Tuesday, May 24, 2016

Catching up with Kevin Hufnagel

Few people can match the prolific output of Kevin Hufnagel. In addition to his solo work, the guitar maestro is also a member of  Sabbath Assembly, Vaura, Dysrhythmia and Gorguts. With recent releases by Gorguts and Sabbath Assembly astounding and confounding, and an upcoming Dysrhythmia album scheduled for 2016, it seemed like a good time to catch up with the man. Kevin was kind enough to fill me in over e-mail.

Dreams of Consciousness: Kevin, it's been a while. The last time we met, we spoke about your work with Gorguts and Vaura. What have you been up to since then?

Kevin Hufnagel: Yeah, a lot has happened since then I suppose. There is the new Gorguts album called Pleiades' Dust that just came out. I released an album (self-titled) with the band Sabbath Assembly, two solo albums (Kleines Biest, Backwards Through the Maze), and Dysrhythmia just finished up recording our 7th record, which should come out this Fall on Profound Lore Records. Some tours happened since then as well. Staying busy!

DoC: You just played a solo improv set on a bill with Dylan Carlson and Stephen Brodsky. How did the show come about? How did you approach your improv material? Did you get a chance to record the set, and will it see a release through your Bandcamp page or otherwise?

KH: I was asking my buddy David Castillo who books at Saint Vitus if there were any shows I could jump on to try out doing a solo improv set, and he offered the show with Dylan. For that set I played electric guitar straight into my laptop, into the digital recording program Logic. I created a few ambient guitar patches in Logic that I liked and just winged it. I felt good about it, but I have a lot more to explore with this kind of set in a live setting. It wasn't recorded.

DoC: The new Gorguts album Pleiades' Dust is out now, consisting of a single track. What were the writing sessions like, and what were the challenges in arranging one long song (as opposed to an album of several separate songs)?

KH: Luc wrote the first 20 minutes in one stretch and then sent a demo of that to everyone. Colin and I wrote our own parts to it separately, then we demoed those and sent them around to everyone. We changed a few things here and there, but not much. Then we joined together and played through what we had. In the following months Luc had a clearer picture of how to finish the piece and then sent over the last 10 minutes. Once again we wrote our own parts then had a few rehearsals to play it all together. It's sort of crazy how fast we actually put this all together, the inspiration was flowing for sure. The challenge of doing a single 33 minute song versus your average five minute tune is of course coherency, and keeping yourself and the listener engaged for the entire duration. We were up for that challenge.

DoC: Gorguts also recently toured Europe ahead of the album's release. What was the reaction to the new material like? How do you expect the new song/album to go over live now that fans have an opportunity to listen to it in its entirety?

KH: We were all pleased with how the crowd took it in. It was sort of a lot to ask of people. We are lucky to be the kind of band where people, in general, are curious and excited about what we are still working on. I think it will be even more enjoyable to go back out again in the Fall and play it for people who now know the record and where the music is going. I think it might bring more energy to the show.

DoC: What's next for Kevin Hufnagel?

KH: Some shows happening this summer with the various bands and I'm booking a Northeast solo tour right now for early August, with my friend Nick's project called New Firmament. Gorguts will do a full-on US tour in the Fall. Dysrhythmia will have our new album out then as well and I'm really excited by the way that one turned out. Thanks for the interview.

Kevin Hufnagel on Facebook
Kevin Hufnagel on Bandcamp

Dysrhythmia on Facebook
Dysrhythmia on Bandcamp

Sabbath Assembly on Facebook
Sabbath Assembly on Bandcamp

Gorguts on Facebook
Gorguts on Bandcamp