A Conversation with King Bastard About Their Upcoming Tour and Vinyl Release of It Came from the Void

King Bastard is a heavy psych/doom band that blasted onto the heavy underground scene in January 2022 with their ambitious debut album, It Came from the Void. The killer album hit number 9 on the Doom Charts that month and has since helped the New York-based band gather a following.

Reek of STOOM had this to say about the album: “NY Progressive Doom band KING BASTARD bring the kind of foul, wretched, crippling noise that Doom Charts is all about: Leviathan riffage, swirling Psychedelic motifs, and saturnine gravities are in full conjunction on “It Came from The Void”: 6 tracks of filth-encrusted awesomeness!”

Indeed, if you like heavy conceptual, filthy space rock, King Bastard is the type of band you’ll want to follow. According to Bandcamp, they worked on the record for three years before unleashing it on us, and they describe their sound as “A mixture of infectious jams and gratuitous effects to craft soundscapes reminiscent of a 70’s space horror. Each track invokes a synesthetic experience, a scene from an auditory short film.”

King Bastard owes its existence to the doom legends Sleep, as bandmates Mike Verni, Isabel Guido, and Arthur Erb initially met and clicked when they saw Mike wearing a Dopesmoker t-shirt at Stony Brook University orientation. The three of them instantly became friends and formed the band a few years later.

Their bio says that King Bastard formed in 2018 when Mike (guitar) and Arthur (bass) grew increasingly desperate to jam together. They found a drummer and learned Black Sabbath covers, which melded their sound as a fusion of traditional doom and experimental psychedelic improvisation. They eventually found a more experienced drummer, Matt Ryan, and Isabel added the sounds of synth, saxophone, and some vocals.

Along with Sleep, the band counts Kyuss and Electric Wizard as influences. It Came from the Void is a largely instrumental album that, at turns, pulverizes and enchants with experimental sounds. In other words, this is what psychedelic doom and heavy psychedelic rock are all about. Consisting of six tracks that are all at least five-and-a-half minutes long, the music is atmospheric, but it packs a hefty punch. The album’s aesthetics also drew me in, a cosmic horror presentation with killer cover art and creative track names that seal the sense of intergalactic dread like “Black Hole Viscera” and “From Hell to Horizon.”

The Cosmic Peddler is releasing the album on vinyl on April 5th, and in celebration of the release, King Bastard will be embarking on a brief tour of Texas with dates in Arlington, Austin, and San Antonio. CDs and cassette tapes of It Came from the Void are already available, and tickets for the Austin show are on sale now. Tickets for the Arlington and San Antonio shows are available at the door.

I got a chance to talk to the members of King Bastard recently via email, and they were kind enough to answer my questions about the upcoming tour and a few other things. Check out the interview below!

King Bastard is…

Mike Verni: Guitar

Isabel Guido: Synth, Saxophone, and Vocals

Arthur Erb: Bass

Matt Ryan: Drums and Auxiliary Percussion

Interview with King Bastard

Third Eye: Thanks for doing this interview! I wanted to talk about It Came from the Void first. Awesome record. Considering this was your debut release, were you surprised by the heaps of praise it got from the heavy underground, like making number 9 on the January 2022 Doom Charts?

Arthur (Bass): Yeah, we were definitely surprised. We didn’t think something raw and experimental like this would get the attention that it did. Considering we recorded half the album on our own in a basement, and the other half was live off the studio floor, it really means a lot that it was well received by the doom community.

Mike (Guitar): I was honestly expecting it to be just another random album buried in the depths of Bandcamp. It was really flattering to see that all the hard work we put into this album paid off.

Matt (Drums): It’s an honor that people care about the album and that it didn’t get completely buried in new releases. We worked so hard on the album, and I’m glad that people saw the level of effort that we put in.

Third Eye: An obvious King Bastard influence is Sleep, but I wanted to ask about Al Cisneros’ other band, OM. Do you guys also dig OM? I only ask because I’ve learned to love OM almost as much as Sleep, though I feel it may be heresy to say that.

Arthur: *begins nerding out* Oh yeah, I’m a huge OM fan. I might even say I’ve studied Al Cisneros’ style of bass playing and his rig. I don’t know of any bass player with such a deep sound while also using distortion. On the track ‘Bury the Survivors’ we start off with that quintessential dominant seventh riff that so many stoner bands like to use. I specifically play that part on the neck of the instrument to try to emulate Al’s sound. Let me one-up you, though. Have you ever heard of his solo dub project?

Mike: I think OM is great! They are pretty underrated compared to Sleep and High on Fire. “State of Non-Return” and “On the Mountain at Dawn” are my two favorites from them.

Matt: I guess I’m the odd one out; I prefer Sleep and High on Fire to OM – with that being said, if I’m in the right mood, I really like God is Good and Advaitic Songs.

Third Eye: I love the overall aesthetic of It Came from the Void – it’s like cosmic horror mashed up with psychedelic doom. One reviewer (Angry Metal Guy) noted how some of it feels inspired by the Alien film franchise. That got me wondering – what other cool, cosmic horror sci-fi classics (or cult classics) have inspired the band the most?

Arthur: Since I was a kid, I’ve been a huge G-fan. A lot of Godzilla movies have the most ridiculous sci-fi plots, especially the ones from the 60s and ’70s, where he’s always fighting aliens. Movies like ‘Invasion of the Astro-monster’ are classics that I couldn’t see until I was older and had my own money to spend. I think classics like that, Planet of the Apes, Gamera, and other more obscure sci-fi movies like ‘Voyage to the Prehistoric Planet” influenced the vibes on ‘It Came from the Void.’ Recently I watched this French-Canadian movie called ‘Fantastic Planet,’ and that’s some trippy stuff, man.

Mike: I always liked that 1950’s style of sci-fi/horror posters. That’s part of why I came up with the name of the album. In fact, we originally wanted to do that style of art for the album cover, but it was difficult to find anyone who does that style of art.

Matt: Alien is one of my favorite movies, and I’m really happy that people saw the connection. I love a lot of classic horror in addition to Alien, like Invasion of the Body Snatchers, The Thing, Predator, The Fly, Invaders from Mars, and all the classic slashers. There are plenty of great modern horror movies out there, too – I finally got around to watching Hereditary recently, which I thought was really great. I think we have to watch that one as a band because there is some inspiration there.

Third Eye: Tell me about the upcoming tour to support the vinyl release. Have y’all ever done a multi-city tour like this before? What are you most looking forward to for it? And why tour Texas?

Arthur: I’ve toured with another band before, but this will be KB’s first outing. We’ve got other shows booked this year, Albany, Asheville, etc. (@kingbastardtheband on social media for details), but not in a traditional ‘tour’ kind of format. We’re doing a lot of weekenders because our capitalist overlords won’t allow us time to traverse the country for a month. I’m personally looking forward to seeing new faces in the doom scene. People I’ve either only talked to online before or have yet to meet. We’re heading to Texas because the stoner rock scene is strong, and the tacos are bangin!

Mike: This will be my first tour and my first time in Texas. We have been collaborating with Paul Huff of The Cosmic Peddler (https://thecosmicpeddler.com/) on releasing the vinyl. His store is based in Texas, and we all thought launching a vinyl release tour would be a great experience. It wouldn’t have happened without his help, so huge shoutout to him. We plan on stopping in a few cities along the way down, so I am definitely looking forward to that.

Matt: The small tour is exciting; I’m really happy that we’re going to get to promote the vinyl. I’m a big fan of collecting vinyl records, especially cult albums that might be hard to find. I’ve never been to Texas, so what better way to experience Texas than by doing a few shows down there? I just finished binge-watching King of the Hill – I’m ready.

Third Eye: What’s the most random band or genre you’ve been listening to lately outside of doom and the type of music King Bastard makes?

Arthur: Not sure if it counts because it’s still metal, but I’ve been listening to a lot of Meshuggah lately. I’m also gonna see Acacia Strain in Brooklyn soon, and I’m working on learning some Intervals songs on bass. So different types of music, but all kinds of metal. Outside of that, Johnny Cash.

Mike: I’ve been listening to an unhealthy amount of Meshuggah and Car Bomb. I’ve recently developed an addiction to fucked up drum rhythms. Other than that, a lot of The Doors, Sungazer, and Rush.

Matt: My favorite band of all time is Rush, but I listen to pretty much anything except country music or pop. Some random artists I’ve been listening to recently are DMX, Pastor Troy, Sly and the Family Stone, Pharoahe Monch, and Kavinsky…hey you asked for random. Good music transcends genre, and I look for inspiration everywhere. As far as what I’ve been listening to, that’s more in line with what you’d expect – Warlung, Katatonia, Acacia Strain, Lamb of God, Thank You Scientist, and Spaceslug.

Third Eye: Last question – Is the band currently working on new music? Give us a hint at what the next King Bastard record might be like.

Arthur: Oh yeah, we’ve got an EP coming up. I’m not sure what else I can say other than it’s gonna be in drop F…

Mike: I have added another string to the equation.

Matt: These guys keep making me play progressively more syncopated rhythms – please help me; my head hurts.

Learn more about King Bastard’s Texas tour, and the April 5th vinyl release of It Came from the Void here.

Support King Bastard by checking out their Bandcamp or finding them on social media (Instagram, Twitter, Facebook, YouTube).

Support the Third Eye on Patreon!

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