We present to you our email interview with ANGR pop-rock band Kiros. This band has been nose to the grindstone for almost 10 years now, and with their new full-length being released early 2012, the band is ready to take their place in the rock world. We talked to vocalist/bass player Barry MacKichan about the history of the band, their message and what the future of the band holds. Read up
The ONE21: For those that don’t know, talk about the story of Kiros.
Barry MacKichan, the vocalist/bass for Kiros: Kiros started back in 2000 at a church youth group. The night I met Ryan, I found out he played guitar, and I told him I wanted to start a punk rock band. We liked a lot of the same bands, so he said yes. We were a 3 piece band, playing local scene shows until we put out our first full length in 2002 called Counterproductive, which was a straight up punk rock record. The record sold over 2000 copies very quickly, exploding our fan base locally, and all of a sudden our shows were selling out all across western Canada. This landed us some Vans Warped Tour dates in 2003, and we started playing more out of town than in town.
(In 2004) We made a 5 song EP called Fight The Night, quit our lives and started touring full time. We did our first cross Canada tour with a Drive-Thru Records band called Allister, and never looked back. We toured Canada hard until summer 2005, when we released a 3 song self titled EP, and landed the whole Warped Tour, which ended up being our first tour in the US of A. In that time period we played over 250 shows. Looking back, I don’t think we were prepared for Warped tour, mentally, spiritually, financially, or musically, and it almost killed the band. We didn’t do anything after it for almost a year, our drummer quit,
and we lost all our momentum.
The current incarnation of Kiros really started in 2006. Tyler joined the band as our new drummer, and we became a four piece, adding a second guitarist/backing vocalist. We started touring Canada again, and recorded A Single Strand (released in 2007 Canada, 2008 USA) which has now gone on to sell over 16,000 copies independently. Our sound evolved from a pop punk band to more of a driving rock/alt/pop sound that we feel is all our own. This record is what re-launched our careers. It caught the attention of Yogi Allgood, our current manager, landed us tour after tour, had our first music video to get into rotation in Canada, had our first radio single that actually got played (“Of Wolves and Angels”) and we were back on tour 8+ months a year. We also won a GMA award for Rock Song of the Year, and were nominated for three others awards. 2008 was when we really started touring the USA consistently. We played mostly club/secular shows.
We found ourselves in consistent negotiations with record labels, ranging from majors to minors to indies. There were plenty of flights to Nashville, writing sessions, meetings, and it all resulted in a whole lot of nothing. We didn’t see eye to eye, or didn’t like the direction we were being pushed in, or were looking at contracts trying to figure out how we’re supposed to survive when all our money goes
to someone else. So we just stayed on the road with an old record. Knowing we were greatly overdue to record new material, we started talking to producer Mark Lee Townsend (Relient K, House of Heroes), who immediately jumped on the project. In 2010, We recorded 6 songs with him, and independently released the song “Broken State” to radio. It hit #11 on the USA Christian Rock charts, and the tours kept getting bigger and bigger. But we still had no way to effectively release the record. At this point we had transitioned to doing more on the Christian market side of things, but still doing a couple club tours with bands like Emery, Maylene and the Sons of Disaster, and Blessed by a Broken Heart.
(In 2011) We signed with Ain’t No Grave Records, did our first European tour, went out with Seventh Day Slumber and Stellar Kart in the USA, followed by the Music With A Mission tour with Hawk Nelson, Fireflight and Superchick. We released a teaser EP online for the record on September 27th, and the full length will be released early 2012. We were approached by ANGR in January. They came to us as the first label that actually seemed to understand what we are, what we’re going for, and what limitations we don’t want. Instead of trying to change what we’re doing, they wanted to come along side us, and help take it to the next level. We signed with ANGR in May 2011, and went back into the studio with Townsend to record another 4 songs to add to original 6. Our first full length in 4 years. Our full tour history can be found on our wikipedia page.
ONE21: How would you describe your music to people who havent heard you?
Barry MacKichan: I’d say we’re a mix of rock, alternative, pop, and punk. We put a
lot into the melodies, lyrics and hooks.
ONE21: Talk about your latest album, the Outlaws & Prodigals EP.
Barry MacKichan:The Outlaws and Prodigals EP is a teaser. 2 of the songs are from our upcoming full length, and the 3rd is an acoustic cut. This is also our first release on ANGR, so everyone is testing the waters and working on building some more buzz for the full release early 2012.
ONE21: So what can we expect from the full-length?
Barry MacKichan:The full length, titled Lay Your Weapons Down is a 10 song, 3 chapter story on one CD: “The Revolt, The Trenches, The Surrender.” Each chapter has songs connecting with the theme of the title. As a whole, it tells a story of war inside every one of us, and the different emotions, thoughts, and struggles along that journey as we are invited to surrender our broken lives for something better. It will be released in February 2012.
ONE21: What is your normal writing process?
Barry MacKichan: Depends on the song. I have a home studio that I do a lot of writing in, and I write some on the road. Often songs start on acoustic and evolve from there, or sometimes they come out of the whole band jamming. We have done some co-writing as well, and the songs do always seem to take big jumps once we’re in the studio ironing out all the parts. Every song has a different story and origin behind it, and methods of getting there vary just as much.
ONE21: If there is one, what would be your band’s message?
Barry MacKichan:Our band is completely sold out to the message that we have a God who
loves us and says we are worth dying for. We have hope, we have purpose, we have love. We want to see ourselves the way God sees us.
ONE21:How would you describe your lyrical approach to God’s message?
Barry MacKichan: More than anything, I try to be honest. Honest about my shortcomings and flaws, honest about wrestling with the blacks, whites and greys in this life, and honest about struggling in the pursuit of God. Honesty, to me at least, is far more relatable than ideals. And at the end of the day, this honesty culminates in the truth that God has given us real hope.
ONE21: How did you guys hook up with ANGR?
Barry MacKichan:We were first approached by Ain’t No Grave Records in January 2011. We were initially very surprised by their interest, not being a metal band and all. But after talking to them, we feel like it’s a perfect fit, and they’ve been very vocal about their excitement in having our sound on their roster. Instead of trying to change what we’re doing, they have come alongside us, and are helping take it to the next level. We officially signed with ANGR in May 2011, and we are definitely enjoying our relationship with them. Best of all, they aren’t acting scared of the current state of the music industry. They are willing to take some risks and get behind the artists they believe in.
ONE21: What is the next step for the band?
Barry MacKichan:We have a European tour booked in January, and we’ve just confirmed what will be the biggest tour we’ve been a part of so far. Unfortunately I can’t release the details of it yet, except that it will be early February to the end of March, and it will be coinciding with the release of our new full length, Lay Your Weapons Down.
ONE21: Why rock?
Barry MacKichan:In the words of Andrew W. K., “We do what we want and we like what we do.” This is the scene we grew up in, have been a part of, and have fought for since before we were even in bands. It’s the sound we connect with, and the audience we’re a part of too.
ONE21: What is good in music right now?
Barry MacKichan: There is good music in every genre right now. I think listeners have more power than they have ever had before, and more choices than they could possibly make. We have access to a world full of music at our fingertips.
A lot of great records have been coming out lately, and a lot of them are by bands from my past. Needtobreathe, Switchfoot, Thrice, Taking Back Sunday, Foo Fighters, Yellowcard, Maroon 5. For new bands, I’ve been really enjoying Trampled by Turtles and Adele.
ONE21: What would be your dream project/tour?
Barry MacKichan:We’d love do 8 month world tour with Justin Beiber, haha. At the end of the day, it’s our dream to write songs that connect with people, bring hope, and inspire. Of course we’re always hoping and working hard for the opportunity to do that on a bigger and bigger scale and stage, but we’re already so grateful to get to be doing what we do now.
ONE21:Is the digital age of music one that helps or hinders the artist?
Barry MacKichan:Both. There is so much opportunity to go out and makes things happen for yourself, promote, and connect. Our music is instantly available to most of the world’s population. That’s a pretty amazing thing! However, it’s hard to sustain creating, touring and surviving when CD’s don’t sell. A healthy music industry is good for artists and fans alike. Being on this side of it, it’s caused me to be more committed to still buying music, because I want that artist to be able to make more it for me. Every time we make a record, it’s paid for by the fans who bought our last one.
ONE21: Who is Jesus to you?
Barry MacKichan:Jesus saved my life, when I didn’t deserve to be saved. He is incredibly unfair in our favour, and He is my purpose. He is not a marketing gimmick or sales tactic, not a fad or a trend, and he’s not an excuse. But He is the only hope we have, and I’m His regardless of my circumstances.