Shaun Lawrence, the 23-year-old guitarist with Dundee hardcore metal band To Kill Achilles, has just finished a shift on the tills at Tesco in Monifieth, when The Courier catches up with him to talk about the band’s latest single release and their eight date UK tour, which kicks off at Beat Generator in their home city on January 7.
On Christmas Day, the six-piece band – who all hold down day jobs in retail and local tattoo parlours – published their latest single These Days – the second track from their Anywhere But Here EP.
Yet Shaun admits that until the day of the single’s release, the song, written by vocalists Mark Steppie and Mark Tindal didn’t have a name.
“The single is about the current state of affairs in the world with all the wars and everything,” he explains.
“It’s the second track from our EP that we have been promoting since we toured last August. The tour coming up is quite short but will see further promotion work of the EP before its release.”
Formed in 2009 by a group of friends in and around the Carnoustie and Broughty Ferry areas, To Kill Achilles, or TKA for short, began to promote their original brand of melodic yet heavy hardcore metal and quickly found recognition in the local metal scene.
After the success of their first two music videos reaching a combined one million views on YouTube, TKA, whose videos are notable for their energy, double bass and huge guitar tones, went on to release their first full length album Existence in the summer of 2013.
It’s on stage, however, where the band truly come alive and they have since been on eight European tours with no plans to slow down.
Beat Generator is the first night of their latest UK tour which takes in Manchester, Milton Keynes, Kingston, Basingstoke, Newport in Wales and Wellingborough.
But the band comprising Mark Steppie (vocals), Marc Sharp (guitar), Matthew Tippett (bass), Mark Tindal (electronics) and Shaun, hope to be back in Europe soon.
“I don’t want to sound big headed but when it comes to Europe it’s more a case of where haven’t we been!” laughs Shaun.
“We’ve been everywhere except Macedonia, Greece, Kosovo, Albania, Sweden, Norway and Finland – but we’ve got plans to go to Scandinavia!”
Shaun, who’s been playing the guitar since he was around 14, said they have a particularly strong following in Russia and Germany.
“We did two weeks in Russia last year as headliners. That was pretty cool!”
But he is looking forward to performing again in front of a home crowd.
“It’s not been easy getting gigs in Dundee recently because a lot of the venues have closed. The city still has a big following though and we can’t wait.”
The name To Kill Achilles was inspired after watching the film Troy.
“We were into all that Greek mythology and the name just kind of stuck,” he adds.
But don’t presume that because the band plays such heavy tunes that they like to listen to those same sounds during their down time.
“I used to listen to a lot of that (heavy) stuff when I was younger,” adds Shaun, “But it’s not really what we listen to now. We’ll listen to stuff like Taylor Swift and Bruno Murs. Stuff like that. We get the anger out on the stage, but metal is the last thing we’d want to listen to off stage when touring. We’re all just normal guys!”
*To Kill Achilles, Beat Generator, Dundee, January 7