Interview with Pedro (guitar)
Interview conducted by Barbara Williams (Crowley)
Date online: October 5, 2003
Hails, Pedro and Kevlar Skin, how are you and what's going on?
Hails, Barbara! Not so much lately. We are all studying, working and jamming with the band. Now our singer is out of town until November, so we are writing new tunes. When he comes back, we'll start to play live again.
I see that you guys are from Spain. How is the metal scene over where you are? Is it pretty active or a continuous struggle? They say, "A poet is never appreciated in his own town." Do you see some truth in this?
Lately, we have been having a very active scene here. Spanish bands have become well known in other countries, so that's cool. Talking about Brutal Death, you can check really good Spanish bands like Wormed, Human Mincer, Cerebral Effusion, Chamber of Shred, Hole of Mankind, Dyspraxia, Velocidad Absurda and many more. There are also some cool bands in other genres like Another Kind of Death (Noisecore/Metal), Avulsed (Death Metal), Anvil of Doom (Melodic Death), User Ne (Black), Ekkaia (Emo/Metal), Machetazo (Grindgore). About your last question…yes, there are a bunch of friends that really like our music, but most of metal kids here are into heavy/power metal and don't care about extreme music. Most of the people that enjoy Kevlar Skin are from outside our town or from outside Spain, so, yes, there is a lot of truth in what you said.
Why Kevlar Skin? Who came up with the name?
At first the name was only Kevlar. For those of you that don't know what Kevlar means: it is a very hard textile used in bulletproof vests. We enjoyed it because it wasn't the usual gore/dark/obscure name; it seems very original to us. Then we found a Hardcore band named Kevlar, so I decided to add "skin" to the final name, and I think it was a lucky decision; that way the name seems kinda futuristic but organic at the same time. And since I am totally freaked with sci-fi, comic books, David Cronenberg films and shit like that, I was more than happy with the name.
Took a quick look at your website and noticed it's in the works. What are your plans for it, who designs it for you, and how soon can we expect it to be up?
The damned website…no one of us has enough time to finish it. We are all very busy with jobs or studying. Anyway, now I am working on it with a friend who is a graphic designer and someone else who knows computer programming. We hope to get it online in 2-3 weeks. We'll make it in flash /php and you will find the usual things: mp3s, some pics, bios, discography…you know! (Flash sites suck - Ed.)
How is your music coming along? You have some tracks on mp3.com. Aside from your demo, "Synthetic God," you feature your split CD "Kevlar skin/Velocidad Absurda Split." Has the album been released already and are you happy with the results and the label you are currently using?
The split CD has been eternally delayed; it was supposed to be released in December 2002, but, you know, delays are normal with small labels. I think that it will be out real soon. The CD is in the pressing plant just now. It will feature 5 songs from us in our Brutal/Slamming Death style and 6 tracks from Velocidad Absurda (Brutal Death in the vein of Disgorge / Brodequin. We hope to get copies in the coming weeks.
Could you tell us a little about the lyrical concept for your split CD?
Fernando (singer) and I write all the lyrics. When the bands started, our lyrics were more gore-style, but as time went on, we started to focused more on weird stuff and started to write lyrics inspirited by the writings of people like Thomas Pynchon, Grant Morrison, Don Delillo, Alan Moore, Warren Ellis,and the films of David Cronenberg, Terry Gilliam, Shinya Tsukamoto. Now our lyrics deal with concepts like altered states of mind, organic biomachinery, and some socially oriented themes.
Any material towards a new release? If so, have you come up with a title and some CD art yet? Do you have an album title yet?
Yep, we have another split CD ready; this time with Australian band Virus, released under Life Fluid Productions. This split was supposed to be released after the release of the Kevlar Skin /Velocidad Absurda split, but ironically, it was released earlier, so now we have some copies for trade and sell. Our title on the split is called "The Human Room," and the lyrics are inspired by some concepts and writings from German philosopher Martin Heidegger. The CD art for this is a bit weird: we have used pics of ruined buildings.
Will you be using the same CD cover and how important would you say is CD art? Who designs your artwork and decides what goes on the album covers?
Well, the main thing is the music, no doubt. Besides that, we love to work with Photoshop and programs like that. All our designs are made by our ex-bassist and me. We used to do some sketches of the cover and then send them to the rest of the guys by mail, so everyone can give ideas and tell what they think about it. We will try to do every release design as differently as we could. Every Kevlar Skin release will have a different logo, a different concept, etc.
How long have you all been together as a band now?
We started in late 98,so we have been together for 5 years. We started as a 3-piece band (Santi-drums, Canton– bass, Me– guitars). One month later we found a singer, Fer, and in 2001 we took in a second guitarist, Kike. In the beginning of 2003 Canton had to leave the band due to job questions and we quickly found a replacement in Paco, a long-time friend and bass player for more than 10 years.
Aside from studio work, have you been playing or are you considering playing live? Do you remember the first concert you ever attended?
Yes, of course, we really enjoy playing live. You have to play live as much as you can; gigs really help you grow as a musician. Now we have been about 10 months without playing live because our singer has to go out of town from February to November. Our first show was a festival in our town with local bands. We had just 2 days to prepare a set list and rehearse it—kinda stressing—but finally, all went well. Most people in the place were like, "what the fuck is that noise?" (heehehe)
The music scene really changed between the 70's, 80's and 90's. What would you say has been your strongest influence?
I started listening to metal in the mid 80's to thrash bands like Anthrax, Kreator, Slayer, and Metallica, but what turn me totally crazy about metal were the death/grind bands from the late 80's / early 90's like Suffocation, Napalm Death, Brutal Truth, Carcass, Cannibal Corpse, Pyrexia, Internal Bleeding—these kinds of bands made me want to start playing and form a metal band. Nowadays, the scene has plenty of really good bands, but for Death Metal, I think, the early 90's was the best period ever.
What made you guys decide to play in a band? Had it always been a dream? Who or what inspired you?
For me it had been a dream since I was 12 years old or so. I am more than happy with things now. I think that our inspiration were simply the bands we heard. Speaking about me, I was very supportive of upcoming bands, zines, tape trading and all that underground stuff, so it was a natural step for me to start playing music so I could be more active in the underground scene.
Have your parents and friends always been supportive?
Friend always support the band, even the ones who don't like metal come to the shows just to have a good time with the rest of the friends. When we play in our hometown it's really cool that most of the guys in the crowd are friends of ours. Parents of the rest of the band have been supportive with their kids, not so much, but I think they like their sons to do something creative. As for myself, my parents don't give a shit about what I do. They think that all this is a waste of time.
Besides Metal, what other types of music do you listen to?
Hardcore, a lot of hardcore: Converge, Botch, Nostromo, Hiatus, Tragedy, Remains of the Day. Besides that, I enjoy listening to industrial music like Chu Isikawa, Eistuerzende Neubauten, Nitzer Ebb, and other artists such as Bjork, Radiohead, Bowie, and so on.
There has been a rise in pagan/satanic metal over the past few years. What's your opinion about that?
Since I don't listen to any Black Metal at all, I have no opinion about it.
Do you keep up with Metal Magazines? Which ones do you read or like the best?
Years ago I used to read zines like Headfucker (Italy), The Grimoire of Exalted Deeds (USA), Metali-KO (Spain), but nowadays I don't 'cause of the Internet, you know. You have a load of webzines out there. The only zine I have read lately is Repulsive Echo from Greece, but they stopped doing it with just 2 issues out.
Outside of playing Metal, what kinds of things do you enjoy doing?
The usual things: drink with friends, watch all kind of cinema, play videogames, waste time on the Internet, and mainly, read. I read loads of books and especially comic books. I fuckin' love comic-books!
What kind of books do you read? Any good books or movies you would like to mention?
All kind of books: novels, essays, political writings, horror…A few favorites could be: A Confederacy of Nerds by John Kennedy Toole, The Crying of Lot 49 by Thomas Pynchon, At the Mountains of Madness by Lovecraft, From Hell by Alan Moore, and Eddie Campbell's, Apocalypse Culture, edited by Adam Parfrey, Popcorn by Ben Elton, Soldados de Salamina by Javier Cercas, The Invisibles by Grant Morrison. About films, you should check out Dead Ringers, Crash and Videodrome by David Cronenberg, Brazil by Terry Gilliam, Fight Club by David Fincher, Suspiria by Dario Argento, Viridiana by Luis Buñuel, Freaks by Tod Browning, The Elephant Man by David Lynch.
Some metal bands live about as "normal" as you may have it. Others decorate their homes metal. If I were to walk into your home or room, would I know that you are in a metal band?
Ehh...maybe because of the guitars you would see in my living room, some small amps I have, and most of all the CDs, vinyls and cassettes I have everywhere in my house. I live surrounded by CDs, books, comics, action figures...all kinds of garbage!!
How is the music and being Kevlar Skin connected with the person you are? Is your band image a reflection of you or completely separate?
I dunno. Since we write and play our tunes, I think that our music reflects a part of us. The band is not the only thing we have in life, but it isn't just a hobby. I think it's just another part of our lives.
How do you pick your instruments? Do you have or hope to have endorsements?
We paid for all our stuff, and, goddammit, it isn't cheap! Since we are still students or have low budget jobs, it is very hard for us to get new gear. Luckily, things will change in the near future. We don't have any endorsements and we don't hope to have any. We are an underground band; instrument makers don't care about bands like us.
What's in store for Kevlar Skin? Where do you hope to be a couple of years from now?
We will sell as many copies as we can from our split CDs, and now we are starting to write new tunes. In 1 or two years we hope to have gotten a good deal and will have entered the studio to record our first full-length.
Any last words to fans?
Thanx to all the people who have been taking their time reading the interview. If you are curious about our music, just check the mp3s at www.kskin.cjb.net, and if you wanna get a copy of the Kevlar Skin / Virus split CD, just write at firstname.lastname@example.org. And thanx to you, Barbara, for the support and the intie…a long and interesting one! I liked!!!!
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