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King's Dave Hill: "…it’s impossible to not evolve as a person with just the passing of time and that will show in your music regardless of how one might try to stay stagnant"

Interview with Dave Hill from King
by Lior "Steinmetal" Stein at 09 July 2020, 9:47 PM

When thinking about it, writing music that is icy in comparison to one's surrounding, which is mostly the opposite, has certain craziness in it. However, it can also be looked into with a different perspective. Whether exploration, imagination or simply wishful thinking, a new being can emerge with such a provocative way to shape thoughts into songs. Australia's long running Black Metal band, King, found the patch between their country's reality and the mask that they have been showing for some time. Following the release of their "Coldest Of Cold" album, the atmosphere heated up and it was time for Steinmetal to talk to Dave Hill of the band about it all. The interview was originally done prior to the Covid-19 pandemic.

Hello Dave, I am pleased to have you for this interview for Metal Temple online Magazine, how have you been doing sir?

Hi there, cheers for the interview and thank for your interest in King.

On its way of exploring the vastness of Black Metal, King is in full swing, gathered up a combined force to come up with a sophomore album, “Coldest Of Cold”. With you guys being Australian, and not Norwegian as your music largely suggests, what is your definition of coldest of cold? What inspired you to come up with this interesting title?

Firstly, the title “Coldest Of Cold” sets the tone for the album, the riffs, lyrics, the artwork and overall sound of King conjures up thoughts and feelings of coldness. Even though Australia isn’t known for being a cold and snowy place, King’s Music definitely doesn’t invoke images of hot beaches or tropical rainforests.

A lot of the lyrical content and stories revolves around Cold and mountainous landscapes and different thoughts and concepts about the cosmos, another extremely cold place. So with all that in mind the title continues that theme and gives a clue as to what you’ll find within the album.

At least from what I could gather up from the song titles, and the general atmosphere of the songs while listening, it appears that “Coldest Of Cold” runs through various measures of comprehension and perception of darkness. In your viewpoint, what makes “Coldest Of Cold” provocative in the philosophies it is based on, or rather generates?

I speak on behalf of King vocalist Tony Forde here as well, we’d like our music to be thought provoking, in the sense that it takes you on a journey of some sort… whether it be introspection, wondering about our place in the universe or anywhere in between those two ideas… as it does for us when writing to music and lyrics.

Similar to a great number of bands out there, King has been on a journey to perfect its music, to find additional angles, to interpret Black Metal as your vision guides you. In comparison to your debut, what were the key aspects that led you to enhance the music? Perhaps slowly distancing yourselves from your main inspirations?

There were a few things we had in mind when writing Music for the second album, the main aspect we want to address was some faster, blasting songs and also some slower elements throughout the album to add variation, and a more compelling journey when listening from start to finish. There was a very natural progression that brought out the differences between the two albums as we started writing material for "Coldest Of Cold" very soon after "Reclaim The Darkness" was released back in 2016. If I remember correctly the drums for "Coldest Of Cold" were recorded in late 2017, we were still inspired so we kept writing.

The administration of melodic features onto the gruesome, yet at times beautiful, into Extreme Metal music proved itself as more of a blessing than a curse. How do you see the importance of melodies in Extreme Metal music in general, and in the band’s music in particular?

I find that melodies help with the emotional element to the music, allowing an additional layer to work with, not just aggression which I usually associate with the less melodic side of metal. But I like to use it to be more introspective, thoughtful or uplifting. And from a purely musical perspective it opens up lots more possibilities when writing material for King, another element to be utilized.

How would you describe the overall atmosphere that is surrounding “Coldest Of Cold”? How do you find yourself connected to the scenery you created up to the point that it stops you at your place while listening and make you think?

Cold, determined, introspective, triumphant, universal, for me this is what atmosphere is created when listen to "Coldest Of Cold". I do feel connected to the music, most songs remind me of certain times, events, epochs in my life when I wrote the music and instantly remind me of those instances when listening back to the record.

In regards to the Black Metal market, and of course that it is bound by each band to strive for its own version of greatness, do you think that it is undeniable for old school type bands of the sub-genre to eventually evolve in order to challenge their listeners?

Hmmmm, I don’t think you can say that for certain about all old school Black Metal bands, some stay much the same. But I think it’s hard not to evolve even in a small degree, especially if you’re career spans a decade or two, it’s impossible to not evolve as a person with just the passing of time and that will show in your music regardless of how one might try to stay stagnant.

How would you describe the songwriting process of “Coldest Of Cold”? In order to take on the task of making a better album than the debut, have you used different methods while writing the songs? Would you say that “Coldest Of Cold” is a result of a group effort?

We used a very similar approach to writing as we did on the first album which as basically all separate. Beginning with myself with guitar and computer drums to sketch out and arrange the songs, Tony Forde (Vocals) reviewing the material to make any changes with vocal arrangements in mind. Following that Dave Haley (drums) heads to the studio without hearing any material first and jams along with the tracks and writes the drum parts in the studio. Then I head to the studio to record final guitars and bass, and finally Tony does the final vocals.

\[This process helps keep it fresh and exciting for all of us during the writing and recording process. Although I write all the initial guitar parts and song structures the end result is definitely a group's effort and makes King sound the way it does. Dave Haley brings a much more aggressive element with his drum arrangements and toughens up my riffs. Tony also adds a layer of aggression and but also emotion and determination, and also his vocal placement and chorus arrangements really top it all off.

While writing the riffs and song arrangements, which elements inspired you? Was it mainly listening to the music of those you idolize or was it actually the outside, strolling through nature or is it personal?

For me it can be a host of different moments or things that bring on inspiration. Sometimes music is currently into,  A lot of personal events have spurred on songs and riffs, as well as new experiences through travel in our home country Australia and overseas.

What can you tell about the song “King”? To me it transpired as quite an intriguing song, along with its overall atmosphere, and opened me up to a new kind of universe. Who is that King?

Haha yes I am very attached to that song. It’s a slower pace than we’ve done previously I think but works well and Tony’s lyrics and this “King” are intriguing to me to. That might be better answer by him in a future interview.

While “King” being a dominant musical feature, “Beyond The Exosphere” slides in as the album’s melodic crusher, yet proved that King can also turn emotive drama into a powerful weapon. What can you add about this song? What is your appreciation of the effort?

Yes I’m very happy with this song, I enjoy the furious first half and the epic change mid-way. This was a different type of riffing to anything from the debut album I think with this one.

Raising the subject, which song out of “Coldest Of Cold” do you find as your up to date song that you wrote? Of course that the main interest is for listeners to experience the whole album, yet still, which track do you believe that could pin an interest?

Hmmm that’s difficult for me because I’m attached to all of them. I don’t know if any one of the songs could be captured to represent the album as a whole. If I had to choose one it would be “Mountains Call”. It’s probably the most accessible song to a new listener and it captures the spirit of King’s music

Did you have a chance to play some of the new tracks live to your fans, whether on tour, or locally? If so, what were the reactions?

Yes we have, we’ve tried “Mountains Call“, which works fantastic live and we’ll definitely keep in the set. We’ve also played “Beyond The Exosphere” love a few times.

Have you ever considered implementing clean vocals in the music? A sort of factor that has been used on various Black Metal bands nowadays

We’ve consider it, we’ve tried a couple of things when demoing the songs but haven’t found the perfect time to use it yet, maybe in the future. The cleanest we’ve done on the recorded in some clean chants done by Tony and myself in some key epic parts on both albums. For example the chorus of “One More War” or the epic mid-section of  “Beyond The Exosphere” or the chorus of “Night Sky Abyss” from the debut.

In your vision forward, where do you see King going in its lifespan? Let’s call it your five years plan?

I still feel inspired to write more music so that’s the plan write now. Tour in Australia and hopefully get to Europe a few times in the next 5 years.

Even though “Coldest Of Cold” is fairly new, have you already started writing material for the next album?

Well due to the lateness of my response to this interview, apologies!! “Coldest Of Cold” has been released. But to answer your question yes we are still writing new material for future releases. You must strike while the inspiration is there!

How do you intend to support “Coldest Of Cold”? Are there planned trips to Europe for a proper introduction of the release? What about the US?

Ahhh well since originally receiving this interview I would have said yes to all those questions, but given the current world wide situation with Covid-19/Coronavirus I really don’t know when we’ll be able to. Australia is currently locked down and we can’t even leave our own state. So it depends a lost on when the world goes back to normal, perhaps it’ll be quite a while and we’ll have to tour on the next album!

Dave, I wish to thank you for the interview, I think that you truly made an impact with “Coldest Of Cold”. All the best and keeping blasting quality music. Cheers

Thanks so much for the interview and your kind words we really appreciate it, and my sincere apologies for the delays in this crazy time. Cheers!!



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