Today, KYNG’s Trampled Sun hit stores. To say we like it is a bit of an understatement. Check out our Trampled Sun review. A few weeks ago, we met up with Eddie Veliz (guitar / vocals) and Pepe Clarke (drums) at the Machine Shop in Flint, Michigan after they finished an absolutely scorching opening set for Drowning Pool.
Pepe Clarke (PC): I played in a band with Tony (Castaneda, bassist) and he previously played in a band with Eddie. When I was playing in the band with Tony, we had talked about starting another project. He said, “Man, I have the perfect person for this,” which was Eddie. So that’s where it really began. We starting jamming and it immediately clicked. At our first rehearsal, I think we had two songs done.
BRB: So there was a really chemistry from the start, then.
Eddie Veliz (EV): Oh, sure. I love Tony to death. I’ve loved him for years, because we played together. When he told me about this band idea, I said, “Bring it on, man. Let’s see what happens.” I showed up a Tony’s house and we were riffing out, because I wanted to see what he had. He had a few riffs ready, like the riff for “Falling Down.” And I was thinking, “Man, that’s a really good riff.” It was inspiring.
When Tony and Pepe’s band left on a tour, I took the riffs Tony had and started playing to them and adding to them. By the time they got back from the tour, I had music and lyrics for “Falling Down,” “Pushing & Pulling” and something else.
PC: I remember going home to Mexico for Christmas and they emailed the stuff they had and I thought, “Wow! This is awesome!” So I started writing real drum parts to it. When I got back to L.A., we were able to start jamming to those songs.
EV: The chemistry was just great. The chemistry between Pepe and Tony was great. The chemistry between me and Tony was great. So meeting Pepe, it was like being brothers right from the beginning.
BRB: So when you all finally got together and started working as a group, how did the songs come together? Did they start as jams or do you each come in with musical ideas to get things started?
EV: It’s all of that. Tony is always writing riffs. I’m always writing riffs and songs. And Pepe has ideas up the yin-yang. He’ll say, “Dah, de-de-de-de- dah! You got this? Play this!” (laughs)
PC: Sometimes it’s frustrating not being able to play a melodic instrument. (laughs)
EV: But, yeah, someone comes in with an idea and the others will say, “Okay, let’s start building on that.” And by the end of the session, we usually have a song or at least a great start.
EV: Oh, yeah.
BRB: —Tim Narducci from Systematic, and just a mish-mash of things I love.
PC: That’s because it’s a mish-mash of things that we love. We just really wanted play music we love. I’m playing very metal parts on drums, because I love metal, but the band isn’t metal. It’s very much a rock band. I feel like we have made this whole fusion work pretty well.
EV: Or main goal with KYNG was to be seamless in crossing over. We want to be able to play with anybody, from death metal to straight up rock and roll and even blues acts. And so far we have. Because of Pepe’s drums, we can play with metal bands. Because what I do pulls on so much ‘70s and ‘80s vibe, it’s a real classic rock feel, too.
BRB: That makes sense, because you can hear the Soundgarden and Kyuss stuff in there, but it seems more like you guys are pulling from the same bands that influenced them rather than pulling from those guys directly.
But when you say you want to be able to play with anyone, is that something that is a conscious decisions that goes into the songs during the songwriting? Or does that naturally evolve?
EV: We try to keep it open to have that appeal. We have some songs that are completely acoustic. In fact, we just did an acoustic set this afternoon, and we love that, too. You can make like a campfire thing or a Blind Melon thing or even a country thing. I don’t want to sound cocky or anything, but that sort of thing comes easily to us because we click like that.
BRB: It comes across that way. Not cocky, but effortless. Yet, it doesn’t lack passion at all.
EV: We go out there every night and try to win people over. They are coming to see Drowning Pool, but we have to win them over. Right now, because the record isn’t out especially, it’s an uphill battle. But we give it our all in hopes that some people will walk away saying, “Wow, that was a really good band.” And every night we see the same thing. The first three songs, people are standing there with their arms crossed. By the fourth or fifth song, their heads are bobbing. And by the end of the set, they screaming, “Yeah!”
PC: It’s like chopping a tree. You keep wacking away at it and you think, “When are they gonna finally break?” And when they do, it’s just the greatest feeling.