Screams From A Black Wilderness: All Hail The Yeti’s Connor Garritty on Inspiration Behind New Album
From Left to Right: Connor Garritty, Alan Stokes, Ryan (Junior) Kittlitz, Nicholas Diltz.
All Hail The Yeti have earned a significant amount of recognition and established a fan base that is passionate about their music. They’ve been placed amongst Hollywood’s most dominant modern metal bands. The group has been on tour with everyone from In This Moment and Hollywood Undead to Motionless In White and 36 Crazyfists.
All Hail The Yeti’s newest concept album called Screams From A Black Wilderness is an album that contains 12 songs whose lyrics can stand alone and rival the most frightening of horror stories. Each song on their newest album, which was released on April 8th, 2016, by Minus Head Records, presents myriad themes based on the most quintessential campfire-circle horror stories.
Sight of Sound got in touch with All Hail The Yeti’s vocalist, Connor Garritty, for an interview to discuss All Hail The Yeti’s new concept album. Furthermore, we explored some of the spine-chilling scenarios he created to contextualize the tracks found on the concept album and the future of All Hail The Yeti.
1. Can you walk us through the track list and tell us which central plot All Hail The Yeti created for each of these tracks and which campfire-circle style horror stories inspired you to create the plot behind each of these songs?
Before The Flames
Before The Flames is the prequel to After The Great Fire from our self titled record. It tells the story of an orphanage or insane asylum run by nuns that aren’t really nuns. They are part of a satanic cult and they are using the children for rituals behind closed doors. This song is told in the children’s point of view as one little girl is pleading for her parents to come get her. She nows something bad is going to happen!
Plague Dance is based off the story of the Dance of St. Vitus. It was a social phenomenon that occurred primarily in mainland Europe between the 14th and 17th centuries. It involved groups of people dancing erratically, sometimes thousands of people at a time. The mania affected men, women and children, who danced until they collapsed from exhaustion. Affecting thousands of people across seven centuries, dancing mania was not an isolated even, and was well documented in contemporary reports. It was nevertheless poorly understood and remedies were based on guesswork. Generally, musicians accompanied dancers to help ward off the mania but this tactic sometimes backfired by encouraging more to join in. There is no consensus among modern-day scholars as to the cause of dancing mania. The several theories proposed ranged from religious cults being behind the possessions to people dancing to relieve themselves of stress and put the poverty of the period out of their minds. It is, however, thought to be as a mass psychogenic illness in which the occurrence of similar physical symptoms, with no known physical cause, affect a large group of people as a form of social influence.
Let The Night Roar
Let The Night Roar is a song about Jim Jones and the Jonestown Massacre. This is told from Jim’s point of view as well as his followers. This one is pretty self explanatory.
This is a tribute to my best friend who passed away last year. Matt was his name and his nickname was Matt Murder.
Lady Of The Night
Lady Of The Night is the sequel to The Art of Mourning from our first record. This song is about a gunfighter from the old west whose wife and kids were murdered by his former employer. This is told years later about where his life has gone now. A mine worker that has fallen to the drink, prostitutes and opium. Newly married he cannot be the proper husband he should be because of his haunted past. He falls for a lady of the night.
Witch Is Dead
Witch Is Dead is our spin on the Wizard of Oz song. It’s pretty self explanatory as well. Talking about the end of a relationship and the things you wish you could do to some people! but would never act on.
Daughter Of The Morning Star
Daughter Of The Morning Star is the beginning to a three part story, finally tying Before The Flames and After The Great Fire together. This story begins in the late 1400s with a pagan witch who lives by herself away from a village of Christian Puritans. They are scared of her because she is different and doesn’t follow their ideals. The men from the village plan to get rid of her and hunt her down. They rape her, beat her and leave her for dead. She then transforms and summons the power of the devil and takes revenge on the men and the people from the village.
Sun Will Never Set
Sun Will Never set is a song about the power of being free and following the left hand path. To normal Christian believers the light shines on them and us non believers are in the darkness or evil. Well in our world the sun will never set. Faith is a lie, we believe in what we can see, feel, hear, see, and taste.
Fall Of Core
Fall Of Core is an ahem to the true heavy metal bands, and a special fuck you to the cookie cutter scene bands that are polluting our youth.
Breaking On The Wheel
Breaking On The Wheel is just about being alive and escaping reality, partying, camping, being in nature and kicking the earth from underneath you!
Nemesis Queen is a song about a battle between two stars, brothers bound by endless light. One is good and one is evil. The winner holds our future in their grasp. The Nemesis Queen is who they are fighting for.
Angels Envy is written about a beautiful woman and all the things you would leave behind to be with her.
Connor Garritty revealed that the 4th song on Screams From A Black Wilderness, called ‘Mr. Murder,’ features guest vocals from Brock Lindow, lead vocalist of the Alaskan Heavy Metal band called 36 Crazyfists. Garrett reveals that this track in particular steps outside the overall horror theme of the album. ‘Mr. Murder’ was originally written as a surprise tribute to Garritty’s best friend. He revealed that the song was penned before his best friends untimely passing last year. The band decided to use the track on their Screams From A Black Wilderness record. Having done so they’ve immortalized Connor’s friend in music.
In a press release sent to Sight of Sound via Adrenaline PR, Garrity is quoted , “Mr. Murder was written about my best friend Matt who passed away last year. He was one of the most influential people for me growing up and throughout my music career. The song was originally written in tribute to him and his unbelievable strength and passion for life. He left us unexpectedly before I could show him the song. It was supposed to be a surprise, almost a thank you to him for helping in more ways than he knew.”
2. Tell us about your best friend Matt? How has he influenced you?
Matt was one of my oldest friends. He and I made music together since the mid 90s. He influenced me in too many ways to list. Some of my first loves in metal were because of him showing me bands like Life Of Agony, Eyehategod, Iron Monkey and Buzz Oven. And, that’s just to name a few. He inspired me to continue to fight for what I wanted no matter how hard it was. At the face of horrible sickness he always found a way to make a joke or make me laugh. He was stronger than anyone I have ever met. The only thing I could ever do for him and his legacy now is to continue this path that we both loved! Furthermore, to keep creating and never give up.
3. What was it like working with Brock Lindow? Any take away from the experience?
Brock is an amazing vocalist and frontman. He is an even better friend. To be able to have him on the record was a complete honor for us!
Connor Garritty is the owner of the Timeless Tattoo Shop in Los Angeles, California and is a tattoo artist as well. He’s been practicing ever since his parents pushed him into taking an apprenticeship back in 1997. The cover of ‘Screams From a Black Wilderness,’ depicts a black hooded figure. It’s floating a couple of inches off the ground and has frightening long fingers. It’s in the middle of a dark forest and it’s surrounded by what looks like grave markers.
4. Did you create the album art or was it a result of your collaboration with another? Can you walk us through the thought process behind the creation of the album art? Is it a metaphor for something?
The artwork for the record was done by my brother Liam Garritty. Liam does all of our album art and designs our merchandise. This was a collaboration between the two of us. I wanted the artwork to be terrifying as well as beautiful to look at. It’s not a metaphor for anything it just fits the title of the record and looks amazing.
5. In your experience, is there ever a time when the skills it takes to be a tattoo artist and the skills it takes to be a musician coexist and compliment each other?
Tattooing and Heavy Metal music go hand in hand. I think that being able to deal with people on a client basis helps with the aspect of talking to fans and being personable. This business is all about being able to connect with other people!
6. In comparison to All Hail the Yeti’s debut 2012 self titled CD, How has the musicianship and production on ‘Screams from a Black Wilderness,’ changed and how has it remained the same?
We tried our best to keep the same integral sound while stepping outside the box a bit. The record was written by just the four of us. No other writers were involved like the first one. So this record is very personal for us. This being our sophomore we didn’t want to stray too far from our sound but we also didn’t want to write the same record again. I think that we have grown so much in the four years since the self titled was released that it would have been impossible to repeat the last.
7. In your own words, what strengths and skills does each member of All Hail The Yeti bring to the group?
Everyone brings a positive element to the table. We always strive to push each other in rehearsals and in the studio to be the best we can be. Without one guy the ship wouldn’t sail.
8. Do you want to thank anyone in particular, whether it’s an organization or a group of people, for helping you create ‘Screams from a Black Wilderness?’ What was their contribution?
I want to thank Minus Head Records for believing in us and trusting us to give them an amazing album. Also, I would like to thank Alan Nick and Junior! Because without any of them none of this would have been possible.
9. You are featured on Incite’s 4th studio album called ‘Oppression’ on a song called, ‘Life’s Disease’. Can you tell us about the song? And, what was it like recording the song with Richie Cavalera and band? Any take aways from the experience?
Those guys are great friends of ours and label mates. We have toured together in the past and when Richie asked me to do the song and be in the video I felt very honored. They are a great band and have an awesome sound and live show. In my opinion, the song is different than a lot of their stuff. It has that slowed down sludge vibe to it as well as a punishing bridge. That’s what I love about a song!
10. What’s next for All Hail The Yeti now that your 2nd album has been released? Are there plans to tour? Who would you like to tour with? What can fans expect to see during upcoming live performances?
We plan to tour extensively for at least the next year! There’s so many bands we’d love to tour with; Mastodon, Eyehategod, Down, Lamb of God, just to name a few.
11. Is there anything that I haven’t asked you about that you’d like to talk about? What is it?
I think you about covered it!! Thank You!! HAIL!!!
Thank you to Connor Garritty, vocalist of All Hail The Yeti, for answering some questions for Sight of Sound. All Hail The Yeti’s newest concept album called Screams From A Black Wilderness is now available on iTunes, Amazon, Band Camp, Google Play, Spotify and Pandora!
Band Camp: http://bit.ly/1sxuEDx
Google Play: http://bit.ly/1tkD5mm