The Kull

Kulling in the name of…Nottingham-based The Kull have been playing with incendiary musical devices for over two years now. On August 7th the band release their second single – God Knows How – on City Silenced Records. And on August 11th they will be having a party at The Maze to celebrate. Steph Coole removed his slippers to find out what all the noise is about. ”Not that many people round here know we’ve been doing stuff,” begins Matt Holt, The Kull’s bass player. If they don’t yet, they surely will do. The band’s forthcoming single, God Knows How, is impossible to miss. The merest hint of metronomic thrashing gives way to a daisy-chain-sawed riff capable of removing the queens from their stone age. Amped to the hilt, the song’s underbelly threatens to explode as Andy Shipley’s vocals cut decisively to the point, avoiding histrionic pot-holes on the way. God Knows How can wind you with the same force as Josh Homme’s No One Knows or Panzer Attack by The Cooper Temple Clause. Its trenched groove works on several levels, always deviating just enough to avoid complete destruction under claustrophobic white walls of noise. 

The Kull’s white walls will be taking in a whistle-stop tour of the
UK before residing at The Maze on August 11th. It will be the band’s first gig in
Nottingham this year. “We play most of our gigs in
London, so that even people round here think we are a
London band,” explains Matt. “
Nottingham is a funny place for us; it’s forced us to go south, out of the bubble. It’s kind of a small place in terms of promoters so if you’re not supported by couple of people it’s hard to get gigs.” Having begun 2006 with a glut of gigs in the capital, including the Kill All Hippies Festival, The Kull have recently discovered new pastures to cultivate, “We’ve had a lot of Scandinavian interest and now we have a manager out there so hopefully we’ll tour soon.” Matt sounds excited by the prospect but perhaps slightly perplexed by or resigned to the band’s minimal exposure in
Nottingham. I think they get what we’re doing in
Scandinavia,” continues Matt. “In the
UK at the moment there are a lot of scratchy guitars and re-issues of old styles. We’re not trendy or indie, we’re more rock and roll.” In true rock and roll fashion, The Maze gig will be an almighty bash to launch God Knows How.It’ll be like going to a big party rather than just a gig,” says Matt. “It’s to launch the single but will also be a celebration of the year. The album is 60-70% done and will be out at the start of next year. The Milk Teeth, who have just finished a tour with Subway, will be supporting. And the Deville Dolls will be performing their Burlesque show, which is currently doing very well every Saturday at Stealth.”  

Rock and roll has always bruised with attitude and as Matt explains, in terms of attitude all of The Kull are looking for the same thing: “Something that’s aggressive but forward thinking,” he states. “The kind of frustration you get when you have a bad boss in a job you don’t care about anyway, it’s a release of tension. I’m not particularly good at anything else. It’s a lifestyle choice.” A choice that Matt made at a young age: “The first time I started to listen to music in a different way was with Appetite For Destruction when I was nine. The importance of music changed. Since then I’ve always been looking for the next thing that gives the same sort of buzz. Like when I first heard The Smiths, or Radiohead, constantly searching for the next sound to fulfill that; trying to find it.” 

Matt first began to try and find it with Kull members Andy and Dave, when he joined their band, White Noise. “At the time I was looking for a serious project suited to what I was doing,” remembers Matt. ”White Noise needed a bass player and within a week I was playing with them at The Borderline.” Despite the quick-fire introduction, it would take Matt, Dave, Andy and Daniel a while to become acquainted as The Kull. “It wasn’t a sudden change, more of an evolution,” continues Matt. “The previous bass player had a different style; I came from originally playing the guitar. With all of us writing it’s a lot more groove based. We’re more trying to get people to dance, not thrash about. It’s a great ethic, there are no personal issues. We’ll start off with a guitar riff or a few words and jam for about 20 minutes, half an hour. When you get a groove going you know it’s working. God Knows How came about like this. We never force it; it’s just a real buzz when it works. We’re more prolific in all respects, as players and writers. It’s not a competition but we do try to keep up to a certain level.” Matt is keen to point out that a change of environment has played a big part in the band’s progress. “We’ve got our own studio just outside of
Nottingham; like a base for us. It’s much better than being in a studio where you have a time limit, which is like trying to write good music with a shotgun to the head. Now we’ve got all the time and space we need.” Within their own time and space, The Kull have discovered a familiar perspective. “Primarily we’re writing what we want to listen to,” states Matt. “I think it’s important that we play what we want to and hopefully other people will like it. It’s an expression rather than an attempt to make people like us. If you’re in a band I think that band should be one of your favourite bands.” 

Whilst clearly enjoying their own current output, The Kull point to influences including The Pixies, The Jesus and Mary Chain and PJ Harvey; all skilled purveyors of their own, particular rock and roll pose. And the band welcome the hands-on experience of purveyors closer to home. Huw Costin from Earth: The Californian Love Dream has been known to take the controls at The Kull’s recording sessions as well as Rick Pete, who has previously helped Six by Seven to create breakneck-layered sonicscapes. “It’s great to have his input,” states Matt. “I don’t always know what he’s doing, pacing around, but it has the right effect! And we’re good friends with Chris Davis (drummer with the sadly missed Six by Seven) who gives us good advice. With his experience, he’s a good person to have a relationship with.”  Having removed themselves from
Nottingham’s musical bubble, The Kull have created their own, from which they are capable of razing the rockiest of paths on the way to the melodic mainline. What does this mean? A very good point. So the only way to find out is to buy God Knows How. “The first record was out on Random Records, they were a brilliant help,” says Matt. “But this time we’ve decided to do something different, so we can have complete control. God Knows How is on general release, we’ve just signed a distribution deal so it should be in major chains and about 30% on the independents throughout the
UK.” Alternatively, take a very worthwhile trip to Matt Holt’s Brother, Michael, is currently ranked 18th in the world by the World Snooker federation. “I’ve only beaten him once,” states Matt. “But then I can play Stairway to Heaven and he can’t!”


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