Kings of Our Kin is an alternative pop-rock band from NorthBay, Ontario. Though a band in this genre runs the risk of sounding generic in the wide scope of alternative rock bands, this band isn't afraid to step out of the box and experiment a little to make a sound that’s memorable and fun. With really energetic,funky bass lines and infectious distorted major chords that really pulse though you, its hard to forget such a sound from a band like this. Kings of Our Kin is a band who’s general aesthetic and energy is one that can’t really be replicated , but yet has an identifiable sound in the genre that is bound to make a few fans who truly love bands within the alternative pop rock arena of music. A band that really enjoys experimenting and who’s instrumental talent really perceives them as a talented group vocally and instrumentally, its nice to see a band that was once a folk band stretch their legs and invite a bit of pop flavor into their music “Our name may be complicated to remember but we promise that there is no other band out there with the same one.”KIngs of Our Kin’s music can be found of Spotify, Apple Music, Soundcloud, YouTube, and other available streaming sites. Make sure to follow the bands Facebook, Twitter, or Instagram. Happy Listening !
What’s the name of your band? What’s the origin of that name? Would you change the band’s name if you could?
Isaac - I made a post on Facebook asking people for cool names, and someone I used to work with in corn pollination with suggested it and it kind of resonated as something that would work. We wouldn't change it, ‘cause if we did people would forget who we are.
That’s pretty cool, Tell me a little bit about yourselves?
Gab - We’re a Northern Ontario rock band, we’re musicians, and we’re friends. We like to roast each other a lot, but always in good spirit. Just remember that no one is safe, and we have no mercy.
Tom - We all have very different musical backgrounds and personalities, but it kind of melds together into our current sound and image.
Nice ! What good are friends if you can’t roast each other every now and again haha, What genre of music do you consider your work to be?
Jess - Alternative rock with elements of pop. Sometimes you can hear folky, funky or psychedelic bits and pieces. We tend to hop around in our sound but I consider us a rock band at the end of the day.
It’s always good to test the waters with different genres , especially rock music. With a genre with so many different sub-genres in between it can become quite saturated with just one type of sound, so I think it’s great when bands like yourselves mix it up a bit. Who are your major influences?
Tom - I have a number of different inspirations, honestly. I like anything from rock to pop to hip hop and beyond that. The kind of music I listen to has changed over the years because I grew up singing choral music before developing my current taste. My biggest musical influences would have to be the Killers, because they created a formula that works for them throughout their career that keeps me captivated by their music. Beyond that I’m really into the RHCP for the vibes, as well as Coldplay for the mood their music creates. I’m also a really big fan of Ed Sheeran, because in my solo work I do a lot of looping, so he is definitely a big inspiration for me in that work.
Isaac - I am a lover of garage rock, soul, funk, RnB, jazz, and honestly my tastes have changed so much over time but I find they keep building onto one another making one weird musical medley in my head. Bands that come to mind are Tedeschi Trucks Band, Half Moon Run, Franz Ferdinand, Snarky Puppy, Vulfpeck, etc.
Jess - My biggest bass influences from when I started playing and to this day are Flea, Cliff Burton, and Geddy Lee. On a more recent level, I’ve been experimenting with disco and Japanese city pop styles in my free time, so those sounds might make their way into my playing on some of our future work if it calls for it at all.
Gab - As a drummer, one of my first heroes was definitely Neil Peart from Rush. More recently though, I’ve also really been admiring drummers such as John Bonham, Jojo Mayer, Thomas Pridgen, David Garibaldi, Anika Nilles, Aaron Edgar...I’m sure there are many more as well. I’ve probably been influenced on a subconscious level by my old drum teacher Shawn Sasyniuk as well. Musically in general, this is a tough one for me as I feel everything I listen to or learn about gets involved in the mix somehow. But, some of the major ones are Rush, Tame Impala, Pink Floyd, Pandaléon, Muse, Phoenix, Radiohead, Arcade Fire, Genesis, The Police, Red Hot Chili Peppers, Stevie Wonder...again there are probably many more, haha!
All really cool influences and it's cool to see Garage rock and Japanese city pop styles being within the mix of that context. Its refreshing. What or who would you say your music sounds like, just to give a rough idea to our readers here?
Tom - I’ve been told our music resembles the Arctic Monkeys, while there have been others who say we resemble an earlier Maroon 5 era, from their Songs About Jane album.
Jess - We have also been compared to Black Keys and The Killers.
Gab - I’ve also been told we sound like The Kinks.
Such cool bands to be compared too, I can see why those seem to be the case, especially instrumentally. How long have you all known each other? How did you meet?
Tom - I’ve known Isaac and Gab since they first came to university 4 years ago. We lived in the same complex so we met through mutual friends. There was a year or so where we didn’t play together but 4 years overall. Jess is our newest member, and has only been with us for about 8 months now. However, Jess and Gab have known each other from high school, so it wasn’t a completely new introduction into the band.
When did you form your band? What inspired you to make music together?
Tom - We played together in late 2014, but we weren’t really a band until 2015. I think the thing that inspired us to make music together was the drive. There are a lot of musical people out there who love jamming and what not, but there aren’t a lot of musicians with drive and professionalism, you know? These guys treat it very seriously, and don’t skip out on practice and gigs like it is a minor thing. I’d say it wasn’t exactly our musical tastes that brought us together, as we all have very different influences. But the drive and the attitude towards making music has really tied us together.
I think that’s the most important thing is to find like minded individuals that have the same goals and visions. If it’s something you take seriously as a potential career path, they should too. Do you have a record label? Are you a member of any music organizations?
Tom - We aren’t signed with anyone at the moment. We are all registered musicians under SOCAN, but we’ve been working independently, without an agent or manager, for the time being.
That’s pretty rad! Alright , here comes my favorite question that I love to ask all bands. Can we change gears and talk about your instruments for a bit? What made you choose the instruments you have now?
Tom - I am more comfortable playing acoustic, as our band originally was more folk and acoustic based. For acoustic I play a Taylor, which I really enjoy how comfortable it feels to play. As for electric, I play an American Deluxe, Chris Shifflet Signature Telecaster. It’s fairly new, and I’ve been searching for an electric for sometime, and it was this specific tele I chose to go with. Similar to Shiflett’s dilemma before receiving a signature guitar, I always enjoyed the feel of playing on a tele, but hated single coils. So when a friend recommended I get this tele with humbuckers, I was sold. It came in black or shoreline gold, so I chose gold and have not regretted it since.
Isaac - Oh yes my favourite question too-- gear. Our typical set involves me switching back and forth between a Gibson SG Faded and a Reverend Warhawk RT, both of which are very inspiring guitars for me. The Gibson lives in Open E and is one of the most resonant guitars I have ever owned; I often practice unplugged and it keeps surprising me with the tunes it can come up with. I recorded all of the EP on it and wrote a lot of the new material on it too. I found the Reverend on Reverb and made a jump decision to buy it. One of the best investments I have ever made. It’s got so much bite and clarity and is so different to the SG that I find it equally enthrawling. I beat the hell out of them both on stage, but they hold up well.
Jess - Both of my basses are Fleabass. My black one is the Model 32/Touring Bass, while my turquoise one is the Street Bass model. The only difference between the two of them is that the Street Bass is just the tiniest bit punchier in tone. Other than that they’re nearly identical. I bought them both new while the brand was still in production, and I consider myself lucky that I had that opportunity. Aside from the fact that Flea is one of my favourite basses, the overall tone, feel, and affordability factor is what made me want to buy them. They’re nice to look at too.
Gab - My main drum kit right now is an old, (mostly) sparkle red Ludwig kit. I bought it from a good friend of mine and my old drum teacher, Shawn Sasyniuk - who is an absolutely fantastic drummer, producer and artist in his own right. Although I mainly got it because the offer was hard to refuse, I absolutely adore the colour and sound of the kit. I use some old Zildjian cymbals that had been used with a kit that came from my dad’s old high school.
Nice! I love Gibson’s as well mainly because they have such a quality sharp sound to it, id love to get one sometime once I acquire the funds haha. I dabble in guitar as well, I rock a black sparkle Fender Strat. So I want to switch from music for a bit and talk about life as a band.Where have you performed? What are your favorite and least favorite venues? Do you have any upcoming shows?
Jess - We’ve performed mostly in venues around North Bay. We’ve had great luck playing some great venues around here. Our least favourite kind of venue are ones that lack proper communication or give us a hard time logistically, but thankfully we haven’t really run into that problem much. We have a show coming up in Toronto which will mark our first official gig out of town, plus more to come after that.
Which songs do you perform most frequently? Do you ever play any covers? Do you have a set play list?
Isaac - We play originals so that when we mess up no one knows. No but in all seriousness we play material from our EP, even some new stuff we have post-EP and a handful of fun-to-play covers.
Haha. That’s always the ticket , play originals. But that’s cool. Okay, I know we are jumping around a a bit , But I want to talk song writing if that’s okay. Who writes your songs? What are the main themes or topics for most of your songs? Do you think this will change over time?
Jess - Tom writes most or all of the lyrics. We each come up with our own parts for instrumentals so that’s more or less equal. As for general instrumental ideas, Isaac tends to come up with the most, followed by Gab, then Tom, then myself. Topics aren’t usually following any theme, but I’d say a lot of our songs have some sort of general love theme, good or bad. I don’t think we’re set on keeping or changing topics the same for the entirety of our musical career, so I imagine as time goes on we’ll keep coming up with something different.
Tom - In the EP, the content focused the mentality of a man’s mind after leaving a committed relationship. It kind of reflected my personal life at the time of the writing, and examines the early joy and action before moving onto the realization, stress and coping mechanisms I came up with later on. The content has shifted slightly from that narrative, but still keeps the same vibe. Some of our new lyrics examine themes of masculinity and the nightlife, taunting and challenging the personal images set up by people, while trying to reflect on personal choices.
Ah. That’s interesting, I always like to ask that questions because as a music journalist you listen to stuff without any background knowledge really to go off of , then you listen to it again and its like a whole different experience you know. So, still withing in the vein of the music process, could you briefly describe your music-making process?
Jess - A lot of the time one of us will come up with an idea on our own, record it, and throw it on our Google Drive. From there we’ll message each other saying that one of us came up with an idea, and for the rest of us to take a listen and see if we want to make anything from it. From there on if we decide that we like it, we’ll jam it out at practice to see what we can make of it. Tom’s good at ad libbing during the creative process so it gives us more of a feel to work with as we go. It doesn’t take Tom too long to come up with official lyrics either so we’re able to get a full song going fairly quickly.
What are your rehearsals generally like?
Gab - We try to have a solid 2 hours of practice a week, usually the same day each week. If we’re not rehearsing a setlist for a show, we’ll be going over old material, new covers, developing new song ideas. Often we’ll add in extra rehearsals when we have upcoming gigs.
How has your music evolved since you first began playing music together? Can we talk about your latest music you have out now? What can you tell us about that?
Gab - We were quite an acoustic, folky group when we first started, and now we’ve fully made the switch to being a proper rock band with full on drums, electric guitars, etc. Our latest release is our self-titled EP, which has five songs. What’s rather interesting about this EP is that although we’ve just released it this January, the songs mostly come from the band’s first iteration in 2015. So we’ve been wanting to have this out for a while now, and we’re quite happy to have it released now. In terms of evolution, there’s of course the acoustic to electric thing, but even just since getting back together, our songwriting has been somewhat darker and more instrumentally involved, which has been lots of fun for us all.
What has been your biggest challenge as a band? Have you been able to overcome that challenge? If so, how?
Tom - Coming up with material that we all agree upon. I know in our earlier days as a trio, we struggled with that a lot. Gab, Isaac and I had all different views on where the band should go, and that ultimately led us to going our separate ways. But when we reunited years later, and added Jess to the band, we hashed out all of those issues rather quickly. Yes, we still have differences as all of us have different musical influences, but we manage to find a happy medium we can all agree upon.
What’s your ultimate direction for your band? What would you want people to take away from your new music?
Tom - Ultimately if we could make a career out of this that would be great. As for something take away? I hope people can take with a tune that is enjoyable and worth playing again, but at the same time something that can be dissected and valued more than just a simple tune made to get hits.
If you had the chance to work with another band or artist, who would that be and why?
Tom - The Killers. 100x over. They have influenced me the most as a band, and have a formula that has worked time and time again. Their songs are nostalgic and have playability. There’s a reason why Mr. Brightside is still in the Top 100 in the UK. Despite its age, it still has relevance.
Isaac - I think I would like to work with Jack White, as a producer. He tries his best to make the music as raw as possible and I think that is something that is special in the age of auto-tune and digital editing. Making usable sounds out of real life and making it all blend together.
Jess - I’d like to see us take on a challenge and work with someone totally outside of our genre just to see what we can come up with. It would either be something really cool, or something that results in complete nonsense, but it would be a different yet cool experience regardless.
Gab - I’m guessing that means songwriting wise? That’s a toughie...Obviously we all have many inspirations as musicians, and presumably it would be awesome to be able to work with any of them, if even just one. But personally, I’ve found that over the years I simply really enjoy writing songs with my friends or people that I get along with, or just simply have a musical chemistry with. So any of the artists that have inspired me or that I admire, assuming that there would be that musical chemistry, and anyone that I’ve had success with while songwriting in the past, including the band of course.
Very cool, I like your answer a lot Jess, mainly because there is a lot that can be learned from other genres and you can create amazing new music experiences with that. Okay, I really like this question because the stories can be rather interesting haha.Any band stories you feel like sharing with our readers?
Tom - We had this one gig where this older dude stood exactly one foot in front of me and stared at me for several songs straight. It was uncomfortable for me and I had nowhere else to look while playing, so I just closed my eyes and pretended to look l was deep in the moment.
Gab - I saw a guy faceplant into the bass amp at our last show. I felt a little bad, but it was pretty funny to watch.
Haha, that’s so funny. The power if improv gets you far, especially in those types of situations. Where do you guys see yourselves in the next six months?
Jess - Hopefully we’ll have expanded our fanbase, and we’ll be closer to starting work on our second release, which will be a full-length album rather than an EP.
This may seem like a loaded question, but I feel its relevant for all bands wanting to get into the industry. What advice do you have for people who want to form their own bands?
Isaac - I don’t know if there’s a one size fits all answer but treat music like a profession. Most bands don’t make it because they like the idea but not the actuality of the music industry. Instead they’d rather lounge around, get drunk, and talk about how they live by the music. That’s not how it works, and we have learned not to work with groups who treat it as such. Know yourself, and know your bandmates. Like really know them. Know what kind of person you are, and know what kind of people they are because there’s a lot of planning, organization and effort needed to make it a successful practice beyond just the music. Set expectations from the start, communicate properly, be professional, and have a good time.
I think that’s honestly a great and relevant answer for today’s music industry. It takes a lot of work for anything related to the arts. We don’t do this for the money, because if we did we would all be rich haha. But seriously it really is all about communication and getting to know the people you work with when it comes to being in a band. Now here’s the easiest question out of the whole interview haha. How can fans-to- be gain access to your music?
Jess - We can be found pretty easily online. We’re on Spotify, Apple Music, Soundcloud, YouTube, just about any streaming site you can think of. We’re also on major social media, so anyone can follow us on Facebook, Twitter, or Instagram.
Cool cool. Always good to have options to find music. Is there anyone you’d like to acknowledge for offering support over the years as you continue with on with your success as a band?
Tom - Friends and family of course. Gab’s parents have been super supportive especially. They have let us use their space to jam and his father has been amazing with providing us with the necessities for any show. As well we would like to thank Alain and Erik Faucon, who helped us with our self-titled EP. And finally we also want to thank Shawn Sasyniuk for his work on the EP and for being a guru-like figure in our early career.
Well, its been a pleasure getting to know you guys musically and as musicians as well. It was a lot of fun. Any last words for your fans before we conclude this interview?
Tom - Stay golden Pony-boy
Isaac - Gonna do shots together at our nxt show bruv, #partylyfe
Jess - Stick around, there’s more to come!
Gab - Thank you gifts and donations are accepted in the form of McDonalds and ice cream. When these options are not available, burritos or pizza and frozen yogurt or milkshakes are suitable substitution selections.