Read our 2015 interview with Kowloon Walled City here.
Basically since I have discovered Kowloon Walled City I have been obsessed with them. I was late to the KWC party so just recently found out about the band when their latest album Container Ships (#14 on my best of list) was about to be released. After the album was released I bought a CD copy of the bands site and figured I would ask them if they’d be willing to do an interview and much to my surprise Scott Evans (vocals / guitar / recording) agreed and it turns out he’s super cool dude too, which is also a bonus. If you haven’t had a chance to absorb all that is KWC, I highly recommend it.
When reading reviews on the new album I have read a lot of stuff about how it has a post-hardcore sound similar to Quicksand, and you guys reference noise rock bands like Unsane and Barkmarket. Do you agree with the post-hardcore analysis? Or is it more of a post-metal / noise-rock? Do you hate genre labels as much as I do?
It seems like sub-genres are the vocabulary that most blogs use to describe music. That’s weird to me because it makes it sound like each one is a set of rules that bands can follow or willfully combine. And I don’t know, maybe some bands *do* work that way. But ours doesn’t. We had a few shared touchstones going in, and we took that where it felt right.
I barely think about music in terms of genre. I like good bands, you know? That’s how I think about music. That said, I don’t think any of us listen to much of what people call “post-metal.”
I read in an interview that you guys tried to embrace more of a Shoegaze vibe with Container Ships. What bands or albums in particular were influences?
Well, I like Swervedriver and My Bloody Valentine and Hum and Bailter Space, and some more recent bands who maybe take some influence from classic shoegaze–Autolux or even M83 or Kaki King. I don’t know how much that directly comes through on our new record. Here and there, I guess. But when we said “shoegazey” to each other while we were writing, it was more to describe a mood or a vibe. When I brought in the outro of “Container Ships”, that’s probably how I described it. Not to say “everyone play like Kevin Shields”, but to say “let’s try really leaning into these big chords.”
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When I listen to the new album it reminds me of a darker slower version of Snapcase’s final studio album End Transmission. Are you fans of Snapcase or that record?
I don’t think I’ve ever heard that record. I listened to Progression Through Unlearning a lot when it was new, but it’s been a while.
One of the things I really like about the new album is the two separate guitar tones. One seems really dirty and the other clean and crisp. Was this planned?
When Jason (Pace, former guitarist) was in the band, he and I had pretty different guitar tones — his was super-gnarly and scooped and mine was a little more restrained and midrangey. It wasn’t really intentional. They were the tones we each gravitated to, and it worked. Then when Jon joined the band, he tried a bunch of things while he was working out his tone. In the end he went for a fairly gnarly tone too. But everything’s a little cleaner and spankier than it used to be.
Your previous albums were recorded in your practice space; I’m always interested to know where bands rehearse. What is your practice space like?
We live in a city, nobody has a house to practice in here. Most bands rent monthly practice spaces and leave their gear there. We play in a big old building full of practice rooms. It’s pretty ratty, but our room is big. Usually four or five bands share it and it doesn’t sound bad. It’s just a big rectangular room with drum kits in every corner, guitar and bass rigs along the walls, a big loft shelf to hold drum cases, and an Ace Frehely poster.
Worst show you have ever played and why?
All shows are beautiful.
Best tour or show, was it the three shows opening up for Sleep?
The Sleep shows were great. We don’t play many shows like that, but we’ve played lots of good shows: house shows with Thou in Louisiana, Philadelphia with Fight Amp and Batillus and Ladder Devils. I don’t know, lots of shows that are memorable for different reasons. All shows are beautiful.
Favorite song to play live?
Right now we’ve barely played the songs from the new record, so they’re really satisfying. “The Pressure Keeps Me Alive” and “Container Ships” are going pretty well.
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Any gnarly band fights?
Not really. We’ve been in this band for five or six years and we’re all adults. We have our moments here and there, but for the most part we work together pretty well. When writing gets slow, sometimes despair seems to set in on practices and that’s hard to get through.
It’s the end of the year and it seems like every website is coming out with their best of lists, what are your favorite records of 2012?
I posted a list on my website. (http://antisleep.com) I love the Cellos LP and the new Omotai LP. I listened to Barkmarket L Ron a lot. The new Mark Lanegan record is nice but kind of spotty. There are still a bunch of records I need to get — Elbow put out a new record, I don’t have the St. Vincent & David Byrne, somehow I didn’t get the new The Life And Times record… ugh, there’s a lot.
Any future touring plans? I know you guys don’t tour a whole lot because of “normal life”. What does the band have planned next? (If you tour their better be an SLC date. Ha!)
We haven’t had time to do much planning since we got the record done. We’re hoping to do a couple weeks of touring this year, but nothing’s concrete yet. I’d like to write some more songs too. But I’m doing a lot of recording, so we’ll have to see how time works out.
I see that you guys offer your music essentially for free “or pay what you want” what’s the reasoning behind that? What’s your feeling on selling music in general?
We put our first two records up for free download as soon as they came out. You could buy vinyl or CD if you wanted to, but you could also just download the mp3’s. But Bandcamp’s made the “pay what you will” thing easy, and I use it a lot myself as a music buyer, and I realized that it’s great. Lots of people want to support bands and like paying for music, but they don’t want or need a physical object along with it.
My feelings on selling music in general… well, I’m glad we have bands who are willing to work hard on music, who spend money to make good sounding records, who manage to tour now and then. If my buying music supports and encourages that, that’s great. If buying music helps keep good record stores in business, that’s good too.
When is my CD I ordered going to arrive?! Haha!!
Hah! I’m releasing the CD’s on my little label so I’m to blame. It took a little while to get the CD package designed and printed with everything else that was going on. But they’re done, we packed the CD’s yesterday and they went into the mail today.
Kowloon Walled City rules! I’m hoping that the guys can find time to go on tour and if they come to SLC, you better believe I’ll be standing front and center. Hopefully they won’t be too distracted when I spend the whole performance with my shirt up flashing them my manly rug of chest hair. KWC for life!
Scott Evans Blog (in case you didn’t notice it): http://antisleep.com/