Saturday 10 September 2016

Interview with Paul Kenney from KROH

This ominous doom band was based in UK five years ago by Paul Kenney who spent a damn lot of time in different extreme underground bands including black metal / grindcore outfit Fukpig. So one day he made up his mind and create Kroh inviting Francis Anthony to contribute vocals their self-titled debut.

Something went wrong and after two split-albums with Fukpig and Ice Dragon they called it quits on July 2013. Two years later Paul resurrected the band with totally new lineup and result of this reborn is fresh and loud full-length release “Altars”. I believe that the album will not lost between records of other modern female-fronted occult doom bands.

New vocalist Olivia sings and chants with a low and tender voice, riffs are resounding and fuzzy, and this overall haunted and creepy atmosphere - all of it works together perfect. “Altars” hits the bullseye, and though such stuff is widely demanded today, the band sounds pretty honest and recognizable. Paul is here to share more details about his creation.

Hi Paul! You and Francis started Kroh as duet back in 2011, was it just a side project for you? And what does that strange title mean?!

Kroh has never been a side project for me. It’s been something I have spent a lot of time planning and working on. The strange title was something that I saw and thought would work for this project.

So what did you plan for Kroh from very start? What was your primary intention and did you fulfill it in the first album?

The original idea was to take from my years of extreme music and make it more structured, to make a dark world you can escape to. But the first album kind of worked, I needed a lot more experience and effort to reach the actual goal of the new album.

Satanism, murder, madness, death - that's how metal-archives describe Kroh main lyrical topics. How much of it was in Kroh self-titled debut?

That’s what the debut was about, the new album is a lot different. The new album is quite varied. But coming from the same world view.

Band's activity was stopped in 2013, what did happen back then?

It didn’t work, so I stopped working on it. It wasn’t how I wanted it to sound. I had to gain more experience and meet the right people before I could achieve what I had originally planned

How did you get that it could work again? What did return you motivation to continue with Kroh?

I managed to meet the right people at the right time and put everything into place. Id given up on music for a few years before I was drawn back in. I thought I hadn’t achieved the original idea so I wanted to get new people and make these songs work. It quickly all changed when I met Oliwia.

Kroh – Heaving Earth

In 2015 you recorded single “Precious Bones” with full new lineup including Rich Stanton (drums), Darren Donovan (bass) and Oliwia Sobieszek (vocals). How did you gather new members of Kroh?

Darren and I have been in bands with for over 15 years, Rich plays with him in another band, so it was easy to get them two. Oli and I met after she answered an advert in my home town when she moved her for University. Once we had got Oliwia the whole idea fell into place and it all worked really well, really quickly.

How long did you work over “Altars” album? Did all Kroh new members take part in its composing?

Altars has been worked on for the past year, a lot of effort and thought has gone into it, songs have been chopped, changed and some deleted. It was just Oliwia and me working on the album.

I own my own studio, so working and recording is a lot easier than it used to be. We can spend as long as we like in there and it doesn’t cost anything. We had songs complete, but we also worked on some in the studio. Some of the songs have changed a lot since the original idea was planted.

Did the situation with lyrics have changed with “Altars”? The opening track had the text written on Polish, right?

Yeah Oliwia is Polish. She recorded a little section of the opening track right at the beginning of the album sessions for me. I loved it so much I had to open the album with it. It sets the tone right away. This isn’t your average Doom album, there's something a little different going on here.

What's about other lyrics? What's it about? How would you sum up Kroh message or maybe Kroh spirit?

The spirit of Kroh is dark, haunting but accessible. Though that could change with the way the new material is going. The lyrics all come from Oliwia, she has a clear vision of where this is all going.

Kroh – Precious Bones

I guess that you care a lot about songs atmosphere, how careful indeed were you writing all arrangements and these haunting effects?

That’s something that we have wanted in our sound since the beginning. Added layers create a world you can plug your headphones into and escape to.

I have a huge box of effects and instruments I have collected from all over the place. I grew up listening to a lot of weird 60s music, so I have always liked the layering and ways you can make songs more atmospheric and dark

How do you see stronger sides of Altars?

We are a lot different live, we have added a new guitar player to the line up so we now have more layers going on in our shows. This can only get better and deeper the more we play

The album was firstly released only in a digital format, but I see that you also got “Altars” vinyl edition now. Who's the publisher?

The album came out on CD, vinyl and on all digital outlets on the same day. It is released on my own label Devizes. The vinyl has a slightly different mix, it also has a different outro, as the whole project was designed for vinyl from the beginning.

Do you have any other releases planed for this year on Devizes?

Not at the moment, other than the new Kroh material we are working on.

Paul you have experience of playing with Fukpig and other pretty extreme bands. How did it help you in your work with Kroh?

Years of playing in extreme bands has helped a lot, I wanted to bring that into Kroh but with a nice clear female voice over it. You can do a lot more with a clear voice than you can with screaming. I have wanted to do music like this for years, but was either too busy with other bands or I didn’t know the right people. I think I'm in the right place with the right people for once. And I'm very happy with it.

Let's resume - what are your future plans for Kroh? New stuff? Gigs? Bigger tour?

We have just played with Anaal Nathrakh, we have gigs booked with Subrosa and Darkher coming up real soon, we are currently booking gigs and working on new material, so we are going to be busy for a long time yet.

Words by Aleks Evdokimov and Paul Kenney