Yesterday I went back over the origins of The Waystone going back to 2012 and how the album started developing between a change in the band’s line-up. By November 2012 the Kaine line-up was myself on guitars and vocals, Dan Mailer on bass and vocals, Anthony Murch on Lead Guitar and Chris McKinnon on drums.
As I said in the first part, Chris had only just joined the band and was getting to grips with playing in an established Metal band for the first time as we led into 2013. We at this time started to introduce Entropy back into our live sets. Entropy (Unrelenting Chaos) was a track off of our very first E.P. back in 2010 which we decided to start using as a set opener. The majority of the early part of 2013 was teaching Chris the existing set along with a few new songs alongside a pretty strong gigging schedule of about 40 shows that year.
To introduce Chris to our existing fan base and to indicate to all that we were not on our way out following a lineup change we recorded Rock The Castle, our first and only full live album during 2013. This was recorded by Jaz Powell in St. Anne’s Castle in Great Leigh’s at one of James Balcombe’s (drummer for Osmium Guillotine, The Tickturds, Myopic Empire, as a stand in for Kaine live and current percussionist for Aaliyah Wood) Rock The Castle Nights which is what we named the album after. The building was the oldest Inn in England prior to the new owners turning into a restaurant.
After the live album was recorded we started to focus on competition of writing the second album. Both I and Dan were in dark places at the time a lot of the material was written, with Dan having lived with me for roughly a year, struggling to afford to live, do music which he loved and while working brutal shifts at the local MacDonald’s. I had been in and out of employment at the time and was starting to weigh up exactly where I was going in life. These experiences lead to the creation of songs such as This Soul Exchange and Solidarity from Dan where as I wrote the Wanderer. If you listen to the lyrics in those songs you can really get a feel of what was going through our minds at the time and the direction our lives, and the band was heading in.
Songs such as Entropy, The New Wave and Resistance were the first ones in the set, but we soon added Solidarity which became a really popular song for us live. Dreams to Nightmares was a song Anthony had written before which I wrote the lyrics to and the title track The Waystone was a song I and Dan came up with together over an evening at my house. The original version was 15 minutes long! I listened through it the day after and rearranged it so it wasn’t as long. I and Dan were listening to a lot of Earthmass at the time and were being influenced in part by their works and anyone who knows Earthmass knows they write long but exceptionally good songs which are as much an experience as a musical piece. As I said previously Chris was very green at this stage but did work with us to alter the structure of the songs and gave them his own particular feel.
The next things to happen in 2013 was about half way through the year I was approached by Peter Ellis of Monument (ex: White Wizzard and The More I See) about him managing us and joining his label (MGR). I had been fan of Peter before so went along to meet him in London and he did a pretty good job of selling himself to me as the right man to work with. He had achieved a lot more in music than I had and seemed to have the experience and contacts to take Kaine forward.
We decided as a group to sign to his label/management MGR. This is the first time I have really said anything about MGR or Peter Ellis on public since our split in 2014, and I will elaborate further on this when I write about the tours that follow the albums released. Essentially the deal involved us paying him £200 a month to manage us full time and he would put out and release Rock The Castle for £1000 promising that he would ensure he got all the coverage he would expect for his Monument releases. He also encouraged us to spend further money on advertising with the Greek Metal Hammer as they would give us a favourable review in return for this and this would generate sales there. We never got the review although about three people in Greece bought the album. In the end the deal in 2013 alone ended up costing us £2,700+ and we received very little in return. The band voted to continue working with him into 2014 as we geared up to finally record the new album.
The cost of that deal was so large that Ant, Dan and Chris still owe me for it. The way Kaine works is I usually front the costs of any costs we incur and the guys pay me back when they can. Despite this the money we earn is always split equally between all of the band members. Everyone in Kaine is an equal member and that’s the way we have always been.
What he did do for us during this time is improved our image. Where as before we were a t-shirt and jeans band (or combat trousers in my case or flares in Dan’s) and as a result not everyone took us seriously. Peter Ellis made us go sleeveless, wear the skinny jeans and forced Dan to drop the glasses. The sad thing about that is we were the same four guys we were before, however for some reason, and it was quite noticeable that people started taking us far more seriously once our image changed. We all think it should be about the music but image, sadly, plays a huge part in it too.
He also informed us off many industry practices we were aware already but he essentially confirmed it such as paying to play big support slots, buying onto festivals and tours, using advertising as a way of buying good reviews with notable magazines and even paying for Facebook likes to increase a band’s status and thus get promoters to book you for larger shows and so on. I did wonder why Monument had so many fans in Sri Ganganagar in India.
Some will call us foolish for working with him but the reality is our dream is to do this professionally and to do that sometimes you have to take risks. You can never fail at anything if you don’t try, we may have failed by at least we have always given it our best shot.
Tomorrow I will go over the actual recording of the album, I hope this has been an interesting read.