411 Music Interview: Kottonmouth Kings
Posted by Bill Wannop on 08.15.2012
The Kottonmouth Kings have been making music for over 17 years, independently releasing their album on their own Subnoize Records label. The group is set to release their new album Mile High on August 14th. 411mania had the chance to talk to the band to discuss the album, as well as touring, lack of mainstream support and future solo albums.
The Kottonmouth Kings have been making music for over 17 years, independently releasing their album on their own Subnoize Records label. The group is set to release their new album Mile High on August 14th. 411mania had the chance to talk to the band to discuss the album, as well as future plans.
Q1. You release your new album, Mile High, on August 14th. Tell us a little about this album.
Brad X: Our last record Sunrise Sessions had a mellow feel to it and with "Mile High" we wanted to do the polar opposite. We wanted to make a banging, smashing record. We did just that and there are 18 tracks on the main album that just keep up a very intense pace. The couple mellower tracks "Green Dreams" and " Mr.Cali Man" really help round off the record.
Q2. You have put out over 15 albums. What makes Mile High different from your previous efforts?
Brad X: This is our third full length since The Dirtball has become a full time member of the group and Mile High exemplifies the chemistry and vision of making Dirtball a part of the group. I think he has helped elevate and push everyone's game and abilities. The Mile High record is the most focused and aggressive record we have ever made. The Kottonmouth Kings are really hungry, and I think that Mile High is a all you can eat buffet. We love being the underdog, underestimated and underground.17 years later and the Kottonmouth Kings are still growing strong. Nobody ever thought this group would last, but I knew by the way he Kottonmouth Kings connected with people that we had potential to be around for decades. We have a very loyal and diehard fanbase that has been on this crazy ride with the Kottonmouth Kings. We also are seeing a whole new generation of fans discovering Kottonmouth Kings for the first time, and It's really amazing to be part of such a unique group.
Q3. You tend to blend all types of genres of music on your albums, from punk to rock to hip hop. How do you decide which types of songs will fit the album, or what the overall sound of the album will be?
Brad X: Sometimes when we go into the studio we don't know what's gonna happen. Then other times we know exactly what we are going for as far as sounds and songs. It is that magical thing that brings a idea or song to life. It is really great when everyone's energy and style comes together and take a song into that zone that makes everything sound like the Kottonmouth Kings. On Mile High We set out to make a banging record to make a statement, "Don't sleep on The Kottonmouth Kings"!
Q4. Since you perform so many genres of music, do you find it difficult in terms of classifying your music and potentially attracting new fans to your sound?
Brad X: When newcomers ask what type of music you make, what is your response? I think that part of The Kottonmouth Kings appeal is that it is hard to stereotype or classify and we have tried to create a unique and original sound. The roots are hip-hop but we have a very punk-rock approach. We love all styles of music, so we never limit ourselves creatively. We have a very open minded fan base that allows us to experiment, evolve and freely create. I think it is uplifting party music that defies labels.
Q5. I read somewhere that you tried some new bass frequencies for this album. Who's idea was that, who producers the majority of your albums? Since it's a group, who takes the lead and decides what direction the album will go in?
Brad X: We rarely will work with outside producers, as my production partner Mike Kumagai and I really have a very special relationship. We vibrate on the same creative wave length and then throw in the other members who all have strong vision skills and you have a wealth of ideas and styles. I take the lead when it comes to bringing a the Kottonmouth Kings record to life, arranging, and directing the circus. I am the smoke ring leader and it is really more difficult than it sounds. It consumes my life when we dive into making records. Technology has really helped the whole process, to where we can share ideas and record parts without physically all being together. By the time everyone is on the same page with songs, and we can come together and things really come to life. When we are firing on all cylinders we are a force to be reckoned with and when we are not on the same page, we can be our own worst enemy and the process can be a lot more strained and difficult.
Q6. What do you have planned in terms of videos for this album?
Brad X: The first video we released was for the song "Hold It In" it has gotten a great response. We also shot a video for the collabo we did with Twiztid "Watch out" that has been out a couple months and we just released "Boombox" and shot a video for "Mr. Cali Man" that should come out right around the street date of August 14th. We shot a couple street videos out here on tour, and one for "Pound for Pound" and another for "Roll us a Joint" so there is a lot of video action surrounding Mile High. Fans can go to www.KottonmouthKings.com for all the videos tour dates etc.
Q7. What is the tour looking like for the album? Who else are you going to have on the tour? Being from Canada, you recently had some dates cancelled and replaced with La Coka Nostra. Were there legal issues for the tour being cancelled?
Brad X: We had a member get a DUI that set us back from going to Canada .We were so bummed because we have so many great fans up north. We are getting it all worked out, and we are heading to Japan in the first week of October. We were booked in China, but the communist party of China rejected the Kings from entering the country due to lyrical content . It was pretty crazy, and unfortunate as we really wanted to go.
Q8. You guys have a bunch of other stuff outside of the group. What do you guys have planned for after the "Mile High" album, in terms of other projects, or solo efforts?
Brad X: Everybody is finishing solo records, and we are planning an X-Pistols tour and more touring for Kottonmouth Kings.
Q9. You guys have been around for over 17 years. How have you managed to have such longevity in the music industry?
Brad X: We have had to ride the waves, the ups and downs ,the personal issues, money, substance abuse etc. The usual personal toll that this lifestyle takes on people, ego, addiction and just real life. As far as the business, we have had to adapt to all of the technology that continues expand and change the game. We try to embrace the changes and stay ahead of the curve. At the end of the day it really is about writing good songs and putting on good shows. We are blessed that do many people take a interest in our group.
Q10. Do you think the lack of mainstream attention has hurt or helped your career?
Brad X: I think our fanbase has been earned and our fans take personal ownership of their dedication. We know without the fans there is no Kottonmouth Kings. We built this foundation with our own blood sweat and tears. We have played thousands of shows, we have hundreds of songs, and we can't depend on anything but ourselves to make things happen. We make music we love and enjoy playing, so anything beyond that is beyond our control .
Q11. Thanks for your time. Is there anything that you would like to add?
Brad X: Check out our animated cartoon "Stonetown" at Welcometostonetown.com as we are in season one episode #4, We put out new episodes on the 20th of every month. We have alot of fun with the cartoon, and we write the stories and do all the voices. Join the "Mile High" club and spread peace and love to your fellow man.