Interview And Review by Metal Mars For Tattoo.com
ALL HAIL THE YETI hit the road with JINJER SUICIDE SILENCE Oct 22nd which, in itself is a show to stoke any metalhead, but what is equally as exciting is the release of their fourth album ‘Within the Hollow Earth’ releasing November 12th via MinusHEAD records. We catch up with Frontman and tattoo artist (Timeless Tattoo) LA, Connor Garritty whilst touring the USA.
Metal Mars: Thank you very much for taking the time I know you have a crazy busy schedule. How are you and how is it going?
Connor: I am good. We’re..I think going into the second week..I think? I dunno..I don’t know how many days it’s been, but I think we are on the 10th show today or something like that. Everything has been great, and the shows have been amazing. Every show has been sold out, the crowds have been amazing, umm yeah the weather has been pretty good so all in all it’s been pretty good. It’s was a weird adjustment going from no shows and no playing for two years almost to being alone by myself for a year and a half then all of a sudden like living in a bus with five guys.
Metal Mars: Which leads me to ask how did Covid-19 and quarantine affect you? Did you dive into writing? Any cathartic outlets?
Connor: For us, we literally left on a tour on March 9th we were starting in Philly on March 13th and we got three hours from the venue and it got cancelled. So we literally got back in the bus and turned around and drove straight home. We spent seven days in the bus and didn’t play a note. So we got home and two days later they closed my business…and we didn’t do the release of the record we are releasing next week which originally was suppose to be released in that tour. So we were finished with that whole part of writing and recording was all done and we were ready to move into touring and a new record cycle and stuff got pushed back so we weren’t in the mind set to start writing again so I dove head first into my other art and they guys were working on their own projects and then we kind of went our separate ways for awhile until we got this tour. Dave and I were sending some stuff back and forth but we didn’t dive heavy into touring or writing until I got back to L.A. in August.
Metal Mars: Since you brought up your other business tattooing have you bounced back from that?
Connor: Yeah we reopened in February of this year. They closed me for 10 ½ months with maybe being opened for a total 6 weeks out of that 10 ½ months. Luckily, for me my landlord was super cool and was basically like “pay me when you get back to work”, and if that hadn’t happen I for sure would have lost the business. So definitely we are back on track.
Metal Mars: The last 2 years has just been so hard on everyone globally. With your fourth studio album due out on the 12th of this month…tell me about the new music video.
Connor: “Bury Your Memory” was one of the first songs that came together fully with vocals and lyrics when we were doing the writing and it just kinda happened. You know like sometimes we have plans that we want to do a song about this, or we want to do a song that sounds like this…that one just kinda happened. It wasn’t contrived or anything like that. The subject matter is not so much literal as it is more figurative and more kind of for the listener to make their own version of it, whatever they feel. That’s why never put the lyrics in the album credits the video was shot by Bryan Cox who has shot all or videos since the beginning and he’s a great director. The same with him was he was off for the same amount of time so we all kind of came back together for the first video he did back in California after getting back from being in England for the whole time. So it was pretty cool to reunite and do that and the whole idea theme with the flowers and the bright blues we just kind of wanted to do that juxtaposition between beautiful, and summer, and gorgeous versus the darkness of the lyrics and the music. You are so use to seeing heavy metal bands doing these dark skulls, and blood, and Satan and all of that. I mean we’ve done all that but we just wanted to do that polar opposite of each other that Yin and Yang of life and music.
Metal Mars: The colour to me also seems to represent the energy of everyone coming back with a vengeance. Do you feel that crowds now have come back to shows?
Connor: Honestly, the first show that we played in Seattle and I got off stage and even in the middle within the first two songs I could just feel something different…and its not something that you can’t really explain to people unless they’ve been on stage and like played in front of a crowd of people and have experienced all different types of crowds like small crowds, crowds that really hate you, and crowds that really love you, and it was like a shift almost. It was different then the last time we played and it’s been like that ever since. So I don’t know if what we are doing or if its what the crowd is feeling, or if it’s because of this tour, or a combination of all of it. It’s probably a combination of everything. People are excited and glad to be back. The bands are excited and we’re all glad to be back. Everyone gets along great so I just think it’s a great time for music and heavy music right now too.
Metal Mars: Do you feel since COVID that the band has changed creative direction from an aspect of distance?
Connor: You know what it was good for us to kinda separate I think. In the moment it was scary. Obviously everyone was scared of what was going on but as time went one we could see how things were going. I had this kinda urge this kinda urge that I felt like I needed to be close to my family and my parents. So I took off to Canada for a year and a half to help my mom and my dad out. My drummer, Junior, he went back to Canada too in the beginning because he’s got asthma and doesn’t have healthcare down here so just to be safe ya know and so we all went our separate ways but obviously we’re talking everyday and it was more of a sit around and waiting kind of thing but I think each of us had to figure out how to make ends meet and survive during it in our own way. It was good, you can feel it now as soon as we got back in the rehearsal room together as a four piece it was really great…everybody was in a great mood and its been really good. It’s always stressful especially on tour for a band at our level. We don’t have a lot of crew, we are kinda doing everything by ourselves. So its stressful, long drives, late nights, there is not a lot of partying going on or any of that stuff but we are all excited to be here, we are happy and grateful that its happening and to be on such a great tour.
Metal Mars: We all know stuff happens on tour whether it’s your creeper van breaking, to Wifi issues. What tour advice would you give a band that is just starting out?
Connor: My advice to new upcoming bands is to get in a van and go and do it and go through all of those experiences and have the van break down, and get broken down on the side of the road and blow tires and get gear stolen, that’s all part of being on these. We could literally name all the things that happened to us and have happened to us in our other bands too. Stories you wouldn’t believe and playing in front of 5 people and playing to crowds that hate you to getting no money to getting no waters and towels to getting no food like its all apart of that journey and it sucks it really does and it really sucks when its still happening after 5-6-7 years but when you get to the point where its not happening anymore you know for a fact that you earned what you got. You know you’re not just some band that like had a hit song and got big off it and became from it. You’ve earned the respect of your peers and the other musicians and the other bands. So my biggest advice would be to definitely don’t give up and you’re going to go through the worst shit and if you have a good group of people with you and just tough if out and support each other and that’s the big thing…you are living in such close quarters with so many different personalities and everybody is different. You have to learn patience and have to learn how to have sympathy for other people and thats the biggest thing for us because when we first started it was all party, party, and party. We got to do this because we are in a band and we play metal with Pantera you know? So after years of that its like…we started to kinda just be like ok…why are we not progressing? And it was because we were spending so much time partying and not focusing on being on time, getting merch sales, doing the things that need to do be done to make the machine go. If we had a crew of like seven guys or ten people we could just sit back and do nothing but unfortunately, right now we have one all around dude with us. So tough it out!
Metal Mars: Being a vocalist how do you warm up before a show?
Connor: I’m honestly really bad for it to be honest. I know I should be doing better and this tour especially cause we are so pressed for time so I am acting tour manager which I don’t want to be its just kinda what happens. So I’m always hammering so much stuff but I try to do the normal vocal warm-up and vocal warm-down and I take care of myself when were not playing. I don’t drink and don’t do drugs. Especially now with everything that’s going on and then getting sick and being worried all the time my focus is staying healthy. If I feel good then my voice will be fine. Nick and Dave do their own separate warm up things they do about 20 minutes or 30 minutes before we play. So yeah nothing crazy just 15-20 minutes of standard vocal moving the lips and going up and down the scales. Stretching…a lot of stretching of my neck, mouth, chest, and shoulders.
Metal Mars: Have you taken any vocal training?
Connor: I’ve taken some like over the years. I’m actually taking doing some private classes with David Benites he’s from the Extreme Vocal Institute and I think he’s out of Boston. Anyway, I’ve been doing online stuff but he’s really good. He’s an extreme metal singer does all those growl, the guttural, and fry screams and stuff that I don’t do but he’s been helping me with my conditioning and how to throw my voice properly. But yeah I’ve never really done like musical training at all like the other guys. Dave is a Berkley grad and Junior has 25 years on touring like I do and Nick’s dad was a musician so we’ve been around it all our lives.
Metal Mars: That’s how you sustain yourself for the long haul right?
Connor: And removing the partying! People have a weird perception of what its like cause it’s not like that. I mean it use to be maybe big hair bands and maybe in the early 2000’s I use to go out with the bands like Coal Chamber and Slipknot and just tattoo. Those shows were crazy. I was out with Type O Negative for a while and there was a level of that going on but I think now with everything on social media and everything is cellphone and cancel culture that’s going on …its good in a sense its good because its pushed out the people who want to take advantage of other people. There is a lot of that going on in the music business and touring and in music in general and taking advantage of young people that come to shows who want to meet bands. It’s a good thing that its not like that anymore.
Metal Mars: I think there is also a false perception that bands themselves get all the funds.
Connor: It is crazy to think. Even myself as a kid, I grew up listening to Motely Crue and all those bands and when I was young that was all I knew. I thought that was all it was…like if you are in a band you’re Motely Crue. As I got older and got more into playing music and started to see what was going on I was like oh okay? So it’s not really that. Literally there is a small fraction that is like that and the rest is like us in trenches working like us.
Metal Mars: So with the new album, which was completed, before Covid did you do more stuff in between and what is different to you from the others?
Connor: Um…this is different in the biggest way is that’s it the first record we wrote with Dave our new guitar player. So that in itself is always a hard thing when you bring somebody new in and you can tour with just about anybody if they can play guitar and put on a show and having a decent attitude and isn’t crazy. But it’s finding someone that understands the overall atmosphere, the vibe, the story, the message that the band wants to convey and so that’s the hard part. Also being able to write music is a really really difficult thing. Like a lot of guys that are in bands don’t write so a lot of times its just one guy in the band that write the whole thing..or one or two. When Dave came in we started rehearsing with him and we were just like okay he shift apart and played the stuff played the way we wanted him to and his list of influences and bands were right inline with ours and I could see right away that he understood kinda what we wanted to do. Then we started writing with him and it was perfect. He kinda like has taken a combination of the last three records before this and molded them all together and added his part to it and really, really, did a great job to our fourth record cause it feels like a Yeti record but it feels also like the next chapter of the band. So a lot of people say it has the vibe of the first record but obviously better song writing, in my opinion, because we are better musicians now. Yeah it was great that would be the biggest thing for sure and working with Steve Evans, and working with Oracle, and Dez and Anastasia. So now we have a team behind us and its like everything has come together the way we needed it to. As far as Covid when the record got pushed back honestly we literally pushed the breaks on the band. We were doing some social media stuff to keep people engaged and stuff like that. I’m going to speak for myself but the fear of losing my business and financial situation I cant focus on the band right now because its not going to bring me the financial stability that I need right now also I need to focus on my job and my shop and family. So we really put everything on hold till we knew that something was going to happen. As soon as we knew that we were getting this tour it was literally to the day then boom back up and gear ten.
Metal Mars: Do you drink a lot of coffee?
Connor: I don’t like coffee…like I don’t drink hot…this is going to sound so lame…but I’m like a Starbucks guy I like a vanilla latte with almond milk. I’m not the manly man coffee drinking at 6am with a cigarette like I just ya know? I think coffee taste gross.
The newest offering ‘Within The Hollow Earth’ is well worth the wait; whose release was delayed due to this modern day plague we have all suffered. This latest opus has flavorings of groove metal, American heavy metal, and driving Southern rhythms that keeps every track driving, and bashing as you listen. Since the band’s formation in 2006, the influences of the years since have permeated with the band’s style of composition with an addition of a new guitarist Dave Vanderlinde. What is unique about this? The vocals and the energy. The one aspect of too many metal bands is the annunciation of the song’s lyrics. No cookie monster here! Connor’s lyrics are easily understood, which to my ears matters just as much as the other instruments in the mix. His uniqueness is the ability to remain guttural, yet the message is not garbled, it is potent, direct, and paces with each of these previewed tracks.
The production is gargantuan! Well mixed, and I found myself thrashing away while reviewing the album. This release will prove itself a jaw-dropping contender to close this hectic year out with a grenade. Boom take that 2021!
Expect to see them back in the UK summer of ’22.
Pre-Order ‘Within the Hollow Earth’ HERE Out 12th November 2021.
ALL HAIL THE YETI Are:
Connor Garritty – Vocals
Nicholas Diltz – Bass and Vocals
Ryan “Junior” Kittlitz – Drums
Dave Vanderlinde – Guitar