This is a band that I remember from my years as an avid fanzine reader in the early 90s. KILLING ADDICTION were a part of the early death/thrash scene that shaped the Florida sound. Now they have a new MCD out and an interview had to happen. Anders Ekdahl ©2017
I seem to remember you guys from way back. What is it that keeps you going still?
-Yes, that’s correct. We’ve been around for some time now…1989. One of the things that keeps us going is that we don’t feel like we’re done yet. There’s still a want and a creative drive to do more. Another part of it is that we’re doing it as a group of friends that spans many decades. We grew up together and here we are still working together. One of the most recent motivations is the loss of our guitarist at the end of last year, Chad Bailey – my brother. He was a driving force in our creativity and now we’d like to continue on and honor the tradition of music he helped create for so long.
Since KILLING ADDICTION is an old band could you perhaps rekindle the highlights of your career so far?
-Sure, to note the highlights, Killing Addiction formed back near the beginning of the death metal genre, was among the first handful of death metal bands from Florida, and actually was the first death metal band in this particular area. Back then we had some fairly successful releases on labels such as Seraphic Decay (who helped start the careers of many other great bands, such as Incantation and Immolation) and JL America. Our releases on those labels were Necrosphere (7” EP) and Omega Factor (debut full-length CD), respectively, and it was those two recordings that eventually earned us the status of a cult death metal band.
Other highlights from back then were some of the live shows we played with some really great, classic bands such as Atheist, Incantation, Assuck, Paineater, and Obituary, to name a few. We had one more self-released EP titled Dark Tomorrow, before we parted ways in the mid 90s. It wasn’t until I moved back to Florida, after the split, that we reformed in 2006 and released our first new studio recording in 2010 titled Fall of the Archetypes.
It wasn’t until 2014/15 that we released the follow-up, which was our 7” EP on Inverse Dogma Records titled When Death Becomes An Art. That recording is important in that it served as a kind of stepping stone for what we’d do on our current release, Shores of Oblivion (Xtreem Music, 2016). Most recently, we announced the addition of our new guitarist, and long-time friend, Mike Serden, who has done an outstanding job helping us pick up where Chad left off. We couldn’t be happier with his performance and progress. It’s great having him on board.
When you started out what were the most important bands to influence your sound?
-Back then we were influenced by several bands from a few genres. There were thrash influences such as Slayer, Kreator, Sacred Reich as major examples and even Megadeth, Metallica, and Overkill when we were first becoming interested in metal. Once we were getting into death metal and grindcore, our influences became bands like Possessed, Death, Carcass, Napalm Death, Bolt Thrower, Morbid Angel, Atheist, and Pestilence.
What is the scene like in your area? Is a local scene important for the birth of new bands now that we are only a click away from the entire world?
-We have a fairly strong metal scene here, especially considering the population compared to some of the bigger cities such as Tampa and Orlando. There’s not really a problem drawing several hundred people to a live show. It would be nice to have a few more venues to choose from than what we currently have, but the shows themselves are organized well and have good attendance.
I think local and online support are important for different reasons. Local support is what can build your reputation as a great live act. Most bands aren’t going to be able to tour nationally or internationally, but becoming a respected name in your local scene isn’t difficult if you work to perfect your craft as individual musicians and as a group, and if you carry yourself in a professional manner. If you’re arrogant or a troublemaker, it’s likely that you’ll alienate yourself from opportunities.
The internet enables you to reach places you might never otherwise reach, but I think bands very often over rely on it. You can’t only rely on social media. That’s only going to get you so far, because anyone with an internet connection can upload music now.
Something I have often wondered about is if you feel that you are part of something bigger and greater when you play in a band, that you are part of a movement sort of?
-Feelings vary, so, yes, there are times when it does feel like we’re carving out our own spot in the history of the death metal genre, regardless of how great or small. I think whatever times you have where you don’t feel that are in the moments of frustration – when there’s something you’re trying to achieve, in either a creative or business sense, but it’s not working the way you’d hoped.
One of the things that can definitely make you feel like being part of a movement is the feedback from others, whether it’s from fans or peer bands. Each are great for different reasons. You can gain insight from both about how people appreciate what you create.
When you play the sort of music you play I guess you cannot have birds and bees on the cover of your album? What is a great album cover to you?
-You might be able to get away with dead birds and bees, but probably not – ha! Even then you’d rightfully hear something about it. I think having a great cover involves a few basic elements, all of which are reducible to the concept of good design. Having an image that is related to the album title or song themes is one such element. There should also be distinct fonts and a specific color palette.
Don’t overwork genre stereotypes. Pentagrams, inverted crosses, skulls, and excessive gore have lost their luster and their shock value. We’ve all seen them more times than we can count. If you’re going to use those, use them in a way that is unique for your project. Find ways to include them in the themes you’ve created. Perhaps most importantly, work with genuine, professional artists, whether they’re painters/illustrators or photographers. It’s worth spending some money to have a cover that will catch people’s attention, hopefully for its image content and the talent quality.
What is your opinion on digital versus physical? Is digital killing music? Is digital saving music?
-Personally, I prefer physical media over digital, but I’d purchase and use both. Each of them have their own benefits. I like having CDs or vinyl, because it’s nice to see the amount of effort a band has put into seeing their project made real, from concept to product. However, it’s often more convenient to transport digital media than it is a pile of CDs.
I don’t think digital format is killing music so much as a shift in attitude toward music is killing it. Streaming and ripping music are more damaging than just digital format itself. If streaming and ripping weren’t options, I think you’d see far more MP3 download sales, but we’ve reached a point where many people believe they shouldn’t have to pay for music, so they just rip it or stream it.
There’s a fundamental difference between liking a band and supporting a band, and I think people often confuse the two. Listening to a band’s music isn’t supporting them, it’s merely liking them. That isn’t meant to downplay its importance. Clearly, you want people to appreciate what you do. However, supporting a band necessarily means doing more than that, whether it’s buying the music, buying shirts and other merchandise, going to the live shows, etc.
What kind live scene is there today? My impression is that the live scene is a dying breed.
-There are still plenty of shows, but attendance isn’t what it used to be, even for many of the national and international acts. Some of the things I hear people complain about are that the same set of bands being booked together constantly, too many bands are booked per show, and complaints about the quality of local bands. I understand their point. Ordinary shows are booked with six to eight bands, usually because the promoters hope that more bands will draw more people – not always true. Three or four bands is perfect for a show that isn’t meant to be a special event or a festival.
When you play live is it a happening or do you see it more as a party?
-It’s more like a chance to hang out rather than a party. For me it’s about the music and having an opportunity to talk with fans and the other bands. Sometimes there’s too much going on to do much hanging out, but it’s great to be able to do so when possible.
What would you like to see the future bring?
-We’d like to be able to do some shows to support Shores of Oblivion and then work on new material. If everything goes as planned, we’ll be doing shows in various places on the east coast. Xtreem Music is set to reissue Omega Factor this year. I’d like to see us get back in the studio, but that will take some time.