I Am King is currently touring across the country, opening up each and every date of this year’s edition of Scream It Like You Mean It. Destined to be the breakout band of the tour, one notices right away the passion and infectious energy found within an I Am King live performance. On the metalcore side of the spectrum, I Am King add other elements of sound to their music – and combined with insightful lyrics, their songs are sure to garner a good deal of attention and admiration. Their full length debut OneHundred was recently issued through Velocity / Rise Records, so expect a lot of touring from this Allentown, PA band in future days. Here is an interview we conducted with two of the I Am King members just prior to their Scream It Like You Mean It set at the House Of Blues on the world famous Sunset Strip. Read on…
Introduce yourself, tell me what you do in I Am King, and what’s the most embarrassing song on your IPOD.
Sam: My name is Sam Sky and I sing for I Am King. And people would probably think my whole IPOD embarrassing. It’s a lot of Justin Bieber and Austin Mahone and Miley Cyrus. So it’s pretty embarrassing. Oh, and I like N’Sync and Backstreet Boys – all the most tough guy stuff.
Nate: My name is Nate and I scream in the band. And I’d say the most embarrassing thing on my IPOD is probably Justin Timberlake.
Sam: That’s not embarrassing. That’s awesome!
Nate: I mean, that’s the most embarrassing thing on my phone. I really don’t have anything else. I listen to mostly straightforward stuff that people would like. I listen to Rush – that’s like a 70’s prog band if you guys don’t know who that is.
How has the Scream It Like You Mean It Tour been going and what have been some of the highlights so far?
Nate: It’s been super awesome so far. The crowd has loved the set every single night. Everybody that works here is great. The production is great. All the bands are so cool. We couldn’t have asked for anything better. It’s really like a blessing to go from playing smaller venues where we weren’t getting a green room or anything like that to getting all of this stuff and being treated with respect.
Sam: They treat us like a million bucks. Given this is our second tour or so, there have been rough patches and the first week was a little rough getting started and getting into the swing of things – but it’s slowly but surely much, much better every single night – and we’re having a blast either way. Everybody on this tour makes it so much easier to feel at home. From the bands all the way up to the production manager, everybody’s a pleasure to work with.
What could one expect from a live I Am King show tonight?
Sam: I think what a lot of people say is that they caught off guard by us. We’re the freshmen of the tour and in a lot of ways just freshmen in general. We just released out first record. Nobody really knows who we are yet, which is perfectly fine, we don’t mind. It just gives us a chance to prove ourselves and have fun doing it. A lot of people are especially caught off guard by that we energy we bring. You know, we’re the opening band, so it’s kind of our job to warm the crowd up, and make everybody else feel as comfortable as we are onstage.
Select two songs you’ll be playing tonight and what inspired the lyrics.
Nate: Let’s go with Ambition & Contrast and Fallen.
Sam: For Ambition & Contrast – what inspired the lyrics – it’s pretty typical generic stuff. In life in general, you get a lot of naysayers – a lot of people that tell you “you can’t do this – you can’t do that.” And Ambition & Contrast, the lyrics are “My ambition will define my whole life, and I want it all in the palm of my hands.” Which is a struggle for the American dream and fighting for that one inch that you could say is yours and be proud of it. And then Fallen is about – let’s see if I can condense this into the bare necessities. It’s just about the conflicting emotions that come with being in love. When you’re done with that relationship or marriage or whatever, there’s a lot of aftermath and broken pieces everywhere and just how you cope with that. The song kind of goes back and forth from like a view of love mixed with a view of hate. In that song especially, when I wrote that, I felt I was kind of erased from that person’s life and the lyrics are, “If I could only wish you away, erase the memory of your ghost, did we ever even happened, was I ever welcomed in your home?” Sometimes it just feels like it was a dream – like it didn’t really happen – and that person could move on so easily – and just the pain of all that.
Is there any story or concept behind the CD title OneHundred?
Nate: We put one hundred percent of our time and our effort into this CD, and it’s just one hundred percent us – no filter.
Sam: One hundred percent honesty.
Nate: Yeah, and we wanted to throw different genres of music into our CD as well, and that’s why we called it OneHundred. Because we’re not just sticking to normal breakdown, chorus and stuff like that. We have songs that are all singing, some that are mostly singing, and some that are really heavy and progressive. And it’s really neat to be able to express ourselves that way, and that’s why we wanted to call it that.
Sam: And then the other thing was, kind of coinciding with that, is for the whole recording process, everything is one hundred percent real. A lot of band these days don’t have real drums and even their harmonies are fake, or their guitar work actually can be all fake now. Everything on our record, from the harmonies to the drums to all the guitar parts were all real. So we wanted to keep that organic feel.
If you could open up for any band either now or from the past, who would it be and why?
Nate: I would definitely, personally love to open up for Slipknot. That would be so awesome! I would love to say that I shared the stage with Corey Taylor – one of my favorite screamers ever. Probably Rush as well – that would be awesome! I’m a really big Rush fan – I listen to a lot of progressive rock. And I would love to play with The Mars Volta sometime too – that would be super cool!
Sam: I’d love to play with the original members of Underoath. That would be really cool! I would definitely like to play a show with A Day To Remember at some point. If we could go on tour with Chiodos, that would be awesome!
What is it like being a band in Allentown, PA?
Sam: It sucks! I’m sure it’s how it is almost anywhere – everybody wants to be in a band. Market is extremely flooded and just anybody can record anymore. You just need a computer and some auto tune and you’re good to go. It’s hard to make yourself stand out there. The scene got started a lot earlier where we’re from. Everybody where we’re from now is kind of jaded to it all, and they really don’t care unless you’re somebody. The local support out there is shit. People really don’t give a fuck. So that’s what it’s like being an Allentown band – it’s really tough.
Nate: I mean, it was awesome once we accumulated all the fans that we did get. We always had support for all of those people.
Sam: It was really our family and our friends. Those were the people who busted their ass to get to where we’re at right now.
Nate: We thank all of you.
Sam: Yeah, thank you so much! But right from the get-go, people hated us and were hating on us. I mean it’s very difficult. But we love Allentown – love and hate it! It’s a love-hate relationship. But I’m happy that we started there, because I feel like if we could make it there, we could make it anywhere!
Did you like the Billy Joel song Allentown?
Sam: That’s exactly what we tell people. “Oh. Where you from?” And we’re like “Oh, we’re from Allentown.” And everyone kinds of looks at us like…
Nate: We’re like “The Billy Joel song!” And they’re like, “oh yeah, Allentown!”
If your music was a donut, what kind would it be and why?
Sam: Oh man! It would be like a multi-layered sex chocolate donut. A lot of action going on in your mouth! You know what I mean?
Perfect answer! Do you have anything to add to that?
Nate: (Laughing) I don’t think I could top it to be honest.
When you look back to your self-released EP from last year, what do you think of it now?
Nate: I still love it. I love all the songs. It’s something that we worked on and we were super proud of – and I don’t think any of us will ever let that go because it was our first professional recording – and we really got to experience what it was like to be “a band” that was doing something. It changed all of us!
Sam: We went to a real producer. We recorded with Taylor Larson – he also did our first record as well. He pretty much just destroyed our lives and rebuilt us. Our songwriting definitely stepped up a notch! Taylor is literally one of the best things that has ever happened to us. He really helped shape us to what we are today.
What’s up next for you guys after this tour is over?
Nate: Yeah, I think we’re headed home for the holidays and 2014 is going to be the big year for us.
Sam: That’s when we hit the ground running and we don’t look back. But I think when we get home, we’re going to try to hit the studio as much as we can. We’ve already started writing new material.
Nate: And a cover probably…
Oh cool! How about Allentown by Billy Joel?
Nate: Let’s do it!
Sam: (Indicating the fans lined up outside the House Of Blues on Sunset) Nobody in this line would have any idea – they’d be “What is this song? I’ve never heard this before in my life!”
And do you have any messages for people reading this who might want to check your band out?
Nate: If you guys want to check us out, please do. We really appreciate any kind of support we could get. We’re just starting out and we’d love to meet all of you guys on the road sometime.
Sam: Just thank you to all of the people who have supported us up until now and hello to everybody else who’s jumping on board now. We’re glad you’re with us. If you like music for music‘s sake, you’ll definitely appreciate what we’re doing and hopefully what we have to say.
I Am King is:
Nate Newhard – Vocals
Sam Sky – Vocals
Justin Mitchell- Guitar
Dan Artim – Guitar
Jake Tacker – Bass
Tito Rivera – Drums
(Review and Photos by Ken Morton)
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