Pessimist founder and guitarist Kelly McLauchlin recently announced that he would leave Florida based death metallers Unholy Ghost and once again fully concentrate on Pessimist. The news was somewhat of a surprise but apparently there's been a bit of turmoil in Unholy Ghost ever since drummer Aantar Lee Coates was kicked out and replaced last year. I thought it would be interesting and appropriate to hear a bit more about the reasons for the decision to leave the band and the future of Pessimist.
What made you reactivate Pessimist?
Well basically Pessimist was inactive for about the last two years, since I was busy playing in Unholy Ghost. It's not like the band ever "broke up" or anything... me and the guys from the band have always kept in touch, and I have kept the Pessimist web site up and running this whole time. Anyways, I had joined/formed Unholy Ghost and at the time it was something I wanted to pursue, and it has been one of my greatest experiences playing in that band. However, it reached a point where playing in Unholy Ghost was just not fun for me anymore, and I hope to be much happier again writing for Pessimist, which is a more brutal and technical style, and which is my own creation.
Did you expect/plan to reform Pessimist so soon again? It's only been close to three years since the last album.
After recording Slaughtering the Faithful, Pessimist had done a few shows and decided that the band needed to take a break for a while. At the time, we were looking for a new drummer, plus Reaper had returned to NY to spend some time with his family, and guitarist Bill was jamming in another local band from MD. Meanwhile, I had relocated to FL to play in Unholy Ghost. So it made sense to put things on hold for a while. I had thought that I would continue playing in Unholy Ghost for a while longer, but due to the way things were going it was better for me to go ahead and announce my departure from the band, and get back to doing Pessimist full-time. We are all totally psyched to jam together again!
Were there different opinions of the musical direction of Unholy Ghost? I ask because since the release of Torrential Reign both you and Aantar has either quit or been kicked out.
Well to be honest, the band was never the same after we asked Aantar to leave. Unholy Ghost was first formed from me and Aantar playing together, so to me that was a large part of what the band was about, was our chemistry. I had always said that Unholy Ghost was about the original lineup and if that ever changed, it wouldn't be the same band. And I was right - after Aantar was gone, everything changed - including the musical direction. I had even considered asking him to re-join the band, but we knew this was just not possible. So, musical differences is not my sole reason for leaving the band, but that is definitely a large part of it.
Unholy Ghost was pretty quick to find a replacement for you in shape of former Deicide guitarist Eric Hoffman. What's your view on this?
I think that it's killer! When I heard that Eric Hoffman was joining Unholy Ghost, I told the guys congrats, man I think that's killer and I'm sure they are stoked to be jamming together! I really wish them the very best and hopefully it will take the band to new levels. To me, being a Deicide fan for as long as I can remember, and always thinking that they are such awesome guitarists, it's an honor that the band would find such a high-caliber guitarist as my replacement!
Do you have a complete line-up and is it the same as on Slaughtering the Faithful?
Things are still coming together really, but yes the complete Pessimist line-up as of right now includes lead guitarist Bill Hayden and bassist/vocalist Ralph "Reaper" Runyan, from our latest CD Slaughtering the Faithful. Plus, if everything goes as planned, we will also be working again with original drummer Chris Pernia from our first two CDs, Cult of the Initiated and Blood For the Gods. The whole band is psyched about jamming together again! We are already writing a bunch of killer new riffs and have lots of song ideas.
I assume you already have some new material ready. Is it a continuation from where Slaughtering the Faithful left of or will there be a change in sound again?
So far the material on this next release sounds like a cross between Slaughtering the Faithful and our previous CD, Blood For the Gods. I think having Chris, our original drummer back in the band will contribute a lot towards keeping our original style and sound!
Do you have any song titles ready at the moment or is it too early to ask?
The demo/EP was originally to be called "For Stronger than Death is Hate". We have a bunch of ideas for song titles; some of my favorites include "Punishing Those Despised", "Unclean Spirit" and "Exit Wounds".
Is there anything musically that have inspired you while being in Unholy Ghost that you'll incorporate and use in the "new" Pessimist?
Not really. If anything, the new riffs I am coming up with for this next release are 100% Pessimist! Mostly it's just a return to my own writing style! When writing for Unholy Ghost, to me it was a different approach. All of the riffs I wrote for that band were much more basic and not technical at all, really. For Pessimist I have always written more complex riffs and song structures, and stylistically it is much more brutal!
Are you still signed to Lost Disciple?
After we recorded our 3rd CD Slaughtering the Faithful, we have completed our recording contract with Lost Disciple, and the band is now free to do whatever we choose. We will be looking for a record label for the next release. I have spoken with Century Media/Olympic about this, and they have been very supportive. Of course since I am still under contract with Olympic they will have first rights to anything that we record!
When can we expect to see a new album?
We hope to have a demo/EP recorded sometime this summer, and hopefully a complete album by next year. There's no rush at all really, I want to take my time and make this the best record possible. We're hoping to record the demo at Nightsky Studios in Maryland with producer/guitarist Ron Vento of Aurora Borealis.
Do you have any live activities planned?
No, there are no plans for live shows at this time - our main focus for now is to finish writing and record the next release. We have talked about scheduling some Fests in the US after that, so we'll have to wait and see what happens.
Anything you wish to add to conclude this interview?
Mostly I'd just like to give a shout and thanks to all those fans who have continued to show support over the years! For more info on Pessimist, check our web site at www.pessimist.com! Keep Music Evil!