On their third album, “Behind The Screams,” Britain’s Kloq has struck a balance between its electronic roots and evolution into a full band. The first Kloq album “Move Forward” was essentially a solo project from Oz (Austin Morsley) utilizing guest vocalists. For the 2013 follow-up “Begin Again,” Kloq had become a more varied four piece band with permanent vocalist Dean Goodwin. “Behind The Screams” builds upon that rock energy, but re-introduces the more electronic edge of earlier work. In an email interview, Dean and Oz discussed this latest release.
We interviewed you back in 2013. You’d said that your latest release at the time (“Begin Again”) sounded different from previous work because Kloq had developed into a full band. How do you feel you have evolved since then? Were there any major differences in your approach to making “The Gun” and “Behind the Screams”?
Dean – I think with “Begin Again” it was a real transitional period in the band which is why the tracks were so diverse. We had electronic, rock, punk and there was even a bit of hip hop which I think is why fans of KLOQ didn’t really dig it. The main ingredient of the band which made “Move Forward” such a success was missing. There wasn’t enough dirty, in your face, industrial electronics in there. It was too rocky for a lot of the fans that had been following KLOQ for so many years. The main difference from “Begin Again” to “The Gun” and “Behind The Screams” is that we didn’t just go back to what KLOQ had done with “Move Forward” we tried to take the best of what we had learned from both albums along with trying to put out our message. Which I think if you listen to the new album, it’s a very current message
What made you put out the ep (“The Gun”) prior to the latest album?
Dean – The original plan was to put out 3 eps instead of an album. But I think once we released “The Gun” EP it got some really great reviews and everyone that interviewed us was asking “when can we get the album” or “when are you planning on releasing the album”. It was all very late in the day but last minute we decided let’s release the album. It was exciting knowing we had a trilogy of eps coming out but I’m a bit of a romantic when it comes to albums. I always wanted to do that 3rd KLOQ album and even if we had stuck to the original plan and released the 3 eps I think we would have still gone an done a 3rd installment to KLOQ!!
Has returning to Empirion had any impact on your work with KLOQ? Either creatively, or how you divide your time between things?
Oz – Not at the moment but that’s mainly down to the fact I haven’t really started to do the work needed for Empirion to get back up to scratch. I’ve been writing new tracks and ideas for Empirion along with Jamie but the main reason that there isn’t anything finished 100% in terms of a release is because we/I haven’t set a schedule to complete anything if I’m honest. I’ve been fitting Empirion around KLOQ as there was material to finish for the latest KLOQ album and it took time to get everything done. Family and day to day gets in the way and you have to be very careful with time to make sure you chip away and things…..plate spinning ! Now the KLOQ album is out and there’s less demand on my creative time within the band I feel that I need to go and get on with Empirion as a priority, it’s burning a hole in me and I feel now is the time to step up and finish some of the tracks we’ve been writing. It was a little tricky trying to get back into the Empirion sadles if I’m completely honest, I was conscious about where Empirion was in todays world and how and what it should sound like. In the end I think we’ve figured it out……I think the idea of trying to re create something just fell away and left us with the same ‘feeling’ about writing music back then, which was just do something that felt natural and the rest will follow.
Could you describe your main studio and live set-ups? What is your approach incorporating the more sequenced electronic parts into your live show (do you try to minimize them/play everything live? If using programmed sequences, what are they running off?)
Oz – Certainly for all the songs on this new album the writing and recording process was pretty straight forward in terms of the technical aspect. I’d create most of the music on my laptop, go to our small studio with Tim and Dean to record bass parts and vocals, then I’d take everything to my friends analogue mixing studio and finalize the mixes. I use Logic Pro X for everything now, all my preproduction is done within the box and I then split it out across the analogue desk to give it a bit of depth….that’s pretty much it for the recording side of things. The live side if a little more complex, I still use Logic Pro X for all our live set up but theres a ton of automation going on. I process all the vocals within Logic and control the effects from onstage sending them to the front of house sound guys to mix into the live performance. I have to use Logic in a bit more of a rigid format as theres a lot of live instruments playing along with audio files/playback. It would be impossible for me to automate and process the vocals outside of Logic unless I had some crazy outboard effects which I don’t and actually don’t really want. The Logic Pro X approach works really well for me….it can get a tiny bit chaotic but I don’t think there’s much else out there with that level control. There’s also another part of the new live shows that are also being co connected to the laptop on stage and that’s the use of live midi controlled video projections and lighting which my friend have developed over the years, we’re now starting to add this to the on stage sequencer/laptop so it’s all in realtime with the music. So yeah…..there’s a bit going on onstage.
Your music blends elements of rock, industrial, synth-pop, and many other styles. How much conscious thought goes into what the KLOQ ‘sound’ is and whether something fits in? Or is it purely an amalgamation shaped by what comes naturally based on your skills / interests/ influences?
Oz – There’s always going to be a certain amount of what I call musical absorption that finds it’s way into what you are doing, influence play a massive part of how you write music in my opinion but there’s also another side to writing which is the facilitating side of where you want the music to go to. With both Empirion and KLOQ there’s a balance between the two sides. I can’t help where and what notes my fingers are drawn to on a keyboard or guitar etc ….they just end up going there as do other people’s when they write music. There’s definitely a balance of rock/electronics that comes out of me when I write the tracks and also the fact that KLOQ has a bass player (Tim) that adds musically to the tracks once they are done, it does also give the music more of a rock feel. Some of the synths/riff I create could bend towards the synth pop/industrial to. Certainly for the new album I was more definite on what sound I should be aiming for and what crowd it would be aimed at……also as a band we thought about the overall message of the songs and album as a whole, that seemed to help with knowing the direction of the style.
I see that you’ve been doing live shows in the UK recently. What are your further touring plans? Will you be performing in any other countries? Any plans for America?
Dean – yeah it’s been amazing. We went on a UK tour with Inertia and Ayria and have played a couple of festivals now. It’s been amazing to be back out there on the road again promoting the album. Germany has always been like a home from home for KLOQ so we really do need to get back out there. We have spoken about America a lot and we would love to over to the states. I know we are arranging another tour of the UK for the beginning of next year but we do need to sit down and have a chat about where else we are going to take this show and where it will work best. Fingers crossed we will be in the states next year but we’ll see
Is there anything else that you’d like to add?
Dean – With the single reaching no.8 in the German alternative charts and the album currently no.10 in the German alternative charts I’d like to say a massive thank you to all the support we have had over the years and hope you can all join us for these very exciting times ahead. We also have a new single coming out very soon so stay tuned!!
FOR MORE INFO ON KLOQ, VISIT: