Can you feel the passion and the intensity? Both are the hallmarks of alternative metal act Royalty Kult, as you will attest after listening to their latest single, “Separation.” The band recently released the song’s official music video, featuring none other than Gail Kim, the former WWE Women’s Champion. The release of the single is a great way to close out a solid year for the band, which included highlights such as headlining The Whiskey in their hometown of Los Angeles twice and also opening for Gemini Syndrome back in April.

Music fans first started taking notice of the alternative metallers in 2020 when they signed with Pavement Records. Later that year, they released their debut album, Enjoying The End, which featured a guest appearance from Doc Coyle of Bad Wolves on the title track. Earlier this year, they started tracking new material with Sahaj Ticotin, who has previously worked with Ra, Starset, and Nothing More.

Considering Gail Kim’s role in Royalty Kult’s new music video, professional wrestling seemed like an appropriate interview topic. That’s why we recently spoke with lead singer Joshua Michael for a new edition of Chew the Mat, in which he discussed his favourite wrestlers, when he became a fan, and his most memorable moments.

Who’s your favourite wrestler right now, and who’s your all-time favourite?

Joshua Michael: “Right now, in the current landscape, I would say Kenny Omega. I would have loved to see him against CM Punk in AEW, but who knows if that will ever happen now.

“My all time is Kevin Nash. I’ve always just loved his attitude and the way he carried himself. I was at a WWE house show in 1995 at The Del Mar Fair Grounds in San Diego, and I got the chance to meet him. I was 12 years old at the time and asked him the stupid question of how he got so tall. Check out Diesel vs. Shawn Michaels at In Your House – Good Friends, Better Enemies. I was also there live in 1996 because my family had moved to Nebraska. That match was one of his best, in my opinion. Though Kevin Nash is my favourite, I do think Bret Hart is the greatest in-ring wrestler of all time.”

Which wrestler would you want to write a theme song for?

Seth Rollins, even though he always has great entrance music anyways. He is also one of my favourites.”

Best wrestler entrance theme?

“It’s hard not to say The Ultimate Warrior’s, but I also love The Undertaker’s, Psycho Sid’s, nWo’s, Steve Austin’s, Seth Rollins’ original WWE theme and CM Punk’s original WWE theme. Orange Cassidy comes out to great music as well.”

Artwork for the single “Separation” by Royalty Kult

When did you start watching wrestling?

“I started watching wrestling in 1986 when I was only four years old. My dad David got me hooked on it, and I never looked back. When so many grew out of it when they got older, I never did. I still say it’s my favourite sport to this day.”

If you were a wrestler, what would your finishing move be? What would you call it?

“Remember Marc Mero’s TKO? I would use that and call it The Death Penalty. If it was a submission I’d go with Dean Malenko’s Texas Cloverleaf, hands down.”

One thing you would change about the WWE?

“I love WWE and always have. If I were to change one thing, I would make it a darker, more serious product. More in-ring wrestling based like NXT was during the Triple H era.”

From left to right: Director Ron Thunderwood, Joshua Michael, Photographer Alena Lim, Gail Kim

If you were a wrestler, who would be your arch-nemesis?

“I would want to go up against the best in the ring. It’s hard for me to narrow it down, but guys like Bret Hart, Steve Austin, Kenny Omega, Dean Malenko, Chris Benoit, Seth Rollins, Pac, Buddy Matthews, Mr. Perfect, Ted DiBiase, and of course, Shawn Michaels.”

Were you a WWF kid or a WCW kid?

“I was always a WWE kid, but when Kevin Nash and Scott Hall returned to WCW in 1996, I was watching that a lot more for a bit. I really miss the vibe of WCW. That’s one of the reasons I enjoy watching AEW so much. It reminds me of WCW.”

Greatest female wrestler of all time?

“Gail Kim, in my opinion. She was a trailblazer and always great in that ring. It was an honour to work with her on our most recent music video for our single ‘Separation.’”

Most memorable moment watching wrestling?

“There are so many! Hulk Hogan being attacked by Earthquake on The Brother Love Show, The Rockers splitting up on the Barber Shop set, The early nWo era of WCW, Paul Bearer turning on The Undertaker at SummerSlam, Bret Hart vs. Steve Austin at WrestleMania. But sadly, I was there live in 1999 at Over The Edge in Kansas City when Owen Hart fell. And that will never leave my mind.”

Last question; what would your theme song be as a WWE wrestler?

“I’ve always wanted Decapitated’s ‘Spheres Of Madness,’ but now I would probably go with Demon Hunter’s ‘Resistance.’ My first love is singing, but I wanted to wrestle for many, many years. I trained, but never had an official match. I did training with New Japan’s LA Dojo with Katsuyori Shibata, RCW in San Antonio with Super Mex Shawn Hernandez, and SoCal Pro with SoCal Crazy.

So thank you for letting me geek out on some wrestling for this interview. I truly thank you for taking the time, and I hope you enjoy our new single ‘Separation.’”

Owner of The Whisky a Go-Go and Rainbow Bar & Grill Mike Maglieri and Joshua Michael

Born in 2003, V13 was a socio-political website that, in 2005, morphed into PureGrainAudio and spent 15 years developing into one of Canada's (and the world’s) leading music sites. On the eve of the site’s 15th anniversary, a full re-launch and rebrand takes us back to our roots and opens the door to a full suite of Music, Film, TV, and Cultural content.