From the moment I connected with Mike Verni via Reddit, I knew that he and the King Bastard gang were onto something special. Watching the psychedelic doomers jam at the Railroad Inn to a handful of people, their music commanded and demanded your attention with their gloomy textures and undeniable chemistry.
About a year later, here King Bastard are — full-on balls to the wall with their biggest release to date, “Psychosis (in a Vacuum).”
“Psychosis (in a Vacuum),” the Colin Marston-engineered work of art, is a hellish space-trek that drags listeners through the horrors of overarching and impending doom. With a striking music video directed by Brendan McGowan (who has worked with Lunar Space favorites Denzel Curry, Ghost and Imperial Triumphant), King Bastard delivers a sonic and visual package rife with impeccable storytelling, motivic development and sheer terror.
But don’t get it twisted — King Bastard is not your average doom metal band. No, this ain’t your mama’s doom metal. Not. At. All.
Listening to the 8-minute journey into the black, you hear elements not only of doom, but also of classical, avant-garde, black metal, noise and the sonics of a psychedelic nature. Add in the brilliance of Colin Marston’s production and you’ve got a cavernous, sludgy mish-mash of sounds invoking of insurmountable fear all throughout this composition. Think if you mixed the avant-garde soundscapes of Imperial Triumphant, the morbid, cold shrieks of Emperor’s Ihsahn and the shrill terror brought forth by George Crumb’s “Black Angels,” you get King Bastard’s “Psychosis (in a Vacuum).”
Alongside this banger of a track was the accompanying video imagined through the lens of Brendan McGowan’s impeccable artistic vision. Following an astronaut on his journey through uninhabited planets and the search for life, the psychedelic visuals provide the perfect accompaniment into the lore of King Bastard and the spiral into psychosis that the subject experiences in this 8-minute journey.
As his exploration continues, the track and video climaxes around 4 minutes in, with the video perfectly aligning with the tonal shift of the music. The listener is immediately slapped in the face with the introduction of that jarring C#, which is then thrusted into a half-step back-and-forth dirge between the C# and C. The music video then alerts the viewer with an ominous statement, reading: “TRANSMISSION DETECTED. SOURCE: UNKNOWN.”
The juxtaposition of these two elements alone in their respective climaxes were so tastefully incorporated — and while that moment represented the highest point of tension in the overall, I couldn’t help but find some solace of resolution in that particular stroke of genius.
I won’t dive too deep and provide more spoilers into the music video, but just know that McGowan did a phenomenal job in capturing the essence of the track, as well as the faded imagery of the band playing in the background while everything seems to be collapsing in their world of inherent psychosis.
I knew from the moment that I connected with Mike Verni via Reddit, from the moment I saw King Bastard play in front of a small crowd, from the moment we at Lunar Space interviewed them — I knew from all these individual moments that King Bastard were composed of a bunch of great people who genuinely have a lot to offer in the realm of art and music. Nothing but love and respect for a bunch of hard-working musicians who continually strive for greatness and exceed themselves at every turn they make.
For their biggest release to date, King Bastard’s “Psychosis (in a Vacuum)” fires on all cylinders and absolutely blows every expectation out of the water.
Go do yourself a favor right now and watch/stream King Bastard’s latest single, “Psychosis (in a Vacuum)” — out now on YouTube and Spotify.
Down the Wormhole is a review series (and potential further ramblings) of Lunar Space artist, wormharvester. You can follow him on Instagram @wormharvester.
To investigate the mind of Timo Ellis is a rather daunting prospect to undertake, to say the least. The enigmatic artist and sonic provocateur, so ingrained and so well-respected in the New York City music scene, has worked tirelessly to blaze his own trail throughout his illustrious career. From his well-known works with Yoko Ono and Sean Lennon to working with John Zorn, Ellis has already left an indelible mark on NYC’s arts — but let that not fool you…
Let that not fool you, oh innocent reader, for time is no enemy of one Mr. Ellis.
The frontman and heart of Netherlands — the “future sludge” outfit (as their Instagram so perfectly encapsulates) — has struck down not once, but twice in this godforsaken year with their volatile musical concoctions. Tinged with elements of electronic music, industrial and fuzzy sludge, the Brooklyn-based quartet unleashed “Zombie Techno” in June for the masses. Now, Netherlands returns four months later with “Zombie Techno Undead,” jam-packed with three bonus cuts just in time for Halloween.
Featuring new zingers “Go Wrong” and “P.T.S.D.,” Ellis and gang further explore wonky sonic territories with their eclectic songwriting and synthesis of unorthodox sounds. From Thee Chuq and Josh Musto’s zany synthbass lines, Damien Shane Moffitt’s virtuosic drum patterns and Ellis’ falsetto lines reminiscent of Our Lady Peace’s Raine Maida, the maddening kaleidoscopic mishmash of sounds continues onward with “Zombie Techno Undead.”
The record also notably features “Shake Your Body (Down to the Ground)” — a jarring, but apropos rendition of The Jacksons’ 1978 classic. On choosing the disco banger to cover, Ellis reminisced on his childhood and noted that Michael Jackson inspired him to pursue music in the first place.
“MJ is like one of the original inspirations for me even wanting to play music at all when I was a kid,” said Ellis. “That song “Shake Your Body (Down to the Ground) was a radio hit… I love that song. It’s like this exuberant joy as a child — that was my jam!”
Jacksons covers aside, “Zombie Techno Undead” is rather rife with political commentary and tongue-in-cheek nihilism. The album overall takes aim at “mankind’s devolution via its addiction to technology, the scourge of capitalism, and the plague of distraction,” per Netherlands’ Bandcamp. Never one to shy away from political discourse, Ellis did not hold back when discussing his thoughts on the 2020 election cycle and America’s political standing today.
“I’m extremely worried and f—–g outraged and demoralized by the open corruption and incompetence and just insanity that is characteristic of the Trump administration,” Ellis lamented on the state of the nation. “I have to limit my news consumption a little bit because it’s rightfully destroyed my peace of mind and my sense of hope for the future because things are already so f—-d up now.”
Some might perceive the frontman’s political views as abrasive; others might perceive it as brutally honest. But regardless of perception, Ellis is unapologetic in his stance and that very stance often finds itself bleeding through Netherlands’ thought-provoking music. Lines such as, “You thought America would last forever, but the chickens are coming home to roost” (from the track “We’re All Gonna Die One Day”) — a Malcolm X reference in fact — offer a direct and poignant reflection on the state of our nation through the lens of Ellis.
Although Ellis has a penchant for profound thought, let that not overshadow his brilliance through his musicianship. Calling Manhattan home, Ellis honed his versatile multi-instrumentalist skills in a land where pressures for musical excellence were rigorous. Working alongside some of the city’s most elite musicians, Ellis etched his place among those in working with names such as Sean Lennon, Sam Koppelman, Joan as Police Woman and Cibo Matto.
One name that Ellis worked with that caught our attention was John Zorn, the eclectic avant-garde composer and musician also hailing from New York City. On working with Zorn, Ellis noted that the experience was “incredible.”
“John’s a force of nature. He’s like one of the greatest living artists and he’s a completely terrifying prolific badass. Truthfully, I feel like that experience schooled me. It forced me to have to operate probably a higher level than I thought I was at at that moment, but that’s the incredible thing about John Zorn… He raises the bar.”
“Van Halen is my f—–g jam, it’s almost like a disease!” Ellis passionately proclaimed. “I can’t play like Eddie at all or Alex [Van Halen], but I just like the swagger and the f—–g ferociousness of their thing.”
As the clouds slowly convene over New York, the lonely fall begins to rear its ugly head with its characteristically eerie, foreboding textures. With the gloomy atmosphere and a global pandemic looming over the Empire State, there is an unsettling uncertainty in the air that we breathe — and although the light may be obscured for the time being, history shows that some of the best art emerges from the bleakest depths of the shadows.
Nestled in a corner right outside of Manhattan, The Bakery Studio in Whitestone is home to one of New York’s best-kept secrets.
As we at Lunar Space made way to the studio, we quickly descended unto a smoke-filled basement room reminiscent of your ideal frat house. Adorned in ornaments including some Lil Peep artwork and a variety of Funko Pops, the collective known as Divine Nine (D9) have managed to cultivate a workspace rife with inspiration and cultural appreciation. As affiliates and members of the collective filtered in and out of the room, we prepared to sit down with up-and-coming rapper and D9’s own CEO, Kenny Orlando.
Traversing dreamy beats with slick delivery and a penchant for profound introspection, Kenny Orlando is constantly working to show off his impeccable versatility. From the old school-tinged 2016 release of “Se9tember” and previous outputs to his latest work, “Virgo SZN,” Kenny’s progression as an artist quickly becomes omnipresent. Flows and new rhythmic pathways open up, hardened delivery gets traded in for a more melodic approach and boom-bap beats are replaced with cloudy, dreamy soundscapes.
“I love ‘Virgo SZN’ honestly, ‘cause like, it’s the only project so far where I really can put play from the start and get to the end,” Kenny said as he reflected on his latest project. “I have a lot of people that tell me that, ‘cause it changes as the whole project goes. It flows and you just kind of end up at the last song like, ‘Damn, I didn’t even realize I ended up here.’”
Tracks that feature more intense and active delivery such as “Vroom” seamlessly transition into the next — which in this case is the more melodic and cloudy (and one of my personal favorites) “Meliodas.” The tape works phenomenally to showcase Kenny’s versatility as he lane switches through different moods, from the party banger “SIP” featuring Lil 6 OZ and killmesumday to the introspective and heartfelt “Dprssd.”
Although Orlando has been working tirelessly for the past several years to cultivate an aesthetic of his own, the Long Island native has drawn inspiration — visually and sonically — from a multitude of different sources. Citing anime like “Hunter x Hunter” and “Soul Eater” to alternative metal bands like Breaking Benjamin and System of a Down, Orlando brings together a lifetime’s worth of influence into one uniquely cohesive brand.
Wearing the influence of the alternative metal bands of yesteryear on his sleeve, Orlando was able to channel that raucous energy and share that love with his fellow D9 members onstage.
“They were biker bars, not even rap shows,” Orlando reminisced about his humble beginnings. “I don’t even know why they made hip-hop shows, but I would go anyway and I would just get a dope reaction from the random three or four people and be like, if I can translate that energy to no crowd, like I can do that anywhere.”
“Once I started bringing my other friends onstage with me, we would look at each other for confidence and really just started feeding off of it. Honestly, that’s like what really got us the notoriety we have — was the fact that our shows, we get lit. We mob out, like Divine Nine is 15 people deep right now. Everyone makes different music, so it’s just like, you never know.”
When the hard-working Orlando isn’t working in the studio as a musician and engineer, he is out in the field honing his craft as a photographer, videographer and cinematographer. Citing filmmaking greats such as Stanley Kubrick and Quentin Tarantino as primary inspirations, Orlando melds these influences into visually striking music videos and pieces for artists — with no boundaries or limitations to his vision.
And when the multihyphenate isn’t recording, mixing, or taking part in a photo/video shoot, he’s hitting books at Five Towns College — working towards a bachelor’s degree in Business Administration and Management!
Hear ye, hear ye! Calling all wizards, practitioners of the occult and everyone in between — this one is for you!
As summer finally passes and fall gives way, dread and despair now see the light of day. With melancholic mornings and somber sundowns, 2020 is sure to close out on quite a forlorn note — and it’s time you reign in this pitiful year with the right soundtrack. Befitting of all sludge lords and druids of doom, it’s time for you to drown your sorrows in the sounds of King Bastard.
King Bastard, the spacey quartet hailing from Long Island, New York, is slowly working to reshape the parameters and perceptions of sludge and doom metal as we know it. Drawing influence from bands like Sleep and Kyuss to jazz greats like Ornette Coleman, King Bastard ultimately cultivates an aura of mystery and atmospheric psychedelia with their vast compositions.
With an upcoming album mixed by odd-music extraordinaire Colin Marston, we sought best to sit down with the rising band to ask the hard-hitting questions.
On an idyllic Sunday afternoon deep in the heart of Suffolk County, we crashed at bassist Arthur Erb‘s place — which also double’s as the band’s practice space — for this interview. Rife with musical equipment from a 5-string bass to a custom-designed King Bastard drum kit (as well as a TV and a multitude of Xbox 360 games!), the environment was telling of the band’s modus operandi. Full of inspiration, breathability and an air of creativity, it’s no wonder King Bastard is capable of pulling off such thought-provoking music.
Consisting of drummer Matt Ryan, guitarist Mike Verni, bassist Arthur Erb and synth master Isabelle “Izzy” Guido, the band told tales about their humble beginnings at Stony Brook University, outlandish adventures with Spencer Flash (whose name radiates 90s pro wrestler vibes), and how history has played a role in shaping their music amongst other various topics of interest.
“The first day, we all went to Stony Brook University,” Mike candidly recalled, “I wore this [Sleep] shirt, pure coincidence. We were just walking around doing all the freshman bulls–t, I was just miserable. I think [Izzy] was walking in opposite directions and said “Oh s–t, nice shirt!” and I thought, “Who the f–k else knows Sleep?”
The story continued to unfold in a rather fateful way when Arthur also happened to walk by the two just meeting for the first time.
“[Izzy and I] were just shootin’ the s–t, and right as that’s happening, Arthur walks by and he’s like, “Yo dude! That’s a sick shirt!” I thought he was f–king with us and I was like, “Shut the f–k up, name a song” and he goes, “Dopesmoker” and I’m like, “He knows!”
Eventually the trio of friends got together to jam and learning covers before realizing — they needed a drummer. The friends soon whipped up a fantastic flyer featuring a baby behind a drum kit with a poorly Photoshopped Sleep logo, along with contact information before inevitably stumbling upon the man known as Spencer Flash. The band told tales of meeting up with Flash, who had been playing drums for a mere six months at that point, and how they would play covers and make stuff up behind Flash’s different playing style, which essentially paved the way for King Bastard’s current composition style.
As Flash’s tenure with the then-unnamed King Bastard came to an end, Arthur called upon his former pet store coworker, Matt Ryan, who had been playing drums for 14 years at that point as well as winning several drumming competitions, to round out the group.
On working with Marston, guitarist Mike described the seasoned veteran as an “awesome” and “incredible” person to work with. Mike also revealed that it was his uncle Darren, who is a member of legendary Long Island sludge metal band Unearthly Trance, was the one who pointed them in the direction of the Krallice commandeer.
“They recorded their last three(?) albums with Colin and he’s like, “Dude, go to Colin.” I was talking to him about our band and stuff and he’s like, “Go to Colin,” and I’m like “I haven’t even heard of this guy,” Mike recalled. “[Darren’s] like, “Trust me, he’s good,” and I’m like, “Okay! Let’s try it out.” I emailed him and everything and I looked at other bands he’s worked with and I was like, “Holy s–t! We gotta do it with this guy.”
Izzy then chimed in, revealing her starstruck attitude upon entering the studio. “It was the moment of walking into the recording booth and just seeing like, “Oh I’ve listened to that album and that album. I like Panopticon, I like Mastery, I like Imperial Triumphant… oh god, I like Liturgy.”
King Bastard revealed that “It Came from the Void” is tentatively set for an early 2021 release.
Listen to King Bastard discuss their wacky escapades including their Haunted Barn gig, life outside of King Bastard, Monochromatic Black and more — available now!
Their first release in five years (barring 2018’s “Legion: XX,” which was released under their original name, Burn the Priest), the grizzled veterans of groove metal return with a boisterous set of bouncy riffs, heart-stopping rhythms and the always-brash vocals characteristic of the Virginia-based quintet. As per most bands that have been around the bend for decades plus, time often has a way with catching up as it slowly chips away at quality and former glory — but Lamb of God’s eighth studio endeavor proves otherwise.
Standing at the helm of the record is Josh Wilbur, whose production credits include Korn, Megadeth, Dillinger Escape Plan and Motionless in White. Wilbur’s fierce production is showcased throughout the album in tracks such as “Checkmate” and “New Colossal Hate,” where the combination of Willie Adler’s tight rhythms and Mark Morton’s ever-precise alternate-picked riffs punch you in the jaw while John Campbell plays the perfect supporting role with accentuating bass lines — not to anyone’s surprise.
As a guitarist, I always take joy in hearing the tandem offense of Adler and Morton. I also can only beg the question of what noise gate pedals Adler and Morton use. Take “Gears” for example, where the verse sections are teeming with brutally accurate staccato riffs — and let’s not forget their characteristic dynamic changes from palm mutes to open riffage, often underlined by a catastrophic cascade of crash cymbals.
If you’ve made it this far, stop what you’re doing right now and listen to the bass intro of track number four, “Reality Bath.” With such a tasteful introduction, John Campbell wants to remind the listener that his presence is always to be felt, no matter how subtle it may be.
One of the biggest points of concern leading up to Lamb of God’s latest effort was the departure of founding member and (now former) drummer Chris Adler and how his successor, Art Cruz (of Winds of Plague and Prong fame), would perform on the new record.
As the record goes on, it becomes apparent that Cruz was, simply put, the right choice to replace Chris Adler. Cruz successfully subverts any and all expectations as he brings the energy with blistering endurance, pivotal tempo changes and perfectly timed execution in crucial moments, like the final section of “Resurrection Man”—where his downbeat strikes hit like Floyd Mayweather amidst the staggered cacophony of the rhythm guitar. Not to mention, that iconic snappy Lamb of God snare still remains!
My usual complaint with Lamb of God has always been the lyricism on Blythe’s end. While it’s no doubt that Blythe is one of the most talented vocalists in all of metal with his easily identifiable barks and rambunctious delivery, time and time again has shown that lyrics prove to be the band’s weakest point — even the “See who gives a f—“ line in “Laid to Rest” I find to be kind of cringeworthy, but regardless that wouldn’t stop me from throwing down in the pit at a show when they inevitably play that song.
That same principle applies to this record — kind of cringeworthy at times, but I’ll still take it.
Take “On the Hook” for example where the chorus goes, “Prescription for a homicide / A generation on the hook / Addicted and commodified / Prescription for a homicide.” Blythe’s “woke” lyrics never seemed to impress me, but people seem to like it so it’s alright.
There are some brighter lyrical moments on the album, however. Far more than usual actually, like the poignant opener “Memento Mori” — which goes, “By the darkest river, beneath the leafless trees / I think I’m drowning, this dream is killing me / In the coldest winter, between the fading lights / I feel I’m falling into a frozen sky.”
While “VII” showcased a more battle-hardened Blythe following his prison stint, the self-titled release stays true to their approach with anthems loaded with political commentary and self-reflection on the next chapter of Lamb of God’s career.
With nearly three decades in the game, eight albums under the belt and a rather dramatic lineup change in recent memory, Lamb of God has fully transitioned into veteran territory and they have the battle scars to prove it. Unapologetic and unafraid, Lamb of God dives head in into this next chapter of their career with their latest self-titled release.
While it’s no “Ashes of the Wake” or “Sacrament,” fans of Lamb of God can all find something on this album to enjoy, as it represents all the best elements that truly made Lamb of God into the band that they are today.
Down the Wormhole is a review series (and potential further ramblings) of Lunar Space artist, wormharvester. You can follow him on Instagram @wormharvester.
“Music is the universal language,” a wise man by the name of Johnny the Dreamchaser once said.
Johnny the Dreamchaser, also known as $wagger Dagger, has been a local legend repping South Valley Stream for years on end. From the countless stories of Johnny rapping in the hallways of Valley Stream South High School to his dedicated fan base, you’d be hard-pressed to find anyone who doesn’t like the radiant personality of Johnny the Dreamchaser.
Worm and Rojo were afforded the opportunity to interview the rising star in Johnny the Dreamchaser and we here at Lunar Space were ultimately left humbled and inspired after hearing Johnny speak his mind. Read on to find out more about the talented spirit that is Johnny the Dreamchaser.
Growing up in the pop-punk-saturated culture of Long Island, Johnny has utilized his unique sonic upbringing into shaping the innovative sound that has made him so beloved by his followers.
“My elementary school music teacher, she, like, introduced me to music,” Johnny noted. “I wasn’t really rapping in the beginning. I was just listening to a lot of different vibes as far as like… the Fall Out Boy‘s, Panic! at the Disco‘s… Gym Class Heroes.”
In regards to rap and hip-hop, Johnny listed Eminem is one of his biggest influences — noting, “He was definitely one of the first rappers that I ever studied.” He continued, noting that Eminem’s inspiring story was one of “No excuses.”
“I take my shit from various art forms because music is like, music is the universal language. I don’t discriminate it as like, ‘Oh, I don’t fuck with this’—I mean if it’s trash, I’m going to be straight up about it but like, if I fuck with it… it’s dope.”
As Johnny draws influence from a wide spectrum of artists, he somehow manages to amalgamate all of his diverse tastes into one cohesive sound — not something that many artists can skillfully do. During the interview, Johnny even mentions that his first performance consisted of a verse that he had three minutes to write — all without a beat! A cappella!
Speaking on what influences his writing, Johnny stated that, “I can just pick anything.”
“Honestly, it can be anything, even down to my [Instagram] videos and shit. I’ll just be writing like different vibes, I’ll always catch different pockets and different beats. Any song can be a moment,” Johnny profoundly stated. “If I was given a beat, I could just think off the top of my head.”
Of course, as is with any Lunar Interview, we had to dig deeper to find out not just about Johnny the Dreamchaser, but also who Johnny the person is.
“I think it’s important for me to keep myself grounded. Where I come from definitely reflects who I am as a person, as a man, as an artist. Every time I look in the mirror, I’m like, ‘I got this.’”
On his daily life, Johnny notes that going to the gym and watching TV are amongst his favorite pastimes. Shows like “Family Guy” and “Power” rank among the rising rapper’s favorite programs. Keeping his mental, physical and emotional health in check remains imperative to Johnny’s approach in life.
Given his laidback and humbled demeanor, Johnny has spoken fondly of his family and mentioned that spending time with them is equally as important as the rest of his pastimes.
A man with a fascinating outlook on life, Johnny left us incredibly inspired with his concluding words of wisdom.
When asked on future advice he would give to up-and-coming artists and possibly the next Johnny the Dreamchaser, Johnny notes that patience is one of the most important things for rising artists to learn.
“Definitely patience… Get it how you can. Get it anyway how you can. You never know who’s who and you never know who’s going to be listening or who’s going to be tuning in, so get it however you can,” Johnny said. “Never let people and petty comments bring you down.”
Citing a profound quote from Eminem, Johnny noted that, “People diss what they can’t do.”
Johnny left off with a resounding inspirational statement, telling listeners to “keep going, keep building and keep perfecting your craft however you can because I think that’s the most important thing.” “Whatever it means to you, put it out. You never know how it can be received.”
Check out our full interview with Johnny the Dreamchaser here!
Deep in the veins of New York lies a hidden musical gem known as Menegroth, the Thousand Caves — which has birthed some of the world’s most technical, innovative and mysterious music to grace the ears of homosapiens all across the globe. If you’re a fan of odd time signatures, dissonant intervals and unorthodox musical intricacies, chances are you’ve come across the works of Colin Marston at one point or another.
On this edition of “Lunar Interviews,” wormharvester, Mal Rojo and JayPapes sit down with the industry veteran in Marston at his studio in Queens, N.Y. to discuss a plethora of topics including his initial foray in metal, his interesting travel stories and his life philosophies (plus what kind of groceries he gets!).
“It’s a series of short stories and histories about the origins of this mythic world [he] created. Menegroth was one of the ancient cities of the elves. Menegroth, the Thousand Caves is the full title and, uh, the ‘Thousand Caves’ was named just because of how confusing this studio is in terms of the layout and the number of hallways and doors and rooms,” he added.
Marston then opened up about his role in Gorguts — a band he previously was a fan of prior to joining — while also noting his roles in bands such as Krallice, Dysrhythmia and Behold… the Arctopus.
“The bands that I’ve had for the longest are Behold… the Arctopus, started in 2001 in New York; Dysrhythmia, which started in Philadelphia and when I met those guys, they were there and that’s where I grew up. I joined in 2004 after already being in New York so the rest of the guys relocated here in the next couple years after that,” he noted.
“In 2007, we started Krallice, although it started more as a recording project and then sort of, over the next year, evolved into a band that had a bass player and played shows and stuff. The same year [or] 2008, Kevin [Hufnagel] from Dysrhythmia and I joined Gorguts and we’ve been doing that ever since.”
Marston then spoke on his beginnings in music, noting his involvement in the scene played a role in recording other bands.
“I started playing music and recording right at the same time,” he said. “When I first started playing guitar, I think within a year or two I was borrowing a 4-track and messing around with making my own recordings. Eventually I was able to borrow a computer recording setup and get into that a few years later.”
“I think my musical creative process has always, sort of, gone hand-in-hand with recording and making my own recordings. There’s only been two times in my entire life that I’ve recorded with somebody else. Every single other recording I’ve done for myself, and for other people obviously, I’ve done. That’s just how I came into music — was through both angles simultaneously.”
“[Stravinsky’s ‘The Rite of Spring’] was something I remember because it was played for my music class at school. I don’t remember how old I was, but I was pretty damn young [when] the music teacher putting that on me being like, ‘Okay, this is really grabbing me. Like, this is intense,’” said Marston.
“In high school, I remember discovering the [Béla] Bartók string quartets and borrowing them from the library at school… After that I think it was Penderecki, which I heard the “Threnody to the Victims of Hiroshima” probably when I was 16 or 17. A lot of the stuff that really impacted me was in the same four or five year span. That was the most intense, emotional music I think I’ve ever heard at that point.”
Returning to the topic of Gorguts, we asked if Marston experienced any pressure in partaking in 2013’s “Colored Sands” — Gorguts’ first release since 2001’s “From Wisdom to Hate.”
“I think yes and no. I didn’t feel any pressure in the way that I drove myself crazy, but I definitely felt it,” he noted. Being a fan of the band before joining, I think I felt some sort of a responsibility that whatever I wrote in terms of bass lines and the one song that I wrote everything for, I did feel a responsibility for it to have a continuity with the records that came before.”
“I maybe limited myself in terms of the kinds of things I was writing on bass due to the way I perceived the style of the previous bass players in the band. So sure, I did feel pressure for it to be Gorguts in the way that I had in my head. For ‘Pleiades’ [Dust],’ I didn’t feel that at all,” he continued.
With roots in Valley Stream, N.Y. — like Lunar Space — and LS member wormharvester taking his pseudonym from track 4 of Artificial Brain’s “Labyrinth Constellation,” we made sure to ask Marston what it was like to work with the Long Island-based tech-death outfit.
“I love working with those guys. Not only are they super fun dudes to hang out with and have a good sense of humor, but obviously killer musicians. They really have their shit together,” Marston continued before telling a story on guitarist Dan [Gargiulo’s] approach towards recording.
Amidst all the talks of recording, travel stories and living in NYC (all of which is entailed in the hour-long interview available now), we opted to dive deeper into the mind of Menegroth’s own and discover what he truly feels about life and the world we live in today.
“The inanity of countries and borders and ‘Us being different from you’ and how little sense it makes for it to be true… It just makes me absolutely furious with the political state of the world. And then you go and you just hang out with the people and you’re just like, ‘We’re all the same! We just like Morbid Angel and Metallica,’” Marston lamented.
“People want the same basic things everywhere and it’s just gotten really confused with the compartmentalization of every aspect of modern culture,” Marston wisely noted.
Though the name Kyle Miller may be a stranger to many, the classical guitarist and composer is most certainly a force to be reckoned with when it comes to the vast spectrum of music.
course of the interview, Miller’s calm demeanor and reserved nature should be
noted, but also should not be mistaken for any sort of weakness. Rather, Miller
uses such characteristics to his advantage to remain disciplined and fastidious
in his approach — making him one of the most refined and bright young musicians
to emerge from the contemporary classical world today.
On the debut edition of the “Lunar Interviews” series, Miller sat down with Lunar Space cohorts wormharvester, Mal Rojo and JayPapes to discuss his rigorous performance and compositional studies, his initial foray into the classical world and who the man Miller is beyond the guitar.
“Part of being a
classical guitarist — part of being a performer — is to not only play the music
that’s written on the page, but convey it emotionally. In other words, bringing
justice to the music or bringing the music to life,” Miller said in regards to
performance. “It’s not an easy task to do on your own.”
“The job that my
guitar teacher has is to get me to figure out ways to understand the music on a
more in-depth level — either theoretically [and/or] emotionally to bring life
to that music,” Miller continued.
spoke on the emotional rigors that encompass performance and composition and
noted the many factors that go into doing such.
that I’m taking… it’s kind of taking the ‘knowledge is power’ sort-of approach.
You know, trying to learn various different sides of music theory,
guitar-playing technique, understanding other instruments. This way when I go
to write for them I know what I’m dealing with,” Miller noted.
“This way, when
I sit down to write, or I’m sitting and listening to someone else perform,
either my own music or someone else’s, you essentially have the knowledge to
either interpret what someone else is doing or try to convey your own emotional
idea,” Miller added.
“You’ll have the
knowledge to do so, you can have the technique to do so whether it’s
compositional technique or performance technique. Because let’s say you’re
playing music and… you were confident in your technique, then you don’t so much
need to worry about, ‘Can I play the line?’ You’re thinking about what note out
of these 20 notes are the important notes [and] where do you place the emphasis
so this way you can convey to the listener what the line really means from an
When asked to walk us through a day in the life of Miller, the Omnea guitarist noted that the first thing he does upon waking up is putting on some form of music.
“As a composer I try to not limit myself to one style of music to the best of my ability. I do spend most of my time in classical music nowadays — I grew up listening to death metal but nowadays, it’s mostly in classical music in various subgenres. I really like Renaissance music,” said Miller.
music, Miller enjoys two pastimes in particular — playing video games and
Growing up in the “Guitar Hero” generation, Miller noted that he “obsessively got into” the games as a child and “got way better than anyone needs to be at it.”
“I actually ended up entering a competition and the winning prize was to meet Steve Vai. I was second, [but] I ended up meeting him two years later at the Sam Ash in Carle Place because his mom still lives in the area,” Miller recalled.
Miller also offered his thoughts on one of his favorite video game series, “Kingdom Hearts,” and noted that, “excluding the third one, it’s incredible.”
Taking aim at “Kingdom Hearts III” specifically, Miller noted the highly anticipated title did not live up to expectations. “You waited 10 years to get no sound effects and shitty dialogue that doesn’t need to be there.”
“They took away — you know you could just button mash through the dialogue, that’s how you’re supposed to play video games. I don’t care what they’re talking about, I just wanna slash some dudes,” Miller lamented.
Check out the full 54-minute interview with Kyle Miller as he discusses his studies of classical music at Queens College, his practice regimen, influences like Charles Ives, playing video games, climate change, watching anime and more in further detail on Lunar Space’s YouTube channel.