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Killing Bear

Killing Bear

Monday 9th August, 2010 11:27AM

Comics, Wild Beasts, Nirvana raping David Bowie... Welcome to the world of Killing Bear; a band / concept from Pukerua Bay that isn't content with doing things the way that every other band does. In an email interview with the group they told us all about their new EP, how they grew from a solo project to a three-piece and just who exactly Frank Williams is.


How long have you been playing together as Killing Bear?

K.B. - The current line up of Zack, Cormac and Tia have been performing for about 4 months. But Tia and Cormac have been playing together as a 2 piece for about 2 years.

Is there a story behind the band name?

K.B. - There sure is. Cormac is currently writing and illustrating a comic book about a man by the name of Frank Williams who lives about 200 years or so in the future in a post apocalyptic world where psychos, wild beasts and megalithic mutants roam the waste lands. The amazon rain forest (the lungs of the earth) is the last habitable place on the planet for mankind. Frank finds himself possessed with an ancient American Indian warrior who calls himself Killing Bear and has an agenda for justice and revenge. All of our music is either directly about these characters and the world that surrounds them, or is inspired by them. including poster art and album covers, in fact the next one we plan to basically just be a comic with a CD in the back.

Where are you based?

K.B. - Pukerua Bay.

What is your current line-up?

K.B. - Zack Dredge - Keyboards, vocals
Tia Beaufort- drums, vocals
Cormac Ferris- guitar, vocals

How did you all meet?

K.B. - Cormac met Zack at college and after they left school they decided to start a band and needed a drummer so they looked up the ones advertising on the rock shop website and Tia was one of them or maybe he was the only one, either way he qualified for our band back then at the time.

How would you describe Killing Bear’s sound?

Cormac - it sounds like an atomic bomb going off but instead of the radiation killing you it does good things to you like improve your health and overall you feel good.

Tia - Sounds like noise that you just found out you don't have aids or sounds like the noise made by a massive evil fetus combined with 10,000 fetuses creating one huge beast!

Zack - Drum bashing riff thrashing key smashing melodic goodness with a pinch of insanity. Someone else, not us, once said we sounded like Nirvana raping David Bowie and we were the offspring of that one night of passion, I don't know if that's a good thing but I hope it is.

Killing Bear has been a solo project, a two-piece and is now a three-piece. What has lead to the additional members?

K.B. - It started as just Cormac performing the songs by himself acoustically or to a backing track accompanied by psychedelic videos. after a while he got tired of the ridged conformity or the backing track and Tia expressed interest in playing the drums again so they started doing shows, and at the same time they started recording the album in Cormac's studio, in his parents basement. Cormac went a bit crazy and added quite a bit of keyboards to give the recording more depth and variety of colour and flavour. When the CD release was looming they decided that the live sound should reflect the recordings better or more accurately, so they approached ex-band member Zack Dredge (who primarily was a guitarist) to play the keys and he said yes. And what a good job he does, and he lives around the corner from Tia so its very convenient.

Beyond the obvious, what affect has it had on your live performances?

K.B. - It's like our dynamic has been amplified, I think Tia and Cormac had really good live and creative energy between just two of them. But with Zack its a whole other level, also we know each other musically really well since we played so much in previous other bands in the past that we just gel.

Cormac is now free to do more interesting guitar work live where before as just a two piece he was restricted to a more basic rhythm version of playing the songs.

Tell us about your new EP Wild Beasts.

K.B. - We recorded a majority of it in Cormac's parents basement in Paraparaumu and one of the drum tracks in Pukerua Bay at Tia's house, nothing particularly interesting happened apart from Cormac's parents coming down to tell us to Cut The Racket as they put it, and the night before our first day of recording we got really drunk off whiskey and cola in Pukerua Bay and hung out in the skate park and took photos of ourselves (they're not very good photos) I cant remember what the first song we recorded was but I remember we were very very hung over.

Who designed your album packaging?

K.B. - Cormac designed the layout and the concept for the pop-ups, his good friend Tane Williams did the illustrations and another good friend Thaw Naing illustrated the poster (that also comes with the album) featuring a picture of Killing Bear himself.

What was the inspiration behind the pop-up and cover art?

K.B. - Cormac recently started collecting pop-up books and saw this as a way of making the album extra special and more of a reason for people to buy it, if you can go all out why not!

It’s very impressive. What other band’s album packaging have you been impressed by?

K.B. - I haven't really been that impressed by any bands album cover which is why we did it the way we did I don't want people to buy it and file it away once the load it onto their computer, I want them to put is on their mantle and look at it and imagine that they are at some kind of cartoon psychedelic funky gig and Killing Bear is playing. I like the Mars Volta covers because they are really vivid eye catching paintings but they are still conforming to the standard format and I believe that music and visual art are atomically linked like brother and sister, they should reflect each other. So we do our best to break the mold and taking steps towards a more interactive form of art and entertainment. Actually Tool's 10,000 Days cover pretty awesome! But all Tool is great!

How does the band write its material?

K.B. - About half of the songs on the album were written by Cormac from when he was solo and since then Tia and Cormac came up with the rest musically and structurally and then Cormac would put lyrics to them later. All of this happened very fast around the time of recording so a lot of songs were recorded before they even had lyrics. One of our songs wasn't even written, it was just a one take studio jam called 'Lets Rowdy'.

Where do you get your inspiration from?

K.B. - Killing Bear himself!

Do you have any plans to tour around the country?

K.B. - Closer to summer we are going to do a North Ssland tour and soon after a South Island tour but we've only just started organising that so there's no concrete details on that. Also we're planning to do a video release for our song 'Wild Robots Roaming Free' in wellington in about a month hopefully at Bodega but again we are waiting for dates to be confirmed or rejected.

What is the best or most memorable gig you’ve played?

K.B. - So far our CD release. It was way more successful than we could have ever anticipated, so many people came and there was such a good positive vibe and everyone was happy and entertained.

What are your feelings on the musical community in Wellington?

K.B. - Artistically it's very diverse and flavoursome. On a personal level its like any kind of social scene a mix bag of fruits and nuts, there are some artists that are really awesome and approachable and then there are some with massive egos, they just need to get over themselves.

What Kiwi bands would you most like to play a show with?

K.B. - Shihad, Kora, Die Die Die.

And international bands?

K.B. - The Flaming Lips, Queens of Stone Age and Tool. Oh and Rage.

What are you listening to at the moment?

K.B. - The Beatles, old school Beastie Boys!

What else does the future hold for Killing Bear?

K.B. - A comic book, loads of gigs, overseas tour, Flying Nun?

The state of music in NZ is…

K.B. - Looking really promising, the Golden Age is approaching. But someone needs to sort the shit that's advertised all over the commercial TV and radio...