Wednesday, September 7, 2016
Void King Talks Influences, Star Wars, Danzig & Passionate Politics
Interview with Tommy Miller (Guitar)
Indiana's Void King create a blend of doom and post metal/rock that seems to take on a life of it's own, and carry a bit of a bluesy twang with it as well. I spoke with axeman Tommy Miller about a variety of topics ranging from the album, to his media preferences, personal collecting habits and political stance. I wouldn't consider Void King a political band, but I definitely feel his views are valid here. More so than mine, as I didn't make the cut for military duty and he's been there and done that.
Let’s start by talking a little about the band. How did you guys get together?
This band has kind of been a journey to get to where we are. Derek, our drummer, and I started this thing as like a two man doom band. We were going to do a “Dark Castle” or “Black Cobra” kind of group. But then it occurred to me that I wanted bass harmonies and the like. One thing led to another, a couple of guys came and went, and we eventually got our first bass player Jake. Jake was with us for some time, and then he decided to head back to school, so we got my brother in the band. Jason started singing for us as kind of lark, and then it turned into a full time gig. Ultimately, it’s me, my best friend, my brother, and one of our musical idols. It’s kind of the best of all worlds.
What was it like working on this record? Did you have any struggles with it?
For the first time in my life, I enjoyed recording. Typically I gripe and moan about the studio and having to take time off from playing live, but this was different. Carl is a great guy, that has played in a bunch of amazing bands (Coffinworm, Kvlthammer, Final Void) and it really helped to have him in the room. He totally got the vibe of the record and wanted us to sound like us, and not some digital, clean version of us. If that makes sense. So many people come out of the studio with this thing that doesn’t even resemble the band. We didn’t want that at all. Carl totally got that.
There are a lot of influences on this disc, I’m reminded a bit of everything from Sabbath to Black Label Society and even Clutch. What are some of the bands that you think may have inspired your sound?
From my end, I listen to things all over the place. I do love Sabbath. No doubt. But I don’t listen to them all that much. From a guitar perspective, I love Crowbar, Danzig, YOB, Red Fang, and a whole host of other bands. I also listen to a LOT of post-metal bands. Isis, Pelican, Red Sparowes. I love all of that stuff. From the other guys’ side of things, it’s a great mix of music. Jason listens to a lot of traditional stoner rock stuff, and some more spacey music. He’s big into old hardcore too. Like, when hardcore was hardcore and not breakdowns. Derek leans more towards the rock thing. He’s a big QOTSA fan. I think that influence can be heard in how solid he is back there. Dude is a metronome. Chris used to play tech metal. Like, Periphery and Between the Buried and Me type stuff. He comes from a world where more notes was better. He’s done such a great job of adapting that to our style, and I think it has taken the band to another level. Truly.
When it comes to song topics, do you write more from personal experiences, or do you write based on different mediums, like novels or films?
Movies. Documentaries. Real life experiences. Whatever seems interesting at the time. Jason has written about things that don’t make a lick of sense unless you know a certain person, but the lyrics still have some kind of personal impact on you anyway. He does a great job of being to write in such a way that everyone can extrapolate some sort of meaning from them and connect.
What are some of the albums that you guys are currently jamming to? Do you prefer vinyl, CD’s or MP3’s?
I got turned on to MGLA like a month ago, and it’s about all I listen to right now. Something about that record was exactly what I needed when I heard it. You know? Generally, I don’t prefer black metal. But this is produced well, it’s mean, and it hits me in the right place sonically. And I listen to all forms of media. My vinyl collection continues to expand, but that’s an expensive habit. I like having the album art in my hands though. Something about the smell and the visceral experience of opening a record makes the music yours. Digital stuff is fine. I’ve discovered so many amazing bands because of the web, but I don’t feel as connected with a Spotify play list.
Where do you throw your hat in this year’s election? Do you think the country is screwed as a whole?
I can’t speak for anyone else in the band, but I am a fairly political person. I pushed for Bernie while he was still in the race. We were going around and knocking on doors, making calls, etc. He was the first person to run for president that actually felt genuine. I don’t think that Obama is a bad dude or anything, but he still feels like a career politician. Whatever. But Bernie gave me a lot of hope. “hey, here’s a dude that has a record of working for people and not for the giant corporations”. And I honestly think that if he had half the name recognition that HRC has, he would have mopped the floor with her in the primaries. That said, both of the people running for president now scare me to death. I’m an active duty Army veteran, so I have a pretty vested interest in the current military strategy, as well as how vets are being taken care of. Both of these chumps are great with war, and neither one of them have a foreign policy that I’d line a bird cage with. But if we’re being terribly truthful here, Trump is worse than HRC. I won’t be voting for her, but he is definitely the bad guy in that scenario. Not to get more wordy, because I know that politics gets on everyone’s nerves, but I predict that Trump will lose the election by 30 points. And I’m not so sure that he’s not losing on purpose. I don’t think he actually wanted to be president.
What kinds of things do you guys do when you’re not playing music?
I travel all over the country and play disc golf. I still also play way too many video games and collect Star Wars stuff. Specifically, anything with Boba Fett or Kylo Ren on it. My brother is a professional photographer. Derek has made music his life and subs in some other bands. Jason is a working man. He has a couple of jobs.
What are some legendary musicians that you would love to play a show with?
Danzig. When I think about it, Glenn has shaped every step of my life musically. When I was a skater kid, I liked SamHain and The Misfits. And then of course you hear those first few Danzig records and your musical life is turned on its head. My other one would be Kirk from Crowbar, but we were fortunate enough to open for them this year. Just a super nice guy. It’s always great when your idols are good people.