Musicscan: What moments in the bands history for you sum up the whole experience of Kerretta so far, what fuels your fire to continue and to constantly put out new releases?
Kerretta: Having people come and pay their hard earned money to buy tickets to come to a show is a humbling experience. We're very lucky that we're able to travel to places all over the world and people care enough to buy records and come say hello. We never take any of that for granted. Live experiences mixed with spending hundreds of hours in room writing music I guess are a large contrast so I couldn't summarize in one particular moment. Why do we continue? Well, essentially the desire to keep writing music we've never heard before that's different. We try and look to the future as much as possible rather than reference the past.
Musicscan: Kerretta has always seemed to me to be an underdog band, always maintaining a high level of respect from critics and their peers, though never quite attaining the commercial success that the band was due. How do you feel about it?
Kerretta: We primarily enjoy making music for ourselves. It's a selfish endeavor, but making music for others seems false and we would be essentially doing it for commerce or have some alterior motive if we were. So by us being able to release records and able to tour, I feel that's an achievement unto itself coming from 20,000 kilometers away! I think it's natural to want to be heard by more people and be more commercially successful, but hopefully more people get to hear the new record and like it? We worked hard on it it so, hopefully this is the case.
Musicscan: On the other hand: People who get introduced to Kerretta are often impressed by your “different” approach to music. What do you think about this thought, and what is your approach towards music and being Kerretta in general?
Kerretta: We aim to be sonically fearless. We work hard to push instruments to their potential and want to write music that is unafraid. We want everything to be possible.
Musicscan: I'm seeing you called everything from post-metal to prog and art-rock, which is interesting if not amusing. What are your thoughts on this?
Kerretta: I don't really mind. If people who follow those genres get to hear us, great! I'm all for it. In fact, I think nowadays because there is so much music around, I actually think it's helpful. I didn't used to think this, but access to music is now almost limitless, so I think it's easier to be able to find bands you enjoy by having them put into category's.
The danger of catagories is the bands themselves write their music into some type of self fulfilling genre where they're afraid of experimenting or stepping out because they're concerned the people that follow them ('fans') won't like their new music. The band's thought process conundrum of "we like your older stuff better than your new stuff".
Musicscan: Does being a trio now make managing the band and the musical progression easier or harder?
Kerretta: Both. More onus or importance is placed on each individual member because proportionally each person takes up a larger percentage. So we all are 33% proportionally "important" as opposed to 20% in a five-piece band. However, it's far easier to organise logistics around a smaller band than a larger one. The additional advantage of being in a smaller group is that you can evolve sound quicker if you wish to add new ideas. You're having to work through things with less people makes the process far more stream lined.
Musicscan: Musically Kerretta seems like a band fueled by raw emotion which is at the same time tempered by a - let's say - disconnected vibe. What are the motives behind writing in this style, what reactions are you seeking to evoke in your audience?
Kerretta: Cool, glad you picked up on some of that! Tension and release. Dynamic. These things are all natural. I don't think you can have truly great highs, without having truly great lows. We just try and write in an honest way and hope that we can convey this when recording or playing live. I'd hope that when people come to a Kerretta show they feel like they get to hear those peaks. The mountain they wish to conquer, the mental boxing ring they're entering and we're playing their song. Some elements of build-up and a little euphoria hopefully.
Musicscan: The high level of musicianship on display on your releases makes me wonder whether you took any lessons or theory classes? I ask because you guys seem to me to be one of those bands that knew the rules before breaking them...
Kerretta: Haha! Thanks!
Both David the guitarist and Will the bassist are self taught. David has spent a lot of time working with other bands and artist's so he has had to know theory to be able to communicate with other musicians in different environments. Will is a lot more orientated around tone and sonic.
Me personally, I'll often have ideas and have to reverse engineer them, as I have the answer, but just need to figure out the question. I'm always keen to learn new musical tricks, theories and opinions though. I don't believe there is a ever a time you shouldn't practice, rehearse and endeavor to be better at your craft.
Musicscan: Listening to the new album quite a bit, I have been noticing even more groove and flow. Is this something guys tried to do with the new stuff or did the writing process just head in that direction?
Kerretta: It weirdly just ended up going in that direction. When we first started, we began by experimenting with a lot more ideas than we had in the past. We worked with a lot more different time signatures, new instruments, ways of recording instruments etc. This was primarily because we were bringing fully finished ideas or presenting them before we got to the rehearsal rooms. On the previous two albums, a lot of the material and ideas were actually created in the rehearsal rooms together where we'd set up the studio mics, hit record and capture hours of ideas, then filter through the parts we liked and work on those. This time it was a lot more considered instead of reactionary, as we would have time to work on the idea before showing the others.
Musicscan: I am very impressed of the emotional depth of Pirohia. Your music and sound(s) are rooted in dark atmospheres and content. Tell us how important maintaining these overtones are to the band's mindset, please.
Kerretta: We don't intentionally write dark material, it just so happens that it's what we end up writing. Unless it's music created for dancing (not "dance music/edm" etc, but actual dancing), I often hear uplifting, overtly emotive music and it sounds totally false to me. It aurally sounds to me what looking at a sad clown is. On the outside he's trying to make you happy, on the inside it's the opposite. Maybe you could say the same for dark music/happy people, but for us, we just try to write as sincerely as possible.
Musicscan: What type of mood/feeling are you trying to convey sonically with Kerretta? Is there an underlying idea behind Pirohia that can stand for the record as a whole?
Kerretta: We often tend to write in a very visual way. A lot of this album was sonically written to images, so in that sense, that's part of it. There is a little of it given away in the song titles on the new album. We try and make our instruments work to their boundaries in ways we've never heard before. Writing visually helps to achieve some of these sounds. Because parts of the initial writing process we were all in different cities or countries, we'd have to send each other pictures to describe how certain parts were meant to sound. I remember at least one picture being of some pre-historic insect with spikes and shell. We were trying to make a certain part of one of David's gear sound like the image just as we weren't in the room together. This image isn't what were were trying to portray over the whole song, just an element of it.
This visual writing process formed more of a concept in terms of story with Pirohia. We wanted it to start on one side of the mountain, get to the other side and try and find the way back. The journey is all in the perception of the listener of course!
Musicscan: Lastly: With the direction of Kerretta heading a certain way and listeners / fans growing with you over years and releases, do you feel the fans can now relate to what you are feeling or at least understand what you are trying to tell them with your music?
Kerretta: It's difficult to be objective when being in the band, but people ask us about when the new record is coming out, and we get a lot of messages saying how we've influenced people or musicians or when they've listened to our records it's helped them out in some way. It's nice to get feedback like that. So in that sense, I think the listeners that like our records understand. They get it. I think they're going to be open minded enough for this record. We're excited about people finally getting an opportunity to hear it.