INTERVIEWS

Cosmic Rock

On a dark wednesday night we had a chat with singer Kat Gillham from the groups Winds of Genocide, Uncoffined, Thronehammer and more. Kat is a long standing vet of underground metal known and loved by many. Always busy and full of fire for music and life, Kat took the time to catch us up on her news, a little on her background and thoughts on many topics. Enjoy this interesting good talk with one of the underground's bright stars.

1. Hey Kat how have you been? Good to catch up with you.

Hi Gideon, Ok Thanks! Been keeping busy and productive musically.

2. Tell us a little about your background. Did you grow up in Durham?
I grew up in a small town called Spennymoor, about six miles south west of Durham City, so I grew up in the County Durham region and have spent A LOT of time in the ancient and very historic provincial capital Durham City since I was a kid as the local rock bar is here and there used to be some great record stores here when I was younger, so I would often take trips into the city from my hometown just to buy metal vinyl, CDs, tapes, merch. I have been living in the city for nearly 14 years now. I grew up in a family of 4 children, in a very working class environment but I had a very good upbringing that I feel very fortunate about.

3. How did you get into music and become a singer, drummer?

I got into music via my Dad, younger brother Michael(who is also a drummer and a definite influence on me when it comes to drumming)and schoolfriends.  I started hanging out with some of the metal kids at school, both in my year and a couple who were older and those guys gave me cassette tapes with albums by bands such as King Diamond, Candlemass, Venom, Holy Terror, Hallows Eve, Overkill, Exodus, Testament etc on them which had a HUGE influence on my then 14/15 year old self, but my love affair with metal and heavy music really started after my Dad gave myself and my younger brother a copy of Iron Maiden "The Number Of The Beast" on vinyl to share, and soon after I started hanging out with an older schoolfriend who first introduced me to albums by Metallica, Slayer, Megadeth and Anthrax, and that was it, hooked and no turning back!!. Both myself and my younger brother then started getting more extreme and underground in our music tastes and immersed ourselves completely in the extreme music scene.

I became a singer due to not being able to play an instrument, so when my old death metal band Morstice started up in 1992 when I was 15 I just kinda stumbled into being the growler as I couldn't then play drums or guitar/bass but as it turned out I possessed a very brutal and formidable deep death growl as well as the ability to do higher screams.

I became a drummer in only more recent years, since 2011 properly when my Doom/Death band Uncoffined was formed that I play drums in as well as handle all vocals, I'd been jamming on and off on drums over the years but nothing serious, I started jumping behind the kit more and more during breaks at Winds of Genocide rehearsals and myself and Glynn(Uncoffined guitarist)ended up jamming more on doom riffs, I was getting more confident in my drumming abilities so decided to give it a go in a band, Uncoffined was born, I knew what kind of vocals I wanted so decided to do the vocals as well as drumming, even though it was the first band I had played drums in, it worked out me doing both Chris Reifert(Autopsy)style so I continued to do it and still handle both drums and vocals in the studio and both together live 8 years later!.

4. What were your favourite albums growing up?

The 80's Metallica albums, 80's Slayer albums, 80's Megadeth albums, 80's Maiden albums, both Sabbat(UK)albums("History Of A Time To Come" and "Dreamweaver", the 80's Kreator albums, the Dark Angel albums "Darkness Descends" and "Leave Scars", The first few Exodus albums, the 80's Overkill albums, the first few Celtic Frost releases, Candlemass "Ancient Dreams", King Diamond "Conspiracy", Autopsy "Severed Survival" and "Mental Funeral", Paradise Lost "Gothic" and "Lost Paradise", Entombed "Left Hand Path" and "Clandestine", Dismember "Like An Everflowing Stream", Grave "You'll Never See...", Unleashed "Where No Life Dwells" and "Shadows In The Deep", Morbid Angel "Altars of Madness", Deicide "Deicide", Obituary "Slowly We Rot" and "Cause of Death", Death "Scream Bloody Gore" and "Spiritual Healing", Trouble "Trouble" and "Psalm 9", Candlemass "Nightfall", Cathedral "Forest Of Equilibrium", Saint Vitus "V", Solitude Aeturnus - "Into The Depths Of Sorrow", The Obsessed "Lunar Womb" and "The Church Within", Bolt Thrower "Realm Of Chaos", "Warmaster" and "The IVth Crusade", Possessed "Seven Churches", Integrity "Those Who Fear Tomorrow", Cancer -"To The Gory End" and "Death Shall Rise", Gorefest "Mindloss" and "False", Winter "Into Darkness", Black Sabbath "Vol 4" and "Master Of Reality", Amebix "Arise", At The Gates "The Red In The Sky Is Ours", Dissection "The Sombrelain", Corrosion of Conformity "Blind", Darkthrone "A Blaze In The Northern Sky", Venom "Black Metal", Sepultura "Beneath The Remains", Danzig "Danzig" and "Lucifuge", Revelation "Salvation's Answer", Penance "The Road Less Travelled" and "Parallel Corners", Internal Void "Standing On The Sun", Dream Death "Journey Into Mystery" all had a profound and significant influence on me growing up. I've missed out a bunch but they are some of the most noteworthy ones.

5. Classic concerts that really meant a lot to you and why?

Megadeth early '91 at Newcastle City Hall as it was my first ever metal gig, Slayer - Newcastle City Hall - November '91 on the "Seasons In The Abyss" tour with the classic line up, Solitude Aeturnus/Revelation/Dawn of Winter in Stuttgart, Germany May 1995(first time I had travelled abroad by myself), Day of Death fest - London December '92 featuring My Dying Bride, Anathema, Decomposed, Incarcerated, Chorus of Ruin, Burial, Solstice etc.., Deicide - London December '92, Obituary/Napalm Death/Dismember - Bradford Queens Hall - May '92(the first ever death metal gig I went to age 15, it was in a city a few hours drive and an older friend from my hometown who my parents trusted drove me down in his Dad's car), those are a few very important gigs from my younger years that stand out in my memory...again I'm missing a bunch.

6. Youre well known for your bands Winds of Genocide and others, but I know you have some news on your other projects. Tell us about the new Thronehammer full length coming along and the split 10” with Lords of Solitude?

The split is out now on The Church Within Records, it features 2 tracks by Lord of Solitude from New Zealand and 1 long 10 minute track by Thronehammer called "Hammer, Stake And Cross" which is my first vocal contribution to the band.
I have tracked vocals for a full length Thronehammer album now, it will be called "Usurper Of The Oaken Throne" and will be out in April, once again via The Church Within Records.
Contact www.doom-dealer.de for more info

7. The Winds Of Genocide EP is also being re-released yeah?
Yes our debut EP "The Arrival Of Apokalyptic Armageddon" which was originally recorded and released in 2010 has been re-released by a local label here Chaos Control, featuring the original 6 tracks plus some live tracks recorded at a gig in Durham City in August 2011, it also has enhanced artwork and a thicker refined inlay/booklet.

8. What are some of your favorite films?

Old Hammer Horror Films such as The Devil Rides Out, The Plague Of The Zombies, Twins of Evil, The Vampire Lovers, Taste The Blood Of Dracula, Scars of Dracula, Count Kronos Vampire Killer, Curse Of The Werewolf, Countess Dracula, Vampire Circus, Dracula A.D., Brides of Dracula, The Ghost Of Frankenstein, The Evil of Frankenstein, Dr Jekyll And Sister Hyde, Horror of Frankenstein, Curse of the Mummy's Tomb, The Gorgon etc..
Also films like Tombs Of The Blind Dead, Return Of The Blind Dead, The Zombie Dead(a.k.a. Burial Ground), Masque of the Red Death, The Satanic Rites Of Dracula, City Of The Dead(a.k.a Horror Hotel) Blood On Satan's Claw, The Mist, Night Of The Living Dead, Universal Horror classics like Dracula(feat Bela Lugosi), Frankenstein, The Wolf Man, The Mummy, Creature From The Black Lagoon, The Bride Of Frankenstein etc.

9.Ah yeah, great. Favorite books?
Any Dennis Wheatley ones I can get my hands on, also I love reading occult and esoteric literature to further my knowledge and understanding of the black arts.      

10.What is one life skill you think everyone should have?

Patience.

       

11.How do you feel about the music business today with social media and the current era of underground music? What advice would you give a new artist just starting out?

It is A LOT different to when I first started getting involved in the music scene(when everything was done via snail mail, flyer spreading, print zines, tape trading) but it is definitely quicker to get your name and music out there and make new contacts via social media these days and in more recent years. Advice? Have integrity and don't follow the latest musical trends just to get popular. Be true to yourself.

12,Great advice. Do you write songs with your bands and what inspires your songwriting?

Yes I do, inspiration comes from many sources, old horror films, books, occult literature, old sinister folklore legends and ghost stories, the world around me, the music I listen to, walking in old cemetaries, british weather, cold dark nights, doomsday, armageddon, the apocalypse etc all provide inspiration

13.Very cool. Any other creative activity you are interested in? Art, writing, etc?

I write for some music magazines / sites and of course write a lot of lyrics. I love taking photos of old buildings and cemetaries and whilst out walking in the woods and surrounding countryside/nature.

14,Do you guys have some shows coming up?

Thronehammer has a European tour with our labelmates Lord Vicar planned for early-mid May, both bands will be promoting new releases/albums.
The only announced show so far is in Tilburg, The Netherlands at The Little Devil Doom Day Fest.

15.Any last words for your readers today?

Many thanks for the interview Gideon, appreciate the support.

Watch out for the Thronehammer album plus debut recordings this year by my other bands Nine Altars and Enshroudment. Winds of Genocide, Uncoffined and Lucifer's Chalice will be busy continuing to write the next albums too so it is busy here!! Ride Upon The Wings Of Armageddon.....

You're welcome. Thanks Kat and always cool to catch up! Stay in touch rock on G