Saturday 18 May 2013

Interview with Kings Destroy

Today on Sludgelord I am pleased to be interviewing Kings Destroy – The brilliant Sludge/Stoner Rockers who are impressed me with their brilliant new album – A Time of Hunting

I recently described this album as - “Kings Destroy are one of the most important bands coming from the Doom/Stoner Metal scene. They never hold back in telling the world about their concerns and beliefs all done through the power of music. The band deserve credit for never shying away from hard-hitting subjects.

I wish my review could really tell you how brilliant this album really is. As I have not even scratched the surface in telling you what an important album, A Time Of Hunting actually is. Listen to the lyrics to Decrepit and I dare you not to be emotionally drained like I was. It still brings a tear to my eye at times. Very powerful stuff from a truly great band.

My final thoughts on the album are – An incredibly haunting and moving masterpiece that everybody needs to hear once in their life."

Kings Destroy impressed me with their stunning debut album – And The Rest Will Surely Perish – but they have outdone themselves here. It's a game-changing album.

I am pleased to say the guys have kindly agreed an interview with myself. So lets get started with this brilliant Rock Band and who kindly sent me the following message as well which makes me proud of the work we do at Sludgelord.

Dearest Sludgelord....Before I delve into the many questions you have for us, I just want to take a moment and say thank you very much for the review and thank you for the service you provide not only to bands like us(which is significant) but also the service you provide to heavy music fans all over the world(ourselves included).Rock on!!!

Q1 – Hi Guys, Thanks for doing this. How are things with you guys Today.

Hey Sludgelord, we are well here in NYC. We have started to write new material and are preparing for a bunch of shows including the Days of the Doomed fest in Milwaukee.

Q2 – For people not in the know can you give them a brief history of the band and how it came about.

Kings Destroy was formed in 2010 after a multi-week discussion involving members of Killing Time and Uppercut. We had always played shows together in the NYHC scene back in the day and had often exchanged band members when necessary. To give you a couple of interesting examples...Uppercut was selected to play a showcase for XXX records which had put out the first Janes Addiction record. XXX was taken with the NYHC scene at that time and called Hilly at CBGB (RIP) and asked him to set up a show at CBGB with the 4 best unsigned bands in NYC at that time, our guitarist had recently decided to enter rehab so we asked my roommate at the time Carl from Killing Time (now Kings Destroy) to step in and play.

This was 1 week before the showcase. Carl did the best he could, but we already had an album in the can with Blackout records so it was no big deal. In 2006 Killing Time got asked to tour Europe and 3 members of Uppercut played with Killing Time on that tour. We have always had a close relationship. So to get back to the question, a few years after the Killing Time and Uppercut Reunion shows happened in 2006-7 we started talking about forming a new band. We decided that we were going to play slow and super distorted and so we got a practice space and started playing. We had all of these vintage amps and cabs and we just turned them up and started playing. There was a well known nationally touring country band in the space next to us and they stopped practicing on nights we played because it was just so loud.

It was in an old Pencil Factory down by the East River in Brooklyn. After a year, the owner of the studio came to us and asked us to leave. He had a recording studio on the 5th floor and even though we were in the basement it turned out that our tones were bleeding into his recording studio. I guess the Yeah Yeah Yeahs weren't too happy with having a bunch of doom riffs bleeding into their tracks. Fuck em. So thats how Kings Destroy got formed. Lots of hard work to figure out our sound and its still a work in progress.

Q3 – How would you describe your sound.

Our sound-- its always evolving, at first we wanted to overpower everything--but we quickly realized that its been done over and over and if you understand our backgrounds in hardcore you will know that when we were making hardcore music there was no template. sure there was Black flag and Minor Threat and the Bad Brains but they were all uniique...We came up in a later era with the Cro mags and Agnostic Front...the beginning of the punk -metal crossover. Its not an error that Madball covers a Killing Time song.

We are interested in new sounds or unique sounds. Our goal is not to emulate, its to create. Its a crowded space. I can say that the first Kings Destroy album garnered a lot of attention for its similarity in sound to Black Sabbath, while we love Black Sabbath we knew we had to push the boundaries more on the second album and take chances to differentiate. That's where our hardcore backgrounds come in....we are always pushing against the grain. We don't want to sound like a doom band or a psych band or whatever other monikers and sub genres people put on the music these days. If you label us, we get upset.

Q4 – Which bands and artists influence you directly as musicians. many..we ve been fortunate to play or see so much of the bands that influence us that its been really cool....i'll start with the obvious and then go deeper...Sabbath, Zeppelin, Thin Lizzy, Deep Purple... onto Bad Brains, Cro Mags, Bauhaus, Wire, Black Flag, Saint Vitus, Slayer, Iron Maiden, Void (DC), Yob, Melvins, Neil Young, Boogie Down Productions, James Brown, Bla'st!...the list goes on and on....

Q5 – Are you all full time musicians or do you have regular jobs to pay the bills.

Most of us have full time jobs but we have the ability to be full time musicians. If the opportunity presented itself we would become full time musicians...its always a chicken and egg situation though isnt it!?

Q6 – Are your family and friends supportive of your music.

I think we have amazing support from family and friends.The closest to us have been particularly supportive. We are blessed to have this kind of support. Its not always a given and requires a lot of sacrifice from the people that are closest to us. Its amazing.

Q7 – What is the song-writing process in the band. Is it a group collective or is just down to one individual.

the song writing process is interesting. We have never really been a band that jams until we find something we like. Usually Carl and Chris will write stuff sometimes together away from the band, sometimes separately and then present it to the band where upon it will be honed to a workable song. I write a lot of the vocal lines, but we have vocal sessions where Chris , Carl and I meet up to work out vocal arrangements. Its very creative and open and given the fact that we have known each other for so long it can be combative at times. We push each other pretty hard.

Q8 – Your new album. WOW. What can I say about it. A truly moving and thought provoking experience. Can you tell people what the album is about.

A Time of Hunting is a really dark album. Its a reflection on our society and a view into the soul. It represents the emotion of suffering and the stark bleakness that life presents but it doesn't do so without emotion....there is a lot of pain in this album. 2 band members lost parents and there were multiple other difficult periods with other members. That energy and emotion seems to have channelled itself into the album.

There is also a strong social statement that is getting made. Its pretty clear we are not happy with the present state of affairs in our country or our country's position in other parts of the world. This album is like a novel by Zola, It tells the tale of the darkness and bleakness in our minds and in the society without offering a solution......

The next album will be more like a novel by Balzac, it will show the suffering but it will offer a solution. We owe ourselves that. It will be quite hard to achieve but that is the challenge. When we made this album we were concerned it would be too mainstream just came out so dark. You touched on it in your review. Its layered, dark insanity bottled up with some NYC grit and determination.

Q9 – Was it an easy album to write and record for. And how did you come up with the excellent album title.

This album was a labor of love. Some stuff like Casse Tete came very easily. I think we wrote Casse Tete in the space of an hour. Decrepit took months and months to write, its interesting that they ended up back to back on the album. The title of the Album was supposed to be Turul but then we read these stories about Hungary having problems with anti semiticism and decided to change it. Turul is a mythical Hungarian bird of prey. We do not condone racism of any kind....never have, never will. A Time of Hunting and the lyrics of that song fit the tone of the album very well.

Q10 – I think it will ruffle a few feathers amongst the Sludge/Stoner Metal scene. Especially with the hard-hitting messages contained within the album. Was the plan to release something more socially aware than the last album.

Feathers are made to be ruffled. The first album had Old Yeller which is a vicious attack on the state of the media in the United States. Also Planet XXY on the first album was a social statement on resource use. Decrepit on the new album is by design the 2nd chapter to Planet XXY. Its a continuation story to Planet XXY.

I guess when it comes to writing songs this time around we had a lot more to say about the state of the western societies....the degradation of them...maybe from a personal perspective. That could be the hardcore in us coming though a bit. We are not a preachy band at all. But there is also an element of anger that shines through and it should, we are angry. We feel that people should be angry at the state of things.

Q11 – Your debut album – And The Rest Will Surely Punish – was acclaimed by fans and critics alike. Were you happy with the overall response you received for the album. Would you change anything about your debut album. Or would you leave it as it is.

Wow good question. album 1 we were learning how to play slow. We were fortunate to have Ed Bocchino writing a lot of the riffs and also Rob who played in the Begotten guide us into playing slow. At the time we were happy with the album. Soon after though , we felt that we had not taken enough chances with the music. But yeah that album is a good reflection of where we were at the time. In a perfect world we would have rewritten the vocals to 2 tons but we rarely played or play that one live so I think its fine the way it is overall on that album. Feels like we recorded it ages ago!!!

Q12 – Now you have worked with Sanford Parker on both albums. He is such a brilliant producer. How did you hook up with him. And was it a no-brainer to have him back on board for the new album.

Sanford Parker is an amazing producer. He has a great ear. I sent him an email saying we were from Killing Time and Uppercut and would he consider recording us. He said yes. He flew into NYC and called me up at my job and said he was at the Mars Bar (RIP) on 2nd Ave. The Mars Bar was a NYC institution. It represented what was filthy about NY that doesn't exist anymore.

I met him at the bar at 2 pm in the afternoon. I told him the last time i was in this bar was after I saw Black Flag play, he told me to fuck off then he told me the house he had just purchased in Chicago had been burned down by drug addicts. I knew we were going to make good music together. We knew we wanted him to produce the second album bc we are so comfortable in the studio with him. We also think he gets some of the best drum sounds in the world. In a change though we got David Bottrill to mix the album. He produced a lot of the Tool albums we liked. We felt like he would add a layer to the music that we wanted and were happy with what he did.

Q13 – You have toured with some great bands in the past. Who have been your favorite and why.

We have had the good fortune to play with many great bands not only in Kings Destroy but also in Uppercut and Killing Time. Ill just rattle off a few...Orange Goblin....such great guys, so unpretentious, so supportive. Weedeater...played with them at a festival in Sweden --Their drummer stole a forklift at the festival --how awesome is that!--

Rosetta, guys have played 800 shows all DIY...they are special people--Bad Brains--nothing needs to be said. in the up and coming department Clamfight-- so good, so humble ,such great guys, Shroud Eater and Hollow leg...same except their are some women involved. others-

Roadsaw--wow, The Brought Low--old old friends. Black Pyramid...amazing. Winter!!!--again old friends, unbelievable band, no ego..special. Acid King, The Gates of Slumber, Apostle of Solitude,Eyehategod, Kyuss,Cro Mags...I could go on and on.....

The one cool thing about Kings Destroy is that we have been very fortunate to play with cool people, very little attitude. pretty amazing.

Q14 – What is the live KINGS DESTROY experience like.

I think people are surprised at our live show. We put out a tremendous amount of energy. We are looking to challenge you and ourselves. We are active and restless and angry. It depends on the situation but their are times when it feels like it could implode onstage. Their is an intensity that is unusual for a band that plays this type of music. when we first started playing out we tried to tone it down bc all of the bands we were playing with were pretty much just standing there doing their thing and the crowd reacted accordingly. Im not saying their are mosh pits or anything but we will be down in the crowd raging it or onstage trying to bring the place down...

I cant describe it but for a band that plays 60 beats per minute its a little unorthodox. We are a product of our city. The culture and grit has permeated our minds and its reflected in the music and stage presence. There is no fear.

Q15 – What are your favorite 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

I read so many interviews with bands who answer this question by saying they either don't listen to new music or they just listen to the classics...thats a BS answer man. Im not saying you have to listen to your contemporaries when you are in the tour van when you just want to chill out but otherwise why not listen to what other people are putting out in your sphere. we are an active band and always have been, you can read our posts..we are not afraid to tell people we go to shows.

We live in NYC , there are a ton of shows all of the time and we go frequently. So yeah not only do we listen to modern bands but we go see them when they come to town both large and small. Last week 3 of us were at the Clutch/Sword show. Bands we have been digging on lately include Clamfight, Russian Circles, Yob, Pallbearer, Royal Thunder, Atlas Moth, Tombs,Pelican,Ancieents, Gozu, Black Pyramid,Ancestors. We just spent 3 days on the road with Orange Goblin, those guys got home after 3 months of being on the road and were immediately spinning records--we do the same. We love seeing live bands and go all of the time.

Q16 – Now your associated from the legendary Brooklyn Hardcore scene. Was it an easy decision to fuse your Hardcore based roots and ideology into Kings Destroy but with a groovy Stoner/Doom Metal feel.

I think I kind of touched on this before, you cannot necessarily hear the hardcore in our music..but if you see us live you will know its there. If you understand the lyrics you will know its there. Its not something we consciously try to put in the music, its just who we are.

Q17 – What are your views of blogs such as Sludgelord featuring and reviewing your records as opposed to the mainstream magazines.

to us, blogs such as Sludgelord, Doomantia, The Obelisk, Temple of Perdition etc are incredibly important. you are the fanzines of a bygone era. Not only do you review bands and live shows but you introduce new music to us every day. In this era of music being so easy to make , its quite difficult to separate the shite from the good stuff. You guys do this. Plus, in my experience anyway, you guys are so receptive and responsive when people approach you.

I think the blogs are the glue that holds it all together. As for mainstream stuff, I don't have much experience. Our new album has been getting some serious attention from those guys thus far and we are greatly appreciative as it introduces a whole new audience. On the whole though we are comfortable in the underground and always have been.

Q18 – What are your views record companies shutting down blogs and websites due to illegal downloading. Some people are for it and some people are against it.

its a tough question. We spend a lot of money on this band. Recording, practicing, playing out live etc etc. It would be great to recoup some of the costs but we have no expectations. At this point we are more interested in getting our music out and about than getting paid for it in the form of Cd sales etc. the best ways for bands to make money are to make numbered special runs of stuff and to play out live...i think thats where bands should be focussed and thats where we are focussed.

Q19 – What are the most and least rewarding aspects of participating with the band. Obviously the reality of how expensive it is being in a band could be considered as a negative aspect.

This one is easy. the best parts are touching people with your music and actually meeting those people. The creative process is extremely rewarding as well. The other stuff, well thats just how it goes....Bon Scott said it best...its along way .....

Q20 – What words of wisdom would you give to a band starting out or some friends wanting to start a band of their own.

we have started about 15 bands in our collective careers, probably more. out of the 15, probably only 5 have recorded anything noteworthy and thats a lot. If you are doing this, expect to practice a lot in shitty conditions, expect to play shitty shows but those shows are important, if you block out the lack of a crowd or the lack of a decent soundsystem, you can really figure out what music you want to create and then just create it tirelessly. Don't settle for a riff, a vocal line or even a voice or guitar tone. Battle to make it uniquely yours. Unique music is rare and should be sought after at all costs.

Q21 - Finally, Do you have anything to say your fans

Thanks again to the Sludgelord for writing about us, for taking the time to come up with all of these questions. Again, its something we really appreciate. thanks to anyone who made it this far in the interview haha, you are a true trooper. We appreciate anyone who takes the time to listen or come to a show and see us. Please don't hesitate to come up and chat with us at a show. All the best!

Well guys thanks for talking to me. This has been a real honor for me doing this. Your new album is brilliant. I hope it's a mega success as you guys deserve it. Hope to see you on tour sometime if you ever hit the UK Shores for some much needed Kings Destroy Carnage.

All the best from Sludgelord. 

I want to thank Änne from Gordeon Music for setting up this interview. Really apprecaite it. And to the band for taking the time in delivering a brilliant interview.

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