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.”
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.”
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.”
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.”
KEITH (KEEFY) CHACHKES