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Back in May, Manchester metal band Kvilla made it in our watchlist of rising indie bands with their abrasive, enigmatic headbanging wizardry and genre-melding discipline. The four-piece, who are best known for their raw, shrewdly unadulterated metal prowess, are now close to wrapping up their debut EP, The Ward, and are set to drop it within the year.

Composed of “normal guys” Sean Ossoway, Ryan Leigh, Adam Peero, and Andrew Nestor, Kvilla are among the UK’s most exciting acts in the heavy music scene.

We caught up with Kvilla’s Ryan Leigh for a quick chat not long ago and had a really great time discussing some interesting facts and future plans with the guitarist. In this exclusive—and rare—interview with UNXIGNED, Leigh lets us delve into the world of Kvilla as he shares how the band came together, their sonic sensibilities, influences, and more.

First off, how did the band form?

Sean, Max (previous drummer), and I started a band with a couple of others in 2012. It was on and off for years until finally getting back on track in late 2017. We practiced together for a year or so before meeting Adam. We really needed a bassist at the time and Max asked Adam to join while we were seeing a local band. Soon after we decided on the name Kvilla.

Metal is sort of a very intricate genre, controversial even more so, where do you find yourselves under its umbrella?

We like to think we combine different genres together to define our own sound. It really falls under “extreme” metal, though, due to the vocal style.

In your band, who makes the decisions? Do you guys have, like, assignments as to who does which for the band (e.g., social media, gigs, musical direction)?

Everyone has a function within the band besides playing their instrument. Adam takes on networking and finding gigs. I arrange recordings. Sean has contributed to the designs for merch as well as giving us the mask idea in the first place. Andy is working on a new practice space we can set up at, as well as potentially getting us a music video. We try to make joint decisions.

Back in May you told us that you’re just a group of normal guys playing music that sounds fun to you, does this mean you don’t mean in real life what you write most of the time? What’s your songwriting process like?

The lyrics are strictly conceptual and follow a story. We’re making a concept EP right now. I usually come up with riff ideas—usually a song structure—and bring it to rehearsal and then everyone else jumps on it and offer ideas to make it better.

The lyrics are strictly conceptual and follow a story.

Ryan Leigh

Name some of your heroes and why.

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Our heroes would include the likes of Slipknot, Devin Townsend, Suicide Silence, Deftones, Tremonti… the list goes on and on really. Every member has their own taste. We all love different subgenres of rock and metal, as well as genres outside of rock altogether.

When is The Ward coming out? Do you mind giving us a few words about your upcoming release?

The Ward will be out later this year. It features a melding of different metal and non-metal subgenres which will hopefully surprise people. We’re very excited about it as it feels like its been a long time coming!

Thoughts on the pandemic? Do you still find the time to practice or record?

The pandemic has of course had a strain on the band just as it has on everything else. It’s been difficult to stay motivated to be creative at times and we haven’t been able to rehearse together until early June but we are now tighter than ever.

Lastly, let’s get odd. Will there ever be a Kvilla love song in the future?

Never say never, there will no doubt be songs that are influenced in some way by love. We’re all deeply affected by it and it can be hard not to write about it in some way.

Never say never, there will no doubt be songs that are influenced in some way by love.

Ryan Leigh

Stream Kvilla’s “Outlast” and “Wake Up?” below. Be sure to follow the gang and catch The Ward as soon as it’s out.

This interview has been edited and condensed for clarity.

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