(In this post TheMadIsraeli interviews Jeff Beauchamp of Detroit’s Konkeror.)
Konkeror are one of the best breakout death metal bands I’ve heard in a long time, and if you haven’t checked out my review of their debut The Abysmal Horizons, you really should, and then buy the album. They need the support. I was fortunate enough to get an interview with his majesty, growl master and bassist Jeff Beauchamp, and here is the result. Hope you enjoy.
P.S: Someone needs to sign these guys.
TMI: Thanks for giving me the opportunity to do this man. I’ve been high on the album since I discovered it.
JB: Thank you very much, we’re glad you’re enjoying it.
TMI: So, tell me, how did Konkeror come together and why?
JB: All of us knew each other when we played in separate bands. I was in The Vala and Enochian, Jake [Plater] and Eric [Zwicker] in When Heroes Fail, and Toby [Dennis] in Kenshiro. Konkeror mainly formed from the ashes of Jake, Eric, and Toby’s previous band called Iliad which formed roughly in 2006 (I believe). They dissolved rather quickly after recording a demo but began writing new material after some time away in 2011. When I joined the mix in early 2012, about 80% of the music was written for The Abysmal Horizons. They weren’t completely settled on a name. I guess logically I was the final piece of the puzzle to craft the songs out with vocals and patterns. After about a month of jamming together, we went right into the studio.
TMI: So, is it safe to assume what drives you all is a love of old school death metal? Your sound has such a stalwart esoteric nature to it.
JB: Absolutely. We are all, for the most part, pretty passionate about old school death metal. We do try to mix that old school sound – the raw intensity and speed – with more modern metal’s experimental qualities.
TMI: I did pick up on that. How do you feel about having an album out? Are you pleased with the album?
JB: Fantastic! This is the first time for most of us to have a physical, tangible copy of our music with art and the works. It has gotten some really good feedback so far which pleases us even more! I am happy with how the album turned out. I feel like collectively we were open to ideas and suggestions from each other. We also didn’t rush anything in the studio. We took our time and made sure each track was just as we imagined it before finalizing it.
TMI: So where are you planning to go from here? Is this a serious endeavor? Just for fun? You hoping to get any label attention?
JB: We’ve just begun playing shows, so nothing too grandiose just yet. We all take this very seriously but at the same are too tied down by working restraints to book a tour currently. We’re hoping to attract label attention, of course, and hopefully play other states in the US over the summer of 2013. The road for us is open right now. We’re taking it one step at a time. We’re having a lot of fun doing what we’re doing and we’re meeting a lot of cool people along the way.
TMI: Has the reception to your album been good for what it’s been worth? I have to admit, I was shocked that I was the first review as far as you could recall and also dismayed. The album is a work of art and a testament to the tried and true nature of its style.
JB: Thanks. The reception we have gotten back thus far has been good. We kept a lot of things under the radar until the album came out, which is why I think we’ve been attracting more attention in the recent months.
TMI: So, if you collectively had to describe your major influences as a band, who would you say those were?
JB: As a band, I’d say Morbid Angel, Death, Vader, Daylight Dies, and Nile. I’m sure there’s others more at a subconscious level, but those are the ones I can think of at this current moment from the top of head as a collective.
TMI: I’d love to hear you guys do a Death or Vader cover, that’d be sick.
JB: We’re working on a cover we could record currently, just wait!
TMI: Oh sweet! What gear do you and the guys use?
JB: I use an Axl bass – the Badwater model . They’re a relatively smaller company and I really like the style, sound, and old-school look of their equipment. I run it through an MXR Compressor and BOSS EQ pedal. Eric and Jake play through Marshall and ENGL amps. They use ESP guitars. I would give you a breakdown of Jake’s effects but he recently got the “stompbox bug” and now has a myriad of them.
TMI: Hahaha, I know how that is. So what’s next for Konkeror right now?
JB: Next up for Konkeror is playing more shows and attracting more attention to our debut. We have shirts coming in within the next week or two. Musically, Jake has begun playing around with some new riffs and ideas but it’s still too early to think about the next record. We’re trying to stay grounded in the now and not get too ahead of ourselves. It’s been a fun ride so far. We have two shows later this month. One being with Metal Blade’s Battlecross and our hometown friend Wulfhook. We’re also in the process of possibly playing with Borrowed Time and CASTLE from California. [Editor’s note: this show is now scheduled — details are here.]
TMI: That’s badass to hear things are going well for you. I’ve tried to spread the word.
JB: Awesome! Keep doing what you’re doing. Every little bit helps.
TMI: Well, I think that’s about all there is to ask for now man. I thank you for the pleasure.
JB: Thank you for the opportunity and exposure! If anything else comes up, feel free to ask.
TMI: No problem man. Pleasure’s all mine.