KILLING THE DREAM

(This interview was done by Kirby Unrest for AMP Magazine. Kirby does a lot of writing for publications like hardcoremusic.com, centerfuse.net, AMP magazine, and most recently, lambgoat.com. Get in touch with him if you'd like him to review and/or interview someone for your publication - kirbyunrest@hotmail.com)

Drummer Isaac Fratini discusses multiple band obligations, touring with Comeback Kid, cover songs, Rival Records and pirate ships. - Kirby Unrest

How did KTD form and what made you want to be a part of this band?

Basically, Eli (vocals), Chris (bass), and I have been friends forever, and always wanted to play in a melodic hardcore band. The problem was that we could never find a guitarist who would be into what we were into. Luckily a friend of ours found Joel for us and we got together and just tried to write songs that sounded like Carry On! Some of us wanted to sound more influenced by Right Brigade, and be more of a straight forward tough modern youth crew band, and some of us wanted to be more melodic. We pretty much just wrote whatever sounded cool at first, and thatís pretty much how things got started. I personally wanted to be a part of this band because I love hardcore and I love my friends and it's awesome to be able to play hardcore with my close friends.

What's the songwriting process like?

Usually what happens is Joel (guitar) either has a riff and brings it to practice and we work with it, or we just get together and try to make stuff up. Some times we will be like ďhey you know that one songÖI really like how they do that transition into their breakdown, we should try to do something like thatÖĒ Usually Joel and I work together to put something out on the table and everyone gives feedback and says what they like or dislike about it. We wonít write a song if one person dislikes it. Everybody has to like it or we just sorta throw it away. Sometimes me listen to bands we like, or make mixtapes to help with our creativity. Once we write a song, we usually record it on a shitty tape recorder and give it to Eli to put words to.

Who is responsible for the lyrics?

That would be our singer, Eli.

You've got members in a lot of different bands, including Chances Are, Embrace The End, Our Turn, and Allegiance. Is there ever a lot of scheduling conflicts and/or personal frustration because of this?

At first, we were really unorganized and as a result, it started to hurt us. Its hard because on top of being in different bands, we all work and that makes it hard because we canít practice late if we have to wake up early for work. We finally came up with a time slot that seems to fit everybodyís schedules, and it's been better. But we have still been lazy with getting to practice. Its just hard to make the effort to practice late at night when you would prefer to stay home and sleep or whatever. As far as personal frustration, Iím sure I can speak for everyone in the band when I say that it is very frustrating when we cannot practice for whatever reasons. If somebody is sick or has something important to take care of, then thatís fine. It's just hard when you wait a whole week to practice or write songs, and you canít because somebody is just too tired or makes other plans. As long as everyone can keep dedicated and motivated, then everything should work out just fine. Booking shows can be a problem because we have to run it by everyone and all of their bands to make sure nothing is conflicting. Luckily, we have been able to follow through with all of our weekend trips, and our most recent tour as well without coming into any serious conflicts with other bands or our jobs.

Speaking of touring, you just hit the road with Comeback Kid/With Honor/Scars Of Tomorrow for a couple weeks up and down the West Coast. How was the tour? Did you get a good response?

The tour was absolutely amazing! I canít say enough about how amazing it is to see Comeback Kid up on stage every night. Itís great to be able to see one of our favorite bands every night. They are the greatest dudes and it was such an honor to play shows with them. With Honor and Scars of Tomorrow were also amazing. All the dudes are super supportive and love what they do. Just genuine guys that bent over backwards to make us feel comfortable and have a good time. We love all of them and support them to the fullest. Surprisingly, we received a pretty good response at the majority of our shows. Our first show was a little sloppy because we hadnít practiced in just about 2 months. After that, things started to look up. Our Sacramento show was probably our best show we have played as a band so far, and San Diego was also amazing. Really, we couldnít have been happier with how things went the past week or so. Itís great to get away from school and all the bullshit you have to deal with back at home, and go out and play hardcore shows every night with your best friends, and make new friends, and travel and stuff. We are all thankful we had the chance to do a west coast tour with those bands.

On the topic of Comeback Kid, KTD has been compared to them quite often. Are you guys honored by that, or does it you feel like people think you're a clone of CBK?

Personally, I am honored. I donít see why somebody would be bummed out if people think they sound like their favorite band. If people say we are ripping them off, its not true. In fact, we wrote that demo before we had heard the Comeback Kid demo, and even before their new record came out. We are influenced by them because we love the style that they play, and because they are just a solid band that wrote an amazing record. It would bum me out if people ONLY saw us as a shitty rip-off band or whatever, but I know that that is not the case, so Iím not too worried about it. When people say ďThat song totally sounds like Comeback Kid,Ē or whatever, I get stoked that people compare us to such a rad band. In all honesty, there really isnít a completely original hardcore band. Every hardcore band is influenced by another band in one way or another. There is a difference between blatantly ripping a band off, and tastefully using certain factors of certain bands in your songs. I guess for us, for example, we could listen to a song and instead of just re-writing it, we will write something with that particular song in mind, and try to create something as a result of our influences.

You have a fair amount of songs to remember, and I'm sure drumming for four bands takes its toll on your body. Do you get exhausted physically and mentally from the whole thing?

At first, yes I did. There have been times when I had to play 3 sets in one show, sometimes in a row. That is a little overwhelming, but at the same time I love to play drums and I love playing shows, so I donít mind it as much as some people may think I do. It's hard sometimes to remember the songs. If I look at a set list, I will try to go over it in my head and make sure I know what song it is I am about to play. I usually donít mess up songs because I always go over them in my head and try to think of new ideas, fills, or whatever to add to them. When I first joined Allegiance, I messed up a few times because the songs were new and we never had more then maybe 2 practices before we started playing. The hardest part is remembering song names. Physically, I used to get worn out from it. But I practice playing drums so much during the week that I could honestly play all night!

I know Eli (Horner, vocals) had some health issues with his throat early on in the career of the band, hindering his ability to sing. How did he end up working around that, and was it hard to have the band in stasis for so long?

He had some throat issues, and at one point it seemed like the band was done. But there was never a time where I would have wanted to move on with a new singer. That would defeat the whole purpose of this bandís existence. I know a lot of bands have problems with their health. The singer of Throwdown was forced to step down from his title as the lead singer. If Eli ever had to just stop, then the band would to. I cant speak for everyone in the band, but if Eliís throat became such a problem that we could no longer continue with him singing for us, then the band would be over with. That cannot be argued. I could care less if it means giving up the chance to ďmake it bigĒ, or giving up any opportunities that we might be given, even with a new singer. It would not be the same, and more importantly, it wouldnít be Killing the Dream. With that said, Eli luckily was able to do some intense medical training with his throat, and things eventually worked out. I know recently his voice went out at the beginning of the tour, but that is really due to the fact that we havenít practiced, and just going out and screaming every night without conditioning your throat is probably not a safe bet to make. The more we practice, the more it wonít be an issue. Luckily, when his throat went out the first time, the demo had yet to be released. It sucked having to have the music part of it finished and lying around for months on end, but it was worth it to wait and not get a new singer.

You signed on with Rival Records, after some significant interest from other, bigger labels. What made you decide to go with them?

Kyle Whitlow and Zach Harlan are such awesome dudes, I can say that being on Rival is such a blessing to all of us. Kyle and Zach are personal friends to some of us, and we already had a friendship established before signing onto their label. We knew that they were honest guys, and we knew that they had their shit together. And I think that should be obvious. They already have so many good releases out. They just keep growing, and we are so happy to be a part of that. A lot of labels, including ones that showed interest, will offer bands some shit that may sound awesome, but is really pointless, especially for hardcore. I mean, Iím not concerned with getting our record into Tower Records or Hot Topic. That would be cool and Iím not opposed to it, but thatís not something that we looked for in a label. Honesty, integrity and good work ethic is really all we could have asked for, and with Rival, we feel like we couldnít have found a better label to work with.

What are your feelings on the new tracks for the CD? Do you feel like you've matured and strengthened as a band since the demo?

I think the demo was pretty basic. Those songs were just the first handful of songs that we wrote and recorded. The new songs we recorded are a lot more mature in the sense that they arenít just structured like: melodic fast verse then heavy breakdowns. Personally, I think we are starting to find our own style, and write songs that arenít so basic and generic. The style we are trying to write is the style that we love, so unless we love how a song turns out, we will just throw it away because it doesnít fit the style that we are starting to develop, or trying to go for as a band. The new record sounds similar in the sense that its melodic and fast, but at the same time, I think we are starting to develop our own style and write songs that sound like us, as opposed to writing songs that sound obviously like other bands. We try to keep our songs, fast, melodic, but still hard.

This was also your second time at Castle Ultimate with Zack Ohren, who is garnering a lot of fame for his ability to get great sound at a low price. Are you happy with the recording?

I think we are all very happy with how the recording turned out. Itís rad to work with Zack. He is really good at what he does, and he is fun to be in the studio with. I encourage a lot of bands to go there, because its definitely a positive experience being able to work with somebody who knows what they are doing, is good at it, and is a fun dude to be in a room with for 8 hours!

There are rumors floating around that Killing The Dream may be playing Hellfest and Posi Numbers. A couple of huge spots for a band that's just getting off the ground. Any truth to that, or is it just message board gossip?

Man, it would be AWESOME to be able to play those shows. Nothing has been confirmed though. A few people have said that they are going to attempt us to get us on those shows, but nothing is for sure as of right now. Hopefully something will work out.

Where do you see this band in the next couple years, or where would you like to see this band in the next couple of years?

Honestly, putting out a 7Ē and playing shows was all we ever really set out to do. Anything from here on out is above what we ever thought we could have achieved. Me, personally, would like to maybe write a full length and do a U.S. tour. I would love to go to Europe. Who knows, as long as we are having fun, I will be happy.

Is KTD going to do any covers live or on record? I distinctly remember a Kid Dynamite track being talked about, as well as a possible Stay Gold one. Are they still possibilities or are you saving up a surprise for everyone?

For the record, not all of us wanted to cover Stay Gold. And had we covered it, it only would have been for a Seattle show. Kid Dynamite is my favorite band so I would love to cover one of their songs. We were working on a song of theirs, but just never really went through with it. There are so many songs we would like to cover, but we canít really agree on one. I donít think we would record a cover song, unless maybe for a comp or something. Who knows though.

If you had the opportunity to be in KTD full time and not have to be weighed down by financial constraints, would you go for it?

I mean, I would love to live off being in a band. At the same time, not everyone feels the same way. Iím sure some people in the band want to do something with their life sooner or later, besides being in a band. So I mean, as much as I would personally like to be in this band full time, I canít really speak for the rest of the dudes. Some people like to play in a band and have fun while they are young, and then move on and get a full time job or settle down with their girlfriends. There is nothing wrong with that, so I wouldnít look down on them for not wanting to make this band their life.

Which would you rather have: the hoverboard from "Back To The Future 2" or One Eyed Willies pirate ship from "The Goonies"?

The pirate ship. The hoverboard would be sweet. But having your own pirate ship would be fucking awesome!

I think you should share your "Street Fighter" story with the world. It's a classic.

Oh man! In the 5th grade, I had to do a country report with some friends of mine. We had to do our report on China. None of us knew much about China. But this kid, Darren, was like ďWe should talk about how in China people ride bikes that have baskets on them that chickens sit inĒ, and we were all really confused, and then he argued ďHavenít you played Street Fighter? Chung Liís level is in China, and in the background there are bikes with chickens in themĒ. He was totally serious. It was amazing. I guess you had to be there. Anyways, thanks so much for the interview. We really appreciate it. Also, Championís new full length is going to destroy everything!

 

 

 

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