May 15, 2007

Kill Hannah (Mat) - Interview

By Bob Suehs

www.rocknrollexperience.com

KILL HANNAH

May 15, 2007

Recher Theatre

Towson, MD

On the very same night, up in DC, Velvet Revolver were playing a sold out show, which was filmed I was told, but at the same time, there was the Kill Hannah / Flyleaf show, which was also sold out, & I decided to check out the Kill Hannah show, because let’s face it, Kill Hannah is a GREAT live band, their fans are really cool, & when you compare a band like Velvet Revolver to Kill Hannah, there’s way more politics involved in getting hooked up to review a show, & sometimes, when the politics get too hectic, it’s easy to lose interest, & I’d much rather review a show where the bands show enthusiasm over the fact that I am there to review & interview them, as opposed to a band that’s larger than life, has ego’s, & really doesn’t care if I’m there to review a show or not.

The Kill Hannah set list was:

Intro

Boys N Girls

Believer

Love U2 Death

The Chase

Crazy Angel

Black Poison

Lips Like Morphine

Songs Saved

Kennedy

The band played a really tight 10 song set that saw singer Mat Devine singing from the crowd, & infact, during “Lips Like Morphine”, Mat was in the crowd for almost the entire song, interacting with the crowd & allowing them to sing the chorus! The band was flawless as usual, I noticed guitarist Johnny using an e-bow on his guitar during the middle of the set, & my only complaint was that the bands set was wayyyy to short! I actually had a chance to do an in-person interview with Mat before the show & here’s what he had to say:

Rock N Roll Experience: How do you keep from burning out while touring? Y ou’ve actually been on the road for a while now supporting the new cd.

Mat: I don’t know how to keep from burning out ha ha, as you can probably tell from looking at me or hearing my answers....it’s impossible not to burn out, I think, I mean, I guess you could, if you had the money, you could afford, like a sweet bus & hotel rooms & showers, & maybe like have a psychiatrist on tour with you or something, but we just have, right now unfortunately, I mean we were on a bus when we toured the UK, but in the states we are in a van that we own & just between the drives & staying out late every night, I mean they are things I wouldn’t give up..I would never wanna stop drinking or like..experimenting with things, like having adventure everywhere, every night...I think it’s worth the payoff, I think all you need is a month at some point in the year, just to recharge & maybe see what sunshine feels like & to go outside for a minute & we just haven't had that because every tour we are offered is a great opportunity & it’s always just such a critical time in out career & you can’t ever rest, so I guess you just push & push & push until one of us has some sorta nervous breakdown, & then after that you are forced to take a little time off.

Rock N Roll Experience: So you’re still having fun?

Mat: Yeah

Rock N Roll Experience: Are you changing the set lists up every night?

Mat: Yeah..a little bit now..we are gonna do the song “The Chase” tonight & we added, like a month ago we added “The Songs That Saved My Life” & then we’ll do one older song...we can’t change it up too much because we only have a 30 minute set or a 40 minute set, so everytime you wanna change it up it comes at the cost of one other song that’s a live staple, like a song that you can never imagine not playing, so it’s a tough thing to do, but we try to keep it fresh, especially for the fans who travel to all the shows. There are some people who come to every show & I see them at the front row & I feel kinda like, guilty, when I know that we like, we just played the same set, or that I said something that I said identically the night before.

Rock N Roll Experience: So is the Billy Idol cover of “Rebel Yell” a staple every night?

Mat: No...we haven't played it once on this (Flyleaf) tour.

Rock N Roll Experience: How was it touring with Papa Roach?

Mat: That was good. They are good friends & It Dies Today are also good friends & those were big crowds & unfortunately it was not the idea package for us in the sense that, I mean it was good for radio & it was good because we really enjoyed it & we were lucky to have it, but our fan base tends to be younger & it tends to be more lifestyle oriented, more kinda fashion conscious, more, I guess, underground? And, also, like alot of girls & so, aside from playing with HIM, that one tour we did a couple of years ago, & aside from 30 Seconds to Mars, every other tour that we have been on has been somewhat of an adjustment, it’s kinda like a compromise or something, you know, & we try to kinda like, we try to please our fans & then we try to do everything not to be booed by people who have never heard us before, so with bands like Papa Roach who are heavier, rockier bands, that’s kind of a challenge, & after a month or 2, it kinda gets exhausting, so that’s why we mixed it up..we opened for some months, then we headlined

Rock N Roll Experience: Also, I have to admit that as a guy, it’s awesome to see a Kill Hannah show & have it be all girls.

Mat: I know! When we first started in Chicago, the whole way we kinda established our fan base was, we made deals with the club where you show a flyer, you get in for free or whatever, & at this point it was like Monday nights or Tuesday nights @ 6 or 7 or something, but what we would do is print up like 10,000 tickets, even though we knew there was only like 1,000 tickets that could get in, & we’d approach only girls on the street & say, here, get it, get it, get it, & then what would happen..of the 10,000, maybe 100 would show up, but, then the few people that were there were like, dude, there’s 100 girls here & that kinda built from there, because then the other girls wanted to see what they were missing & then the guys wanted to come because the girls were there, so that was pretty much our entire motive in the beginning & that was our game plan & we are kinda starting to see it in other cities...I think it is probably because of the look of the band because I think our songs relate to, if not girls, I think generally, just sensitive people & maybe more artistically driven people & that just happens to be mostly girls I guess

Rock N Roll Experience: Do you have a full time/permanent drummer yet?

Mat: No, not officially, but we really like him (the bands touring drummer), but he stinks! he smells so badly lately & he’ll shower, but then he’ll put on the same dirty cloths, so that’s kinda a problem. His mohawk is looking good though & I’ve been able to shape him into something that’s way more enigmatic than when he first started playing with us, so he’s got great shoes now, great pants, & he plays so well...his energy is just so great, because he is just so enthusiastic & especially, referring to burning out before, you’ve got 4 guys who are like one bad day away from a psychiatric ward & then you’ve got one guy who comes in & is totally fresh, & excited, & that’s contagious & great & we love him & I just want him to wash his cloths

Rock N Roll Experience: Have you started writing any new songs yet?

Mat: Yeah...we’ve had a couple of days off at home & we are all writing..I’ve got like 100’s of ideas & I’m real excited

Rock N Roll Experience: When this Flyleaf tour is over, what’s next for Kill Hannah?

Mat: We just got the strangest offer for a tour that I can’t talk about.

Rock N Roll Experience: Is it the Marilyn Manson/Slayer tour?

Mat: No. I think that would be fucking awesome just because I love Marilyn Manson, I would be nervous to play in front of his fans, like because I know they are taking out Slayer, so I definitely would not wanna play in front of Slayer fans, but we love Manson & we have alot of friends in common & we are friends with Ginger & John 5, so yeah...the new video (Heart Shaped Glasses) doesn’t really show the band at all.

Rock N Roll Experience: Have you heard the new Marilyn Manson cd?

Mat: Yes..I like it. I’m a fan of “Mechanical Animals” so for me, I see it as a follow up to Mechanical Animals..kinda like that same sorta head space, like where the last record was back to the basics & I think it’s developed & I think it’s cool...I think it’s a real sexy record.

Rock N Roll Experience: I just found out Kill Hannah released a DVD..where is it available?

Mat: We just pressed that ourselves...it’s not even out/out, it’s not in stores...it sold out like a month ago & then we got a re-order

Rock N Roll Experience: Did you release the “Curse of Kill Hannah” yourself without the label too?

Mat: Yes...that’s technically just internet only...we are actually negotiating right now to see...we own our...Atlantic owns the last 2 records & the rest of our souls & everything, but we still own our back catalog outright, so we are trying to decide who is going to put that out & how we are going to release it, because I think it’s a really cool chance, even if it’s only on i-tunes...it’s such a huge body of work, I mean I know that it’ll sell really well so I don’t know if it’s gonna be a box set kinda thing or some sorta package....I really liked when the Smashing Pumpkins put out the Airplane box set & even the Cult, who are one of my favorite bands, they released the Manor Sessions & those were all the same kinda like vellum covers, so if we do something kinda artistically cool with it I think that would be really important

Rock N Roll Experience: Since you’re from Chicago, are you familiar with former Marilyn Manson/Pop Culture Suicides guitarist Zim Zum?

Mat: Yeah, Zim Zum is a good friend of ours.

Rock N Roll Experience: Have you heard his Pop Culture Suicides stuff?

Mat: No..I haven't even talked to him in like a year. I heard his Pleistoscene stuff which I really liked..he’s incredible talented...he’s wicked. He has really luxurious hair. We hang out at the exact same bars & so even if there’s only 5 people in the bar, it would be him, me & Johnny...that was like when we were off tour.

Rock N Roll Experience: Is there anything else I haven't asked you that you would like to say?

Mat: I guess the only thing that I would add is that I believe at the end of June, we are going to be shooting a really ambitious video in Chicago & if anybody wants to be a part of it, they should just stay tuned to our Myspace page because we are going to be looking for alot of real cool looking fans & just real devoted fans to have roles in the video & we are really excited, because the venue is already locked down & alot of the talent & cameo’s & the narrative are all decided & the director & there’s going to be a kinda call to arms the next couple of weeks to the fan base & we just hope that maybe some people are going to travel for it.