Kylesa’s Laura Pleasants’ track-by-track preview of “From the Vaults, Vol. 1”

On November 16th, Savannah sludge/metal/psych/punk/other band Kylesa will release From the Vaults Vol. 1 through Season of Mist. It’s been two years since the release of Spiral Shadow, and given you’ll will have to wait until the spring for a follow-up, those of you jonesing for a fix of heavy-and-trippy should check out this out.
Featuring the more obscure moments of the Kylesa canon, From the Vaults Vol. 1 is the first in what will be a meticulously curated series of releases that should not only appeal to avowed completists, but also to neophytes wanting a taste of what the band’s genre-warping sound is all about.

You can pre-order From the Vaults Vol. 1 HERE

Here’s guitarist/vocalist Laura Pleasants’ track-by-track take on the release:

Phillip’s using his Theremin and the drummers are doing their thing; I’m doing something just super-simple and atmospheric. We just thought it would be a cool way to introduce the record since we are already playing it live. It’s very free-form. We went through a lot of old material for this. There was a lot—and we had to find it, too, it was on different hard drives here and there. Once we found everything we started combing through it and picked the more finished stuff. There was some stuff we had that was just really loose and really unfinished. We picked some songs that were more or less done, and songs that we felt—of course—that would go well together on the record. Once we figured out what songs we wanted to do, we talked about songs that we wanted to re-record, some older songs, because they were either super-out-of-print or we felt that the songs could be recorded better and that sort of thing. Mainly it was just what songs we could put together that would sound good.

It’ll be an ongoing series …The Vaults records, ‘cos there’s always going to be material. I mean, we have enough for another one, for sure, but we don’t need to put that together for another couple of years. One of the main reasons we decided to get this together was that it’s been two years since Spiral Shadow, and I had to take some personal time off from the band; from writing new material/touring/rehearsing, etc. That set us back a little so we thought the timing was right to get the Vaults project together, and have something for our fans to listen to between records—because our new record is probably not going to come out until the spring. I’m going up to the studio on Monday to record some stuff but we are doing it a little bit different this time; instead of going in and doing it in one lump, one chunk of time, we are going to do a few days here and there over the next couple of months. I would much rather do that than just be there for two weeks straight. We’re starting that recording process now. I think these Vaults records are pretty cool because they do show the different sides to our personality all on one record, like it’s got some really heavy stuff, it’s got some really sludgy stuff, and it has the trippier atmosphere as well. It’s a nice sampling of our sound, I guess. I don’t even think that it’s so much of a bi-polar aspect but it’s more the different sides to our personalities, as musicians, because We’ve grown a lot over the years and I think it would be boring for both us and our listeners if we tried to write the same record over and over again.

That song is just an older song that we had lying around but we never had vocals for, and Phillip and I were working on that over the summer, and we ran in to our old friend Chris Bickel at a bar, and Chris was on our very first record, our first seven-inch (as well as our first full length) as a guest vocalist, so we were just talking with him and catching up and were just like, “Hey why don’t you come by the studio, hang out, and if you wanna do some vocals do some vocals.” He came by—it was the 4th of July, actually—and we listened to the song, he laid down some vocals and I laid down some vocals after him. It was a lot of fun. And I think because of the nature of the song—it’s pretty brutal, parts of it—his vocals really made it come alive.

111 Degree Heat Index
I mean it’s not super-different. It’s in a higher tuning, we just re-recorded it because that EP is hard to find and that song was a crowd favorite for a long, long time. We just wanted to re-record that song and have it available again.

Between Silence and Sound II
We definitely rearranged that one; we were never 100 per cent happy with the one on Time Will Fuse Its Worth, but we liked the trippy elements to it and thought it’d be a cool one to rearrange. Although it is very similar to the original it is different, and I like it a lot better.

Paranoid Tempo
That is, again, an older song that didn’t have vocals. Yeah, it didn’t have vocals and it didn’t have the guitar part at the end. “Paranoid Tempo”, someone asked me recently, “Is that your homage to Black Sabbath?” And I was like, “Yeah, it actually is.” “Paranoid Tempo” was the working title of that song. It shares the same tempo [to “Paranoid”] but lyrically it is different. Lyrically, it’s pretty heavy, but the song is kind of pop-y.

Bottom Line II
“Bottom Line” has been in our live set off and on for years. It’s always been a crowd-pleaser. Basically, we just re-recorded that one to make it just how we play it live; it’s a little faster, it’s a little gnarlier than on the record. That’s the punkest song we’ve ever written.

I think it’s an atypical Kylesa song. I think it’s cool. Some of the riffs are cool, but it doesn’t really sound like a Kylesa song. It’s like when we do record, lyrics are one of the last things we track, so it can just be a time issue but for that song specifically I recall having trouble coming up with vocal parts for that song so we just ditched it and came back to it later and it was a little easier the second time around.

Bass Salts
That’s basically just a bass solo, and “Bass Salts” it’s a reference to bath salts and Eric Hernandez [bass] is from Miami, and he’s from where the zombies live.

That’s a Buzzov*en song. We’ve never played it live. That’s from their first record and Phillip and I we’re totally influenced by Buzzov*en when we were younger. I saw Buzzov*en when I was 15 and they really changed my outlook on underground music; they were super-heavy, super-aggressive and real . . . And loud. So we covered that song and it came out really good, I think. It sounds really gnarly and heavy. We certainly have [sludge] in our roots, just as we have punk and metal, and psychedelic rock; it’s certainly a big part of us and this is us just going back to our roots.

Set the Controls for the Heart of the Sun
I love all Pink Floyd but I prefer the early Pink Floyd. Like, I like the Barrett-era of Floyd lots, and their next period, which would be from the More soundtrack, Obscured by Clouds . . . Meddle is killer, it’s one of my favorite records ever. We wanted to cover “Set the Controls . . .” and we used to cover it live, a lot, and we found ourselves in the studio and started recording it. And that was a fun one to do. Jay [Matheson] from the Jam Room is also a bass player and he played on that. It was basically improv’d live, the whole track, and it just came together really natural and fun. That one we’d played live so much so it was more about just experimenting and having fun. There will be some improv’ and jamming on this next record.

Drum Jam
The Drum Jam came from a B-side on the Static Tensions record. Hyper Realist Records put out a seven-inch before Static Tensions came out and the A-side was “Unknown Awareness” (which was on Static Tensions) and the B-side was this drum jam, and that’s just Carl and Eric going to town on the drums. It sounds like you’re running through a jungle. That drum thing was just those two guys; they wrote it, they did the overdubs on it, a lot of percussion, and, like I said, it was only just on that seven-inch and it’s out of print so we just thought we’d make it available on this record.

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