Not to compare different genres but stoner rock is so much cooler than grunge ever was. Stoner has survived all the hype and is still as vibrant, if not even more so today. VOID KING’s doom is proof of that. Answers by Tommy Miller. Anders Ekdahl ©2016
You have one of these names that tell me that some thought has been involved in the choice. How hard was it to come up with the name?
– When the band first kicked off as a two man doom band, we were called “Thereisnothing”. I really, really liked that name a lot. But when we took on a singer, the band kind of changed, so we thought that a new name was needed. To be terribly honest, the name was kind of a joke at first. If you say it quickly, it sounds like a Russian Guy saying “Viking”. But the more we tossed it around, the more we really kind of fell in love with it. And it fits the music. At least we think it does.
The competition is a killer these days so please tell us why people should buy your latest album?
– We feel like we have something for everyone on this record, if you like heavy music. OK, so not for EVERYONE then. but as much as we kind of fall into that “stoner rock” spectrum, I think you’ll hear a lot of different influences on the new record. I love extreme music. And while you won’t specifically hear any black metal on this album, you will hear the influence in there from time to time. I think the thing I love about our sound is that we kind of throw all of these elements into a pot and out comes Void King. it’s not like a “Stoner Doom” record. It’s a “Stoner Rock and Doom record with some elements of post metal, punk and grunge” thrown in there.
Do you notice that there is an anticipation for you to release an album? Have you built a large enough following for people to eagerly await a new album?
– I wouldn’t say that there was a wave of people waiting on this album to come out. But I feel like it’s fair to say that we had a good crowd of people anticipating the release. We had a good number of preorders, and the cassettes are selling pretty well. It’s kind of weird how well we have been selling in Europe. I’m not sure we expected the positive reception that we’ve received over there so far.
When you started the band did you do so with a clear intent of what kind of music you wanted to play? How hard was it to come up with a sound all your own?
– When the band started, it was just our drummer and myself. We were just going to play loud and slow and see what came of that. As the songs got written and the band became a thing, it kind of developed it’s own sound. As I mentioned before, we all come from a different, but similar, place musically. Those sounds all come together to become Void King songs. I don’t think that we’ve ever tried to write any certain kind of song though. Most of the time we just feel like we are conduits for the riffs. Like they are just floating out in some kind of hidden dimension, and sometimes we’ll tune into them.
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?
– Being in a band is like being part of a gang. For me, the band is it’s own thing. Yeah, there are four dude in this band. But I’m not the guitar player for Void King. Void King is a thing that is us all together, playing music in a room and drinking beer. We’re like Voltron…except we’re only 4 pieces instead of 5. Which I guess makes us closer to Devastator from the Transformers. Whatever.
Either way, we went people to participate in the band. We want people to be part of Void King and praise the riff with us. It might sound corny, but music has always been a religious experience for us. We want people to come to that musical alter and help us vibrate together.
When you play the sort of music you play do you feel that you can have whatever you like as art work for the cover of your album? What is a great album cover to you?
– One of the best album covers in the history of music is the front of Helmet’s “Betty”. And you know why? Because I can see that from across the room and I know exactly what record it is It’s a pretty lady, holding flowers, and it’s very bright. I bring that up because I don’t think you’d associate that cover with the music inside, unless you really gave it some thought. And for us, Maia captured our sound perfectly, but not in an obvious way. There is some mystery to the way that the girl on the cover looks at you. There is a heaviness too, but it’s not right in your face. This is where we maybe get a little artsier than some bands in the genre. We don’t want to beat you to death with our ideas. We want you to put your own stamp on what we’ve done.
I have a great fear that the change in how people consume music today will eventually kill music as we know it. What is your opinion on digital verses physical? Is digital killing music?
– I think that people that love music will always seek out the bands they like on physical media. I know that I buy records at every show that I can . Even if I am just OK with the band, I will buy their vinyl to support their touring efforts or whatever. We’ve put out a cassette and I think that people love it. Especially in our “genre”, people seem to want to have something they can put their hands on. Pop is disposable music. So it makes sense for that music to be on an easily accessible medium that people can just skip through to find to the newest catchy beat. I think you’ll find that most people listening to the kind of music we make want to spend time with the album. They want cover art and to smell the record. They don’t want a quick fix.
Is the era of great arena tours as thing of yester? What kind live scene is there for bands like yours? What does the touring circuit look like today?
– in the states anyway, there are a ton of bands doing great things on the tour circuit. In just our one local club in the last year, we’ve had Karma To Burn, Crowbar, Black Cobra, Mothership, InAeona, Brimstone Coven, Fister and a bunch of other amazing groups come through. And in Indy, we’re having a GIANT festival called “Doomed and Stoned”. The number of bands on that thing is unbelievable. So I think that while you won’t see any more bands like Sabbath or Rush in my lifetime, you do have a steady flow of bands coming through and playing to a big crowd.
When you play live is it a happening or do you see it more as a party?
– Not to cop out, but we want it to be both. We want you to have a good time. Otherwise, what’s the point, right? But on the other hand, we want you to be drawn into our stage show a little. We built our own super bright light boxes and put a fog machine on stage and we sort of have a uniform that we wear. And really, we want you to feel something. I’m not saying that every band has to be GWAR, but I personally appreciated a band that puts some thought into the stage show. We keep trying to improve that. Otherwise, what reason do people have to come to your show? They can stay at home and listen to you. Give them a reason to come out.
What would you like to see the future bring?
– If it’s up to us, we’ll be in Europe this time next year. We just got picked up by a fantastic label in the Netherlands called Off The Record., and we’re hoping to parley that into a tour . he’s putting out a CD version of our newest album, “There is Nothing”, and if all goes well, we’ll get a vinyl out there too. Ultimately, we just want to play loud music and have fun. We hope that people buy into that and want to take that trip with us.