Redlight King have recently been tagging along with Shinedown for their UK tour. This is a band made of men with many years of experience in writing and playing music. After releasing their debut album, Something for the Pain and completing the arduous task of being a band on the bill for the Rockstar Energy Drink Uproar festival, we sat down with lead man Kazzer for a few words about the bands past, present and seemingly very exciting future…
1. So you’ve been on tour for a couple of days now, how have things been going?
It’s been great, considering we just came off a 20 week run back home. The European stuff has been great; the crowds have been awesome and everyone’s really excited and they all know their music round here so…yeah, pretty good.
2. It’s been just over a year and a half since you’ve released your first album Something for the Pain, how would you describe the reception to its release?
It’s been great; I think people are still discovering it. I think that we’ve really build a solid fan base which is a real good foundation to build our career’s off. I’ve been doing this for 15 years you know, and 12 professionally. This is a new band, a new project and it’s about the best reception you can have with something like this that I’ve seen. We’ve had 3 singles off our first record and Bullet In My Hand went to no.3 in America so that was a big song for us and we’ve been on the Avenger’s soundtrack so it’s been pretty big for us.
3. Do you have a particularly favourite track on the album and if so, which is it and why?
It changes from time to time. We do a live arrangement of Built to last which I’m enjoying lately and City Life. But the first song I wrote for the record was Something for the Pain and that’s always been my favourite song to play.
4. Can you take us through the writing process for Redlight King.
There’s not really a process to it, it’s different every time. I’d say the biggest part of a song is finishing it. There’s hundreds of ideas that I record or I jot down or even sing them into my phone and I have a logic rig at home that I can record guitars on. I start off with the piano or guitar, although more often the guitar and more lately I’ve been starting with drums and laying a groove down then writing songs on top of that. Once I’ve begun writing a song I try to picture how the production is going to go and then I move on from there. So really it’s about just finishing those idea’s, for the most part I spend a lot of time on the lyrics. I’m a story teller and I like to sing from personal experience. I want my songs to be able to last and to be able to listen to them in 10 years and for them to still have some relevance.
5. What inspirations, if any, do you use to write music and lyrics for Redlight King?
Mostly everyday things you know? Everyday people, I come from a pretty humble background so I like to think my songs are songs that people can relate to. Like I said I enjoy telling stories but mostly I like to keep it real. I don’t like to write too many songs that are over people’s heads and too artsy, although I do love that stuff too. But I like tangible music.
6. You worked with renowned producer Walton ‘Wally’ Gagel to produce Something for the Pain. He has worked with a variety of artists in the past from Slash to Gorillaz and Rhianna. How would you say his input affected the record?
For that particular record, I would say he was definitely able to make some of our sounds sound even bigger. I think he helped refine some of the chaos but was also willing to go with some of the organic sounds. I do a lot of programming and a lot of synth, we even did a string session where we played with 12 string musicians, cellos and violins ect. for when we did Something for the Pain and When Dust Settles Down. He was able to engineer all the situations and helped round the corners from a production stand point. The other guy we worked with was Sandy Berry who also helped me round the corners lyrically and melodically where I was too left field or too straight up. Those guys helped me a lot and we learned a lot, I think we’re really excited for the next record.
7. So there’s going to be another album?
Yep, we’ve already booked the time. We got it locked down; we picked up the option with the label to do another record. I’ve got 20 songs written now; I’ll probably do another 10 before we narrow that down. It’s going to be darker, heavier, faster, more live and rockin’.
8. We understand this is Redlight King’s first time in the UK, how has the crowd reaction been so far?
It’s been great, I’ve really liked the crowd here and I would love to make this our home away from home. Obviously growing up as a Canadian, we’ve had the commonwealth thing so we share the same Queen and we’re very much the same which I feel makes our songs even more relatable to how we are as people. I think the English are pretty straight up and have a unique sense of humour and I think we Canadians are the same way.
9.You’ve also recently come off the Rockstar Energy Drink Uproar Festival, how was that for you and the band?
Yeah it was awesome. We became pretty good friends with P.O.D , Shinedown and some other bands too. There was a really good sense of community on that tour. In 7 weeks we probably played to about 150,000 people and that’s only the side stage, there was about 10,000 per gig for those shows. It’s one of the bigger rock festivals of the year over in the states and for our first look and our first album we can’t really ask for more. We’ve been doing this a long time so it’s just about being consistent, giving people new material and staying out on the road. But all in all it was a great tour.
10. What aspects of your performance do you focus on to give a good live show?
Lasers and midgets… no seriously lasers and midgets. Nah, you know we basically just try and translate the record slightly differently. It’s live so it’s a little bit heavier and we try to keep the energy up. We use our musicianship to try and show everyone our craft, but we try and be exciting for everyone and get the crowd to share in as much passion as we have for what we do. We try to convey the conviction in the songs we play, because that’s how we feel about them.
11. What are your favourite things to do on tour in your spare time?
When we’re overseas we always try and see the sights and get a sense of the culture; what’s cool and what’s happening, getting down with some locals and getting them to show us around. That’s my favourite thing to do other than rest of course, cause it does make for a long day.
12. Do you have any further plans for sightseeing the UK?
I don’t think so, we’ve seen Big Ben and Buckingham palace we didn’t see the Queen; I guess she mustn’t hang out there much anymore. It’s been good though, when we go to Scotland if there’s something to see we’re gonna try and do that. Manchester I hear is great and Brixton Academy was so fun. It has a big reputation, obviously, but it’s an old school joint; it had a weird energy too it and it seemed like it’s been through a lot and there’s a feeling of a lot of energy in there. We’re looking forward to playing here tonight though, I hear there’s a lot of tickets been sold for tonight and loads for tomorrow night which always makes a good show.
13. So you’ve done extensive touring of the US and you’ve visited the UK, where would you like to visit next?
Japan and Australia. I’ve never been to Japan or Australia, but everyone that we talk to says they’ve been treated very well over there. That’s a lot of what it’s all about; being able to travel safely with respect and it helps us do what we do best. It would be great to visit some of the diehard fans we have in those places.
14. In your song Old Man you had to obtain permission from Neil Young to sample his original song in yours. It’s been said this was extremely difficult to achieve, can you give us the story behind that
With an icon like that it’s really hard to get that kind of permission. No one has ever done it before. I wrote this original song and I didn’t really expect that version of the song to come out, I kinda just sampled him as a guilty pleasure but then people started saying how cool it sounded. I produced the song first and then I slowly tried to get it into his hands. The record label got a little excited and they tried to go through the lawyers and the business side of things and they got shot down. No one listened to song for that and when his management said no I don’t think they heard it either. About a month after I finally got Neil himself to listen to it and he listened to it and he liked it and the permission just came with that.
15. Your music as Kazzer and Redlight King has been featured regularly on soundtracks for films such as the Italian Job remake and The Avengers. How does this work? Do you offer your song to them or do they ask for your music to be included?
It’s different every time. This time our label had a direct connection with Marvel and still does so I knew they were making this movie and I wanted to be part of it somehow and I thought it would be beneficial to the record as well. I wrote three songs for it and it’s not that they didn’t like them; I just don’t think it struck the right chord with them. We already had Comeback recorded and they got really stoked on that. In fact for a couple of weeks we thought it was going to be the title track and featured in the soundtrack and all that but Soundgarden decided to come out of the grave and bumped us.
16. Finally, is there anything you would like to get out to our readers before we finish?
Support live music. I go and see a live band every second I’m home, every time I can just so I can get out and feel that energy and see real people making real music.