Kyng’s Pepe Clarke - Interview

If Black Sabbath, Pantera, Alice in Chains and Soungarden had a baby it would be Kyng. They came onto my radar earlier this year. Their debut album “Trampled Sun” recently came out and is a must if you’re a fan of any of the bands I mentioned above or heavy music in general. The years almost over and I’m guessing “Trampled Sun” will end up on my top ten albums of 2011. Recently I got the chance to chat with Kyng Drummer Pepe Clarke, check it out here.

Zoiks!: I really like your album “Trampled Sun,” it’s a mixture of a lot of the music I like. Did you actively pursue your sound or was it something that just came together naturally.

Pepe Clarke: It was definitely something that just happened. We talked about doing something that we all loved. We talked about bands that we really liked. We all like Down, Corrosion of Conformity, Black Sabbath…you know Pantera and some of the heavier metal stuff. We didn’t set out to do anything like that, when we got together to write that’s what came out. It was really driven drums and stuff and a lot of Sabbathy riffs.

Z!: What is your bands songwriting approach? Do you have a designated songwriter or is it more of a group effort?

PC: It’s definitely a group effort even though some songs are more…Tony (Castaneda) and Eddie (Veliz) wrote riffs for them. Eddie writes all of the lyrics and there are a few songs that Eddie wrote on his own. For the most part we do write all together.

Z!: I know that there are only three of you in the band, but is it difficult satisfying all of you influences and inspirations?

PC: That’s what…me personally that’s what I love most about this band. We really really do whatever we want. So there is never anything that is unsatisfying. I as a drummer can play…I’m a metal drummer so they’re fine with me playing blast beats and with me playing double bass, but I love Alice in Chains and I love bands that use harmonies and aren’t just screaming evil bands. For me it’s very fulfilling, I think for all of us it’s very fulfilling.

Z!: What can fans expect from your live show?

PC: You can expect a full onslaught of energy. We’re very high energy. We’re all going crazy with our instruments. Eddie and Tony are head banging a lot. We are definitely a live band. I appreciate when people like the album, but I really want people to see us live, because I’m sure they will be pleasantly surprised.

Z!: I saw you live first and then went out and got the album. I think you’re great live. Is there a moment in the show that you enjoy playing the most?

PC: I like the last song “Shoreline” when we do that live. It’s a fast song; it’s a thrash song. It’s where I definitely get to let loose the most. I think it’s very climatic for our set. I think our set kind of builds, builds, builds and then when we get to “Shoreline” it’s really like…I think if someone is not into the band by then, they will be after that song. I really enjoy that song personally.

Z!: What is the touring experience like?

PC: There is a ton of down time. For us we’re out there on our own in a van, so we do a lot of the driving and we’re very tired. It’s grueling. You go city to city, you have to get there for sound check. Since we’re not headlining any shows we have to get there pretty early, back line and then you just wait. We have to find different ways to stay busy. There is a lot of down time. Once the bands get to know each other…we’ve been very lucky, all the bands we’ve been on tour with have been awesome, so we get to hang out a lot after shows. Daytime is kind of boring; nighttime is a lot of fun.

Z!: Growing up, how did you discover the drums?

PC: It’s something that I always leaned towards. We went to church when I was young and I always wanted to play drums at the church. The guy from the church was the guy that gave me my first drum lesson. I was always inclined to them. I took a couple of guitar lessons, that didn’t do anything. I always wanted the drums, I always asked for the drums and that’s what I got finally when I was like 11.

Z!: Who are some of your early influences?

PC: I definitely grew up on the typical metal from a kid being born in the 80’s. I grew up on Metallica and Megadeth, Pantera, Sepultura. Then I got into bands like Meshuggah. I was also very influenced by Latin music. I grew up in Mexico and I listened to a lot of rock, Mexican rock, and Argentinian rock.

Z!: What was your favorite concert experience as a fan?

PC: I have top 3. One was seeing Roger Water’s “The Wall” here in LA a little while ago, which completely blew my mind. Another was when I saw Pantera, the only time I saw Pantera and Opeth here in LA.

Z!: Who are some of the bands you’re into now?

PC: I’m really into Opeth. I’m really into Down and Corrosion of Conformity, Clutch. There is a band out there called Karnival that I really like. I like some of the Faceless stuff, Black Dahlia Murder. That’s pretty much it other than the stuff I grew up on that I still listen to like Metallica, Megadeth, and Pantera etc.

Z!: What has been your bands greatest achievement so far?

PC: Our greatest achievement so far…I think has been releasing the album. It was such a long process. We’re getting the tours and we’re really happy with the tours we’re getting. We’re going to go out with Clutch and Corrosion of Conformity, so I’m sure that’s going to be one of those, ‘wow I can’t believe we’re here,’ kind of moments, but as of now, definitely the release of the album. It was such a grueling process, were very proud that it’s out there.

BYLINE:

Bob Zerull is the Managing Editor of Zoiks! Online. He writes pop culture commentary, does interviews with bands, and reviews music and stand-up concerts. He also administers Zoiks! Online's Facebook page. Follow Bob on twitter at bzerull. Email Bob at bob@zoiksonline.com.

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