On May 12, 2017, Canadian rock band Kill No Albatross released their debut EP, Lost in Darkness and Distance.
On coming together
“We should probably be called Kill No Phoenix”, their drummer, Alex Sallas, tells me via email. “We arose from the ashes of a separate project that Josh, Crosty, Liam, and I all played in. After the singer of that band disappeared without a trace – we’re still not sure of his exact whereabouts – the four of us decided to start anew.”
This led them to Kijiji in search of a new singer, and after several auditions, they found Kyle Collins. The Burlington, Ontario, band was formed in November of 2016.
Both the name of the band and their album title reference Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein.
“In Letter II … Robert Walton writes of departing to unexplored regions – ‘the land of mist and snow’ – and promises that, while there, he will ‘kill no albatross’. This is itself an allusion to Coleridge’s Rime of the Ancient Mariner, wherein the titular mariner crossbows an albatross, which is symbolic for good luck, and thereby curses his ship.”
“To ‘kill no albatross’, then, is to avoid blaming the innocent.”, Sallas summarizes. “It is also – to borrow another idiom – to leave no stone unturned; to not ‘shoot down’ opportunity. Further, on a more overt level, it affirms respect for the natural world – something sorely needed at a time when our cousins to the South are led by a Cheeto-coloured commandment bent on pillaging and commoditizing all the parts of the Earth that are within reach of his tiny hands.”
Lost in darkness and distance is the last five words in the novel.
The writing and recording process
Alex explains that the process of writing Lost in Darkness and Distance was “a collective endeavor, to a degree” with himself and guitarist Josh Pinkney first laying down the foundation of the songs Eos and Phantom Island and guitarist Alex Crosty, bassist Liam Kilawee, and singer Kyle Collins then writing their own parts. “‘I Am the Night was a bit different”, Sallas adds, “Josh, Crosty, and I had worked together on that song for years before perfecting it with Liam and Kyle.”
He describes the bulk of the recording process as an intense three-day stretch spent at Mississauga’s Metalworks Studios. “I hardly slept for the excitement and anticipation. Memories are aplenty: I’ll always remember sitting up at 5:30 AM with Josh, jamming in the gargantuan, picturesque live room. I’ll also always remember my feeling at the end of the session: it was as though waves of stress were cascading out of my stomach, down my back. On the drive home I had tears rolling out of my eyes, not for sadness, but sheer release.”
After their whirlwind recording sessions at Metalworks, the band spent another month at Sallas’ house adding vocal overdubs, mixing, and mastering.
“From recording to release it was just over two months”, Sallas tells me. “I cannot speak highly enough of Wayne [Cochrane, producer], who was not only helpful in fine-tuning the songs but willing to stay up all night with us during the recording, perfecting bits and pieces.”
As for the band’s influences, Sallas points out, “The five of us have distinct tastes in music. At the risk of mischaracterizing, I’ll assert the following: Kyle is into modern rock (Alter Bridge, Tremonti, Big Wreck); Crosty listens to all sorts of stuff, though perhaps most frequently post-hardcore (Dance Gavin Dance, A Lot Like Birds, Icarus the Owl); Liam is into old-school metal (Megadeth, Black Sabbath); Josh likes new-school metal (Converge, Every Time I Die); and I’m all over the map. In terms of rock, Fair to Midland, Devin Townsend, and Faith No More are frequently on my iPod, but I’ve long had a fascination with the avant-garde, too.”
In the coming weeks, Kill No Albatross will be playing several concerts in Ontario and one in Quebec.
When asked if they have plans to continue touring elsewhere, Sallas replies, “Nothing has been confirmed yet but we’ve discussed heading west, towards Calgary and Vancouver. Stay tuned.”
Although the rest of the band is in disagreement, Sallas expresses a strong distaste towards cover songs, so you can expect to hear only original music when seeing them live.
For upcoming event details visit the Kill No Albatross Facebook page.