Jona Weinhofen of I Killed The Prom Queen Talks Australian Hardcore

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Australian metallic hardcore crew I Killed The Prom Queen are enjoying their time on the Vans Warped Tour, in support of their latest album Beloved. While on the tour, they quickly learned about the other fellow Aussies who will be taking part on the tour with them.

Guitarist Jona Weinhofen spoke about some of his fellow country people, and how he detects if that person is actually Australian. “I know there are but I can’t remember the names. They’re bands I don’t know personally. It’s the thickest accents. You can hear it within ten meters from where you are.”

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Being that he is currently situated in the United States, he found himself getting more in touch with his Australian roots. He shared his thoughts on staying true to that plus how he sees his home country from afar.

“Honestly since moving away from Australia, I think I found myself a little more patriotic. It’s one of those things – you don’t know what you’ve got until you’ve lost it. It goes with the place you’re living as well. When I moved to America – I love it here in California. There’s so much opportunity, beautiful weather all the time and so much cool stuff to do all the time, but I did find myself missing certain things about home and that made me appreciate things about my home country a little bit more”.

“If you hear me around Warped Tour putting on a thick Aussie accent, that’s me trying to regain my patriotism,” he said, with a smile.

In recent years, he also spoke about another band he is very familiar with – Deez Nuts. The band features two former members of I Killed The Prom Queen – frontman JJ Peters and bassist Sean Kennedy. Weinhofen explains the connection between the two bands and his thoughts on his former bandmates’ new venture.

“He was our original drummer, JJ Peters. He was in the band with the reformation in 2011 and when we wanted to go full time again, he was already doing Deez Nuts full time. They have a huge following in Europe, so he left Prom Queen to focus on Deez Nuts. We’re totally cool with that. Our old bass player Sean Kennedy left the band for personal reasons and joined Deez Nuts the second time.”

“The Aussian music industry, especially with the heavy music with punk rock, hardcore – is quite incestuous. Everyone knows everyone, everyone’s played in everyone else’s bands. Our bass player Ben [Coyte] played in Deez Nuts. Our singer Jamie [Hope] played in Deez Nuts. I played one show with Deez Nuts. Everyone’s good at maintaining friendships no matter what band’s doing what.”

I Killed The Prom Queen’s newest bass player comes out of Day of Contempt, a veteran of the Australian hardcore scene. “Our bass player Ben used to be the vocalist of this band called Day of Contempt from Adelaide. We basically grew up and they were our idols. They were the Adelaide band we had to play with. I think they were the first Adelaide band to sign to an overseas hardcore label, the first Adelaide/Australian hardcore band to really come over and tour the US hard. I know they did some tours with Terror, Bleeding Through, 18 Visions and even Good Charlotte. They did some really good tours. They were a band we always looked up to. When he approached us to join the band, we were like ‘duh – let’s do this!’ “

By Rei Nishimoto

I Killed The Prom Queen – Rejoining The Court

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For veteran guitarist Jona Weinhofen, his musical journey has come together at a good time as his recently resurrected band I Killed The Prom Queen will be spending the summer on the Vans Warped Tour.

I Killed The Prom Queen is the band he founded back in Adelaide, Australia in late 2000 until 2008. Weinhofen landed an opportunity to join Orange County metallic hardcore outfit Bleeding Through (2008-9), with whom he recently also took part on one of their final shows at the Glass House in Pomona, CA. He later joined British modern metallers Bring Me The Horizon (2009-13) until he parted ways with them to do I Killed The Prom Queen again.

“It was real coincidence that I played those Bleeding Through shows. I just happened to be in town at the time and they needed someone to do those shows. It was fun,” he said.

He also talked about what led to their hiatus and the new members who helped revamp the new lineup.

“We had a bunch of issues the first time around. I think we let it sit around for enough time to where we’re all passionate enough to come back to it. We have a somewhat new lineup with a couple of new members. We reinvented the band a little bit. It keeps it a bit more fresh. It’s myself and Kevin [Cameron, guitars], who are the main songwriters since the second EP (2003’s I Killed the Prom Queen / Parkway Drive: Split CD).”

“It was cool having us two who are the core sound of the band and couple of new guys bringing in a fresh influence when it comes to writing and how we sound live. Plus having a couple of new guys makes touring fresh and different as well. The new guys – Jamie [Hope] our vocalist, Ben [Coyt] our bassist and Shane [O’Brien] our drummer – have been playing in other bands but we’ve known them for years. It wasn’t like we were getting some random guys in the fold and saying ‘let’s see how touring goes’ and ‘see if we hate each other.’ They were like dudes we were friends with for years.”

Jamie Hope of I Killed The Prom Queen.

Jamie Hope of I Killed The Prom Queen.

While Weinhofen is now based on Southern California, his band mates are scattered around the globe.

“Three of guys currently live in Melbourne, Victoria, even though the band is from Adelaide. Our drummer Shane lives right outside of Birmingham in England, in a place called Wolverhampton. He met a girl there. I live here in California in Orange County. I lived here previously when I was a member of Bleeding Through. I have a bunch of friends here. I actually met a girl here as well, and coupled with the fact that Epitaph Records is based out here and our management company has an office here in LA now. Our booking agency has always been here in LA. It’s always been cool having me on the ground here and in between the rest of the band getting things going in the US.”

Jona Weinhofen on I Killed The Prom Queen.

Jona Weinhofen on I Killed The Prom Queen.

While I Killed The Prom Queen is making its Warped Tour debut, Weinhofen has previously taken part on this with Bring Me The Horizon and had positive experiences.

“This is my second Warped Tour but first time with I Killed The Prom Queen. I’m stoked to be part of it again. I think it was 2010? We have just recorded There Is A Hell. I remember showing the guys from Parkway Drive around while we were on that tour. We weren’t actually playing any material from it yet but it was an awesome time.”

“It’s five years later so I don’t know really what’s changed. I heard there’s comedians on it this year and all sorts of different demos on it. I think the core of it will be pretty much the same thing. I’ve always loved the Vans Warped Tour.”

Aside from performing on the tour, he shares his first time attending as a fan.

“I actually went to the Vans Warped Tour in 1998 in a town called Ulladulla in New South Wales in Australia, which is when they first brought it out to Australia. Deftones played with Suicidal Tendencies. I’ve been around the tour since I was teenager, and have been a part of the tour. I know what it’s like to be on the tour. I don’t think there will be that much difference between 2010 and 2015. I know that the barbecues are always fun and hanging out with your mate’s bands you get to be on the tour together, and finding weird watering holes, bike tracks and mini motorcycles. That’s the stuff I look forward to. That’s the social side to the band. The performances themselves will be amazing. It always is.”

So what should fans expect to see from I Killed The Prom Queen this summer? “We’re gonna be flying a full spread of really old stuff, stuff from Beloved, which is our most recent album, and a couple of new songs as well.”

By Rei Nishimoto