The Dead XIII's Kurt and Ste Discuss their Backstory, New Album, Shows, and More!


Rising UK metal outfit The Dead XIII blend together their own mixture of musical tactics using those filthy whiskey-soaked riffs, satanically scuzzy solos and contagious choruses. They continue to sow their seed with a series of UK shows and the release of their spanking new EP "Creatures Of The Night". Thus, they will continue to dominate the metal scene and music scene with their unforgivable presents in every way possible. Frontman vocalist Kurt Blackshard and lead guitarist Ste Mahoney get together to discuss music, shows, touring, plans, and further existence for these guys as a whole.


1. Introduce yourself; tell me what you do in The Dead XIII?

Ste: The Dead XIII are Kurt Blackshard (Lead Vocals), Symon Strange (Rhythm Guitar and Vocals), Paul Ryan (Bass), Spike Owen (Drums) and me (Ste Mahoney - Lead Guitar)

2. Can you give those of us who aren't familiar with The Dead XIII a brief history of the band and can you please describe your sound for those who have yet to hear your music?

Ste: Most of us had known each other for a hell of a long time, like way back to school. We played around the Manchester music scene for years, drifting in and out of bands together along the road. At some point we decided we were sick of the scene being boring and wanted to weird things up a bit. We had to try something different, so with that out came the horror films....

Kurt: I remember getting the call from the guys about the idea of jamming some horror stuff and it was just so different I knew I had to be part of it. The Dead XIII draw influences from all over the music industry but we try to stick to our horror themed routes.

To describe our sound we are kind of like the bastard love child of the Murderdolls, The Defiled and Rammstein.

3. For those who may or may not be familiar with Roman numerals may not know what your band's name means, but it means The Dead 13 or in Roman numerals The Dead XIII. Why did you want to use roman numerals as a part of your band's name and why lucky number 13?

Ste: We really did want to do something that made people feel a little on edge with what we did. The band is really into tattoo culture where 13 is a lucky number. The Roman numerals again just tie it into that culture. There are a lot of pop punk bands that go for the numbers thing, we wanted to keep the number in the name but distance our self from that.

4. Where is the band based out of and what is your music scene like there? Are there any local artists or bands you could recommend?

Kurt: We are based in Manchester, United Kingdom. The music scene here is pretty famous for Indie bands like Oasis and even bands such as Elbow. Despite that there is a surprisingly prominent underground metal scene, with a hell of a lot of great bands. There’s so many killer bands in Manchester who deserve more attention and people into metal would go out almost every night to random metal gigs n discover new bands but no one wants to spend the money anymore and it means their missing out

Ste: Yeah the underground metal scene is booing over here, most of the music tends to be metalcore/hardcore, but there is an incredible amount of talent on display. There probably isn't anyone else on the Manchester scene that does exactly what we do, which does make us stand out, but we kind of like that!

5. You released not one but two videos for 2 of the 4 songs on your EP "Creatures of the Night" why were these two songs chosen as video and single choices?

Ste: Yeah we released videos for Stake my Date and for Stage Fright off our EP. The Stage Fright video is sort of a tour diary of everything we went through leading up to the record and the touring during its writing process. It doesn't necessarily tell a story like a typical video, but for us both the video and the song introduces our band.

Kurt: The Stake my Date video is more of a typical music video. Being a very visual band we wanted something that showed off the full extent of what The Dead XIII is about. This song is slightly lighter than a lot of our music but that made it more suitable for a large scale public release.

6. Dead Nation Agency signed you as a part of their booking and promotion agency, what will they be doing for you and why did you want to be a part of their family?

Kurt: They will be helping us to progress even further by giving us promotion as well as pushing us forward for potential future opportunities through-out Europe. We really wanted to be on the Dead Nation Roster because we've heard good things about the agency. Joining bands like Scream Baby Scream and Ghoul Stone Valley, it’s safe to say we are in safe hands!

7. Now that you've been signed with a booking and promotion agency, are you in hopes of getting signed with a record label or do you prefer the DIY approach to your musical wits and ways?

Ste: Yeah I think that’s everyone’s dream right? But for us at the moment we want to focus on getting killer music out, whether that’s through a label, fan funded or self-funded, that’s something we will cross when the time comes. As long as we can get the music we want to make to the people that want to hear it we are happy.

8. Why did you see horror metal as your metal of choice? What draws you to this style of music?

Kurt: One of the main things that draws us to this genre of music is the fact that we all have a love for old school horror films with icons such as Vincent Price and Hammer Horrors and the unique mix of musical influences that we share.

Ste: There is something cool about being scared or dressing up at Halloween and scaring people. We get to do that every night, which just kicks fucking ass.

9. What bands have influenced your band and its sound?

Ste: It’s not a band but Jager influences me a fair bit...

Kurt: Our musical influences are really diverse and we each have so many different artists and genres that we listen to, two are all really into The Misfits, Rammstein, The Defiled and The Murderdolls. All those guys produce amazing music but also really rip it up live which is what we aim for.

Ste: Yeah we like bands that make good music but can also perform on stage and blow your mind.

10. What lyrical theme do you guys use in your music? What message do you want to send?

Kurt: Obviously we like to tie everything into a horror them, but we normally tackle stuff that everyone has to deal with. We just put a horror spin on that. Life’s too short for 9/10 of the issues everyone has to deal with, we just want people to get shit off their chests and party while they can!

11. How is The Dead XIII song written? Can you walk us through how one of your songs comes to be?

Ste: Yeah pretty simple writing process really everything tends to come out through jamming. We will jam a few ideas, get it refined and structured and then add lyrics over it. We tend to have an emotion or a theme to the music before the lyrics are written and then just go with that.

12. Where are you in the recording process of the new album?

Ste: At the moment we are just putting together the demos of the full album to send out to producers. We have been approached by a lot of producers who really want to work with us and who we really respect so we are pretty excited to get their opinions on the new stuff.

13. Who is producing the album? How has the producer aided the recording process?

Kurt: As Ste said, we have a few options shortlisted, so watch this space.

14. How would you describe the overall sound of the new album?

Ste: It still has an unmistakable flavor of Creatures of the Night, but this time we have had a lot more time to write while we have been on the road, so everything it more refined. The tracks are definitely heavier and reflect the growth of The Dead XIII over the years.

15. Are you using any new instrumentation you've never used in the recording process before?

Ste: Not completely new, but we plan on Integrating more synths etc. into our music. Symon is a real technical master at all that so we are giving him free roam to be a lot more creative, and its sounds bad ass.

16. How is the vibe in the studio?

Kurt: At the moment it’s all about getting strong Demo’s together for the album, but we are having a great time doing it. It’s a really creative environment at the moment and everyone seems to be really getting into it.

17. Can you tell us how this album differs from the previous EP? What can we expect and what is the message behind it?

Ste: Well it will have more songs, which is a good thing....

Kurt: It’s just taking what we did on Creatures of the Night to a new level and really pushing ourselves. It’s going to be a lot heavier and a lot more intense. I think that’s the best way to sum it up for now.

18. When can we expect the new album to be released?

Kurt: At the moment we are looking at spring 2015.

19. Kurt Blackshard some may or may not have noticed that you’re not only a left handed vocalist, but you only have your left arm. Would you mind telling us as to what happened? Were you born this way? Do you not mind not having two arms? Do you want to have your right arm if a robotic one was an option or do you prefer people accept you for who you are looks and all? Do you ever forget that you only have one arm? What do you have to say to those who may not say nice things about your condition?

Kurt: Well to be honest there's no interesting story about me having one arm it's just the way I was born (I'd love to have a story though). I don't mind having one arm because it makes me different; I mean having two arms is overrated right? Through my life I've been given robotic arms and other gadgets and always felt as though they get in the way, it may be because I've always found a different way to do things that would be quicker and not really needed the right arm.

I definitely want people to accept me for who I am because there's no reason for me to be anything I'm not, I've always been a huge believer of people being themselves and that's who I like to get to know. Also I'm happy with the way I am and if people don't like me because of my arm I feel that's their choice. I have always had a problem with people who try to judge by looks and make it into a joke, everyone has something that makes them different and the people that make jokes are just too scared to see theirs. I try to embrace who I am differences and all. I think everyone should do the same

20. Has The Dead XIII ever played in the States or plan to do so in the future?

Kurt: Playing in the states would be something that we would love to do, the main thing holding us back at the moment is money and logistics. We have so many people asking us when we will come over, so for us at the moment it’s not an if we are going to go over and play it’s just a when.

Ste: Yeah we really want to get out there and it’s getting closer and closer, just hang in there for us guys!

21. How about plans for the rest of this year, what else do you guys have planned?

Ste: We like to stay busy so we have got a shit load of stuff in the pipeline. We are hoping to carry on touring the UK and carry on spreading our venom. We have some really killer shows coming up, which we are really excited for.

Kurt: Yeah and we want to carry on working on the Album and preparing it for release in 2015.

22. Do you know of any big shows or tours coming up that you can tell us about?

Kurt: This year we have just had the pleasure of headlining a festival in Manchester called ‘Slaughterhouse Weekend’. Headlining a festival in our hometown was a massive achievement for us. We are also really stoked to be supporting William Control, AshestoAngels and Bad Pollyanna, for some shows on William Controls ‘Punishment tour’.

Ste: We have a few festivals coming up later in the year too, including Medrock, which we are really excited to be part of. We like to stay busy so our show schedule is ever expanding, which we love!

23. What is it you’d like a listener to remember the most when hearing your music for the first time?

Kurt: I would like people to really get the horror themes etc., but also hear beyond that to the meanings behind what we do.

Ste: I want people to associate our music with having a good time, every single time they hear it.

24. What makes The Dead XIII stand out against all the other metal bands out there?

Ste: We really live for The Dead XIII, we literally put everything we can into this band, so if you see us live expect a full on performance. There aren't many bands around at the moment that go out and pretty much kill themselves on stage every night and that’s what we think sets us apart.

Kurt: Besides the make-up, the horror and all that sh*t we are a group of best friends going out and doing what we love, so for me it’s just pure passion that sets up apart.

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