EMQ’s with KING KRAKEN
Hi everyone! Welcome to our new EMQ’s interview with South Wales based Heavy Rock/Metal band, King Kraken. Huge thanks to vocalist Mark Donoghue for taking part!
What is your name, what do you play, and can you tell us a little bit about the history of the band?
Hi, Mark here, vocalist for King Kraken. We started around June 2018 and had our first gig in September of that year. Pete (rhythm) and Karl (bass) started the band. Pete put an ad on Facebook looking for a vocalist. I answered and thought I’d give it a shot. I think I was the fly in the ointment initially as soon as I received the initial bunch of songs to learn I re-wrote most of the lyrics and retitled the songs…bloody singers eh! Since its beginning we have been pretty relentless with regards to gigging and writing material. Within our first two years of being a band we managed to become runners up in Bloodstock: Metal 2The Masses (Cardiff), play gigs in Sheffield 02, Birmingham 02, come 3rd in HRH: Highway To Hell. Our greatest achievement to date has to be signing to Metal Rocka Records which is a sister label to Off Yer Rocks Records run by the loons at Hard Rock Hell!
How did you come up with your band name?
Oh, what’s in a name lol. We went through quite a few suggestions and got stuck in the whole ‘all of us like the name except one’. That formula went on for weeks. Most of us would like a name then one would come along and say ‘crap!’. However, can’t remember which one it was but one of the boys suggested Kraken. We all loved it but obviously there had to be an existing Kraken…there was! It was then proposed that we stick King on the front of it and the rest is….nope not gonna go down that cliche route lol. Later on, as we got more used to the name, it kind of fit our sound, huge, monstrous and stinks of fish! I like to tell people well…the King of a species is a cannibal e.g. King Cobra. Therefore, a King Kraken is a Kraken that eats other Krakens which is a lot cooler than, ‘Hey boys, stick King in front of it!’
What Country/Region are you from and what is the Metal/Rock scene like there?
We are all based in South Wales covering most of the southern coast from Llanelli, Swansea, Maesteg, Pontypridd and Tredegar. The Metal/Rock scene is pretty good down our way! Covid aside there are a good few venues and most bands do know each other. You have venues such as Hangar 18 in Swansea, Fuel Rock Club in Cardiff, The Dragonffli in Pontypool, The Dolls House in Abertillery, Jacs in Aberdare, The Green Rooms in Treforest. There are plenty of places to play and hopefully we all get to play them again when this Covid nightmare ends.
What is your latest release? (Album, EP, Single, Video)
Our latest release is our new EP “Chaos Engine”. It has four tracks ‘Chaos Engine’, ‘Freak’, ‘The Grey’ and ‘Castle Bone’. We recorded it in Longwave Studios with Romesh Dodangoda. He did a phenomenal job and really gave King Kraken a huge sound that we all hoped for.
Who have been your greatest influences?
Ooh now then! Have to say Queen, Black Sabbath, Mark Tremonti, Queen, Zakk Wylde, Pantera, Metallica, Queen, Paul Rogers, Clutch, did I say Queen?
What first got you into music?
My dad. He had “Queens Greatest Hits” on vinyl. Played it till the grooves wore out. My parents then bought me “Queen: The Complete Works” one year for Christmas…that was the end of that! That was my youngest memory. Wasn’t until I hit secondary school when I found Skid Row and Tesla. From there it just snowballed! As a musician my parents bought me a second-hand organ and I got pretty tidy on it. I was a keyboard player for many years before discovering my inner diva as a vocalist! 😊
If you could collaborate with a current band or musician who would it be?
Locally it would be ‘In Which It Burns’. Love those guys! On the bigger stage would have to be Rob Zombie or Black Label Society…sod it! BOTH! Rob Zombie could direct the music video too, win win!
If you could play any festival in the world, which would you choose and why?
Probably Hellfest. The line-up at almost every Hellfest just makes my mouth drool! They constantly deliver killer line ups and it always evokes that ‘shit! I need to go there!’ emotion.
What’s the weirdest gift you have ever received from a fan?
Don’t think we ever have had a gift let alone a weird one. Can always hope lol. I do remember in one of my previous bands which I think lasted about 18 months where a girl came up to me at a gig with our logo tattooed on her ankle. We split up shortly after.
If you had one message for your fans, what would it be?
Ride it till the wheels fall off! Read my lips! We are here but for a short time! What doesn’t kill you makes you stronger! Everything happens for a reason! Experience is what you get when you don’t get what you want! …y’know, nothing too cliched…lol. But in all seriousness the one message for fans would be…
Thank you so much for your continued support. No band is bigger than their fans. It’s people like you that make us who we are. King Kraken is a product of your belief and that’s what feeds the fire!
If you could bring one rock star back from the dead, who would it be?
There’s a few…Dimebag, Jimi Hendrix, Randy Rhoads, Chris Cornell, Jon Lord, Lemmy but the top of the list is Freddie Mercury. After watching Wembley ’86 I vowed I would go to Queens next gig regardless of where it would be. Unfortunately, Wembley ’86 was they’re last.
What do you enjoy the most about being a musician? And what do you hate?
I really enjoy the crowd reactions and connecting with fans. I love the camaraderie especially when someone you don’t even know comes up and tells you how much they enjoyed the show/music…it can be quite humbling. Things I hate…hmmm…dodgy unscrupulous promoters which has a knock-on effect to the decent ones. A sad reality really. There are some really good promoters out there who struggle to keep the music scene alive for the pure love of music, and then the dodgy ones come along and fuck it up for bands, venues and promoters alike. Ooh, while I remember another thing, I don’t like…the ‘holier than thou’ attitude that some purported ‘bigger names’ seem to have. One gig I particularly remember where we were supporting a touring act. The touring act didn’t even come in to see the support bands and we are not talking a big venue here, probably 150 capacity tops (it wasn’t full that night). Then after the gig, up they come ‘so where’s the party?’. The funniest thing about the whole situation was seeing our guitarists wife give him a public dressing down…and I paraphrase…’Even you started somewhere!’.
If you could change one thing about the music industry, what would it be?
Streaming royalties for bands. Streaming has to be one of the most accessible ways to get your music out there, but we have become a slave to it. Whilst I have nothing against streaming per se, go for it! I do! But if you really want to support the music you love, buy a cd or a t shirt and support the bands directly as streaming royalties are paltry at best.
Name one of your all-time favourite albums?
“Cowboys From Hell” – Pantera…a masterpiece!
What’s best? Vinyl, Cassettes, CD’s or Downloads?
For me…hmmm…Downloads for convenience but I will buy a cd/vinyl/official band merch.
What’s the best gig that you have played to date?
Without question Hard Rock Hell: Metal 4 at Birmingham 02. We went round the crowds the days before giving out free CD’s with stickers with our stage slot for the festival on it. We were due on at 4pm. I peeped out from behind backstage at 3.45 and there was about 6 people there. Sod it! Let’s just do the best show we can. We went onstage at 4pm to a great introduction from one of the organisers only to find the entire venue roofed! 800 people crammed into the hall and all stayed for the full show. The reviews written about us for that gig were fantastic…again…another humbling experience.
If you weren’t a musician, what else would you be doing?
Full time horror author. I still dabble (trying to write a novel) but it’s about balance. Some things take priority.
Which five people would you invite to a dinner party?
Billy Connolly, Anthony Hopkins, Freddie Mercury, Dave Grohl, Michael Sheen
What’s next for the band?
Well, providing Covid doesn’t scupper our plans we are currently writing and rehearsing material for our debut album. The plan is to return to Romesh Dodangoda for that with a release planned in the new year. Next year should be a good un with a slot at HRH: Ibiza and some other gigs I can’t confirm at the moment.
What Social Media/Website links do you use to get your music out to people?
Jaffa Cakes! Are they a cake or a biscuit?
IT’S A CAKE! THE CLUE IS IN TITLE! JESUS WEPT…anyway, Cherry Bakewell’s piss all over them!
Thank you for your time. Is there anything else that you would like to add?
The road King Kraken has travelled over the last couple of years has been insane. If it weren’t for the fans there is no way we would have been able to do it. It’s because of the fans that we are able to do what we do, and it continues to gain momentum with no letting up!
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