Meet The Band: King Kraken

In the Meet The Band spotlight this week are Welsh heavy rockers King Kraken. Their full-length debut is MCLXXX. Vocalist Mark Donoghue, guitarists Peter Rose and Adam Healey, bassist Karl Meyer and drummer Richard Lee Mears introduce us to their band.

Chad Bowar: Give us a brief history of King Kraken.
King Kraken: The band was formed in the summer of 2018, initially with Pete and Karl, joined by Richard, then Mark, and finally Adam. After recording a four track EP, the band spent 2019 building up a following in South Wales and the Midlands. The band entered the studio properly in 2020 to record another EP, straight off the back of an appearance at HRH Metal at the o2 Academy in Birmingham. After 18 months of the world being upside down amidst a pandemic, the band returned to the live music scene and began work on the debut album, recorded at Longwave Studios in April 2022.

Describe the songwriting process for MCLXXX.
As a rule of thumb, the songs generally begin with a riff, usually either from Pete or Karl. This will then be jammed out by the band, at which point it’s either quickly rejected, or developed into a collection of riffs. The songs on MCLXXX were all born this way, the writing process sprawls out over a series of rehearsals and then also gigs, it’s fair to say that almost all of the tracks on the album mutated after being tested out live.

What will be your strongest memory of the recording of the album?
The sheer amount of time spent tuning guitars in between takes. Ha! Seriously though, the excitement we all shared was incredibly palpable.

How has your sound evolved from your 2020 EP?
We’ve expanded our horizons, explored sonics and haven’t been afraid to try new things. The songwriting and performances have been turned up a few notches.

What lyrical topics do you cover?
The topics tend to swerve the usual tropes of love, drugs or fast cars. Generally there is a dark, horror theme throughout the lyrics, there’s nods to Frankenstein’s monster, Halloween, a long lost cult classic computer game, witch hunting, a film famous for an actors tragic demise, and also, the band ourselves in the one track!

How was the video shoot for “Green Terror”?
Filming in a wrestling ring was a lot of fun, and also surprisingly nauseating! It’s the most sea sick you can be made to feel on solid ground, trying to stand still in a wrestling ring with a drum kit being played…for five or six hours!

What led you to go the independent route for the album release?
We wanted to be agile and flexible, ultimately in control whilst having the benefit of working with trusted and good people in the industry.

What are your goals and expectations for the album?
We’ve already hit a couple of our goals for this album, being played on Kerrang! and Planet Rock has been amazing, featured by Classic Rock Magazine and a number of fantastic online communities like Heavy Music HQ and more. Hopefully the momentum generated by the release of the record will bring us some higher profile gigs throughout 2023 and into 2024.

What has the early response been like from fans and reviewers?
So far, we’ve had nothing but positive reviews of the album. We’ve had a noticeable increase in social media activity and interaction, and our Spotify and YouTube profile has steadily increased, we’re hoping that this trend will continue when the album is released.

What has been your most memorable King Kraken live show?
Probably our main stage appearance at HRH Hammerfest. From an overall event experience point of view, definitely playing in ibiza last Spring, there are too many stories to list from that gig!

What’s the most unusual venue you’ve played?
Possibly the aforementioned Ibiza gig, it is the first time we’ve taken the stage in a notorious nightclub!

What are your upcoming show/tour plans?
We’re playing Wildfire and Call of the Wild festivals this year, we’re also playing with The Black Spiders and Phil Campbell and the Bastard Sons this spring.

What are some of your non-musical interests and hobbies?
As individuals they span from photoshopping and gaming to driving fast cars, comic books, cross dressing, and wrestling!

What’s the best thing you’ve binge watched lately?
Definitely Cobra Kai!

What’s currently in your heavy musical rotation?
There’s so many great bands and music releases out there. Gotta give the lads in Those Damn Crows a mention.

Anything else you’d like to mention or promote?
Just to say a BIG thank you for your support. Our album is available here.

(interview published February 4, 2023)

Watch King Kraken – “Green Terror” Video

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