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Khemmis Guitarist Discusses Departure of Bassist Dan Beiers

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Khemmis guitarist/vocalist Phil Pendergast joined us for a recent episode of The MetalSucks Podcast to discuss the band’s new record, Deceiver, fighting through a lack of motivation and depression during the pandemic, the departure of founding bassist Dan Beiers and more.

On the writing process of Deceiver, and how that tied into Beiers stepping down from the band, Pendergast explained:

“We didn’t really make any progress on [Deceiver, new album] for three months or so until the whole world shut down. We just weren’t really getting together frequently at the time, we’d just finished quite a bit of touring and were taking a little bit of a break. But then everything shut down, [we] couldn’t get together in person. We realized we wanted to be recording a new album sooner rather than later. 

“Ben [Hutcherson, guitars] and I decided to use Guitar Pro, which is this guitar tablature music writing/notating software that will play back a kind of crappy sounding fake guitar version of what you’ve typed out. [laughs] But it’s enough to get the idea. So we started coming up with riffs and we would type them in this thing and share the file with each other. That way we could figure out how to play each other’s things and see if it felt right or if we wanted to change it. It also gave us the ability to copy and paste sections so we could build song ideas this way.

“That just ended up being how we had to create the raw material for the whole album. I wouldn’t say I enjoyed that or it was fun in any way, ’cause in the past we’ve always just jammed these things out in person. It was much more intellectualized. In the end, in doing that we ended up creating a lot of material, maybe like ten songs worth of stuff we felt pretty good about.

“Then by maybe September [2020] or so we felt comfortable enough as a group of people to start getting together in person sometimes. Dan [Beiers, bass] wasn’t quite in that space yet to be super comfortable with it and he was just having some other issues that I won’t go into. But it was sort of making it difficult for all four of us to get together and work on stuff. So we just proceeded as a three-piece, mostly with figuring out what the arrangements should be, changing things a lot from the Guitar Pro stuff that we had done. And we coalesced around these six songs, or really seven because we recorded “Sigil” for the Decibel Flexi series at the same time. Seven songs that we all thought had a cohesive energy to them, that we felt told a story, and we really sort of had the tracklisting pretty much cemented.

“We knew what the whole journey was supposed to be which we’ve never really done before. We’ve often had an idea what the first and last track on an album is when we go into record it but this time we really had the whole thing figured out and it felt like this was how the album was supposed to be. It was just about trying to figure out how the story with the words would fit and complement that sort of ride that the music takes you on. Like I said before, that was really the most difficult part for me personally. It all came together.

“I think by the end of December [2020] we were going to be going in the studio in January [2021] to record the album and we realized that it just had to be the three of us that were going to do it. So Ben stepped up and figured out the bass for the album and did a great job with it and here we are.”

You can listen to our full chat with Pendergast below or right here.

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