It's my great pleasure to be interviewing Jon Howell - guitarist from Kowloon Walled City. (Jon is also a member of ace Noise Rock Band - Tigon - which Aaron aka Doomentor reviewed earlier this year. Aaron also reviewed Kowloon Walled City split record with Thou on the brilliant Hell Comes Home Record Series).
Kowloon Walled City are one of my fave Sludge Metal/Noise Rock Bands from recent years. Their intense blend of Sludge, Hardcore and Noise Rock has seen them received praise from fans and critics alike. So I was excited when they finally released their eagerly awaited new album - Container Ships.
Container Ships - is easily their best work to date. Which I reviewed here recently.
Newly Signed to Brutal Panda Records - Container Ships - sees the band better and stronger than ever. The album has been receiving rave reviews across the Sludge/Noise Rock Scene. And it's not hard to see why. It's one of 2012 best records.
So lets see what Jon has to say us.
Q1 – Hi Guys, Thanks for doing this. How are things with you guys Today.
Things are pretty good here! Or, at least it stopped raining.
Q2 – How would you describe your sound.
Fast or slow, it’s all tuned down to stupid and generally about bummer topics.
Q3 – Which bands and artists influence you directly as musicians.
Bands like Unsane. Basically, just the band Unsane.
Q4 – Are you all full time musicians or do you have regular jobs to pay the bills.
Everybody has a regular job. I think the only way you can be a full-time musician these days (outside of being a professional/session musician) is to tour constantly or, accept a lot of charity from friends & family (in terms of money, places to crash, etc). Neither of those options are particularly appealing.
Q5 – Are your family and friends supportive of your music.
Whether or not they are supportive of the music, (remember; old folks/parents hate yelling), they are definitely supportive of us, as musicians, doing our thing. Though, my dad keeps asking when the music thing translates into his beachside retirement condo. Sorry, Dad.
Q6 – What is the song-writing process in the band. Is it a group collective or is just down to one individual.
Scott has the defining vision/say of how a song ends up, but everyone contributes--brings in riffs, writes, arranges. Usually, we’re all just sitting in a room wading through bad ideas while Ian checks baseball stats on his phone.
Q7 – Your about to release Container Ships on Brutal Panda Records. Bet your guys are pretty excited about that. And on Vinyl as well.
Yep, we’re all really stoked on how this album came out and we’re all vinyl nerds so that’s pretty exciting.
Q8 – The album has been a long time coming. Was it an easy album to write and record.
I think it was a fairly easy album to write, but it did take a while--a bit less than a year. For me, that kind of timetable is normal but the other guys are used to a faster process.
Recording, with the exception of one or two tough songs, was a snap. Scott knows what he’s doing and how the album should sound, so there is very little bullshit.
Q9 – Are you pleased with the reception you have received from fans and critics regarding your music.
I guess surprised would be the word. Well, surprised and pleased.
Q10 – Is there a scene for Sludge/Doom/Stoner bands to perform in your home town on a regular basis. Or do you have to travel further afield to perform on a regular basis.
The Bay Area definitely has a solid heavy music scene. One of the drawbacks though is, even though we’re a destination city for a lot of bands, playing here can get a bit monotonous. It’s also a long drive to play most other big cities/regions
Q11 – What are your favourite bands around at the moment. Do you listen to modern day rock/metal or do you just listen to the classic era of Stoner/Sludge/Doom Metal.
Between the four of us, we listen to a lot of different music. I think the only “classic” metal we listen to on tour is old Megadeth. Scott and Ian have a frustrating love for old, schlocky 70s rock (Whitesnake/Zebra). Current favorites are True Widow, Young Widows, Grass Widow. All the widow bands.
Q12 – What are your views of blogs such as Sludgelord featuring and reviewing your records, as opposed to mainstream music magazines? Has your music reached the mainstream mags, at home or around the world?
A few larger magazines have written about us but it’s great when blogs are interested because it seems like less of a company/machine operation. Dunno. Maybe more authentic.
Q13 – Now I must ask this question. As it's mainly a question for me. Will we ever get a new Snailface album. Love that project as well. I know how it came about but can you tell our readers how Snailface came about..
First rule of Snailface…
Q14 - What are your future plans for the upcoming 12 months or so. Anything we should be excited about.
Well, the new record comes out on December 4. We’re heading up to the NW to play shows in Portland and Bellingham and, we’ll probably play a record release in mid-January. Aside from that, plans are a bit vague but, we’d like to shoot for another 2 week tour next year. Possibly, hit up the East Coast again.
Q14 – What are the most and least rewarding aspects of participating with the band.
We all get along pretty well so it’s all rewarding. Least rewarding is when you’re on a 7-band bill watching the third copy of a copy of a copy of an Earth Crisis. That can get a little tedious.
Q15 – Does it surprise you that people buy merchandise from you guys.
Nah. Buying t-shirts at a show is how you say “sorry, I already downloaded all your music.” To be fair, we give away all of our albums on the website anyway.
Well guys thanks for doing this interview. All the best from ourselves at Sludgelord. We are all massive fans of your music. Long may it continue. Cheers. Steve.
Well there you have it. A cool interview from one of my current fave Sludge Metal bands. If you haven't checked out Kowloon Walled City before then your really missing out.