Interview with THE KING MUST DIE
The Band: The King Must Die
Answers by: Scott Paterson (Bass)
TKMD is a band from California delivering a powerful thrash metal, with a mixing of modern style and a fantastic guitar work. With “Murder All Doubt” they deliver their second album and are getting a place in the crowded thrash world. We talk with Scott, bassist of the band.
Hello Scott and thank you for the time you dedicate to us.The King Must Die is a band from California, how was it born?
Scott (bass) and I have known each other since grammar school and have played together off and on since we were 15. Corky (drums), Doggie (vocals) and Kent (guitar) have known each other just as long and played together off and on throughout the years as well. When Scott and I were asking around about drummers, Corky’s name came up a few times, so we jammed and it was great! After that, he had mentioned Doggie as a vocalist. We tried a few other people, but it just wasn’t right. So Doggie came in and NAILED it. Kent was still in a band at the time, but they ended up breaking up which freed him up to come over to us. It’s been this same line up since 2011.
For those who never listened to your music, how would you define your style?
We’re a modern bay-area-thrash band; definitely rooted in bay area thrash, but with a modern spin on most of our songs.
You started off the project in 2011, three years later you released your first album “Sleep Can’t Hide the Fear”, a good album that was well received by the fans, right?
Yes, definitely much more well received than we ever thought it would be! We’re very happy with what the album did, and we’re hoping that this new album goes much further.
In this 2016 you delivered your new album “Murder All Doubt”. Compared to the previous one, is there some new approach on it?
I think it’s right along the same feel as the first album, but we definitely have added new guitar harmonies to our style and we’ve written our first two drop-D songs (IN BLOOD and REFLECTION SPILLS). I always try to write songs in different keys, so everything isn’t anchored in just drop D or the low E, or whatever the lowest note is. I think it’s more interesting when you don’t worry about being HEAVY all the time and just write what sounds cool, so that was definitely in my mind as we wrote these new songs.
How long did you work in “Murder All Doubt” and how was the composition process?
Writing started right after the first album came out, and took about a year to get all the songs finished, then another year to record everything. We’re a group of mid-40’s dudes with jobs, families, and lots of responsibilities, so getting the album recorded took a while!
In my opinion “Murder All Doubt” is a fist of an album, but it also has a variety in it, you don’t play the same song once and once again
I agree. Like I said, I definitely wanted each song to not be in the same key or have the same types of guitar harmonies. Corky and Scott always approach their parts that way as well, adding they’re own unique styles and influences. Kent is a total shredder on guitar, so it’s always amazing to hear what he comes up with for his parts of the solos. And Doggie is just an amazing lyricist in my opinion. The way he finds the heart of the music and what it should be about, lyrically, always blows us away.
I think that one the strong points in the album are the solos, they are so much inspired, and usually they are clean and melodic which contrast with the more agressive riffs in the songs
Yes, we purposely used more melodic rhythm riffs under the solos to give them a little more «drama» and emotion I guess you could say. I’m not as much of a modern shredder like Kent, so I like to do more melodic solos with harmonies. I realized early on in this album that my lead style is very much influence by Randy Rhoads, the Allman Brothers, Kirk Hammet, players like that. And luckily, Kent can pull off the blazing fast runs and sweeping, so we have it all covered I would say!
Although you play Thrash all the way, we are gonna always find moments of true metal, groove metal, even some epic elements, for example…right?
Right, we’ve definitely expanded on our tempos and breaks; there’s some much slower, grinding songs on this album for sure, but yes we still speed things up to the classic thrash tempos as well.
One of my favorite tracks is The Only Way We Bleed, I think it summarizes perfectly what your sound is, pure energy
We LOVE this song. Our Friend Dashiel McKenzie from the band Trial By Combat does a guest vocal on that song and I get chills every time I hear it. With him and Doggie going back and forth, it’s just really powerful. It’s a very simple song really, but it just came together in such a great way. Definitely one of our personal favorites.
These Later Years also surprised me because you even introduce some progressive approach, but it always fits right with your agressiveness
This is my personal favorite on the album, and will be our second music video. It really runs through some very different changes in mood, from heavy and fast to slow and melodic. I was really nervous to show the rest of the band this song; I think it’s probably the most melodic/slow song we have ever done and I didn’t know what they would think of it. This one has my favorite solo too, lots of harmonies!
To end up the circle I would mention also Murder All Doubt, a more typical Bay Area thrash song but with some epic true load in it
I was really nervous to show the rest of the band this song too. Before Doggie added vocals, it really had a «power metal» feel to it, and almost sounded much too happy. But this was one song we really worked together on forming the structure. Corky is great with figuring out song structures, so it went through a few changes before it was finished. And again, Doggie really nailed the vocals and lyrics.
By the way, what are your lyrics about?
Doggie writes all the lyrics. The majority of songs are about his struggles with his health and life in general, but I’ve said before, he’s like a heavy metal motivational speaker with his lyrics! He’s much more positive than any other lyricist I’ve ever known. He never writes about death and destruction, it’s always about empowerment, believing in yourself and perseverance.
A positive point of view that I personally appreciate. What where you doing when the Bay Area sound was at the top and what are those bands that have influences you more as musicians?
We are massively influenced by all the bay area metal bands (and thrash bands in general). We all grew up during the bay area thrash era and got to see so many of them up close at smaller shows; Testament, Exodus, Metallica, Death Angel, Slayer, Anthrax…they all played some amazing and small shows around our home area. The five of us were all born in the same year, so we were all teenagers when the bay area thrash scene was going on.
It surprises me that, as far as I know, you have not signed by any label yet. Is it true?
We have not signed with a label because we all have day jobs that keep us very busy, and we’re not able to tour. Plus it’s so much easier these days to put an album our yourself. Not that we would be opposed to signing with a label, it would just have to be the right situation.
Have you any tour dates already scheduled for the presentation and promotion of “Murder All Doubt”?
We are mainly playing bay area shows until June, then taking a break, then trying to play out of our home area as much as possible.
As guys with a solid thrash base, how do you see the Thrash scene nowadays? Some people say there is an overdose of bands, what do you think?
I’m pretty amazed at our own metal scene here in the north-bay area. There are a lot of great bands, and I don’t see an overdose of bands being a problem. You get to play with a variety of bands with different styles, and it keeps each show that you play or go to, interesting. I feel like, in our scene, there aren’t even two bands that are doing the exact same thing; there’s a lot of variety in style up here.
Finally, as US band, do you have some plans to get to the European market too?
Our plans with Europe are really only to get the music out. A tour in Europe for us seems very much out of the question, but we have help over there to get the music out!