Monday, August 9, 2021

Kids Born Wrong talk about the "Book of Vile Darkness" LP

I had the chance to grill Taylor from Louisville's own Kids Born Wrong about the upcoming steps for his band. When I went to compile the interview, I saw the last featured article here on the Breakfast blog (that wasn't a temporary post about a sale) was highlighting their previous full-length "Giallo". The more things change, right? Anyway, the Kids Born Wrong have just met a kickstarter goal for the band side of funding their upcoming LP, but the campaign runs through Saturday 8/14. It's a great way to pre-order the LP and give them an extra cash infusion after a year and a half of missing shows. Check it out on Kickstarter.

1) When did you form? What was the lineup then and what is the lineup at present? Did anyone play together in prior bands? 

We started at the end of 2015. I had spent that summer and fall writing the first batch of Kids Born Wrong songs and working out how I wanted things to sound. Then a mutual friend introduced me to Chase. I was prepared to go on stage with a Korg Volca-Beats so getting to play with a real human drummer was a much more attractive option. That same mutual friend, Jerry, was to be our bassist, but suffered a wrist injury before our first show and dropped off. We started playing with Chase's roommate at the time, Tony. Since then we have had a few more bassists come and go, but Chase and I have always been here. Chase was playing in Big Spoon with Tony as well, and I had previously played with Jerry in Aladdin's Castle. Now we have a different Tony on bass, who unfortunately got on just before Covid started. 

2) I don’t have any experience with the Louisville scene. Give me the lay of the land with big rooms you love, small rooms you love, and any DIY activity that’s safe to share. Beyond the venues, what’s your relationship with your town? 

Well, its a different world out there now, isn't it? I mean the actual best spot in town in 2019 was a bar called Kaiju, but since the quarantine they had to totally remagine their business model and now they don't do shows anymore. Mag Bar is still doing Mag Bar things, which is great. Art Sanctuary was good to host us back in December for a Late For Dinner Livestream, and have since opened back up for live shows. There are a number of new spots in town such as Portal, High Horse, and Flamingo Lounge. We played Portal recently and it's a great venue. I don't know much bout the DIY scene other than Spinelli's Pizza is doing hardcore shows again and the kids are cramming into boutiques and vegan cafes. It's beautiful really. I was terrified that live music would die off, even temporarily, after restrictions were lifted. The opposite seems to have happened. People are back out there, hungry for more. We have our die-hards who love to see us and try to make it out to every show, but we aren't what I'd call popular. I've always been too much of an outsider to dig deep into the local scene, so we receive almost no mainstream press. Which is fine. Our goal has always been to build a presence outside of Louisville. Still, our recent show at Portal has shown me how important it is to play to your hometown and how much you miss all the other bands when you haven't seen them in over a year.

3) What are some musical influences on Kids Born Wrong? And tell me about your movie influences as well - I know that’s a big part of the band. 

Chase wants to make sure we mention Slipknot, so yeah. Slipknot. Personally I have been heavily influenced by early blues artists like Son House and Blind Willie Johnson as well as ubiquitous acts like Bowie, Cobain, Sabbath, and the Ramones. Hasil Adkins, The Gories, Abner Jay, The Stooges, Oblivians, R.L. Burnside, Rob Zombie, Stabbing Westward, and many others have shaped our sounds and songwriting and attitudes as well. I can't pinpoint any one artist and say "That. That's what we need to sound like." It's more like, these are all things I love and I want to combine them in the best way possible. It's the same with movies as well. I don't want to write a song and tell everyone "This is about Freddy Krueger" or whatever; it's more about the ideas and emotions that make Freddy Krueger work. What do all the monsters have in common that makes them so terrible? Why do they need to exist? I try to reference horror tropes that people will find relatable without being referential. I say that, then we release an album named after a D&D book, so take all that as you will.

4) Are you into horror conventions or are you not into that side of fandom? Do you have a favorite production house or series? Were any of you trading tapes pre-youtube? 

I've been to a few conventions in the past but social anxiety keeps me from staying too long. All those people, all that thanks. I liked the stuff Ghost House was putting out for a few years, and of course Troma is the godsend of independent splatter media, but typically I don't care who's making the material as long as it's good. I had friends growing up who were able to get their hands on some real weird shit on occasion, but we mostly made our own terrible movies that will never be released or shared anywhere. Most of my movie collection came from spending lunch money on used VHS mainstream titles and copying rented tapes. Take that, FBI.

5) So there’s a new album on the horizon, out on Breakfast late this year. Tell me about the inspirations for the tracks on “Book of Vile Darkness”. How was the recording process on this one, and did you have any reference albums in mind for a sound when you went into the studio? 

Well, Book of Vile Darkness, like all of our albums, wasn't conceived all at once. Some of these songs we've had written and were playing live since before our last release, 2018's "Giallo". And some of them we were still putting together as BoVD was being recorded. And I could tell you what specifically inspired each individual song, but suffice to say its the latest batch of murder, mayhem, and mutants that Kids Born Wrong fans have come to expect. What makes BoVD special is the production. We're cleaner and more polished than we've ever been up to this point. Chyppe Crosby recorded and worked closely with us to create something unlike what we've done before. The actual specifics are a little over my head, which is why you have to work with people you can trust and who can find what you really want out of your own ideas.

6) Tell us about the fun supplement that comes with this LP and about any recent highlights in your D&D campaign. 

Gladly. So the vinyl release of Book of Vile Darkness comes with a short book with each song title written out as original D&D 5e material. That's ten new spells, monsters, curses, and other vile things that can be dropped into any game. Each listing has original commissioned artwork done by some very talented illustrators as well. The idea is to make it look and feel like a real gaming splatbook. These are only available in the vinyl edition of the album so you won't see them on spotify or youtube or anywhere else. I've recently gotten a new D&D group going, mostly with new players, and wouldn't you know it, we had a TPK against some dang Specters (editors note—a "total party kill" brought on by some extra buff ghosts). Which is always a scary thing, because with new players you never know if they're going to be like "my character that I spent 3 hours crafting is dead? Fuck this game." But no, these guys were back the next week with new characters ready for more punishment. I mean adventure.

7) I know that KBW is in the home stretch of a Kickstarter campaign to match funds with WFBR for the production of your new LP. People should definitely pre-order if they’re able, but what are some of the other rewards available to anyone who feels motivated to do extra? 

So the vinyl release of Book of Vile Darkness is available on a $20 donation, which is about how much it would be at a show, so if they just want the record they can get that. If they can't do $20, then a sticker and button package is at the $10 mark. Going above the album at $50 will get you the stickers and buttons, the vinyl, and a limited edition t-shirt based on the art for "Drain the Blood of the Goat Whore", which looks just plain amazing (editors note—see above image). At $100 they can get the Vile Damage hot sauce which we are fermenting and bottling on our own. It will be a one-time batch of some tasty stuff that will kick you nicely in the face. Top donations may also get a little something extra depending on what we have laying around.

8) From what I’ve seen of your live set, you aren’t theatrical per se but you do show a lot of control over the room. Describe your outlook on live shows and what you most want to accomplish during your set.

I mean that's what it's all about, isn't it. That live performance. Getting on stage and putting yourself and your noises out there in front of people. We play to showcase who we are and what we can do to catch the ears and attention of everyone out there. We do what we want out there and hope to God people dig it. We want the audience to come away with the feeling that they saw something real and raw and sometimes fun and sometimes challenging but something they will never forget. I love seeing live shows with skits and audience participation and theatrics, but Kids Born Wrong is about the power and energy of the songs themselves and not the fluff, even if we do sing about horror movies.

9) How was 2020 and the first part of 2021 for members of Kids Born Wrong? Work, life, music, safety? I know you were able to do a few livestreams, but what else did you get up to?

I played a lot of Skyrim. Chase and I got through nearly all the Halo games. Honestly what else was there to do? Work opened back up for us after a few weeks, so it was good to get out of the house on occasion and we could still pay bills (which reliably still came in despite the pandemic). We tried to stay safe: masking up, avoiding crowds, ordering delivery. We recorded Book of Vile Darkness in May of 2020, so thankfully that kept us occupied and hopeful. We tried to keep up our practice dates as much as we felt comfortable. We believed that shows would come back eventually and we wanted to stay sharp for when they did. We've also started writing a new EP so there's that to look forward to as well.

10) What are you looking forward to with Kids Born Wrong in late 2021 and into 2022? If you can get on the road, where would you most like to go?

Our plan is to hype up Book of Vile Darkness leading up to its release this winter. To follow through on the Kickstarter rewards. We will still play the occasional hometown show but we're really looking to play other cities around Louisville on short weekend jaunts. In Spring 2022 we're looking to put together a tour, both to support the new album and to expand our influence. For now we're looking at touring the eastern U.S.: south towards Miami, North to Chicago and Milwaukee, or Northeast to New York. Since our Toxic Wraith EP was released digitally by a Turkish record company we're teasing the idea of a European tour. All of this is expensive as you can imagine so it will take us time to get out there. But beware, eventually the monsters are coming to your town.

11) Any other bands or projects in your community that you would like to shout out? Is anyone looking forward to anything individually in the coming months? Get your shout-outs in here! 

Tall Squares and The Sprawl of Indianapolis for playing with us most recently. Seeing all those guys again was so wholesome. Off-Peak Arson and Pressed from Memphis for getting us down there again. Our sister band The Archaeus and the bois from RON. Wombo who are just great. And Rob Zombie. Rob Zombie, if you read this put us on tour with you. Listen to us you know I'm right. Put us on The Munsters.