Melbourne’s Crowned Kings, a band who take some very big cues from the New York-themed hardcore scenes, recently dropped their sophomore record, ‘Forked Road’. The follow up to 2012’s ‘Wise Guy’, this is a straight-up hardcore album that is packed full of Slayer inspired riffs, brash and heavy breakdowns, and a massive Madball/Terror vibe that is not only undeniable, but also done very well. We recently spoke with one of the band’s guitarists, Paul Bost (AKA Bosty), about recording their latest effort with Terror’s Nick Jett and various other hardcore-related topics.
First off, I hope you guys are doing well and thank you for taking the time to do this. My first question regards the time you spent recording in L.A. with Nick Jett, and if it was everything that you were hoping it would turn out to be?
No dramas at all mate. Thanks for the opportunity to be interviewed. Recording with Nick was great. He was really relaxed and chilled with his approach to working with us. Everything turned out even better then we could have hoped for. He was a great guy who made us feel welcome and that helped in easing the nerves of the recording.
Good to hear. Was recording a new album outside of Australia, on the other side of the world, something that you ever thought would happen?
If you asked me this question in 2009 when Crowned Kings first started I would have said “NO”, but after recording our first album in Australia we really wanted to step it up. In deciding this, we really wanted to find a producer who’s work we liked and one we would love to work with. This meant we would have to look overseas. Between all of us, Nick’s name kept on coming up as the right man for the job.
With the songs, how many did you have down in pre-pro before? And did Nick have a further impact on how these songs finally turned out, as opposed to him just moving mics and riding the faders?
We did do a pre-pro on all songs before we went over to LA, which we sent to Nick a few months prior to leaving. When we met with Nick to record he had us jam for two days going through the pre-pro songs we had recorded and gave his fresh set of ears and ideas to our tunes. Some songs he just “cut the fat” whereas others, he had some different and new approaches to riffs and song structures that we took on board.
I know you guys love your hardcore and are pretty big on Terror, so on a scale of “Yeah, they’re cool” (read as: 0) to “FUCKIN TERROR ARE THE BEST FUCKIN BAND!” (read as: 10), where would you all individually place your interest of them?
Terror are a great band. One that has stood the test of time. They have a great message and energy that is second to none. We all love everything they do. Plus, it would be hard to meet a nicer bunch of dudes going around. They get a big 10 from all of us!
Regarding the theme of the album, it seems to deal with the element of choice (Forked Road – the left path or the right path?), thus what are some of the tougher or more difficult choices that the band as a whole, and individually, has encountered since forming?
I guess the major one is juggling work/band life. It can be a touchy subject for a lot of people in bands asking the boss for time off to tour. We are all trades so, for us especially, it can get tricky as people we work with and our bosses are affected by us having time off. We are lucky though because we are all friends and we speak openly to each other so deciding things is fairly easy as we feel comfortable sharing opinions and options.
The Madball/Hatebreed/Terror vibes and influences are clear as day, but are there any other bands (heavy or non-heavy) that you take any inspiration from?
We all love the old classics like AC/DC, Cold Chisel, Australian Crawl, Sky Hooks, Eagles, Creedence just to name a couple. Plus, we also like a lot of punk: Pennywise, NOFX, Millencolin, Bad Religion and older metal: Pantera, Slayer, Metallica, The Haunted. Whether it’s lyrical content, energy or riffs. A lot of these bands tick the box for Crowned Kings.
Regarding the song Judged and its anti-racism and anti-discrimination message, you guys are Melbourne based and have no doubt seen and heard about the recent rallies to help “reclaim” Australia. I’m all for free speech, but at some point I think some people are just intolerant dicks. So I’m curious to know what are your thoughts towards groups such as that in this day and age in Australia?
Both of my parents came from other countries so I grew up in a multicultural home. My father was French and my mother South African so to see how racist Australia has become especially at the moment is such a sad thing. Especially in a country built on foreigners and freedom to live equally with one another. I’m not the most intellectual person when it comes to political views but this seems ignorant to me.
While still on Judged, I’m wondering whether there was a plan to have Dre Stewart, or at least someone else, to feature on the song, if that was just a spur of the moment call, or was it even a suggestion from Nick?
One of the main reasons we approached Nick was because we loved “The Beast Inside” record he had produced for Donnybrook. We wanted someone for the part in Judged and mentioned it to him. He put two and two together and hit up Dre for us, and before we knew it he was there keen and ready to roll. Plus, Dre really liked the song and message. So the song worked out great.
What have been some of your favourite hardcore releases from this year (remember – counting your own album is sorta cheating)? For me, the new Antagonist A.D. album is right up there.
Yeah that Antagonist A.D. album is a banger. Some of the ones that have stood for me are Bitter End – Illusions of Dominance, Miles Away – Tide, Millencolin – True Brew, Nasty – Shokka, Earth Crisis – Discipline, Wisdom in Chains – The God Rhythm.
I’m not sure if you’ve heard about this, but the drummer for a band called Crosscheck, Tom Alderson, was allegedly assaulted by Heavy Chains’ Ian Adams and a member of Suburban Scum in the U.S. recently, following the annual This Is Hardcore festival (more info here), all because of some pathetic “altercation” in the pit. Alderson will more than likely need massive facial surgery and needs to re-learn how to do basic motor skills. So, what are your thoughts on such a violent act towards a fellow member of the hardcore scene, but within a scene in which acceptance, love and friendship are always considered paramount, despite the obvious emphasis on moshing and such?
Wow, what a gripping article of the reality of what can eventuate from a altercation in a mosh pit. It’s completely unacceptable for someone to be sought out and beaten to the point of death over an isolated incident. In my honest opinion, acting towards someone in that manner is not welcome especially within a scene that is already so small and segregated.
We are all somewhat outcasts and we are all welcome to take part in the energy of hardcore. Whether voicing ones opinion on a matter, standing up the back and singing along to the words, stage dives, moshing, mic grabs or even just putting your fist in the air. Unfortunately, moshing will always be a risk. Not only to participants but unfortunately to nearby spectators. It totally has its place within hardcore and to some people its considered the same as singing along to the words but I think people should always be aware of their surroundings and have respect for others safety while caught up chucking a mosh.
Now, this final question, do you prefer to mosh or to stage dive?
I’m always down for a good mosh with mates, but it’s hardcore so I don’t think you could have one without the other. They are both equal in my opinion.
With that, thanks for taking the time to do this, boys. And well done on ‘Forked Road’, it’s a fucking sweet record!
Glad you like it bro. Thanks again.
‘Forked Road’ is out now via 1054.