Interview with Kyle ‘Gumby” Gunther and Hiran Deraniyagala of Battlecross


“Me and him (my 3 year old son) in front of four thousand people… he tried to steal my microphone, the little bastard!”

Brady Deeprose caught up with Gumby (Vocals) and Hiran (Guitar) of Battlecross before their show at the O2 Academy Birmingham with Trivium and Killswitch Engage.


MR: Hey guys, cheers for taking the time to chat to me. When you last spoke to us (mid 2013), you’d just release War Of Will and were on the lookout for a permanent drummer. What’s happened in the Battlecross camp since then?

Hiran: At the time (when we did War Of Will), we parted ways with our drummer and Shannon Lucas (Ex-The Black Dahlia Murder) came in and played drums on the record, but he wasn’t wanting to tour or anything. The door was open for drummers to try out so we started looking…we hit up some people and we got Kevin Talley for the summer run and did Mayhem festival with him. After that, in the Fall, we did Hatebreed and Death Angel with Adam Pierce from All Shall Perish. So now, here we are with Shannon Lucas again.

MR: (Little burst of uncontrollable glee) Woah, so Shannon is playing tonight?

Hiran: Yeah, he’s doing the whole tour with us!

MR: Fucking sweet!

Hiran: Haha yeah, he’s fucking sick! And he’s basically been the perfect fit for what we’ve been doing and, y’know…through those different drummers, we’ve just been sounding people out and trying to see where they’re at and, at the same time, they’re trying us out too: it’s a mutual thing, y’know? Playing with someone for one show is completely different from touring and recording with somebody,  so you’ve really got to go on tour and figure that out.

MR: So still no one permanent?

Hiran: No, nothing permanent, but hopefully as time goes on and as tours go on…

Gumby: I have the best analogy for this… it’s just like when you start having sex with a chick. It’s amazing, it’s… ah so gushy and just amazing, and you’re just like, look: we’re not gonna gum this up with any titles, we’re just gonna have fun babe, we’re just gonna ride it until we have to put a label on it. So right now, no labels, just pure unadulterated… fun.

Hiran: Openly dating…

MR: …is Shannon aware of this polygamous relationship?

Gumby: Oh yeah, he knows!

Hiran: At the same time, he’s feeling it up too… he just got back into touring. He was out of Dahlia for about a year and a half and just wasn’t feeling going out on the road so he’s just trying to get back into it… he needs to see if this is right for him too. But so far so good, we’ll just see how it goes for these tours.

MR: So you’re out on the road now with Killswitch Engage and Trivium, two of modern metal’s biggest bands at the moment, how’s that been for you guys?

Gumby: Awesome! They’re just amazing bands that we looked up to when we were starting out… it’s just amazing that they’re being so nice to us and taking us out! Sometimes you can run into some real pricks but… these guys are class acts through and through. Awesome dudes… I mean, the first day we came back (after touring with them two years ago) they were just like, ‘Hey! Wassup brother?’ Some of the crew are still the same and it just felt like picking up right where we left off: they’re awesome dudes.

Hiran: It’s cool because they kinda gave us our first chance in the States, the Trespass America tour was one of our biggest pushes, out there with Five Finger Death Punch, Killswitch and Trivium. They were the first guys to take us out on a big US run… arenas and stuff that we got to play, and that was huge for us. And here they are again! Helping us out and bringing us over here to the UK and Europe… for a young band like us, that’s huge and we really appreciate it.

Gumby: They’re awesome dudes, really professional to work with and y’know, they’re definitely bringing in the audience for us too. You’re only as big as the bands you play with, ‘caus that’s my motto! We’re playing with some of the biggest and it’s just like starting from square one over here.

MR: Speaking of bringing crowds in, how are they reacting to your heavier, more aggressive brand of metalcore?

Gumby: Yeah, we get a lot of “Woah, who are these guys?” looks. And then lots of cheering.

MR: To be honest, I wasn’t expecting anything like your sound…

Hiran: Yeah, it’s cool to get out there and really kick people in the face so to speak… It was funny ‘caus, the first few shows, people were just staring at us and we were like, “Are they liking this? Are they enjoying what they’re seeing right now?” and then we’d talk to some fans after the show and they’d be like, “Man, you see people staring but they’re really thinking, holy shit, what is this? I’m expecting the first band to suck!” It’s been a really good reaction so far… and on the social media end, people are blowing up twitter with good things about us so it’s awesome. We’ve had a great first start over here and I’m excited to see where it goes.

MR: Going from here UK wise, you have Download festival coming up, and you guys haven’t played before, right?

Gumby: Yeah, this is literally our first ever time in the UK, we’re really starting square one! Our booking agent, Paul Ryan got us the gig…

Hiran: Yeah, basically Paul Ryan was seeing where he could get us in and throwing us out to as many different promoters based on our reputation in the states. So this tour is really just another push for us to see how we do over here… hopefully it’ll open more doors for more UK festivals and coming over here more often. We kinda knew Download was happening before this! So it’s kinda cool to have this to build some momentum for Download.

MR: Do you find much of a difference between crowds across the different countries you’ve played?

Gumby: We’ve finally got to the place where we can do some headlining stuff in the US so coming over here and playing to two people in the crowd who know who we are is weird, but we understand it’s gonna take time. I mean, we don’t have ambrosia dripping from our cocks… they’re not just… (Slurping, gulping and some actions I don’t feel it’s appropriate to describe on a family site) It doesn’t matter, as long as people don’t boo, we’re fine.

Hiran: We know we gotta come over here and prove ourselves, when we go out, every show is always something to prove. We do our thing and if people get it, it’s awesome. We try to go and hang out with the crowd and meet people where we can… and there are people that have come and said “I came here for you guys!” so it’s awesome that the buzz we’ve been creating in the states has kinda carried over. So we do have people that wanna see us and it’s awesome: we’re just hoping that this spreads like wildfire and more people out there wanna hear and see us.

MR: UK fans especially really dig it when bands come out and they’re genuine normal dudes, so meeting the fans afterwards is always a great move.

Gumby: To be honest, there have been times when I’ve tried to go out but these shows have been so nuts to butts that it’s so hard to actually get out, y’know, maneuver through the crowd!

Battlecross - War Of WillMR: Yeah, this tour sold out really quickly which is impressive considering Killswitch’s last tour here was absolutely packed too. With regards to new material, are you guys writing or are you not even thinking about it?

Gumby: I mean, we’re thinking about it, you’ve always got to think about it…

Hiran: We’re always thinking about it but nothing’s really happening at the moment… We’ve been so busy with the touring form the last record that any new ideas are on their own right now. In between touring I’ve been trying to come up with stuff, sometimes it hits and sometimes it doesn’t, but what I’ll do it just record myself jamming and get started that way. I want to get started though as the last thing we want to do is leave it till last minute and turn up empty handed: we’re always keeping it on the back burner. It’s hard to write on the road, for me… I mean, a lot of bands can do it but I think when you have more time and a proper studio set up… I have GarageBand so I do stuff on that but it’s hard when you’re on the road ‘caus you’ll get there and then you’re waiting around, unloading gear, getting on stage, warming up then playing. In between all that there’s interviews, eating and showering when you can. It’s nice to actually just chill out when we have a bit of spare time.

MR: Back home, do you guys have commitments?

Gumby: I have a three year old.

MR: Damn, must be hard being out on the road so much.

Gumby: Yeah, but… it’s what I do,  like, the first thing my kid learnt to say to me was goodbye… “bye daddy”, so that kinda sucks but what am I gonna do? Just sit at home and punch a clock, see him even less and be miserable? Or go out, bang it out, go home and pick up my Joe job, try and be as close to him as I can. This is where we’ve taken our lives so to stop now would just be shit. I would just be a dick!

MR: Being able to say, “My Dad’s the singer in a metal band” is pretty badass.

Gumby: Right! I brought him out while we were on Mayhem Fest this year, to the Detroit show. Me and him in front of four thousand people… he tried to steal my microphone, the little bastard!

Hiran: I think all of us teared up a little at that point.

Gumby: It was awesome, it was a really good time. And all the dudes backstage were getting emotional… I’m gonna make something for him, I might as well makes something that I love too.

MR: Do you have plans for the next few months?

Hiran: Yeah, after this we’ve got a week off then we head out with Protest the Hero in the states.

MR: I saw them last week, you’re in for a treat!

Gumby: I caught them yesterday, they’re quirky!

Hiran: So yeah, it’s them, Intervals and The Safety Fire. It’s cool…

Gumby: We’re the only ‘metal’ band there.

Hiran: As far as aggression goes, we do stick out. But we love doing tours like that where we stand out…

Hiran was interrupted as guitarist Tony Asta walked into the room and said, “Hey Hiran” before farting, loudly, much to the amusement of his audience.

Gumby: That was nothing out of the ordinary…

Hiran: Anyway, after that, we do a couple more dates with Killswitch in May in the States.

Gumby: We have New England Metal And Hardcore Fest too, which is in it’s tenth year or something now, it’s huge!

Hiran: And after that, all the festival stuff…maybe a few club dates in between times, a couple of headliners over here potentially. We have some small shows at the end of this tour too in Sweden and France with just Miss May I.

MR: Awesome, I’ll be sure to catch you next time you’re over here. Thanks very much for your time.