kylesaGeorgia sludge metal rockers Kylesa are kicking off their first ever headline Australian tour in Perth this weekend. JESSICA WILLOUGHBY catches up with guitarist, Phillip Cope, ahead of their show at the Rosemount Hotel this Saturday, December 7.

The last few years have been rough for Kylesa. Not on the musical front, but more on the personal side of things.

Life is like that; constantly throwing a curveball. But the three musicians that make up this heavy-hitting Georgian outfit decided to purge their demons the only way they know how – through song. The result is Ultraviolet. Released earlier this year, the band’s sixth album sees them treading down a darker path. One filled with array of subtle electronic elements and haunting tones.

“The time period between Spiral Shadow (2010) and Ultraviolet was rough for us,” says guitarist, Phillip Cope. “I suggested the theme of loss for this album because I felt it was something we would be able to communicate well with everything that had gone on over the past couple of years.

“Laura (Pleasants, guitar/vocals) and I wrote a lot of the album separately, lyric-wise. But recording it was pretty intense. To be honest about it, you kind of have to bring out some of those feelings. There’s certain things the two of us have never discussed before. But we had to, as we were in the studio making a record. We definitely brought out the demons, I guess you could say.

“I’m glad the album is done. At the time it was really heavy and I’m glad it’s all over.”

Despite recording at The Jam Room in Columbia with Cope on production duties once again, the process for Ultraviolet was vastly different from anything the band had tried to tackle before. With Pleasants’ vocal presence making a statement on the album, fellow frontman Cope decided to take a back seat to delve further into the instrumental development of this release – with injections of Theremin and synth a notable addition.

“It was fun,” Cope says. “I haven’t really taken credit for it, but I’ve been jumping between instruments for years. I’ve just been really quiet about how many different things I’ll put on a record. This album includes the most I’ve ever done, though. It was challenging and fun to come up with the sounds. But I had a bit of time to practice, so I wasn’t just grabbing instruments and going with it. I kind of had an idea of what I wanted to do before I jumped in.

“Laura also had a lot more time to practice her thing. She came in and was sounding good. I was feeling the need to do more of the instrumental work. So it was a bit of pressure off my back; just letting her go for it a bit more.”

“I must admit I was up in the studio alone a lot, though. Everyone has kind of learned to trust me a lot more in the production process. So everyone just came up when they were needed. It wasn’t like we just had one big hunk of time where everyone needed to hang out. I moved to Columbia and I lived there. I went to the studio every day and I just told people when they were needed to track.

“It was chill at first. But then I realised how massive the album was becoming. Then I became a little stressed. Ultraviolet is a very different album, in comparison to what we’ve done before. I had to make sure it sounded the way it was supposed to. I’m happy with most things, but there were a few that were out of my control at the end of recording. I’m a little bummed about that, but it’s always a battle.”