Today’s staff interview is with Vancouver’s Kyle Harcott. Kyle contacted me out of the blue one day looking to contribute to Hellbound and won me over immediately with his zest for music and his enthusiasm to get cracking. This gentleman is way above the bellcurve on a lot of new acts, often times submitting reviews on albums before PR firms have even sent out a press release on them. How does he do it? I dunno, but he does it pretty fucking well.
How did you start writing for Hellbound?
I freelanced for different local publications for years, but on a very infrequent basis; Vancouver (and the smaller towns I lived in) just didn’t (still doesn’t) have a strong metal fanzine or website – and I was finding that the occasional show review or one-off CD review in non-genre-specific publications just wasn’t enough of a fix for me. I had been itching to find a place to write that afforded more opportunity for publication, and also fit my tastes.
It just so happened, I randomly discovered Hellbound late in 2009, and was immediately struck by the calibre of writing there – it was obvious to me that Hellbound’s passionate and well-informed cabal of writers knew whereof they spoke, and I wanted to be counted among them. After a few weeks of reading the site, I emailed my portfolio to Sean Palmerston begging for a gig. He gave me a shot and the rest is history.
What’s your favorite piece published during Hellbound’s two years?
I am partial to Justin M. Norton’s Scott Kelly interview. Justin’s a fantastic interviewer, and always asks insightful questions. I also found Scott’s answers were honest to the point of vulnerability, and that’s very endearing in any interview.
Adam Wills’ photo galleries are always stunning, and his recent set of Devin Townsend photos was incredible.
I am also very fond of reading what Team Hellbound listen to on their personal playlists month to month, at year end, and around Canada Day.
What are some of your best concert memories?
Unsane touring Occupational Hazard, 1997. My friend and I traveled down from Penticton for the show, and Unsane were to be my very first in-person interview with a metal band – conducted in the grotty backstage area of the much-missed Starfish Room. I was a total bundle of nerves, but somehow got through the interview without puking or pissing anyone off. As amazing as Unsane were live, though, opening act Kittens (from Winnipeg) blew them off the stage! The next day, we went to A&B Sound and bought whatever Kittens albums we could find.
Neurosis touring Times of Grace, 1999. This gig at the (again, now long gone) Palladium was the last time Neurosis played Vancouver. For my friends & I, it once again involved a 4-hour roadtrip and having to sit through two really mediocre opening bands, but when they finally got onstage, Neurosis were completely epochal – musically, visually, and how they presented themselves onstage. More than any other, I refer to this concert as the one that ‘changed my life’.
More recently? When Watain assaulted my senses last November at the Rickshaw – completely unforgettable.
Black metal, death metal or grind?
Person you’d like to interview but it hasn’t happened…
Tony Iommi, because he is both Lord of the Riff and The Hand of Doom.
Buzz Osbourne, because he invented sludge metal and has a white afro.
Also, there are a lot of dead people I had wanted to interview when they were still alive: Peter Steele, Ronnie James Dio, Dimebag.
The most underrated metal album is:
I’m going to go with dead horse’s Texas-fried thrashterpiece, 1991’s Peaceful Death and Pretty Flowers. Though I remember seeing ads for their records in magazines like RIP back in the day (really, how could you miss Mike Haaga’s striking artwork?), I didn’t actually hear the band until Relapse reissued their records on CD in 1999. Now, the fact that they warranted a Relapse reissue in the first place may invalidate them as ‘underrated’ but as far as I’m concerned, still not enough people have heard them, or even heard of them. Incorporating hints of death and blackmetal blasting in their breakneck, humor-tinged thrash, these guys were way ahead of their time.
You are suspended in limbo for eternity and can only listen to five metal albums on repeat. What are they?
Black Sabbath, Master of Reality
Entombed, DCLXVI: To Ride, Shoot Straight, and Speak the Truth
Neurosis, Through Silver in Blood
KISS, Alive! (Not quite metal, I know, but it was my gateway)
TWISTED SISTER, Under the Blade