Interview with Chris Kenny and David Jordan (Deej) of Incinery
By Sheri Bicheno
Hi Everyone, Sheri Here!
Born from the Midlands Thrash and Metal scene in 2009, Incinery have ploughed festival stages such as Bloodstock, Download, MetalDays to name a few! They brought out their first album “Dead, Bound and Buried” in 2014 and released their second album “Hollow Earth Theory” on 30th October 2020! I recently got a chance to have a sneaky listen to the album (many thanks to Dan at FatAngel Management) and have a chat with Chris Kenny (guitars) and Deej (David Jordan – Bass) about the new album, sci fi, alien abduction and working through lockdown…
Sheri: You formed back in 2009 and since have done some – pretty spectacular stuff! Bloodstock, MetalDays, Download…Damnation! Going back for a moment, take us through the roots of Incinery and what gave you the push to get into music?
Chris: So…it really started as a covers band for our old guitarists’ 21st birthday! So, me and him played in some bands beforehand and he had the idea of “I wanna do something for my 21st, let’s do a little band thing and play some music”. So, we did that and started out doing covers and then we sorta carried on doing covers…and then after a while we were like “Let’s not do covers anymore” haha. At that point we had a different line up and then once we started going into our own stuff and that, we then switched and that’s when we got David on board and everyone else so…
Sheri: Were you doing Thrash covers before or a bit of everything?
Chris: It was mainly thrash that we were doing – Metallica covers, Megadeth, that sort of thing.
Sheri: And you mentioned that there was a different line up, so since forming the foundation of Incinery have you been the same line up?
David: It’s been pretty stable since the first EP has been out. To be honest, where we are now, we’ve been the same line up we started with, we’ve just had a few comings and goings since we’ve gone along and those have been sort of dictated by external pressures and the financial stuff around balancing being in a band against everything else you’ve got to do. I had to leave after the EP’s were released, a bit under a year I think, it was a while back, about 2011 or something and then our other guitarist had to leave the band after the first album was released, for similar reasons. Other things just sort of getting in the way, but it was sort of why the gap is so big between the first album and this one, we’ve gone through trying to sort that out and getting it back to how it can work better. It sort of clicks better with all the original guys in so…
Sheri: Your first release was E.P “Dawn Of War”, which for our readers, was released in 2011 and then that was followed by your 2013 E.P “Nothing Left”. For me, these early releases sound like you had elements of Death Metal and even a bit of Black Metal in places, under your signature Thrash sound. I can detect this in songs like ‘Rise’, ‘Nihilum’ and ‘Behind The Lies’. What are your thoughts on that perception?
Chris: Hahaha I think that as we’ve gone on, we’ve put more of it in to be honest… hahaha. So that’s a great perception!
David: Yeah it’s like obviously Incinery is a Thrash band but we all listen to quite a lot of Death Metal and some of us, Black Metal so I think it’s sort of natural that it bleeds in a little bit even though it’s not what we’re aiming to do specifically but it’s hard not to play what you like isn’t it?
Chris: I think, as well, it helps us sort of stand out from being a regular Thrash band because it gives us a bit of uniqueness, I think.
Sheri: Absolutely, so you have some diversity in there as well.
David: Yeah, I think that some of the stuff that people like about us is that it’s not just – cuz you can go to a Thrash all-dayer festival and there’ll be some really good bands but it can be a bit samey I guess so I think the thing that has helped us get on is probably that there’s a little bit of variety in it and we try a few different things out and you’ll probably hear a little bit of that coming out on this album as well.
Sheri: Your 2014 debut album “Dead, Bound And Buried” saw some slight changes from your earlier works in terms of guitaring style and rhythm. I would say, a bit more sticking to your brutal Thrash sound than anything else…vocals, strings and drums are really tight! I can definitely note some subtle nods of Exodus from this album. Particularly in ‘Death May Die’ and ‘Destroy The Gods’. I absolutely love that track! From building Incinery from scratch and getting to that quality in not a long time at all, what works for you in order to produce that strong energy of Incinery?
Chris: I think the first thing is that it sounds really simple really, but we all get on with it & each other haha – that’s a big thing haha. But you know, especially where there are some bands that don’t, some bigger bands and that but… it’s something that definitely helps you start out building stuff.
David: I think that as (Chris) Kenny says, it sounds sort of funny in a way but it does really help if you can get on in that way because when you’re writing songs, sometimes you need to be critical in a constructive way of stuff that you hear and if there’s animosity or people don’t get on, I mean I know other bands where they just have ended up not playing anymore because they just can’t be in a room, or if you’re too protective over what you come to the table with and you’re not willing to hear what everyone else has to say then you might end up getting your own way musically like in the creative process, but you’re not gonna – what you come out with is crap or not as good as it could have been because you didn’t take other stuff on board… so that is worth it, if you’re in a band, make sure you get on haha.
Sheri: It definitely has to be a group effort. In terms of your songwriting, how is it put together? What works for you? Does someone come up with lyrics and another person come up with riff…
Chris: What tends to happen is that one of us will come up with two or three riffs and maybe stick them together to start putting a structure together. What could be say, an intro verse chorus as we’re in a modern age where we can sort of quickly record things down, ideas…do that and send them to each other to say “Here, have a listen to this, what do you think? Do you like it?” Then we then take that structure and take it to band practise and start to develop it from there. Sometimes, someone maybe comes in with a complete song because we’re sometimes just happy to write the whole song or maybe half a song and then from that point we get things structured down and then everyone starts thinking about what they want to do with it. So, I would never dictate Deej’s bass lines or anything like that, he’ll come and go “Ok, this makes me want to play this particular motif here.” Or do a bass solo type thing here and he will go away and start adding that. From that foundation, we start building it up and that’s where you start getting those other styles coming in. I think with the lyrics, it’s mainly James and Deej also chips in with a lot of ideas for that as well.
David: Yeah, the lyrics always end up being the last thing that happen because a lot of James’ lyrics are quite rhythmic or the rhythm is what he ties what he’s doing to and in the past James has been known to start writing out the lyrics to the song and we’ll show up to the next band practise and we’ve totally changed the structure of the song just because that’s what’s happened whilst we’re writing it. James then has to throw everything out and start again so he tends to wait until we’ve got what we think is gonna be the final structure down and then he can get on with that, so like on this album there are some songs we didn’t really know the lyrics for until we were listening to them being recorded haha.
Sheri: That’s an interesting way to do that! Totally cool. Let’s talk about the message in “Dead, Bound And Buried” – I’m picking up that there is a pretty dark story but without being so much as a concept album?
David: Yeah, it’s hard to speak on James’ behalf I guess but we don’t really do a concept album in terms of it being a narrative but I know that he likes to read a lot and there’s a lot of horror and science fiction that he reads and he likes to get that into the lyrics.
Chris: There’s a lot of Lovecraft type things in there…
David: There’s a lot of Lovecraft in “Dead, Bound And Buried” hahaha.
Sheri: You have a new album due to release! For our readers, “Hollow Earth Theory” is due out on 30th October and I had Dan (FatAngel) send me a sneaky peek. It is BRUTAL. There are some absolutely killer solos and riffs tearing through this album. The on-point drumming provides the backbone and I think that James’ vocals are cleaner and rawer. How do you think you have evolved leading up to “Hollow Earth Theory”?
Chris: I think…there’s been a long gap between the last one and this one so…a lot of it has just been experience and growth through…just getting old haha! A lot of it is experience and we’ve written stuff before. Even though “Dead, Bound And Buried” was released in 2014, a lot of it was written a couple of years prior to that so there is actually a more extended gap for us. To bring in some of that knowledge and the things we’ve done before and try to do better with it and gain – make everything a little deeper and a bit bigger and add more to what we can do. I think from a writing point, it’s a big aim.
David: I think one of the differences for me is that on the first three releases, there’s a lot of really good riffs and a lot of really good moments and what I think we’ve gotten better at is looking at songs as a total package and one thing that made a difference was that with “Dead, Bound And Buried”, we recorded that in the studio in about two weeks. So, we went down to the studio and we all lived in each other’s pockets for 14 days and just had to get it down. But what that also meant was that we were writing to a deadline so we were trying to get to that date when we knew we were gonna have to go in and so there are songs that turned out fine but they probably didn’t turn out how they could. This time Kenny recorded for the most part…we did it in Kenny’s back bedroom, In some ways that’s given us a lot more time because we had most of the album drafted, with probably 6 months to go from the music side of things and it just meant we could sit down with it and refine it and actually play through the songs and not have to settle for the first draft and go “Ok let’s change that.” The songs are more cohesive.
Chris: It’s a different perspective when you’re writing a song, you’re writing the bits and then you play the song and then when you are actually able to sit down and listen to the song that you’ve just made, it’s a completely different perspective to how you hear it and I think because we’ve had the chance to do that as well that’s also enhanced it for us.
Sheri: So, you’ve actually had the opportunity to digest it as you?
Sheri: Understood. You’ve not long released “Hollow Earth Theory’s” first single, ‘Falling Into The Sky’ – can we explore the message of this? I feel this is a track that suggests a glimpse of foreign life…sci-fi based…
David: It’s about getting abducted by Aliens…hahaha
David: When we were writing it, the riffs and stuff, it was one of the last songs that got written for the album. It was almost a bit of an accidental single really because we didn’t think that far ahead and then sort of went “What are we gonna put out? What do we think would be a good track?” It’s the shortest song on the album which means from a single point of view, that was a bit of a go-er and it’s quite bouncy and fun and I think when we wrote it before we knew the lyrics, we knew it was going to be a fun one to play live, which we haven’t done yet for obvious reasons but the lyrics sort of suit it. So, it’s turned out well, it’s good!
Sheri: It is a bloody good track, it is! How do you think it’s done? has it been well received?
David: Yeah there’s been a few people who have done the single reviews for it and it’s been quite positive from the guys that have commented and got back to us, it’s landed alright, I think!
Sheri: Fab! It’s essentially a look into the new album that’s coming out so that’s brilliant! You released the second single ‘Ellison’ on Friday 16th October. This track, I am presuming, refers to the works of the writer Harlan Ellison – what inspired this?
David: Yeah that’s right! Haha. I’m trying to remember how it came about…I know me and James both read the story, it’s based on a thing called I Have No Mouth And I Must Scream, which was one of the titles we were playing around with and we thought it was a bit wordy for the song which is why we ended up going with ‘Ellison’. But it’s a really amazing story, I’m not sure if it’s that widely read but it’s about a future where we’ve built Artificial Intelligence and then that has wiped out humanity basically and the song is about that, when you look on the face of it.
Sheri: Wow! I know some of Ellison’s work, one of the most popular is A Boy And His Dog. I wish I could go into more detail as the album isn’t released yet hahaha, but I feel you’ve got a theme going on in Hollow Earth Theory. What can you tell our readers to expect from this album?
Chris: I can’t speak lyrically because I don’t get involved in that but…I let the people who know words do that hahaha. I think they can expect something that is very much a core in its inner experience… but a new inner experience at the same time. I think it’s a good balance of that… I think it’s a good balance of the familiar and the new. I think they can expect 55 minutes of their ears being ripped off basically hahaha.
Sheri: I agree, I think it’s brilliant… as you say, it’s about an hours’ worth of face melt haha. Your Album Cover Art is always really good as well. Do you use the same Artists?
David: There’s a few Artists we go back to for generally different projects we work on so it’s not always the Album Art, it’s a different Artist to the previous one because ‘Dead, Bound and Buried’ artwork is really like… I don’t know how to say it… it’s you know, a METAL album where on the cover it’s got you know, Demons and portal to Hell and a tomb and sarcophagus and zombies hahaha it’s just like everything crammed in there. Hollow Earth Theory has got a much more minimalist design, we went with a guy called Dan Leyton who I think does some Graphic Novel design – but because it’s sort of a science fiction theme thread that runs through the album, we kind of went with that and liked the way it looked and we’re really happy with the way it turned out.
Sheri: I’ll be sure to check out his other work, I feel this of all your album artwork, it is quite dark. Just to look at things from another point of view – What are your thoughts on the support for the music scene at the moment?
David: It’s quite a difficult time for everyone obviously at the moment. It’s difficult obviously for the venues primarily and we hope that as many of those as possible can come out of this intact. I know a grant has just gone out so some of the guys like Bloodstock have received a government grant to help them continue to function. As musicians, it’s really difficult and for fans as everyone wants to get out and go to gigs and no one can see when that is gonna be a reality at least for the short term. So, in a way for us, you see a lot of bigger Artists releasing E.P’s and stuff at the moment and I’m sure it’s because all they can do is get in the studio and write because it’s harder for them trying to make their living off this. For us, it’s an inconvenience but we all have day jobs that are paying the bills that aren’t this. So that for us is obviously good but if you’re in say Mastodon, I was reading the other day that they’re flippin’ picking up welfare cheques and you just think “Bloody Hell, if Mastodon can’t make a living at the moment, there’s not a lot of hope for anyone else.” If you’re a fan, it’s going to buy merch and support the Acts and try to sort of preserve the scene until we can come out the other end and start getting out. As long as the venues are there and the bands are there once we can get back out, you’ll hope it will pick back up.
Sheri: It will do, I think it will do, I just think it’s going to be a case of support as much as possible, as there are some bands that have been a casualty of what’s going on at the moment.
How have you found putting together a new album, working together and releasing the new album, during the madness we are going through? We need more of this haha!
Chris: A lot of it was done pre lockdown and stuff and then…some of it kinda got put on hold, we had some vocals that we still needed to do. We couldn’t meet up and that. In the interim, with being at home, there was still a lot I could do myself that I needed to do in that time so there wasn’t time wasted and then as soon as we got back out and got James round to finish off the vocals and finish off any extra little bits and then staying safe, staying at home I could just mix the whole album and get it done and keep firing it out to these guys til they gave it the OK and then send it off for master really.
David: We’ve often worked, as Kenny was saying earlier, with Demos and things, we’re used to working remotely as I live in Birmingham and the rest of the guys live in Nottingham so if we have ideas, we have to work in that way anyway and send things over so to some extent that’s not been a huge challenge and as it’s all done now and we’re getting it out, even halfway through the year, we’ve been able to work remotely on it. It’s been OK for us at this point, it’s a shame we can’t do a traditional album launch which we would have liked to have done and get out and play it… that will come in the New Year hopefully and also just finding new ways to work. I know a lot of bands are doing live studio type performances. For the new single ‘Ellison’ we’ve done a lockdown video which we’ve had to perform in our respective houses and then edit it after haha. That wouldn’t have been part of the game plan a year ago but it’s something we’ve done now and quite happy with the way it’s turned out. It’s just partly adapting isn’t it? And just hoping we’re back on stage soon.
Sheri: As soon as I hope! So, you’ve had to compromise quite a bit?
David: Yeah but it’s been in some ways a creative task set in there, and you look at someone like Devin Townsend for instance, some people seem like they’re thriving on it, just bashing out music and it’s great! Haha.
Sheri: It’s needed. What’s next for Incinery?
Chris: Think just for now we’re gonna try and push things in any way we can, just get some noise going about the releases and that and then next year, permitting everything opens up, with gigs, get out there and get it played to people properly, how it should be done live. I think that’s gonna be the next focus for a while, maybe look at writing something…
David: We’re booked onto Hammerfest for the New Year and that was again one of these gigs that was originally gonna be this year and they’ve pushed it all back but we’re hoping, touch wood, that all goes ahead and we’ll be playing that in Birmingham in February and like Kenny says, a few ideas kicking around for album number 3 and hopefully it won’t be another however long it’s been, like 6 years before it comes out haha.
Sheri: I’m sure it won’t! I hope it will be better next year where you can get out and do what you can normally do. Finally, have you got any advice for other Artists at the moment?
David: I think we need some advice haha. I guess just use the time that you’ve got, it depends where you’re at in your career. If it’s bands that are starting out, use the time that you’ve got now where you’re not gigging to work on your songs and try and get material written and put stuff together and then get ready to go back out again.
Chris: I’d say use this time as well to start getting used to building yourself up on things like social media when you’ve got the time to do it, you know, it’s a powerful tool. You can learn earlier on and get good at it; I think that helps a lot.
Sheri: So, time for self-promotion.
Chris: Yeah, it’s not always something you can just do, you have to build up, especially when you’re doing a lot of it yourself which a lot of bands are. You have to build up how you do it, ideas, marketing plans and things like that. It all comes with practise and experience so if you can get that in whilst you’ve got a chance to, use the technology that you can use to get out there while you can.
Sheri: Thank you guys! I appreciate your time!
Incinery: Cheers! Bye!
Incinery’s new album “Hollow Earth Theory” was released on October 30th and is already receiving great reviews! You can purchase it, all other Incinery releases and merch at the following link:
More information on Incinery can be found at the following links:
Disclaimer: This interview is solely the property of Sheri Bicheno and Ever Metal. It is strictly forbidden to copy any part of this interview, unless you have the strict permission of said party. Failure to adhere to this will be treated as plagiarism and will be reported to the relevant authorities.