METAL PULP AND PAPER: Hello John. So glad to be catching up with you. Thank you for taking the time to speak with us here at MetalPulp And Paper. We appreciate it.
JOHN SNELL: We are happy to be here.
MPAP: Before we talk about your new release that’s coming out soon titled Turned To Grey, let’s first find out how you and the band are doing? With 2018 well over halfway done, how has everything been going?
JOHN:LiveKill has received a tremendous response from all over the world. With our first two track releases, I have received so many messages telling us how much they love the music, videos, lyrics and overall band. When you’re writing music and putting so much effort into it, it's a bit scary to release it and wait on the response people are gonna give, but then you get a message that says, "I love this", and then a few more and you start to realize that all your hard work is appreciated.
MPAP: For those that haven’t heard of your band just yet, let’s fill them in, shall we?
We’ve got LiveKill here with us that hails from Fort Lauderdale, Florida, who is relatively new to the scene, just starting out as recently in 2016. LiveKill is a high energy, powerful, and aggressive metal band, that is made up of Carlos Guerreros on lead vocals, John Snell and Sean Young, both on guitars, Anthony Laurella on drums, and rounding things out, Erik Lisabett on bass. Anything else you’d like to add to that catch or get everyone’s attention?
JOHN: We had Kevin Talley of (Daath, Chimaira and Dying Fetus) write and record the drums on the EP. Kevin was already in the recording process for the next singles to be released in 2019 before we found our live drummer Anthony, so definitely look for those coming out. MPAP: So, now let’s talk about your new EP called, Turned To Grey, that’s set to be released September 28th via SWOL records. Before anyone buys it on whatever media platform they like, what’s the first thing you want to tell them about the music on it before it pummels their eardrums and they beg you to release the follow up to the EP?
JOHN: I remember when Nirvana first came out and no one knew what grunge music was. I bought the music and it took a couple days to get used to it because it was different, but then it grew on me and I couldn’t turn it off. That is what LiveKill is - our style of metal at first listen may be a little different but it will grow on you. Everyone always says I want something new and different, here you go. MPAP: Now the cover art for Turned To Grey has a compelling message behind it. It’s the story of Shinichi Tetsutani, a three-year-old boy who lost his life when the atomic bomb was dropped on Hiroshima. Tell us about the message and what inspired you to have it be the cover for Turned To Grey?
JOHN: When I see the images of the shadows left behind by real people, it makes me think about who they were, what were they doing at that moment. That turns into me projecting myself in their last moments of what that must have been like and I start to think about my own life. In music we only have a few seconds to capture your attention and when I noticed how much time I was spending, thinking in depth about this. I wanted other people to realize their own humanity from the images. I wanted to have someone see the artwork at a glance and later that night when they are drifting off to sleep, I wanted the album art, the story to surface and make you wonder. MPAP: You said the story behind the cover was not intended to highlight war itself, but rather that any one of us, in a moment so quick, can be nothing more than an imprint left behind. Do you feel that in a way it’s hard to say that now with all the tension going on right now between the US, Russia and North Korea? It almost seems like a world war between our countries is so much closer than it ever has been before?
JOHN: The message is to consider your own humanity and live a better life - not worry about the politics day to day, and rather embrace the music and be happy in the moment. The great thing about metal is that it releases all the tension inside you, and if you and your friends get a few bruises in the pit, it was a good day. MPAP: Going back to when the band first started in 2016, you began Livekill with a friend of yours named Damon Winkler. Last year he stepped down to focus more on his family. That must be hard for some musicians to end up having to do when it’s something they love, but they also want to be at home at the same time? I mean look at the lead singer for Slayer, Tom Araya, who over the years he’s mentioned he’s tired of being out on the road and away from his family now for so long. So, it must be difficult to lose a band member like Damon, but in a way, you understand his decision, right? JOHN: Starting the band with Damon and having him to lean on was great, and when he left it was hard. He and I are great friends, but he needed to focus on family. I needed to focus on completing the EP and getting it out there. I see a lot from Slayer and I love Slayer, but as Tom said, they made some bad decisions when they started with their record deals and never addressed them. MPAP: Does everyone else in the band know what they are getting into, and there will be some long days and weeks out on the road and away from home?
JOHN: The great thing about producing and releasing your own music is you get to decide when and how you want to tour. We push so hard to keep moving forward that we don’t think about what we’re getting into. The amount of time and money everyone spends to get to this point, we are ready and excited. Isn't it most musicians’ dream to quit your day job and have your job playing music? MPAP: Continuing our conversation about the new music, now that we’ve heard the songs, "Turned To Grey," and "In This Moment," what else can we expect to hear from the other two songs that are on the EP, "Demons" and "Shadows"?
JOHN: Have you ever noticed that when you bought an album and listened to it that you found a better song than what was released? That’s what I think will happen with "Demons". "Demons" is more of what a listener would expect to hear played on the radio. Carlos wrote some kickass lyrics that I think will connect in a big way with younger people today. "Shadows" is a heavy as fuck song that starts strong and ends even stronger. It’s one of those songs that when it ends you say to yourself, wtf it’s over already. MPAP: The music video for "In This Moment," that recently premiered on the METAL WANI website, was directed by Alex Morgan, who is best known for his work with bands such as Whitechapel, Gojira, and the breakout band of the year, BadWolves. How was that having him on board to direct your music video?
JOHN: It's a bunch of emotions all at once. You get excited that he is coming to shoot your video and then you get nervous because he is coming to shoot your video. It’s pretty badass knowing that last week before us he was with Hate Eternal shooting their band photos. So, for me, when he is directing us and telling us what he wants, I kinda imagine him saying the same things to Gojira or Bad Wolves and now he is here saying the same things to us. In a small way, it’s being brought into that world of top tier bands and experiencing what they do. MPAP: And the artist who created the cover for your EP is someone who has quite the resume as well. Eliran Kantor’s work has graced the album covers for Testament, Soulfly, and Sodom. It can’t get any better than that right? What did it mean to you knowing that he was going to do it?
JOHN: When I was researching who to work with for the album art, I didn’t really know who I wanted to use. I found maybe 5 or 6 people in that realm of dark art that I liked. When I saw what Eliran was doing and how his art was portrayed, he was the only one I asked to work on our art. So looking at his other works and resume, you would assume he only deals with labels and not the bands directly. This was not Eliran. He responded to me pretty quickly and when I explained my vision, he loved it and was really interested. It was a sigh of relief knowing he was on board to create the art. MPAP: Once Turned To Grey is released, what’s next for Livekill? I see you have a couple live shows coming up in your hometown opening for Hed P.E., and then another show ten days later with legendary ex-Misfit’s guitarist Doyle. Any more shows you can announce here?
MPAP: The thing about those upcoming shows is even though they put us on the show, until the artist actually confirms the tour dates, it’s not a definite. So, we can't say anything until the promoter actually releases the show. MPAP: On behalf of myself and Metal Pulp And Paper, I’d like to thank you for doing this interview. We look forward to LiveKill’s new release, and what you do to finish out the year 2018 and beyond. Any last words for all the readers out there?
JOHN: This not a one-shot thing and we have a lot planned. We are just getting started and there is more coming. Tune in and look for LiveKill touring in 2019.
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John Snell- Livekill / September 10th, 2018/ Interview #118