Photo by Kevin Johnson

The Kennedy Veil doesn’t sacrifice vitality for technicality

The Kennedy Veil is Sacramento’s personal pathway to all the aggression, intricacies and power death metal offers its listeners. Since 2009, the guys supported longtime metal and death grind acts like Cattle Decapitation, Macabre and Origin. Now, the band prepares for its album release show for Trinity of Falsehood with support from Inanimate Existence, Cyanic and more on Tuesday, Jan. 21, 2014, at On the Y. Over a pitcher of beer at the Old Tavern Bar and Grill, drummer Gabe Seeber and guitarist KC Childers sat down with Submerge to discuss the symbolism behind the album, the newest addition to the band (19-year-old vocalist Taylor Wientjes) and the overall charms and attraction to the death metal genre.

What song is most satisfying to perform off the new album, Trinity of Falsehood?
KC Childers: The song “Ashes” is my favorite. It showcases what the whole album’s about. The whole album literally goes through stages. We’re not a death metal band that sticks to a specific style. [The album] has melodic, heavy and brutal parts. It’s all movements in a sense and comes out like total chaos, but there’s structure.

Are perfection, levels of difficulty or challenging techniques a priority during the writing process?
KC: We want our album to sound perfect, but at the same time, people know that we can play every single fucking note that we write live. There are very few bands that play with some type of balls. A lot of it is over-polished studio magic. To me, that’s the biggest problem in our genre, is that music’s become this precise thing. I want to see a band that has a chip on their shoulder live.
Gabe Seeber: People don’t like Pantera because they play perfect live. They like them because they’re aggressive live and they get the crowd moving.

Is there an overall theme to the album?
GS: There are definitely some religious aspects to it, but it’s more the downfall of society and the degradation of mankind. A lot of people follow faiths blindly: is it a sense of morality, or is it you being a good person because the Bible tells you so?
Tell me about the symbolism behind the album’s artwork.
KC: On the album cover, there are three beings, which relates to the Bible [and] the trinity of falsehood, like the Father, the Son and the Holy Ghost. The way I describe it best is, what would humanity do if three beings came down and were presenting themselves as gods? Would you know the difference? Would you answer to the same beliefs that you were raised with? Would you know the difference between being a good human being or would you follow set rules?

What lured you both toward death metal?
GS: A lot of metal in general was interesting to me because it was reminiscent of classical [music], but done in a different way with heavier drumming and distortion. It caught my attention easily. If you listen to older, classical piano and compare it to something like Necrophagist, the guitar solos will be really reminiscent of what you hear in classical piano.
KC: The music had a lot of power. It got people moving. It was always real and it has this blue-collar aspect to it that I love.

What sets The Kennedy Veil apart from other bands?
KC: When I play guitar, I’m not worried if you give a shit about how many notes I’m playing or how fancy you think what we’re doing is. I want the overall feeling of what we’re doing to be epic. You should feel accomplished as a musician. We don’t mind pounding our chest, I guess. I think that’s what our genre needs. If you get the chance to come see us live, our music has more of that raw vibe to it.

Do you feel death metal has an audience in Sacramento?
KC: To be honest, we have some of the strongest groups of bands death metal-wise here in Sacramento. Even younger bands like the guys in Extirpate are so talented. I see a lot of talent in our scene, so there’s growth in that sense. I think Sacramento’s biggest problem in general is there is a scene here, but the only way you destroy a scene is overpopulating it with so many stupid shows where the same band you saw play Saturday, plays next week.
GS: I think another part of the problem is there are so many young kids and the only places they can go to see a show is the Boardwalk or Ace of Spades. With this genre in Sacramento, there are so many kids that want to go to these shows, but they can’t. Most of the metal scene here is younger kids.

Taylor Wientjes, at 19 years old, is the new vocalist of The Kennedy Veil. Was his age an intimidating factor in the search for a frontman?
KC: For me, not at all. My big thing was always confidence. Outside of that, it was important to get somebody into the band that would be like a family member. We’re like a family. We argue like a family, but we’re very business-savvy as far as our time and our money goes because we plan on this being our careers.

What is The Kennedy Veil looking forward in 2014?
KC: I’m looking forward to a great year. We didn’t get into this to be millionaires—thousandaires would be nice. [Laughs] When I listen to the new album, I think we could be one of those bands that breaks into new demographics. [Our music] isn’t verse, chorus, verse, chorus. It’s not a radio song. There’s enough emotion there to catch people.

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