All Hail The Yeti Get Heavy in Hollywood — Exclusive Interview
All Hail The Yeti are a fast-rising Los Angeles-based metal band that has been packing clubs and drawing the attention of fans and the music industry alike. Drawing inspiration from Southern riff rock as well as hard rock and metal, the band has created a buzz around Southern California. They have recently released a five song EP, ‘Trees on Fire With Songs of Blood,’ on iTunes.
The group started in 2005 with frontman Connor Garrity, guitarist KJ Duval, and drummer Glendon Crain (formerly of Loser, Godhead, and Hollywood Undead). Since then, Duval has departed and the band has added guitarist Brian Harrah and bassist Nick Diltz to the line-up. Garrity recently spoke to Noisecreep after a show opening for Suicide Silence, discussing the band’s rising profile, playing heavy music in Hollywood, and his love of tattooing.
Noisecreep: How was your show with Suicide Silence [in San Luis Obispo, CA]?
Connor Garrity: It was cool. The crowd likes the band and they expect a certain sound. We sound quite a bit different from a lot of the bands out there. They were cool. Everyone’s really supportive and the kids loved it.
How long have you been doing All Hail The Yeti?
We started the band in 2005 and started playing shows. It was myself, KJ [Duval, former guitarist] and Glendon [Crain]. Then we had Josh Newell, who used to play in In This Moment. He also engineers at NRG Studios so he’s super busy all the time, so that became an issue. We replaced him with Nick [Diltz]. We had a different drummer for a while, because Glen was off doing something else. Now we have Glen back. Now it’s me, Nick and Glen. We’re pretty much the three original members aside from KJ.
What is it about the Yeti that fascinates you?
It was a band that I had when I was 19 in Canada before I moved down to LA. A friend and I started a band and wanted to call the band Yeti. It was cool but it wasn’t serious. We did one show and that was it. When I was down here, I was in a previous band and KJ was in a previous band too. We had met and decided to do some writing together and it turned into this. We were looking for a name and thought about Yeti. KJ loved it. At that point, for the type of music we wanted to create, it was fitting. As far as my fascination with it, it started as a thing like some kids are into UFOs and Sasquatches. It’s because of where I grew up.
The band’s sound is very different than what the LA scene usually produces. You have more of a darker Neurosis-like sound.
Growing up listening to all of music, Neurosis was a band I was into. I wouldn’t say I was into them. That’s one of Brian [Harrah, guitarist]’s favorite bands of all time. Anything like that in our sound, you could tell that from his guitar playing. I know that’s one of his biggest influences. When I started the band, my favorite bands are a lot of the Louisiana, New Orleans bands — Acid Bath, Eyehategod… a lot of that Southern sludge metal was my thing. It’s a mix of that and KJ was from Boston so he had that hardcore vibe to it. So we mixed as much as we could.
Where does the lyrical inspiration come from?
Lyrically, I try my best to tell stories. I’ve always been the one who wanted was interested in figuring out what the next song is about. Like what is he going to do or what will they say next in this song. After a while, as the metal scene got so big over the last 15 to 20 years, it became so cookie cutter… My girlfriend broke up with me, life sucks, I’ve got to stand up for my family…me, me, me. There’s so much other stuff to talk about. There are personal stories or made up stories or true stories from history. It depends on what comes out at that point in time when I’m writing the song.
All Hail The Yeti have built a strong local following in a time when a lot of bands struggle to attract people into their shows. What do you think it is that attracted people to the band?
I think that being the guys in the band and the friends we all have, that helped out a lot right off the bat. Like I said before, KJ and I were two bands before and knew a lot of the same people. Then it involved Nick and then Glen. At first it started out with us going to shows, having fun and partying, and we kept creating music. It seemed like our music was different than what everyone else was trying to do at the time. Whether it was something that would get us money or make us big, it didn’t matter at that point. We were playing music that we wanted to play. We’ve been down that road – the DIY tours, starving in a van, and the McDonalds dollar menu. None of us wanted to do that again. We wanted to make music and have a good time. That’s how it began. Then everyone realized it and began coming to our shows that the band is really good and we put on an awesome show, and there’s always girls at our shows for some reason. That in itself will attract guys. It snowballed one day. We’re doing 11:45 on a Monday night at the Dragonfly and it’s packed. It’s pretty cool.
One of the biggest things is the music stands out. For the longest time, Hollywood has been that Motley Crue style dirty rock. It’s that scene. That scene’s been done. Motley Crue’s still one of my favorite bands of all time. They were good because they did when they did it. That was the new thing then. Now why do what they did 25 years ago? Hollywood’s been that kind of a scene because of all the bands who got so big. It became like how Seattle was the grunge scene and what was expected out of Hollywood. I think for the metal scene, there aren’t very many metal bands. The ones who are, they’re the same cookie cutters metalcore with the two guitarists playing Iron Maiden riffs. They took the soul and the groove out of metal, like what Black Sabbath started when they did. That was the best.
Glen was out of the band for a bit and he recently returned. What do you think it was that brought him back to the band?
That’s a good question. I think the main part of it was that Glen wasn’t in his [own] band. He was in a band where he wasn’t writing and as a musician that’s something that’s important unless you’re a diehard hired gun. When he joined the band originally, he was playing in Godhead. That was something we were prepared for and when he left for a couple years, he would come to the shows and he would be like, ‘Man, someone’s playing my songs!’ I figured this would be tough. There was a time when Brian, Nick, and I would talk about bringing Glen back into the band. He’s the drummer for the band. It’s like if I weren’t in the band. It wouldn’t be right.
You have this EP out. Could you tell us about it?
It was four or five songs on there, four of the first songs we ever wrote. Those were written with the original members. When KJ left to go back to Boston, we needed something to give out to people who came out to the shows. We did one demo with those guys way back and we had them up on our Myspace and that was it. When KJ took off, that was crunch time for us. We were packing clubs and doing well, so we took the songs, wrote a couple new ones, and picked ‘When The Sky Falls’ to be a single off the EP. That was one of the newest songs. It was different for me because I’ve been playing these songs for so long. It’s nice now where we’ve got it back on 100 percent new material.
You’re also a tattoo artist.
Tattooing was something that fell onto my lap at a good time in my life. I was just out of high school and didn’t want to go to college or do any of that stuff. I found playing music. The last thing I wanted to do was go back to the classroom. I had a friend of mine whose brother built a homemade tattoo machine and it was something I wanted to try. It turned out to be a way that I could make a career and also do the things that I love to do, which is music and partying and traveling. I’ve always been an artist but I think the tattooing and my music are separate. I do art I guess. It’s something I never really thought about.
I understand you’re working on new material.
We’re about to start doing our own record. We have about 19 songs. Probably 10 to 12 of the best ones and a couple of B-sides and maybe a cover song, and we’re going to do a record. Mike Sarkisyan (of Spineshank) has been working with us for the past two or three months.
Watch the video for ‘The Last Time’