Interview with Tony Castaneda
of KYNG at Aftershock
Anyways, when I spoke with Tony Castaneda, bassist of heavy metal band KYNG, they were just finishing up an extensive tour. However, now they are starting their first European tour, and are super excited.
Today’s show was a bit weird. We played kind of early and it was really hot, and there were some technical issues, but we pulled through. My main thing, why I didn’t enjoy myself too much, was because I was sliding all over the place. My feet were just slipping and sliding… I had to stand still, just standing there. I felt like one of the Beatles--not as cool of course-- but just standing there, bopping and playing and weaving, so it was real awkward in a sense.
Why was it slippery?
I think it might have been all the dust and the fact that my Van’s are wearing out. It was a combination of the two, and I could not get a good grip for the life of me.
What did you think of the crowd?
The crowd was good, the crowd’s always good. It didn’t seem like too many people knew who we are, but we tend to suck them in after a few songs. We did our job, that’s what we thrive for, that’s what we’re there for. I think it was a good mission accomplished.
How’s it been being away from your family for so long?
It’s been really hard, but you’ve got to make the best of it because you’re doing a job. It’s not just a regular job, it’s something that we’ve always wanted to do, as kids, and so it’s not something you can take for granted or complain about. There are a million other bands that would love to be in the position we’re in, so it’s just part of the process of it all. You’re going to miss your family, you’re going to miss your friends, but there’s Face Time now, a lot of stuff you can do that you couldn’t 10 years ago. We make the best of it and it is what it is.
It’s kind of a process, because I get bummed out a week before I leave. I’m leaving and I’m going to miss everyone—Emily [my sister] and [my] girlfriend and friends, and so I go through this phase…. Then once we’re on the highway it’s cool; you have no choice [because] I’m on the road... Beside from that, I’m making sure I [have] got all my equipment, and my guitars are all prepped and ready to go, so yeah its making sure you have enough underwear. That’s always a good thing. I guess that’s what I go through.
So when you’re not touring, how often does KYNG get together and practice, and how often do you practice on your own?
It all depends. If we have tours coming up, we play so much on the road [that] we don’t really get together as much as we used to… I hear other bands get together four [or] five times a week to tighten up and stuff, but we have known each other so long musically, it just kind of happens [in] two [or] three practices. We’ll probably practice like four times before we hit the road, and as the shows go on, we get tighter and tighter. So, that’s how we work
Before a show, how do you get ready?
Basically, I put on my stage clothes, the same T-shirt and jeans that I wear for every show. So it’s usually kind of stinky until I can go in to a Laundromat and wash it. Aside from that, I do vocal warm-ups for about half an hour before I go on stage. I maybe drink a beer or 2--ok kids don’t drink until your 21! I have this spritzer bottle that all my friends make fun of, that I use to spritz my hair because if I don’t spritz my hair before I go on stage, it literally looks like a poofy fricken bear, like an afro times three, and I’ve made the mistake of not leaving enough time to spritz my hair. It’s got a mind of its own-- my head turns right and my fro follows. It’s pretty intense, so you’ll catch me 10 minutes before the show…with my spritzer, making sure my hair is maintained
So have you guys – I know your new album is out recently – have you started thinking about new stuff?
More so about the direction we might be taking on that next album. We haven’t been home for enough time to write new music, but it is always in the back of our minds. We always have riffs in our heads that we record on our phone… when we get some down time, maybe in December, we’ll get in the studio and start hashing some stuff out and see what we can come up with
Lyrically, “Electric Halo” is fantastic. The video really reflects what you say. When did you guys decide to put out such a political musical piece?
That song was written and recorded when the entire album was done. Our record label, Razor and Tie, wanted us. They loved the album, but we want that one song for radio that will kick the door down for the album, so we got together for the first time ever with this cold writer. We were on the fence with it, but when we signed with them we said we wouldn’t be against it, and we are men of our word. We stuck with our word, and we got together with this guy, I think his name is Johnny Andrews, and Eddie started messing with the guitar, and he thought, “What would Iommi from Black Sabbath do?” and he just came up with that lick (sings it) and I said that’s really a cool riff. Lyrically, he started digging deep into random stuff… It’s about fake people--whether it’s people, whether it’s organizations or religion, that’s for the listener to interpret themselves--I always find that music speaks more volumes if you let the listener decide what its about. That’s why people ask, “Is that political [or] is that about religion? Is that about politics, or is that just about a back-stabbing person?” So it’s about all three. It’s just worked out that way.
A fan base [and] an appreciation. It seems in the states we’re all spoiled. Everything has got to be better… People are just standing still with their hands crossed. You don’t know how to take it: do they like you, do they hate you? It’s just not very expressive. I hear in Europe it’s much different, they’re very physically expressive
California is notorious for that.
Being from Los Angeles, that’s all we want to do is get the hell out of there… It’s so much different than everywhere else. You go to the mid-west and people are more expressive and its gotten to the point that even in the mid-west it feels like Los Angeles.
Having just started their European tour, you can head over to KYNG’s Facebook page and read the updates on their first impressions of Europe!
Zoe Adler is a music journalist from Long Beach, California. Besides her website, which is her pride and joy, she works with the GRAMMY Foundation and the Long Beach Independent. Additionally, Ms. Adler is a musician, spending half of her time playing the flute, piccolo, trombone, and marching baritone. She has been with TeenView Music since the very start and hopes to make something of it in the future.