Interview By Ryan Renger
Fresh off a new single and more music on the way, Kingdom Collapse has just started to make a name for themselves. The San Antonio Hard Rockers are well-known for assertive vocals, shredding guitars, and bone-breaking drums. Their newest single, Anything, has already accrued over 100,000 streams since its release on April 21st. The song is a blend of all the things that have gained Kingdom Collapse their well-deserved critical acclaim. The band, consisting of vocalist Jonathan Norris, guitarist David Work, bassist Aaron Smith, and drummer Eli Santucci, are here to stay, and put their names in the playlists of everyone’s phone. Clean Capture Magazine sat down with Jonathan to talk about the new music and upcoming festival plans. Read below to find out more about who Kingdom Collapse is.
Give me your 90-second band intro.
Kingdom Collapse was initially a studio project that I started. The last band I was in started to fall apart, and I was writing all this new material. I didn't really have a singer at the time because I was a guitarist in that band, but I thought I might as well just kind of jump in the deep end and start my own kind of thing. Then I started piecing the band together. I had known David from our last band, Aaron and I had known each other forever, and Eli was in another band in Houston that we would always play with when we'd come to town.
Tell me about your latest single.
It's a song about apathy and wanting to feel something again, feeling jaded with everyday life and looking for that inspiration. We wrote it over the holidays after all the touring we did last year. We did like 165 dates, and then the holidays hit, and we thought that we had to finish the album. So this is the first single off of the album coming up.
Tell me about the upcoming album.
It'll be coming later this year. I can't give an exact date yet, but this will get the ball rolling toward the album release.
What sound are you guys going for on this song and album?
I think it's a good blend of everything that you've heard from Kingdom Collapse, but a little more of a polished production with the mix and master. We worked with Kyle O'Dell in Nashville, and he did that Nita Strauss single with Dave Draiman from Disturbed. He has also written for Bad Wolves and Motionless In White, so it's the same band, just a little cleaned up.
Speaking of Disturbed, how did you get John Moyer to do that cameo in the music video?
He's from Texas as well, and we've known him for a bit. We told him the plot, which kind of had a funny vibe to it, and he said, hell yeah, let's do it. So we just did it.
Is there gonna be any possible musical collaborations with him in the future?
You never know. I think it’s the start of something, I'd imagine something's gonna happen.
Speaking of collaborations, this is the first song you guys are doing with Oxide Records. Tell me a little bit about how that came to be.
Andrew Wetzel from Attack Attack, that's his label, and we've known him for a while and toured with them last year. We were talking about the new stuff, and he likes all the independent stuff we're doing. Basically, we didn't do a conventional record deal, we partnered with him for our distribution. We're still technically an independent band, but he distributes our stuff because he has certain avenues to get our music to where it maybe wouldn't have been naturally.
Does he have any involvement in the music process?
We have one hundred percent creative freedom with all that. We just tell him we're ready to distribute, and he blasts it out to the world.
Tell me a little bit about being an independent band and the things that come with that.
It's definitely a blend of a lot of different things, but overall, we've been fortunate to have a lot of success for an independent band. Being able to write the kind of music we love and keep our passion intact rather than somebody in an office somewhere just telling us you should do this, or you should do that, or you should be less like yourself. We don't want to end up in a situation like that. I think you'll always see us with our hands on the wheel.
What is your writing process like?
The skeleton of the song, I write almost singer-songwriter style, with a guitar and vocals. I get the real foundation of the song there, and then I take it to the rest of the band and ask them, how do we take this to the finish line? Maybe spicing up some drum stuff, adding this and that in here, but it kind of starts like this and then just bring it to the rest of the band.
Do you do your own lyrics?
I have a couple of friends that are really good writers too, I'll get with them, and we'll write some songs together. But, I'm always involved, as no one's writing my lyrics for me.
Do you have any specific lyrical themes that you go after?
Growing up, I really connected with music that talks about life struggles. I'd like to believe that Kingdom Collapse carries the torch with that. Songs that don't deny that life sucks sometimes, but also not using that as a reason to play the victim or to give up, but, to push harder and get through that shit and come out stronger on the other side.
Tell me about some of your upcoming shows.
We have Rock Fest coming up in Wisconsin with Slipknot and Pantera. Plus, some other things in the works.
How does it make you feel to play with some of those bands?
I'm stoked, man. It's pretty surreal to see how things have built and then you look back even to where the band was a year ago or two years ago and now we're playing with Sipknot in fucking Wisconsin.
Who is your favorite band you played with so far?
We loved playing with Nothing More. We also played a show with Three Days Grace in Kansas City, Missouri. I feel like that was such a good fit as far as they're fans converting into Kingdom Collapse fans.
Where do you guys want to go as a band?
Honestly, just more of the big tours, more of the big festivals, more of what we've been doing. I think things are heading in the right direction and fairly quickly too. The album's done, it'll be coming out later in the year, and we're working on tours and festivals. There's another festival we haven't even announced that we have locked in later this year.
That festival just got announced this morning. You can catch Kingdom Collapse at the Blue Ridge Rock Fest in September! Be on the lookout for more announcements and an album from Kingdom Collapse this year.