
Rage: Back when we started rehearsing and writing in a small stuffy shed in Peterborough seems like a century ago! It’s mad to think about how far we have come since and how the band has changed over the years. I and Dan basically agreed we were in this for life and our dedication to the cause certainly hasn’t changed over the years!
Dan: It feels much shorter, when I look back and realise it was actually 5 years ago we came from practicing in a shed to then touring the UK and making professional material I am gobsmacked. We have changed a lot as musicians in that time, but Rage and I are still the same guys we always were.
Ant: I actually joined Kaine in January 2012, so I’ve only been a part of it for almost 3 years, on one hand it feels like no time at all, I still remember some of my first shows like they were yesterday, but at the same time it feels like I’ve known the guys in Kaine all my life, we get on so well and I consider them my best friends as well as musical partners!
Chris: Although Kaine’s been around for 5 or so years, I’ve been in since November 2012, so it’s nearly 2 years since I joined. In one sense, it feels like only a few heartbeats ago that I was driving to my first audition with the guys, and discovering what loonies they all are, but at the same time it seems so long ago that I was a completely different person. Very surreal.
Jack: Judging by your extensive tour schedule you guys are on the road constantly. Is it hard scheduling your study/jobs around it?
Chris: Studying at Uni often does take its toll on myself in the band, but I haven’t let it get in the way of our progression. Back in May when we did our first UK tour I had to drive 10 odd hours down from Scotland back home, only to sit down on my computer at 12am and type up a 2000 word Essay from scratch that was due in the same day. It’s extremely difficult at times; but Kaine ultimately will always come first over everything else, as it’s my main commitment.
Dan: Yes it’s hard but it’s not impossible. I write for three different websites whilst also working full time at the moment, and while it can be a pain to get time off, I am able to negotiate ways around important shows.
Ant: We are constantly getting offers for shows and of course we try to do all of them! Work can sometimes get in the way, but we usually work our way around it!
Rage: I work two jobs to support myself and the band, bands do not get paid anymore, due to the internet the entire music business has changed and the industry failed to adapt to these changes. What’s left of the “industry” in Metal, well in the U.K. anyway, is a number of labels/festivals who are sucking the lives out of their bands for a few pennies, the bands themselves aren’t making anything and that’s even after they have played the major festivals, supports and even had a successful record. The label takes most of the income and on top of that touring costs a huge amount of money to sustain. In five years time half of these bands won’t exist anymore either.
Jack: Your sound is clearly New Wave of British Heavy Metal (NWOBHM) influenced, was it a group decision to go this direction?
Rage: I play guitar and that’s generally what comes out! We get compared a lot to Iron Maiden but for me as a guitar player the likes of Tony Iommi (Black Sabbath), Richie Blackmore (Deep Purple), KK Downing (Judas Priest) and even a James Hetfield (Metallica) are bigger influences on my playing. Vocally I personally don’t feel I sound like any of the Maiden singers; there are a lot of things in the mix for me. Kaine is a straight up Metal band, that’s what we play, there’s also a lot of Thrash in the Kaine DNA as well but we do sound distinctly British.
Dan: Not a decision, but it kind of evolved that way. I used to want to be solely a thrash metal guy but as the years have gone on I have gone the way of writing more melodic and progressive material. For example, you wouldn’t hear a piano waltz on a Metallica album, but we do it on the title track of The Waystone.
Ant: I wouldn’t say a decision was ever really made on our sound, we just write what we like and we happen to all be big fans of NWOBHM and 70s/80s metal in general, so that sound is what comes out!
Chris: I joined the band after its ‘Direction’ had already been achieved. However, originally being a funk-rock drummer I had to seriously adapt my playing style to fit the NWOBHM traits, and it was through that adaptation that I found my most comfortable playing styles for the band and found the rhythmic understanding that I put into our songs.
Jack: According to your Facebook, you are also influenced by power metal like Gamma Ray and Thrash Metal like Metallica, Anthrax and Megadeth. How important is it to mix up influences?
Chris: I’d say it was extremely important – Dan is a massive Progressive Rock fan with bands like Fates Warning driving his composition, whereas Rage holds close his beloved Black Sabbath and focuses a vast amount of his writing around their ideas and works. Anthony has the ability to flex into most genres that he fancies, and has a suitable love for Iron Maiden’s iconic guitar riffs, as well as my love for modern Prog-Metal bands like Periphery, of which I try to incorporate into my playing as much as possible.
Dan: For me it’s very important to take influence from various different things. Though I don’t make a huge amount of use of it in the Kaine material, I love folk music like some Fleetwood Mac, Loreena McKennit and The Pentangle as well as Jazz and Funk and that drives me as a bassist to focus on the groove of the song and not just the root notes or the fancy bass fills.
Ant: Between the four of us we have a lot of different genres we enjoy, but of course NWOBHM and Thrash is an influence we all share, I’ll let the others speak for themselves if they wish, but I also enjoy Death Metal, Power/Folk Metal, Glam, Classic Rock and Blues to name a few.
Rage: Kai Hansen off Gamma Ray is a massive influences on my playing, he’s the father of German Metal for me. As for the big American bands, they were influenced by the NWOBHM bands we revere now, and I am a big fan of those bands too. Although I have been known to binge on NWOBHM sometimes, it’s not what we all solely listen to. That would be boring!
Jack: From the opening track to The Waystone, it is clear you are influenced by Iron Maiden. How important are they to you as a band?
Rage: Iron Maiden is one of my favourite bands ever and has had a huge influence on me, but their sound isn’t theirs alone and they were simply the lucky ones out of a movement that had many great bands in the late 70s and early 80s. Although if you listen to The Waystone you will hear a lot more than just Iron Maiden in there, that’s confused some people who made the assumption we just want to sound like Iron Maiden. We are not trying to copy anything, we are not a parody of another band, as I said I don’t play or sing like any of the Maiden guys, we don’t even have that many dual lead guitar parts in our songs which is one of Maiden’s signatures! Our music is for the people who really haven’t had a band to cheer on in decades, playing straight up old school, British Metal!
Chris: Ironically, I had never properly listened to Iron Maiden until I joined the band back in 2012! ‘Iron Lady’ was a massive surprise for me when Anthony had first started playing the riff along to Rage’s chords and I just started jamming it out – It was only afterwards that I’d listened to Maiden that I realised their similarities. However, I feel that their similarities are massively overpowered by their differences, both stylistically and compositionally.
Dan: Iron Maiden (along with a few other bands) is the reason I play bass. I heard Steve Harris and it basically changed my life. I used to not bother with music at all and just play on a PlayStation all day until I was introduced by my stepdad to their music. That’s how important they are. Although “The Iron Lady” has a very maiden feel, for a lot of the other songs the inspirations have come from Praying Mantis (especially in the choruses, though we aren’t quite as capable at harmonies yet) and Deep Purple among others. I get compared to Steve Harris A LOT and although I don’t feel I play that much like him, I’m quite humbled by the comparison to my greatest bass hero.
Ant: People do tend to just throw the “Iron Maiden” label on us, but perhaps these are the same people who just don’t know of that many NWOBHM bands! There are bands out there who sound way closer to Maiden than we do, I can tell you that as a fact!
Jack: Are there any obscure/ forgotten about NWOBHM bands you want to recommend to the readers?
Rage: There are loads! You have Pagan Altar, Elixir (now Midnight Messiah), Deep Machine/The Deep, Cloven Hoof, Virtue, More, White Spirit, Atomkraft, Blitzkrieg, Satan, Hollow Ground, Tank, Persian Risk, Praying Mantis and the list goes on! I recently got into Hell who were originally from that era, their album Curse & Chapter is one of the best records I have heard in years!
Dan: To add a little to Rage’s list some others too like Savage, Samson, Desolation Angels, Demon, and so many more. It was such a rich scene and there were so many bands making great music. I wish I could have been around for it back then!
Ant: I think Rage has really covered it on that one; he is the master of old/obscure NWOBHM bands! I’ve discovered lots of bands thanks to him!
Chris: One that I’d specifically recommend would be Praying Mantis. An excellent band that had the potential to be as big as Metallica but had issues with their record labels back in the day. We had the honour of supporting them back in 2013 and I’ve grown to love them since. An excellent band that deserves 100 times more recognition than they get.
Jack: Now The Waystone has come out to good reviews, how do you feel about the response?
Rage: We have had some very good reviews; most of the people who have listened to the record have got what we are all about. It’s been great to finally be noticed! But more importantly for me is the fact our fans have absolutely loved this record!
Chris: In terms of reviews it’s always great for people to finally understand what we do and the kind of music that we play, but for me the main point is seeing so many of our fans reacting to this album the same way that many would to a ground-breaking new release from a major band like Slipknot or Metallica. It’s very moving when it is actually taken into account.
Dan: We’ve never had so many reviews; we have our excellent PR guy Curtis to thank for that! Really pleased with the overall response to the album as for a totally underground band to get into stuff like Decibel and have such good responses from so many different people is good stuff! I can also put it down to the fact that these are definitely our strongest so far, with a lot more variance than the previous release, and with utterly fantastic production from Akis!
Ant: I’m really happy with the responses we have been getting towards the album, from both fans and reviewers! People love the artwork, the production and most importantly, the music! It’s an album I’m proud to be a part of.
Jack: Was the writing and recording process hard?
Rage: Most of the material was written over a 5 year period! Once Ant and Chris joined the band we re-worked some of it, wrote some new tracks and it just happened. We just jammed in out for hours on end in the studio so when it came to recording we were in a very strong position. Akis, our producer really did get the best out of us and worked me personally very hard!
Dan: It wasn’t a hard process, but the writing process itself was fairly long, with some of these songs having been written before the first album was actually recorded! The stuff has evolved through lots of full band rehearsals. The production process was the easiest and most stress free I have ever been involved in. Akis knew exactly what was needed and how to get it, and you can tell when you put this one in the CD player!
Ant: The writing came quite naturally, a lot of the material on The Waystone is made from riffs that were made during or just after the recording of our first album! One track ‘Dreams to Nightmares’ was an old song I had which was never used, so that was thrown in the mix. Some songs were even written just by jamming in the practice room, such as ‘The New Wave’. Recording with Akis was a great experience, he really knows how to push you to be your best, but at the same time he treats you with respect!
Chris: For me, I had never done anything like it before! Never any professionally recorded drums or strict song writing environments, but mostly everything came about from hours and hours of practicing – finding out what does and doesn’t work, and how it can be applied to work in a song.
Jack: What are your personal favourite tracks on the album?
Rage: ‘Resistance’ is probably my favourite, but I have a soft spot for ‘Wanderer’ as that’s one I put a lot of time into writing and it’s quite an emotional song for me. ‘Waystone’ is another fave, just because its epic and we do a big finish for it live!
Chris: Definitely ‘Solidarity.’ However, I prefer to play it faster live than on the original recording. The reason being that I feel the chorus is the most powerful on the album, and the guitar parts are magnificently composed. Not to mention the groovy 5/4 section as the Bridge. I love it!
Dan: Hard to say, really. I put a lot of emotion into the songs I sing on like ‘Solidarity’ as Chris mentioned, but for me it’s all great stuff, really strong in different ways. Resistance is one of my favourites live as it still challenges me as a bass player even now, easily one of my hardest to play. The New Wave is a joy to play live, with all the different moments making for some great stage moments.
Ant: I love every track on this record, each for different reasons! There isn’t a single song I dislike which is a good thing! But I would say The New Wave is a favourite when it comes to playing live as it’s really fun to play!
Jack: Do you think this album is a milestone in your career?
Rage: In terms of getting noticed it’s helped a lot, our live performances had started to get attention last year but this record has pushed us even further forward.
Dan: Definitely, this is one of the best things I have ever been involved in. People are starting to get us, slowly but surely.
Chris: Most definitely. On top of more recognition from labels, bands and venues, people are also suddenly realising that perhaps we’re more than just a decent local band that they’ve seen a few times at their local music venue, and that perhaps we could be something much, much more.
Ant: A massive milestone! Our writing has improved a lot, we have a different drummer this time and it’s really started to get people to pay attention to us!
Jack: Have you had much international feedback?
Rage: We do have fans all over the world, but our biggest following is from the U.K. as that’s where we play all of our shows! We can’t afford to go abroad yet and chances are the risks are greater than the rewards on the front anyway.
Dan: We’re just sowing seeds at the moment, hopefully they will grow to bear fruit in future years.
Ant: A little, we have a few fans in America/Canada and Europe, but we are yet to really spread the word in those areas, the people who do know of us have loved the album though!
Chris: Strictly speaking, no, as we simply don’t have the means to appropriately express our music across the world. However, we do have devoted fans that have followed us all the way –many of which are outside the UK, and it is for them that we continue doing what we’re doing.
Jack: Speaking of milestones, you’re fast approaching 4000 Facebook likes. How important do you think Facebook likes are becoming in the modern industry? (Note: As of writing this the band have 4323 likes).
Rage: It means squat. I have played with bands with tens of thousands of Facebook likes, all bought, and they can’t draw a fly to shit. The reality is now, with Facebook forcing you to pay so your “likes” can even see your posts its becoming less relevant for bands.
Chris: For starting bands, Facebook likes can mean the difference between headlining and supporting a small gig in their local Pub/Venue. That is it. We have only got 4,000 Likes because of every single gig where we have gone out, shaken hands, met people and connected as a band to people. Buying or ‘Begging’ for likes is a sure way for bands to fool themselves into thinking they’re something they’re not. My absolutely favourite band only had 5,000 Likes when I’d first heard them, and it made no difference to me.
Dan: It’s good to have that somewhat extended reach when Facebook actually works properly. It’s more important to ignore the internet and get on with it on the gig circuit.
Ant: It doesn’t mean much these days, what’s more important is having fans that actually interact with the things you post, who actually care enough to read what you have to say, buy the music and come to the shows! As Rage said, we’ve seen bands with thousands of “likes” who barely have a crowd, yet I’ve seen bands with very few “likes” who can draw loads of people every time!
Jack: Is social media very important to the band or do you think you could cope without it?
Rage: It’s helpful in that we can organise ourselves and get most of our bookings from our connections on Facebook. If Facebook vanished we could still use e-mail, or even a phone!
Dan: It’s not the be all and end all, a lot of organisations use it now but if they didn’t then it would just be a different methodology used to book shows and sell albums wouldn’t it? The internet however IS important, without it I wouldn’t have met Rage at all as we are quite far from us, but it wasn’t through social media it was through “Join My Band.” I will say though that when used effectively and properly, bands can achieve quite a lot via social media, but the most successful do not simply rely on it alone.
Chris: Some would disagree with me, but I feel Social Media is almost essential for a smaller band to get going, as it is an easy (somewhat) free means of advertising and promoting, where you can create events, pages and groups to help increase knowledge about the band.
Ant: It would be very different without modern technology; we meet so many people online through friends of friends, groups, other bands recommendations! We could cope I’m sure, but I don’t think we would get as many gigs as we do.
Jack: Do you think bands put too much emphasis on social media and their image instead of music?
Ant: Image is an important thing for bands, basically any successful band you look at has an image to them, you recognise them for that image and often if you’re checking out a band for the first time, you can get an idea of how they may sound by how they look! I know they say don’t judge a book by its cover, but people will be more inclined to listen to you if they think they are going to like you! Of course music is just as important, but you have to balance the two! Great music and a recognisable image.
Rage: I think some people only do the social media side of things, and probably are confused when so few people show up to gigs or buy records. Most people pay no attention to what’s on their news feed unless it’s something like cats or memes. As for image, that’s always been important for bands anyway. What we found interesting is when we got coverage on an American site that the people didn’t check out the music at all, they just slagged off how we looked! Not at all interested in the music! They accused us of buying our clothes from something called Hot Topic, I had to Google it to know what the hell they were talking about! We don’t have those in the U.K.!
Dan: They do, yes. The music is the most important thing and everything else should be done once the music is actually good enough. You can look the part and play the part but if your material is weak then it won’t stick in anyone’s minds at all.
Chris: Yeah I do, I feel a lot of bands need to learn a balance between ‘showing off’ to their fans and remaining as a band to them, not a comedy act. An example being a band that would update their page once a week with a ‘meme’ photo that somehow relates to their band in a sense and will likely gain that post a few more likes.
Personally I prefer to see more new material and demos posted up to prepare me, as a fan, for what’s coming next for them as a band.
Jack: Looking ahead to the future, when do you think the next album will come out?
Rage: It’s being written at the moment; we will see how we get on and look at the budget. We are still a long way from making back what we spent making this record.
Chris: We’re getting there, slowly. All of us are in the processes of writing, and I’m hoping to have at least one entire song that I’ve written myself on the next record, and performed live. We’ve got plenty of time to prepare.
Dan: It will take time, I want to see how this album plays out for us, and I’m quite excited about that. I don’t want to rush anything just yet, but I feel the next album with this lineup will be really exciting stuff, as a unit we will develop our sound so well.
Ant: We have been jamming some riffs out in practice which could become new songs; there are also some basic ideas down. It could be a while yet before the next record though, we shall see how things go during 2015 I think!
Jack: Can you see yourselves playing in Kaine in the foreseeable future?
Rage: I am in Kaine for life.
Dan: Yes. I have been offered plenty of bigger things over the last few years. Every metal band needs a bass player, but they are in short supply. I really believe in what Kaine is doing right now and what they will continue to do. This band is as much a part of me as I am of it; we’ve been through a hell of a lot together now.
Ant: Of course, I’m not planning on going anywhere, I enjoy every minute of being in Kaine, playing the shows, talking to fans and of course we always have a laugh when we are together.
Chris: I’m pretty sure if, for whatever reason, I attempted to leave Kaine I’d be back within the day crawling on my hands and knees begging to return. Regardless of whether we make it or not, these guys are my brothers and I’m in no rush to abandon them.
Jack: Finally, as I can’t resist asking this, what do you think of Babymetal? Are they a fad or are they here to stay?
Rage: I have never listened to it and they don’t worry me. A lot of people complain about how bad they are, and clearly someone is putting a lot of money into them and pushing them in all the right places. A lot of Metal fans are fed up of being spoon fed some of this stuff and that’s why there is outrage. The point remains though, despite the complaints the fans buy the records otherwise they wouldn’t be around still! Same for the much hated Avenge Sevenfold and Black Veiled Brides as much as I am not a fan of theirs, their labels invest in them and their fans buy their records. That’s more than can be said for some of the bands we know, who are known and are very popular but living in poverty because Johnny Internet downloaded it for free instead of buying it!
Chris: From what I’ve seen, they’re just another thing for foolish modern-metallers to waste their money on, only for a temporary taste of some Japanese-inspired Hentai-based Industrial-inspired Hello Kitty performance. They’ll be gone soon enough. Probably when some neck-beard My Little Pony enthusiast shoots one of them for not loving him.
Ant: Definitely fad, they are a manufactured band, that’s been admitted! The label thought “Hmm, let’s take a metal band and put some Asian pop singers in front and we can make some money and cause a stir!” Just like X Factor winners, they will be around a couple of years at most…..
Dan: I literally couldn’t care less!
Kaine have big things ahead of them, let’s hope they do well.