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SOMEWHERE AMONG my brain cells there's a hazy memory of a humid summer night in Savannah, GA. I've been on the road with a friend's band for a month. The show's over, and like many nights we find ourselves asking the same question: Where will we sleep? In the tradition of Southern hospitality, Philip Cope of a heavy local band called Kylesa offers us floor space and couches. I find an unclaimed whisky bottle in Phil's couch cushion--and to top it off, he's got a VHS copy of the '88 Savannah Slamma Contest. A few years and several albums later, Kylesa is still churning out their own brand of metallic psychedelia. Kylesa's sound is their own, built on a sturdy foundation of their personal vision and work ethic. Guitarists and vocalists Philip Cope and Laura Pleasants hold it down as the OG members, joined by Corey Barhost on bass and dual drummers Carl McGinely and Eric Hernandez. Having just released their new album, Static Tensions on Prosthetic Records, chances are you might see Kylesa coming to your town soon.


Give me a rundown of the band's history.

Laura Pleasants: That's pretty long and involved. Phil and I have known each other for many years. He had a band in Savannah called Damad. I moved to Savannah in 1996 or 1997. We met and quickly became friends. Around '99 we started jamming on some stuff. In 2000 Damad broke up and Phil approached me with the idea to start a band with the remaining members. That's how the band started; over the years we've had various members.

How did you get into playing music?

Philip: It honestly was Thrasher magazine. That's why I got into this kind of stuff, playing punk rock, skating. One of the first issues I saw, I can't remember if it was the Danzig issue or Gang Green. But Pushead's column in there, he was always talking about cool bands. Anything he talked about I would try to find. I couldn't get cool magazines living in a smaller town like Savannah, so Thrasher was one of the main ways I got into punk rock.

Laura: I was just a suburban kid, and especially being a girl in grade school, all of my classmates were into New Kids on the Block and that kind of shit. And I hated that. I think at the time we had cable at my family's house and I would watch MTV. I got into stuff like Guns N' Roses, "Welcome to the Jungle," and then I saw Metallica's One video and that pretty much did it for me. Then I started watching Headbangers' Ball. I didn't have an older brother or sister to turn me onto anything, I just had that kind of mass-media exposure. After all that I started finding out about bands like the Melvins, Fugazi, and bands like that.

How does what Kylesa does as a band compare to what's going on in mainstream music?

Laura: I think we have a lot of soul, I think a lot of current mainstream music doesn't. It hasn't always been like that; it changes from decade to decade, Mainstream music in the '70s was much different than mainstream music now. The '80s and '90s as well.

One of the OG Thrasher artists, Pushead, also did some artwork on your earlier albums. How did that come about?

Philip: Through involvement with my old band Damad. He did a 7-inch for us, and then did some artwork on one of our albums. We sent him a demo of the album and asked him to do it and it worked out.

You've been on Prosthetic records for a few years now. How has that changed your program? Was there much change?

Philip: We were working hard before and we've been working hard since.

Laura: We haven't had some big hype machine behind us; we've really just done it at a grass roots level.

Does anyone in the band skate?

Philip: I'm the resident old-school skater; skating was my life throughout high school.

Laura: Tell him the Boy Scout story.

Philip: I'm not suggesting people do these kinds of things, but before Home Depot there was a supply store called Bulld-O-Rama. A friend and I wanted to build a ramp in our backyard so we got my friend's room to drive us to Build-O-Rama in her station wagon. We dressed up as Boy Scouts and told the people at Build-O-Rama we were making doghouses for the Humane Society and asked if they had any wood to donate for the project. Of course they donated all this wood to us. We're just smiling; the Build-O-Rama guys are taking the wood outside and just loading it into the station wagon. My friend's morn had no idea what was really going on. We just dropped it all off in his backyard and built a ramp.
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Title Annotation:ZOUNDS
Author:Furtado, Ryan
Article Type:Interview
Date:Sep 1, 2009
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