I Killed The Prom Queen

author AP date 19/03/07

Australian metal-act I Killed The Prom Queen released one of the most solid metalcore albums of 2006 and has since been hailed Adelaide’s take on what might well be the fastest growing genre. The band has been fronted by no less than four vocalists during their career, three of them since the release of their latest album “Music For The Recently Deceased”, but have nonetheless been able to remain on the top of Australian metal. The band is currently touring with Caliban, Bleeding Through and All Shall Perish on the infamous Darkness Over Europe tour as the opening act, and seeing as this tour had scheduled a stop at the beloved Train in Århus, RF.net seized the opportunity to catch an interview with the metallers from down under.

RF.net: Hi! First of all thanks for agreeing to do this interview with us. Can you please introduce yourselves to those readers who might not be familiar with you and your music?
Sean: My name is Sean and I play bass in I Killed The Prom Queen. We’re a metal band from Australia.

RF.net: How’s the tour going so far?
Sean: Yeah, really good. Really, really good. The shows have been quite large and we’ve been opening every show but we’ve still played to a lot of people and I think kids are getting into us. So it’s good.

RF.net: When a band that tends towards the metal genres releases a record today, it is often labeled as something-core, I Killed The Prom Queen being no exception. How would you describe your style?
Sean: I’d say, I guess the only way these days to describe it would be metalcore with melodic vocals, you know, like it’s got a lot of melodies but it’s still quite heavy. And that’s what metalcore is today, really.

RF.net: Metalcore is often thrashed by critics as generic and uncreative, with Hatesphere’s Jacob Bredahl calling it “a lame attempt at metal by 16 year-old kids playing Slayer riffs”. What do you make of this?
Sean: I guess, to some extent, I could kind of agree with him. There are a lot of bands coming out that are recycling riffs that have already been done. And I mean, I know what we’re doing is by no means original, but I think what we do, we do quite well, do you know what I mean? So I guess I could agree with that statement to some extent.

RF.net: The band’s name, the albums’ titles, track names and lyrics all have a common character; they are morbid and obscure. Where does the inspiration for I Killed The Prom Queen stem?
Sean: Well, the name came from our first vocalist, Mike. I don’t know, he just came up with it. It was random and we thought it sounded kind of cool. The album title we got from a movie called Beetlejuice. I don’t know, we’re not obsessed with death or anything like that; we just thought it sounded cool so we thought we’d go with it.

RF.net: The past year has seen quite a bit of turmoil in I Killed The Prom Queen’s line-up; Michael Crafter getting the boot and Ed Butcher replacing him only to desert the band due to home sickness, Mourning Tide’s Tyrone standing in for the Japanese shows and now Colin Jeffs trying out as the new frontman. How does the band adapt to such a diversity of vocalists?
Sean: I don’t know how we adapt to it; we’re pretty much just searching for the one person that is like the rest of us. I mean, one that’s like our best friend straight away; the one that has a good voice; the one who we can hang out with and all that stuff. And you got Colin; he’s rad, he’s got a really good voice and he’s a really cool guy, but at this point it still is a trial situation. He might decide after three months on the road that he just doesn’t want to do it anymore. But, I mean, when we find that right person, and Colin could be the one person, then hopefully things will work out.

RF.net: Ed Butcher’s vocal delivery was hailed by critics as extremely versatile, ranging from low death metal grunts to hardcore screaming and everything in between. Is it difficult to replace such a band member?
Sean: At first we thought he would be extremely difficult to replace, but with all the new trends coming out with a lot of bands doing that sort of vocal style – a lot of vocalists in Australia are working on the diversity of their vocals. We had a fair few try-outs before we decided to go with Colin for this tour, and a lot of them had rad voices, so it’s actually getting a little bit easier.

RF.net: I understand that the lyrics were written at least twice for the new album.
Sean: At first, Michael Crafter wrote maybe ten percent of the lyrics of the new CD and the rest were written by Kevin, JJ and Jona. We wanted to change the ten percent that Michael Crafter put in purely because we wanted Ed to have some input to the songs and express himself through that way.

RF.net: How do Ed Butcher’s lyrics differ from Michael Crafter’s?

Sean: They’re not so much Michael’s lyrics as Jona’s; A lot of them deal with ex-girlfriends and all that sort of cliché shit. Ed’s lyrics mean a lot more to him but they meant a lot to everyone else as well.

RF.net: Critics and fans alike have received “Music For The Recently Deceased” with great enthusiasm. Did the album fulfill your own expectations?
Sean: Yes, it really, really, really did. I was blown away by the recording quality and I was really happy with the way that the songs came out.

RF.net: The album has received incredible reviews, not least a 10 out of 10 from Blunt Magazine. Does this create pressure in the form of too high expectations for your next album? I mean, would it have to be metal’s “Dark Side of the Moon”?
Sean: I wouldn’t really go that far. We kind of just write stuff that makes us happy, like whatever we want to write and whatever we think sounds good, we’ll go with. If critics aren’t going to like it, that’s their problem.

RF.net: How does an I Killed The Prom Queen album come to life? What is the process behind it?
Sean: We usually take time off, usually three to five months, and we sit at home and write riffs, and we get together every week, once a week at least, and squash them all together and see what we can come up with, really.

RF.net: Fredrik Nordstrom, who has previously worked with bands like In Flames, At The Gates, Darkest Hour and Dimmu Borgir, produced “Music For The Recently Deceased”. How does it feel to work with such a renowned producer? How did he contribute to the album?
Sean: It was rad. It was really cool, though I was a little bit nervous at first because he’s worked with a lot of bands that we look up to. But he broke the ice really quickly; He’s kind of an eccentric kind of guy, really funny, does weird, strange things, and it made the atmosphere a lot more relaxed. He helped develop the sound of the whole recording really, though he didn’t have too much input with the song-structure. Patrick, his assistant, helped out a little bit with drum patterns, but overall, I think they were pretty happy with the way we’d written our songs.

RF.net: Some of those bands, notably In Flames and At The Gates, have been pointed out as your influences, as have metalcore acts like As I Lay Dying. How does it feel to be compared to the pioneers of their respective genres?
Sean: It’s rad. It’s really great that we can be compared to the bands that we look up to and to have our new CD compared to that – and to have critics say that it’s as good as those bands – is mind-blowing.

RF.net: The news of Crafter’s departure was received with skepticism, yet “Music For The Recently Deceased” saw I Killed The Prom Queen reborn, more epic and brutal than ever. Have you given any thought to your next album and the direction it will take?
Sean: At this point: not yet. We’ve been on the road from day one since the album got released in Australia and we haven’t really had a chance to sit down and discuss what sort of direction the album will take, or even write any music for the new album. Kevin sometimes takes a four-track with him and he’ll write some stuff and come up with ideas and show us. But we don’t really have the time at the moment.

RF.net: Australia is not exactly a metal cradle in the way that Sweden is. How difficult is to make a name of oneself as a metal band down under?
Sean: At the moment, for new bands in Australia, I think it would be a lot harder because there are a lot of bands coming out in Australia doing the same sort of stuff, and a lot of them are very good. I mean, we started a long time ago, so we kind of had a lot of working up to get to where we are now, so I think it’s going to be a lot harder for new bands that have a lot of talent to get right up there, like in America.

RF.net: Much in the same way, Denmark does not have a hospitable reputation regarding metal acts playing here with no easy access to this stuff (radio, etc.), yet here you are. How do you think Denmark will receive you guys tonight?
Sean: I have absolutely no idea. I hope it will be packed, I really do. I mean, we’ve gone down well at every show, so hopefully Denmark won’t be any difference.

RF.net: When the band started, did you ever imagine yourselves playing a country as small as Denmark? How have your ambitions changed during your career?
Sean: I wasn’t in the band when the band started, but joining the band, I never imagined myself traveling outside of Australia, so this is insane to me. It’s my dream, really. I’m doing what I want, and I’ve always wanted to do this. Each time we set ourselves a goal, we always seem to reach it, so our goals keep getting bigger and bigger, and hopefully we can continue reaching them.

RF.net: Time for some less official questions. We have a tendency to require crazy tour memoirs from our interviewees, so do you have a strange experience from your touring history to share with our readers?
Sean: I got arrested, technically, kind of got arrested in Ireland – the second show we had on this tour – because I crashed into a car and apparently I didn’t have the right insurance papers because it’s all in Dutch and they can’t read Dutch, so I was held in police custody for six hours in a Belfast jail. That’s the second time I’ve been arrested on tour so far.

RF.net: What the first time then?

Sean: The first time I had a few too many drinks and I smashed a McDonald’s window and I had to go to court the day before we flew to Sweden to record the album, so it was a bit stressful and it wasn’t funny. I shouldn’t have done it.

RF.net: If you could pick any band to tour with, past, present, dead or alive, who would get the honor?
Sean: Good question. Can you pause that for a second? I think, we’d really like to tour with Soilwork at the moment – that’d be really cool. I mean a lot of the tours we’ve done so far have been with bands we’ve wanted to tour with, like Bleeding Through. We’ve toured with Caliban before, which was amazing because we’re all big fans of Caliban. Now we get to tour with them again, which is rad. Evergreen Terrace was also an honor, and we got to play shows with As I Lay Dying and stuff. I mean we’ve played with a lot of bands that we’ve really wanted to already. So I guess In Flames or Soilwork would be rad.

RF.net: Downloading is the never-ending debate these days. What is your stance?
Sean: I think it’s fine. Our CD got leaked onto the Internet before we got to release it. We were all a little bit worried about the whole situation, but I think it ended up maybe doing us some good because it gave kids the chance to listen it before they went to buy it and we still did quite well with CD-sales. I mean, I don’t really see it as a bad thing, I kind of see it as a slightly positive thing.

RF.net: Is there anything you’d like to add before we wrap up? Any shout-outs?
Sean: Say hi to my mom. No, just like, thanks to everyone for coming to our shows. Hopefully you’ve enjoyed, or enjoy our shows.

RF.net: So will we be seeing you again in Denmark?

Sean: Of course! We’d love to come back!

RF.net: Thanks for the interview guys and good luck with the tour!

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