“Our Music is very different by choice. We are intentionally doing something no-one else does to shake things up.” These are the words of Sor the mastermind and driving force behind the band Red i Clan. The bands’ debut CD Killohead is due out on April 29th and is sure to create a buzz. Their music has been described as hard rock meets electronica but that would does it a disservice; one would be better not putting a label on it at all and just kicking back and listening with the volume level cranked to eleven. Songs such as “Jack the Sound” and the title track “Killohead” beg to be played at high volume. Sor recently took a moment to speak to me about the CD, the music, and just how he intends to shake up the music business.
The name of the band Red i Clan is interesting to say the least and sounds as if there is a story behind it. Where did the name come from and what is the story?
Sor: At the time we were living together in a cramped apartment. We’d spend all our free time doing music or watching stuff like ‘Family Guy’ reruns until the early hours of the morning. Needless to say the next day we’d have bloodshot eyes. So the name came as a play on words of our situation… a constantly red-eyed, dysfunctional family… or RED i CLAN.
Give us some insight into the record Killohead and the meaning behind its title?
Sor: Killohead was meant to represent someone that focuses on something so intensely that they can’t switch off. Like a missile locking onto a target. There was a period, before the album was finished, that everything seemed to go wrong. I had to deal with a death in the family and lost my voice while recording the vocals, had some health problems, one of the guys lost their job (actually 2 jobs in a row) and another literally lost his sanity. Anything that could go wrong probably did. That period came through unconsciously on the lyrics to the title track, ‘Killohead’, and ‘Siren Song’.
How has MySpace and the internet impacted your band and do you think downloading helps or hinders the artists?
Sor: MySpace has become something of a business card. It’s like a quick overview of the band/artist. You can then go to the official site and get more stuff, but with MySpace it’s simple because you know where the player is, where the info should be etc. Downloading is a great tool for popularizing your work. You do have to think in different terms though. You can’t superimpose the old way of doing business to the new technology. In the past you had the dinosaurs of the business that ruled the land, put out CDs and raked in the money… now, that they’re starting to become extinct, or at least less relevant, the atmosphere is becoming more like the wild west… you know, strap your gun belt and let’s ride… the gunslinger mentality. You don’t have to wait for the almighty major label. If you’ve got some ‘shooting skills’ get out there and prove yourself. I love that… It’s incredible to think that your music can be heard in all corners of the world thanks to the internet. When I learned that ‘Killohead’ was already out as a torrent and getting downloaded a lot… I actually felt flattered. Yes, I know, the politically correct thing to do is be against p2p sharing… But I really can’t put on a straight face and chastise some kid in Indiana, or Russia for that matter that really wanted this album… that’s just not me… I’d rather have a beer with the kid.
This record takes chances artistically. How hard is it to take chances with your music in an industry that is declining?
Sor: It’s hard to take chances right now because of the shifting sands in the music business. But I can’t subscribe to the cookie cutter model of making music. I’d rather take the risk and be ostracized for being different than follow the heard. You may alienate some people by not playing safe, but there’s no excitement or artistic growth in playing it safe.
What’s your musical background?
Sor: We all come from different backgrounds. The guitarist is also a DJ. The drummer has studied drums and percussion. I’m from the classical music scene. I studied classical guitar and composition in Eastern Europe… but I turned over to the ‘dark side’… or at least that’s what my colleagues used to kid me about because I’d play in metal bands.
What gear are you using?
Sor: We have a pretty weird setup, compared to other bands. We use Line 6 stuff, a hybrid Hart/DW drum kit and a Receptor among other things. It’s not a standard setup, but then again we don’t play standard stuff… so it works well for us. It gives us a unique sound not only on the record, but also live.
Do you decide on a suitable sound fairly quickly, or do you tend to tweak tones obsessively?
Sor: The sound is always flowing and changing. We take time in doing the sound, but we aim for the opposite of what most bands would aim for. You know, for example, the amplifier tone… the one you hear on just about every record out there?… we don’t want that. Contrast is what gives you depth.
Every band has its musical influences. What are some of the other bands and artists that have greatly influenced you guys and your music?
Sor: Probably Korn, Sepultura, Prodigy, Dr. Dre, Rage Against the Machine. The biggest personal influence however would have to be Beethoven. This may sound very strange in the context presented, but it’s true nonetheless.
Your brand new CD titled Killohead was released on April 29th on Rezzonator Records. Now that it is complete how you do feel about it? Are you satisfied with the outcome?
Sor: I’m glad it is done. Being a perfectionist is good but sometimes you have to let things go. There’s a certain urban gritty element that came through in the recording, a certain raw street groove… you can sort of feel that vibe in a weird way. Maybe that’s why some called it ‘gangsta rock’… With ‘Killohead’ we’ve tried to strike a different tone than most of what’s out on the market and sort of prove there’s more than one way to ‘skin a cat’. Now we’re looking forward to ‘Jack the Sound’ live.
What can music fans expect when they pick up a copy of Killohead?
Sor: People looking for the same old stuff in a new package will probably enjoy Killohead as much as they would enjoy a boot mark on their forehead… But those looking for something new will get it.
The songs on your new record Killohead are not exactly what you would find on your typical hard music album. You offer a welcome range of musical sounds and abilities. Do you think this is due in part to your varied influences and/or a desire to explore new realms of music?
Sor: I had learned all this classical stuff like orchestrating, counterpoint etc… At the same time I was playing in metal bands and listening in my spare time to hip hop and electronica. At some point I thought of bringing all these things together, but in an organic way. I felt that if I brought them together in a mechanical way, such as take this aspect from this genre and this aspect from that one, that would just sound very contrived. So I reverted to my classical training and started writing stuff down on paper trying not to go to an instrument before I actually had the stuff clearly in my head and then down on paper. This is pretty standard practice for classical composition but when I applied it to what I was doing I found that it pulled me in different directions. So in a strange way, the unique new sounds were a result of going back to old school practices… really old school, like 300 years ago. But I would like to make the point that for all of this, the idea behind Killohead is to keep it simple and raw. I remember reading an Angus Young interview somewhere and he said that to him guitar and writing riffs was like ‘don’t bullshit, get to the point’. That’s the same philosophy used for ‘Killohead.’
What is next for Red i Clan? Any plans for a tour?
Sor: We’re really looking forward to getting out there to play, tour, and that’s what we’re in the process of setting up right now. Our live sound isn’t some watered down version of the record sound…. It’s even more potent and dynamic, so it’s a lot of fun to get out, play and meet the people. Inveniemus viam aut faciemus! [ END ]