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Interview with Kirra from Kirra
by Jo Jo Hamilton at 20 January 2020, 5:08 AM

KIRRA was formed in 2013 by Oklahoma City residents Daxton Page, Jesse Williamson, Ryne McNeil, and Zach Stafford. The band immediately began writing material and performing locally to build a following. This was a goal they achieved easily. Metal Temple writer JoJo Hamilton recently caught up with the band to talk about their latest release, and more.

KIRRA, it’s a pleasure and an honour to speak to you today. Thank you for performing this interview for the readers of Metal Temple. Is there anything you would like to say to the readers of Metal Temple to sum up KIRRA?

I would sum up KIRRA as an alternative metal/hard rock band that tries to always push and break new ground, as far as our sound goes. We just love playing music, touring, and meeting new fans all over the country!

So KIRRA, you have toured with some of your idols. Who would you say has been your biggest idol you have toured with and why are they your idol?

For me personally, i would say either touring with Nothing More back in 2018 or touring with SEVENDUST/TREMONTI back in the spring of 2019. Both of those camps were really inspiring to watch, not just the band but the crew and how everyone came together to make those shows happen. Plus, everyone was so genuine and nice that it was just an overall amazing experience to be apart of.

On January 17th 2018 a week before you were due to tour the band suffered the tragic loss of vocalist and rhythm guitarist Jesse Williamson. How did this affect the band as a whole?

Well we all took the news pretty hard. After the funeral we had a meeting as to whether or not we should continue, and we decided that it was the right thing to do to persevere on. It was the right thing to do for ourselves but we all felt Jesse would have agreed. We had little time to get ready for the tour. Jesse passed away on January 17th and we had to leave for tour on the 1st of February.

After Jesse’s early passing in the auto accident, and time to mourn his loss, you advertised on Craigslist to get a new singer? How long did this process take? Did you have a lot of auditions?

We had about 4 or 5 auditions with what we felt were some of the top singers in our area. We took 2 auditions from Dallas, Texas and that’s where we found our replacement singer for that tour, Vincent. We had maybe 3 or 4 rehearsals that went pretty well and then we hit the road on one of, if not still, the biggest tour we've been on to date. Looking back we were a little upset that we weren't able to perform at the level we were used to, considering Vincent was still learning the songs on tour and we'd have lots of nights where lyrics and timing were just not working out on certain songs.

Eclipse Records. How did the band come to sign with Eclipse? Did KIRRA approach them or did Eclipse come to you?

Eclipse came to us after hearing some of the first couple singles we released with our current singer, Gabriel, "Sixteen Suns" & "Decider". After that we had lots of conference call meetings, and after talking with Chris and refining the terms we thought it would be a great partnership and so far it's been exactly that, so we're really grateful to be working with Eclipse.

You guys have done a fair bit of national touring & around your local area, do you plan to expand on the tour locations?

We're really hoping to play some shows all over Canada and Europe in the near future. Since we've released these most recent singles "Caving In", "Free", & "Passageway" we've seen a pretty big rise in listeners from those two locations so we'd love to play there!

Some of your songs feel like they touch on the issue of mental health and illness of the mind, a very common problem. What do you want to send as a message to the fans through your songs?

Mental health is a huge issue, especially with the rise of the accessibility of social media to younger people. Also, lots of bands have been writing songs on the subject matter, and I think that's great. Where there is an issue is when the conversation starts to get circular and we start hearing the same things over and over again when we need to progress the conversation along. So with songs like "I Didn't Know" we tried to add something to the conversation on mental health that we haven't seen very much or at all, and lay out the dichotomy of a situation where someone is struggling with mental health issues.

So it wasn’t that long after Jesse passed on that you guys wrote & produced the album “Redefine”. How soon after his passing did you start writing again? And how long did the album take to write?

We started writing the new songs pretty soon after Gabe joined the band in April of 2018. All-in-all the record took about 9 months to write, record, & mix/master the record.

In 2016 you played support to SAVING ABEL. How did the gig go? Did it live up to your expectations?

That was our very first national tour and we learned so much from touring with those guys. We've since played a handful of tours with them and some of shows here and there when they swing by OKC. It definitely reset whatever expectations we had going into the tour, since we hadn't toured with a big name band before we really didn't know what we were getting into.

When you released the 5 track EP “Fight Or Flight”, was this released like a memorial to Jesse as it was earlier material you had recorded together? How emotional was the release?

Well we had planned on releasing the EP, but when Jesse passed it sort of turned into a memoriam. It was emotional because we had all worked really hard on those songs at that point and we were really excited to share that music with everyone, however since Jesse wasn't there to enjoy that, it made it pretty tough.

KIRRA, there are 17 songs on the new album “Redefine”, if you had to pick just one, what’s been your favourite song to perform from the album and why?

That's a difficult one, I would have to say for me, I love playing "Blind". That song just has a groove that when it's played live it just gets me moving, and when I see the audience feel that too it makes it a great song to perform.

So what’s next for KIRRA, what does the future hold for the band? Can we get a sneak preview of what’s in store for us fans?

After we release the album we hope to have at least one national tour planned so we can promote it, and we also have some little fun side projects that we plan to release between this album "Redefine" and the next one (which we have already started writing for), but it's in the early stages so I'll unfortunately have to save the rest of that until a later date.

KIRRA, can I thank you on behalf of Metal Temple for performing this interview for us today, it’s been emotional, I cried reading some of your answers. May I wish you all the best for the future.

Thank you so much, Jojo it was a pleasure! Thanks for having us on, hopefully we can do it again!


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