Cane Hill is personally one of the darkest bands I know of. Within their heavy riffs, they focus on dark thoughts and feelings: violence, mental health, addiction and a whole range of other issues. But their third studio album Kill The Sun looks like that they are going to cram all these themes into something a lot softer, which they have only once touched on in one song off their self-titled EP. I got the chance to speak with frontman Elijah Whitt before the first show of the UK run of the Black Flame Tour.
In interviews before, you’ve said that you felt like you rushed the recording of Smile, your first album, but you’ve released an album nearly every year since. Are you that quick at writing songs?
“Even though we released it quickly, when we went into Smile we didn’t have anything written. And what we’ve done since then is any time we’re home, any off time, we’re writing pretty much exclusively like our lives become at James’ house recording. With Smile we went in with four or five riffs, we really weren’t ready and wrote it all in the studio, but now we have the ability to be able to track every year so it’s not that bad anymore.”
So, have you been sitting on complete songs for a few years now or are you pushing as many as you can into your records?
“Never, it’s always fresh. We had some songs that we thought were gonna be on the next album we wrote while we were writing our EP and we already fucking hated them, our manager was like, ‘you guys all ready to go to the studio, I’ve heard the stuff from Dropbox, they’ll have stuff right?’ and we were like nah, that’s bad, that’s like a year old!”
You’ve released the single ‘Kill The Sun’ and it’s a bit of a throwback to ‘French 75’ off your EP, what was the inspiration for going back to those sounds?
“To us, it wasn’t going back to anything, it was improving on something we’ve already done and kind of embellishing and making it a full album. We were never very satisfied with the way ‘French 75’ came out regardless of how anyone else feels, we knew that we could do better, we knew that we were capable of writing these very, very different songs like the electro-acoustic theme and in general. We’ve been listening to a lot of pop and grime, so we thought why not combine those two into something really sad, dark and weird without being instrumentally heavy or your typical idea of heavy shit. Instead its very soft music with a very heavy background.”
Are you exploring those ideas on the new record Kill The Sun?
“So that’s the only song that doesn’t have real drums or bass. To be honest, the last song is heavy as fuck for not being a heavy metal song, but they’re all different, one of them has got a very jazzy feel to it, we got a song we wrote with the guy from Everlast, we got a song about acid, we’ve got a piano song which we’ve never done before, so we got this world of soft, weird things kinda going on.”
In your songs, there’s a lot of deep emotional issues covered, do you think every song you’ve written is based off one of the bands past experiences?
“Since Smile, it’s all been very personal, the EP was kinda just stories we were telling, but one or two of them were personal, like ‘Sunday School’, ‘French 75’and ‘Timebomb’were personal. The rest of them off the EP were just creating cool songs. But everything now, ever since then has been very, very personal.”
Do you think you could have written songs like you have done if you didn’t go through those experiences that you went through?
“No, definitely not.”
If you took all those experiences and put them all in one record, is that going to convey one emotion or message to you?
“Not really, the feelings range from anger to losing a loved one to watching all your idols fall in front of you to drugs. In general, I just think it’s important to understand that we are a very emotive band whether its rage or absolute depression, you’re going to get a strong emotion out of us regardless.”
So where do you see yourselves in the years to come?
“Not a fucking clue, I decided a while back on a few tours that I completely forgot to enjoy everything as I kept thinking about the future. I always try to enjoy exactly where I’m at and what I’m doing at the present.”
Kill The Sun is going to be released on January 18th, it clearly demonstrates how Cane Hill are all such talented musicians, deferring from their normal grungy metal riffs to something a lot calmer.
By Murry Deaves