MUSIC FEATURE: Five Minutes With…Kill The Lights
Featuring current and former members of Bullet For My Valentine, Still Remains, Throw The Fight and Threat Signal, Kill The Lights have made their mark with their powerful debut album The Sinner. We caught up with vocalist James Clark to discuss the band’s formation, influences, his first musical memory and more.
Firstly, tell us a bit about yourself and your band.
I guess one of the less known things is that I grew up in England and that my whole family still lives in England. I moved to America on my own when I was eighteen to go to university. Admittedly, a large part of going to America was to pursue my main passion, which was music. I have had plenty ups and downs since I moved to the US, including fighting cancer, but I believe it’s all part of my story, and I am thankful for everything I have been through to get to where I am today. I have a beautiful young family and wife who keep me on my toes and ensure that I never get the chance to have a lay-in ever (6am is a standard wake up call).
The best part of working with all the guys in Kill The Lights is that although each member has achieved levels of success in the past, everyone is very laid back and just excited about writing and playing metal music. I am also just amazed by how good each of the guys are as musicians. It’s amazing to play with such talent.
How did the band form and how long have you been together?
The band started with Moose [Michael ‘Moose’ Thomas, drums] and a bottle of wine (or three) texting Jordan [Whelan, guitar], to see if he had any good music he could write some drum parts to (Moose and Jordan had been on four or five tours together from back in the BFMV and Still Remains days). From this point, Moose and Jordan started putting songs together and had amassed 10-12 good demos within a few months. Jordan writes a lot and so had a stockpile of ideas ready to go. The guys had actually auditioned a few singers but weren’t sold on anyone specifically. Moose posted on Facebook asking if anyone knew any good singers. I responded and asked what they were looking for, he responded with, we want “catchy and heavy”. I wrote the vocals to The Faceless as my audition song. I remember thinking that I had no idea if this is what they are looking for vocally, but I loved the throwback thrashy vibes from the very first listen. From here I tracked a few more songs, one of which was Plagues, and the guys asked me to join. Fast forward about twelve more months and 10-12 songs, and we were ready to start pre-production for the album with Colin Richardson and Chris Clancy. We still needed a second guitarist so Chris mentioned Travis [Montgomery, guitar] would be a perfect fit for the band. We sent Travis three songs and he fired back solos for each of them within 24 hours. We knew we had our guy and he fit what we were doing vision wise. The whole process of putting the band and recording the album was over two years in total.
Can you remember the first time you realised you wanted to make music?
Yes, it was when I was fourteen and went to my first concert at Rock City in Nottingham, England. The line-up was Incubus and Korn on the bill. Some friends and I jumped on a train, we did not have the money for a ticket so hid in the toilets for an hour. Luckily we weren’t caught and then managed to scalp some tickets outside the show. The show itself was amazing and the energy was insane. I remember looking up at the stage and saying to myself “holy fuck!! I want to be up there and doing that.” And from that day forward it was always my goal to be a singer for a living.
Who and what are the band’s main influences?
Each of us has different bands and styles that we listen to individually. I think as a band we draw from bands we grew up on, such as Iron Maiden and Judas Priest, and a lot of the thrash era bands. Of course, with each member’s style contributing to the overall style, there will always be elements of our old bands in what you hear in some form or another, due to the key roles the guys played in their respective bands.
What do you aim to achieve as a band?
Besides world domination and drinking all your beer you mean? Honestly, we just want to get out on the road and connect with fans that have been supporting us from day one. We are all guys that like to play shows and feel energised by meeting fans and travelling the world doing what we love. We are thankful for the opportunity and don’t take it for granted.
For those who are yet to see you live, what can they expect from a Kill The Lights show?
Kill The Lights is going to bring raw energy and emotion to our shows, that’s a given. The songs feel so much heavier and in-your-face live, so it’s going to be so much fun seeing some good old circle pits and mosh pits as we travel from country to country.
Kill The Lights‘ debut album The Sinner is out now via Fearless Records, available to stream or purchase HERE.
See the band live on their debut UK tour, joined by special guests GroundCulture:
Wed 3rd – BOURNEMOUTH – The Anvil
Thu 4th – BRIGHTON – Green Door Store
Fri 5th – LONDON – Boston Music Room
Sat 6th – BRIDGEND – Hobos
Mon 8th – BRISTOL – Rough Trade
Tue 9th – LEEDS – Key Club
Wed 10th – NOTTINGHAM – Old Salutation
Fri 12th – GLASGOW – Garage Attic
Sat 13th – MANCHESTER – Star & Garter
Sun 14th – BIRMINGHAM – Asylum 2