HHM: First off, who is this Matilda that you speak of and why do you dislike her so much?
Dusty: Matilda is the Canadian military codename for the genetically-engineered virus that causes zombieism. A little known fact about our band is that we’ve been specially trained to deal with the zombie epidemic. Touring constantly is a great way to quietly manage the zombie threat in Canadian towns and cities.
HHM: Being formed about 7 years ago, you’ve been through a few member changes. The current line up though, how long of you been playing together?
Dusty: About 5 or 6 years, ever since Mykel went rogue on CSIS and teamed up with Dusty, whose best friend had been killed by a zombie horde.
HHM: Did you know each other outside of music or is that what brought you together?
Dusty: Mykel and Dusty are married, and our mutual hatred of zombies is what brought Marcus and the Exners together.
HHM: It doesn’t take much watching videos and listening to your vocals to realize that you truly don’t give a fuck…..in a good way though. Not, you don’t take your music seriously, but on the contrary. That this music is yours, take it or leave it.
HHM: Does being so outspoken ever get you into trouble?
Dusty: Only everytime with the law and with our parents.
HHM: What are some of the main causes and organizations that KM supports?
Dusty: We’re all feminists in this band, the guys especially, although that’s a very broad term. We’re generally quite socially aware and sensitive people who want to see greater justice and equality in the world. Some of our favourite organizations internationally are Doctors Without Borders, World Society for the Protection of Animals, Amnesty International, Skateistan (a really great organization that bring skateboarding to kids in places like Afghanistan and Cambodia, with a special focus on getting girls involved), and Plan Canada. Locally (in Vancouver) we’re big fans of the PIVOT legal society, which provides free legal counsel for the homeless and vulnerable populations, and Open Media, which works on protecting the free flow of information on the internet.
HHM: Your main influences are pretty apparent. Do you have a defining moment that sparked your creativity as the artist you are today? Was it a live show or something you bought at a record store?
Dusty: There really wasn’t one defining moment. As a child and a teen I used to listen to my favourite music (usually with male vocalists) and visualize myself as the vocalist (even despite the gender disparity, which I believe is partially responsible for my confidence and preference for occupying a position that’s usually held by men. Female rock vocalists, frontpeople and guitarists are still a bit of a rarity, and I think my ability to see myself as a man had something to do with that). When I was a little older I hung out with a lot of musicians so learning to play the guitar and write songs was kind of just the thing to do. But since I can remember I’ve always wanted to be up on stage – I guess I’ve always kind of been an attention hog 🙂
Dusty: We drink a lot of beer and jump around a lot until we’re really, really sweaty. Recording in studio requires that we go through all the motions that we would during a live show so Dusty sings and plays guitar at the same time, although the two are tracked separately. We also have our producer GGGarth yelling at us, which is very inspirational.
Photo credit: Sheng Ho
HHM: Is being in the studio something you enjoy? Being a vocalist and musician it must be a little more of an undertaking than most.
Dusty: There’s a lot of pre-production in the jamspace that has to happen, writing and refining songs. We spent about 15 hours a week for two months to craft the absolute best songs we could before hitting the studio. Being in the studio is a great experience, but it requires mostly a lot of hanging out and waiting. You sit around for hours while the setup takes place, and then while your bandmates track. It’s best to record somewhere that you have access to some alcohol and delicious fast-food. I usually bring my laptop or a book and work on stuff or nap while I’m waiting, and then when it’s time to rock and roll on vocals it generally only last about 4-5 takes. Guitar takes a lot longer since we punch in each note when doing the rhythm guitars (which is what I play), so that’s one of the most time consuming parts. Bass goes quickly, and drums are somewhere in between.
HHM: You recently released a new EP #Punk #Zombie #RocknRoll , which is available for free. What made you want to release it as a free download?
Dusty: This rerelease is for promotional purposes and to really refresh audiences on our product. We have another EP that we recorded with Garth of entirely new tracks and we felt the best thing to do would be to really explore to the fullest extent our best work before moving on to something new. Because this rerelease cost us barely anything to create (since the tracks were already recorded) and because we’re not really profiteers we can afford to use these tracks to promote. We didn’t have an opportunity to record any music videos when we put out I Want Revenge in 2011, which was a big regret for us. This is something we don’t want to happen again and we need to go back and correct that, so we’ve released a video for Law Abiding Citizen, and have another video in the can for I Want Revenge to be released shortly.
HHM: Playing live, do you find that people are taken aback by you a little. You’re a not just a pretty face behind a microphone but your vocal range is quite expansive.
Dusty: If they aren’t, I make sure to run up after our set and punch them in the face. I’ve recently taken over lead guitar duties and I think I may have metaphorically punched someone in the face last night after I ripped out a solo. A few fellas in the audience were pretty pleasantly suprised.
HHM: Do you change up your vocal delivery/style depending on the show, crowd reaction etc playing live?
Dusty: No way. The delivery is as consistent as what you’ll hear on the album. I’m really proud of my ability to not lose my voice on tour. I credit this to a lot of sleeping, several packages of Fisherman’s Friends and abusing cough syrup. What sometimes changes is our live performance; if a crowd is a bit sleepy or sitting down we’ll adapt so that we don’t alienate them or overwhelm them, and if they’re really up in our faces or getting crazy we can take it to the next level to match their energy.
HHM: You tour quite a bit in Canada…when the hell are you going to brings your asses down to the states??
Dusty: This year! I work as a booking agent for some of my favourite independent bands in both Canada and the US, like the Nailheads, Uh Huh Baby Yeah and the Drama State. I’ve accumulated enough knowledge to set us up this year with a nice little east coast jaunt.
HHM: Two part question: What is your MOST favorite part of being a musician? What is your LEAST favorite part?
Dusty: The boobs. No but seriously, this girl ran up to the stage and pulled her shirt down at our show in Mission on March 8th and I think that’s actually the first time that’s ever happened (and it was fabulous). The best part of being a musician is always having a greater goal to work toward; it honestly gives our life meaning. There is always a project or a destination. I don’t really understand how people live when they just go to work full-time; I’m not able to do it, actually. I fail at structured life and I thrive in creative chaos. Being able to justify not living that existence is great. It’s also very gratifying to see your creative vision come to life and have people appreciate it.
Least favourite part is the fact that it’s very not glamorous. You work all the time; if not on songwriting or jamming, you’re working on social media, merch, web presence, whatever. It’s round-the-clock, 7-day-a-week work and you never get paid. I can’t even think about how much money we’ve spent just to keep this band going. Sure, we make money from merch and shows but it takes years just to break even. It wears you down for sure, and when there’s money always going out and never enough coming in it’s always very stressful. You have to ask yourself if you’ve made a smart decision and as you get older if this is even a safe choice. Some people have faith in a higher power, but like John Lennon said, “I just believe me, Yoko & me.” …but in this case, Mykel is my Yoko.
HHM: What are you looking for most for KM in 2014? Do you have any definite plans in the works, like say….touring the East Coast in the states maybe?
Dusty: That’s exactly what we have in mind. We are relocating to Toronto in order to play as many festivals as possible over the summer and hit the east coast in the fall. We plan to release our newest EP when the time is right and to put out a ton of new videos for it. Oh, and I think 2014 is the year we’ll finally eradicate the zombie threat for good.
Interview by DaveHHM
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