New Age Vintage – Eddie Veliz of Kyng

Kyng Album cover

 

Kyng is one of the cooler bands on the scene these days, not trying to re-write the book of rock and metal so much, as striving to put their own spin on it. In a scant few years they have gone from small club tours to opening for some of the biggest bands of today, often winning over new fans and making the headliners step up their collective game. They have to be seen as an up and coming band, but have rightfully come into their own on their new album Burn The Serum (Razor & Tie). We chatted with front man Eddie Veliz about a bunch of topics surrounding the new album, the genesis of the band, and what the future holds.

 

Although not a true concept album, the title of the album and title track definitely percolated in the mind of Eddie and the band for quite a while. Its message is certainly apropos of these modern times, particularly for a band that came up in the Los Angeles music scene:

The name Burn The Serum is kind of came from this idea of having a truth serum that nobody wants to drink or take. Nobody wants to tell the truth anymore. Everyone likes to lie, and lie to themselves, and everyone around themselves. So just get rid of it. Nobody wants to take the serum, nobody wants to be truthful anymore. So burn it.”

 

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Kyng is a band that has cut their teeth on constant touring over the last few years, so we asked Eddie to take us through the creative process of making the new album:

You know what? That last album cycle, we felt like we toured for, you know, two years, two and a half years or something like that. Even when we were writing and recording Burn The Serum, we were still running out of the studio and shooting out on some little tours. It was cutting in between our recording time, so it felt like it never ended.”

 

I recall finishing up, we were out on tour with Megadeth, for a month and a half. After the last date of the tour we drove straight home and began writing, and doing some prep work for Burn The Serum, right at the start of 2013. Went in the studio, cranked out some songs, wrote wrote wrote. And then we went into Grandmaster Studios in LA, with Andrew Alekel (Queens of The Stong Age, Clutch) and Rev. James Rota (Sound City, Fireball Ministry) and smashed out Burn the Serum. It was a tough one too, because my bass player Tony was in a car accident and almost died! He broke his clavicle and he was out of commission for a while, so me and my drummer Pepe, and I went into “super-writing mode”. We we just kind of got together in the rehearsal studio everyday from 3 O’clock in the afternoon until 12 midnight or later every night and just wrote, and got the songs together. So it’s been fun.”

 

 

BLS Wovenwar Kyng

 

With the stakes very high for the crucial sophomore album for a young band, we inquired about the choice of the production team:

To tell you the truth and be perfectly honest with you: Fireball Ministry. I loved that band growing up. They are one of my favorites. And just the fact that Rev. Jim is the head dude of Fireball Ministry, I love that band and I love him. It was a no-brainier. I love that band and they write great sounds, so I just said do it, the rest doesn’t really matter. They wanted us to work with other producers, more mainstream producers, and we were like “Naaaahhhh, it’s ok.”. We know we are still a rock band. We still want to have a raw, rock element. Those other dudes wouldn’t have gotten it. Those other producers would have made us sound like a shitty band, not a good rock band. Those dues (Andrew and Jim) are wizards. Andrew, and I keep saying this over and over, he is a tonal wizard! The guy knows how to capture tone. He could get the sound. We would sit there and listen and he would say “That’s not it! No, that’s not it! Let’s try again.” (laughs) Then he starts tweaking the sound and doing his thing, and before you know it we got it. He is one of a handful of dudes who is masterful at getting a huge guitar sound.”

 

 

Despite being a band with a throwback sound, Kyng is not one to rely on mountains of old gear to replicate the sounds they want to make, and more often rely on themselves and few gadgets:

 

The thing about Kyng has always been, is that we like to achieve an old, vintage sound, but do it as modern as possible. I like to call it New-Age Vintage. That is what we did, we like to capture that real raw old-school element with new-age sound. We were running two heads at the same time. One was a Knuckle-Head and the other was an old Marshall. The gear was pretty minimal. It wasn’t like a bunch of crap was happening. It was pretty bare bones.”

 

Kyng band image

 

In chatting with Veliz, he is humble, but also keenly aware of the growth of the band from where they were a short time ago. He certainly has his perspective on his band in place, focusing on constantly honing their craft and improving their music.

The first album, we had just gotten together as a band. We spent a year writing those songs. Everything was out of pocket. Everything was done by ourselves. We didn’t really have a producer. The guy who recorded it wasn’t the best. He helped us out and gave us a “bro deal. And then you get what you pay for. We loved the songs, but we were never happy with the tone on the record. It was so bittersweet. This time, by the time we got in the studio, we had already been writing ideas on the road for two years. I had all of these song ideas I was working on. So all we had to do was stick em together. And once we did that, we got to the studio with Andrew and Jim, and Jim was the guy who was like “okay you have a lot of idea’s but now let’s really put them together. It was time for refining. It made a lot of sense. Jim was just helping with the songs, it was more of a case of taking away stuff we didn’t need. More like not adding any more parts that don’t need them. Stuff that was just lean, with no fat. All the good stuff and nothing else.”

 

Aside from the title track, Veliz admits to the more personal tone of the lyrics in his latest album, and he is not afraid to address deep issues from the pages of his life:

I just started writing about personal issues that I’m having things I have seen, whatever. Burn the Serum was actually about a fallout I have with my brother. That’s the problem with me, if I am having problems in my life or personal issues with people, I can turn them into songs. So beware people! (laughs) I think the the original title of the album was called “Tales of Dischord” or something (laughs) based upon there are a lot of weird, shitty themes in the songs on this album. We just went. I write in metaphors as well, a lot. It’s not a lot of Hendrix-ian metaphors like tonguing the sea or clouds that are crying or whatnot.”

 

The band is one of the leading lights of Razor & Tie roster, and Kyng is aware that they benefit greatly from a label with many diverse bands that don’t sound too alike. Not that the band is worried about being the musical outlier, as evidenced by their frequent tour-mates.

It’s good to have characters in the label, different bands, and different types of music. The band we feel we might be closest to, it’s our brothers in The Sword. They took us on our first tour, ever. They are definitely rad dudes. We feel a little closer to them, than anyone else on that label.”

Nobody knows how to categorize us. Everybody wants to push into something and a lot of people want Kyng to be a “heavy metal” band. “Oh, Kyng is a heavy metal band! But we’re not. And then there is another weird genre, “active rock” or whatever. (laughs) We don’t care, put us where you want. We will fit in where we can. That is why we do so many weird tours. People are like “why are they out with Seether? Why is Kyng out with Lacuna Coil? Why are they out with Megadeth? Why are they out with Clutch.” You know what? We will fucking play with anybody at any given moment. Just give us a chance! We don’t care. Our heads aren’t too far up our asses. We like a bunch of music. We will play with anyone. We want people to just come out, and we just want them to be exposed to us, and regardless of what band we are playing with, we will play with anybody.”

 

Kyng on Facebook

 

KEITH (KEEFY) CHACHKES

 

 

 

 

Ghost Cult Magazine #18 is out now!

GC 18 cover ALike a bat out of hell……Ghost Cult #18 is here! The new issue features none other than Down on our cover.We interviewed Jimmy Bower about the changes in the band and their amazing new EP, Down IV, Part II. Issue #18 also includes interviews with Lacuna Coil, Beastmilk, Sevendust, Sabbath Assembly, Kyng, Amenra, ReVamp, Lord Dying, Anciients, and Dragged In To Sunlight. We also have complete coverage of the legendary Roadburn Festival, and a recap the 16th annual New England Metal And Hardcore Festival. Plus concert reviews from the likes of The Dillinger Escape Plan, Carcass, Red Fang, Scale The Summit, The Ocean, & The Atlas Moth. We also have special feature with the late Dave Brockie, as well our largest section of album reviews to date. Made especially for your tablet device or smartphone! Check it out and tell a friend!Twice!

 

 

 

Ghost Cult #16 is here!

Ghost Cult 16 front cover largeHuzzah! Ghost Cult Magazine Issue #16 is out now! Featuring our interview with Cynic discussing their new album, philosophy, the creative process, Chuck Schuldiner’s legacy and more! Plus other featured interviews with Skeletonwitch, Red Fang, Morbid Angel, Stolen Babies, In Solitude, Howl, Music Author Neil Daniels, Throne of Katarsis, ,Valkyrie, Sarke, concert promoter Willem Van Maele of TMR Promotions; Lamb of GodAs The Palaces Burn film, the NAMM Show recap, Sunn O)))) & Ulver EP, Stone Sour, Alcest, Amon Amarth, Long Distance Calling, Chimaira and tons more metal! Check it out! http://ow.ly/uQP2j

A Darker Place – Thomas Bergli of Sarke

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Originally envisioned as a one man project, and brought to life by a team of who’s who names in black metal, (Nocturno Culto, Steinar Gundersen, Cyrus, Sarke, Asgeir Mickelson, Anders Hunstad) Sarke formed in 2009. After a series of increasingly impressive album, the band has delivered their magnum opus in Aruagint (Metal Blade/Indie Recordings). Ghost Cult scribe Caitlin Smith caught up with mastermind Thomas Bergli, a.k.a.Sarke himself, to discuss the new album, the evolution of the group into a full band and much more.

You’ve got a very different sound. Can you take us through some of the inspirations on the album?

We do our own thing always. That’s why its difficult to compare us to other bands. I am inspired by a lot of bands from black,death,speed and doom metal to rock. I am also inspired by paintings and dark lyrics.

What is the meaning behind the name Aruagint?

Aruagint is a self-made word and for me it means a pathway, door, gate into a darker place.

sarke album cover

 

Are there any lyrical themes running through this album?

No, its a different story to each text. In the lyrics we deal with dark fantasy, horror, crazy people and fiction.

The cover art is really minimalistic, but at the same time haunting. Can you tell us a little about it?

All covers we have are very basic. Pure and raw. I like the new cover and layout. Asgeir deals with all the layout and he found a creative soul that has done the drawing for this album.

Did you have a set idea musically for this album or is it something that evolved naturally between all the band members?

We all make the songs by ourselves. For this new album, I did eight and Asgeir one. Asgeir has been in total control over his own songs. My idea was to go back to the first album again, but also to keep the best from the second album. Try to keep the Sarke style, but also to evolve and be better in everything.

You say that Aruagint is recorded in an ‘old fashioned way.’ Can you tell us a little about this?

We use a lot of old guitars, amps, boxes from the 70s and even the 60s. We don’t copy riffs or use trigger on the drums and stuff like that. I want the sound and feeling like you are at a Sarke rehearsal. For me if things are to perfect it can be a bit boring. Maybe hard for some people to understand that, but that’s the way I feel.

sarke band

Sarke also started out as a one-man project. Why did you decide to bring other members in on the project? We have had two albums and you have started playing live shows since then. What made you change your mind?

My first idea was just to record a solo album. The album did well and both people and the record company was asking for live shows. I agreed and had to put a live line-up together. After some shows the record company wanted me to release a new album. I didn’t want a new solo album, so I used my live line-up to be a band, so we could record the new album as a band. That also worked out good, so now we have a third album out.

So many members of the band have been in pioneering bands previously, and you have obviously tried to create something different with this album. Some people say that the metal scene has never been more stagnant. What is your opinion on this?

I always have my own vision how I want the music to sound. I never try to copy the sound of other bands. With Sarke we always do our own thing and own sound. It’s not many bands that sounds like Sarke. I don’t know if the scene has stagnated or not, I don’t follow the scene that much to have an opinion.

Sarke on Facebook

Caitlin Smith

Dying Arts – An Interview with Black Crown Initiate

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Black Crown Initiate is one of the most interesting stories in heavy music right now. On the strength of their impressive, self-released EP Song of the Crippled Bull, they have made serious waves in the underground. They aren’t going to be a secret anymore since they were added to The Metal Alliance Tour, which was just announced before this interview. Ghost Cult chief editor Keith (Keefy) Chachkes caught up with guitarist/vocalist Andy Thomas about the big news, the pressure of new challenges, and the upcoming next record from the band.

Congratulations on landing a spot on The Metal Alliance Tour! Tell us about how you got involved and why people should show up early to see you.
Thank you very much. This has all happened so quickly. We put out the EP, and it was received very well. Within a few months, some very notable people in the industry were reaching out to us, and the rest is history. We are beyond excited to hit the road with these amazing bands, many of which we have admired for years. People can expect an energetic live performance of our material; including a new song. We are hungry and completely ready for this opportunity. We also feel that, musically, we offer something a bit different from the rest of the bands on the tour. That being said, every band is different and awesome in their own way. If you like us already, you’ll have a great time. We also hope to make some new fans and friends.

It seems like you guys have come out of nowhere in a short span of time. Do you mind walking us through a brief history of the band?

I know it seems that way from the outside, but to us it feels quite different. We have all been playing in bands, together and separately, for years. It took a long time for all of us to come together and form the lineup that we have, one that I am beyond stoked to have intact. Nick (Shaw, bass) and I have been playing together for about 5 years. Rik (Stelzpflug, guitar & vocals) and I basically taught each other to play guitar. We have played in bands together since like 2005 and have always pushed each other to go further on our instruments. I wouldn’t be half the player I am if I hadn’t met him. As a result, our writing styles are eerily similar. The same holds true for Nick. Our writing team is bullet-proof, and we never run out of ideas. Speaking of experience, Jesse (Beahler, drums) has toured all over the place with Jungle Rot and Rings of Saturn, so he is DEFINITELY not new to this whole deal. He actually wrote the EP with us, even though we had another drummer for a bit. James (Dorton, vocals) has been singing and developing his incredible vocal skills for well over a decade, and he has been in multiple bands with all of us. The moral of the story is this: none of us are rookies, fate finally brought us together, we are hungry, and we are willing and able to destroy.

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Even the name of the band evokes a mystery theme. Care to elaborate?

The name of the band is completely intentional, and I actually had it when I brought up the idea to start the band with James and Nick. In Tibetan Buddhism, the Karmapa, a high rankingspiritual leader, wears the black crown as a symbol of light and compassion for humanity. Admittedly, I carry an incredibly bleak world-view. Musically and lyrically, the music is very personal to me; it comes from a very dark place. I believe that in our perverted “modern” world, the only hope for people to see any truth and therefore hold any hope of waking up, we must be shown how terrible the world we’ve helped create truly is. I meet people daily who live on clouds it seems, in a dream world where everything is beautiful and great, while our family members travel to other countries and slaughter innocent children. It sickens me.

 

For an EP release, Song Of The Crippled Bull, is remarkably complex and polished. How long did it take to write and record?

Honestly, I was tired of playing in technical death metal bands, where musical and emotional quality was overshadowed by boneheaded technicality. The EP was written with a certain amount of accessibility in mind, and we wanted it to be emotional before anything else. We wrote it over about 6 months and recorded in 3 days with Carson Slovak at Atrium Audio. We love Carson, and would surely recommend him to any band.

Rarely does our staff agree completely on new bands, but our reviewer glowed about you guys and another staffer called you one of the most important bands in 2014. Do you feel pressure to live up to the praise the band has been getting?

We are beyond thrilled that people enjoy our music. That being said, the EP is simply us doing what we know how to do. We wrote and recorded it without any expectations, and released it not know if anyone would give a shit. With Rik, Nick, and myself writing together, we are very confident that the album will crush. The only pressure we feel is our own, and that is a very healthy thing. The material we have written so far, in our opinion, is even better than the EP. Just like the EP, once we release it, the reaction is out of our control.

The lyrics are also really impressive from an intellectual standpoint. Do you think great lyrics are a dying art in modern brutal music?

Again, thanks for the kind words. I feel that quality lyrics are a direct result of having something to say. I have a degree in history, not literature; and the lyrics on the album are pretty much me saying everything I wish to say to anyone and everyone. I think that the real dying arts are critical thought, truth seeking, and self-reflection.

Black Crown Initiate photo by Danielle Fedorshik

How do you and James collaborate on the switching off with the vocal parts and patterns when writing? Was Rik involved in this process, or did he come in after the recording?

For the EP, pretty much across the board, James screamed and I sang. James is a trained vocalist with incredible talent and range, so he will be doing a great deal more in the future. The same goes for Rik, even though he wasn’t involved with the EP at all. Vocally, our future releases are going to be insane, and I can’t wait to see what we come up with between the three of us.

 

Who are some of the bands’ main influences musically?

Every one of us has very different influences, so I can really only speak for myself. My biggest influences are Meshuggah, SYL/ Devin Townsend, Tool, Gojira, Opeth, Mastodon, Behemoth, Decapitated, King Crimson, Mahavishnu Orchestra, and Jimi Hendrix; although that onlyscratches the surface. I love pop, prog, jazz, world, and classical music. For writing, my main influence is really personal life, and all the negativity that comes with life in America; the supposed greatest country in the world.

 

What are your plans for a full length recording?

We will be entering the studio sooner than you think. Writing is full-on. Stay tuned.

 

Are you guys close to announcing a label signing yet?

We have some offers, but it is too early for us to decide or announce anything. We are focused on writing and preparing for Metal Alliance.

Black Crown Initiate on Facebook

Buy Song of The Crippled Bull on Bandcamp

Keith (Keefy) Chachkes