Interview: The Karma Killers
Mon, 01 Jun 2015 10:50:42
The Karma Killers Videos
Frontman Micky James discusses the band's unique genre brew on major label debut EP Strange Therapy, and storytelling inspiration from Robert Smith & Elvis Costello.
The Karma Killers unveil their Strange Therapy EP on June 9 via Dirty Canvas/Island Records. The New York quartet—Micky James [vocals, guitar], Mango [bass, vocals], Billy Stevens [guitar, vocals], and Josh Grigsby [drums]—strike a delicate balance between post-punk soundscapes, rock ‘n' roll energy, and pop panache, creating a singular hybrid that's as heartfelt as it is hypnotic. Many try, but these boys have literally carved out a sound of their own, and it's thought-provoking and infectiously irresistible. It's one of the most thrilling releases you'll hear this year. So, we spoke to Micky about the alchemy behind Strange Therapy, telling stories a la Robert Smith and Elvis Costello, movies, and more.
Given how dynamic the songs are, what's the general approach for The Karma Killers?
Micky James: We're all very influenced by a very broad spectrum of music. We all come from different backgrounds like punk, new wave, funk, and classic rock ‘n' roll. We put as much of those influences into what we do as we possibly can. I feel like most of the new wave sound and punk think stems from me. I bring that to the band, and they put their flavor on top of it. We run with that and see where it goes. If it's rad, we continue to go with it.
Did you have one singular vision in mind for Strange Therapy? It feels cohesive.
Micky James: Thank you. There wasn't anything I did on purpose to make it flow sonically, but I think the songs all do work together. It's pretty diverse. That's what I really like about it. We just wrote a gazillion songs, and we picked which ones we thought were the best. We still gave it that different feel throughout. There are different kinds of songs. I wanted it to sound cohesive, but I didn't want every song to sound the same. I didn't want just a straight new-wave sounding EP, you know?
You can pull something different out of the songs every time you hear them. What's the story behind "Tightrope?"
Micky James: I wrote that maybe two or three years ago. The bass player Mango and I actually started that idea back in like 2012. We wrote a couple of verses to that song. Later down the road, we brought it back up. It had a lot of potential. I really liked the vibe of it. It was dark, and it was sort of gothic, so I wanted to run with that sonically. It has a really cool feel. Lyrically, it was definitely inspired by the topic of love, feeling lonely in life, and having someone there for you always who saves you when you're down. This person lends you a hand or is just consistently there for you without fail. That's where I was mentally at the time when I was writing it.