Members of Kill The Lights all came together from various bands, such as Still Remains and Bullet for My Valentine, making them a supergroup of sorts. Despite their well-established backgrounds, guitarist Jordan Whelan is focused more on creating the best tunes he can rather than seeking fame and fortune, and he has produced some of his best work with Kill The Lights.
With Download Festival being only the group’s eleventh show together, the collective is gearing up to increase this number and hit the road with the energy of teenagers, despite the fact ten pm is now bedtime! Kill The Lights released their debut album, The Sinner, on August 21, 2020, via Fearless Records. Listen along via SoundCloud here or just below.
I’m now joined by Jordan from Kill the Lights. First of all, thanks for talking to us today. How’s everything going?
Jordan Whelan: “Great. The jet lag is real. I need some liquor to help soothe my soul tonight, I think.”
I’ll make sure I keep this short, sweet, and the bar’s over there.
Now your debut album, The Sinner, it was released in 2020, I think there was a special edition literally released recently as well. What was your decision behind releasing it during the height of the pandemic? Some bands chose to hold back, others decided to just let it out there. What were your reasons?
“We wrote and recorded the album in 2018. We self funded the whole thing and we ended up shopping it to different labels, and we ended up landing at Fearless (Records). So by the time we ended up landing with Fearless, signed our deal, two months later, COVID hit. So we’ve had the record done for two years, so the option was to hold on to it until, Lord knows when or release it and have a COVID album. I think personally, we made the right decision, because we’re also be coming out now and you know, these songs are going on five years.”
Someone actually said to me with the whole releasing an album during COVID, well, at the end of the day, you might release it, but then you go on a tour and revitalise everything that was released. I think that’s a good way of doing it personally.
“I agree. I mean, the the beauty of it now is album two is pretty much done and recorded. So we’re quickly moving along with our schedule, and we’re not just sitting on it sitting on an old record.”
That’s wonderful. You’ve skipped past some of my questions, but I’ll touch on that again later. Now, what was some of the difficulties you guys, as a band, actually faced during the pandemic period?
“Well, like everyone keeping our sanity, it was so hard because we had such a fast rise and vision for what we want to do, and then it was obviously immediately shut down. In a weird way, COVID, quote, unquote, hit at the perfect time, because we were all about to quit our jobs and go on tour, and so if we would have done that, you know, we would have been left high and dry. So luckily, we keep the income going. Working, we worked through it. And now once album two comes out, we’re ready to hit the road.”
Now, was there anything positive that came out of the pandemic for you at all? You know, it was a shit show, but there must have been something that sort of gave you the opportunity to focus on something different, perhaps.
“I guess, album two, because I had nothing to do. I didn’t see anyone for almost two years there. So I sat in my basement, in my recording studio. We sent tracks back and forth, you know, Moose and J (James Clark), they’re writing their parts from Wales. I was writing mine from Michigan back in the States. So it weirdly made it really efficient because we had absolutely f all to do.”
Well, you’ve been touring the UK recently. Have you noticed a difference in how an audience like receives bands, especially since the pandemic or has it just been everyone’s so happy to be back?
“It’s business as usual. I’ve always said the UK is my favorite place to tour just because the fans are so diehard. Even if you’re opening a tour, everyone’s just going just as wild as they are for the headliner. So business as usual here.”
I love the sucking up there. You’re in Britain, you’re like, yes, England!
“I suck up every time I come here. This is my seventeenth time touring here. So I’ll be back more.”
Now your band has actually been described as a sort of a supergroup in some form, because you’re all former members of quite familiar bands. What actually brought you guys together? There’s America there’s Wales, like there’s different countries, what actually brought everyone together?
“So I’ve known Moose for about seventeen or eighteen years. My last band did a reunion tour, Still Remains, and Moose came out to a show in Bristol. After the show, he just tapped my arm and said, what do you think? Should we start a band? At that time, I already had a backlog of music that I had written thinking I was never going to tour full time again. So I sent him, I don’t know, the twenty odd songs I already had written and recorded. Then it just kind of went from there, it felt right. The pressure was off. It felt like we were just having fun, like seventeen year old kids again, like it was you know, playing in the garage. So yeah, I’m mainly back. I don’t care about money. I don’t care about fame. I don’t care about getting recognised by anyone. It’s for the love and the heart of it.”
Amazing! Now, you said you’re jet-lagged. How long have you been here for so far is this pretty much just flown in?
“Flew in Friday.”
Ah, so it’s a long old jet-lag, you’ve just been at it then?
“I slept Friday night, hardly slept last night, I’m here today. I don’t know if it’s age, man, because I think back in the day I fly over, party till five am, carry on business as usual, I’d say I’m not jet lagged at all. Well, because I was staying up till four or five am partying, which is what time I’d usually go to bed back home. I’m old and I go to bed early.”
Don’t worry, I think that comes with the territory. I mean, I only recently turned 40, I’m staying in a hotel, I’m like, it’s midnight now. I’ll give it another half an hour, then let’s go. I’ve got stuff to do in the morning. I can’t handle this anymore. So I know how you feel.
“Yeah, I’m a ten pm guy at home now. It’s, I don’t know what happened to me.”
With age comes wisdom or boredom, I suppose? I don’t know.
“Maybe both? Yeah.”
But how’s your Download experience been in general? I mean, are you going to be seeing any bands today, if you get the opportunity?
“I would love to see Spiritbox. They play at 4:50, and we’re on at 4:15, so I think I’m gonna run for a couple songs. I really wanted to see Megadeth last night but we got here too late. There’s too many bands to mention. But yeah, I’ll be around. I’ll be hanging out. I’m not here just to play and leave.”
Unfortunately, I know so many bands like they play this and have to get whisked off somewhere else. So it’s good, you’re able to hang around now. You’re gonna be playing the Dog Tooth stage a bit later. I believe this is your first Download show with this band? Is that correct? Or am I mistaken?
“This is our eleventh show.”
“No, eleventh show in total.”
So first time at Download. Are you looking forward to the experience on this?
“Absolutely. Yeah, I played I think this stage with my previous band and the crowd was awesome. I loved it. So I’m excited to see what Kill the Lights can do here.”
Now, obviously, you’ve mentioned the new album is going to be coming out soon. Can you elaborate on that a bit more? Or have you got anything planned on the horizon for Kill the Lights?
“Yes, it’s looking like a 2023 release, and then touring to follow. We tried to keep it heavy. I mean, we listen to a lot of different music, everything from Rancid, In Flames to Ozzy, so I try to keep it on the heavy side. I don’t think fans were disappointed.”
Now, I always like to end on a joke and I’m gonna try and not mess this one up because I hadn’t written it down. I was in such a rush. So we’re at Download. There’s a lot of people camping here. It’s a bit of a camping Festival. It’s kind of intense. Don’t you think?
“Driving in, people that camp, they’re hardcore. They’re dedicated.”
You missed the punch line. Camping….. In tents.
“Oh, jeez. That’s perfect. I got it. I got it. My wits about me.”
I think I messed up the delivery as well somewhat because I didn’t write down what I wanted to say. Jordan, thank you so much for chatting to V13 today, and good luck later.
“Love it. Thank you very much. My pleasure.”