KITE have been on the go for quite a while now, but have only recently come to our attention, having been so pleasantly surprised by their new EP, The All Penetrating Silence. We wanted to get to know the Norwegian genre-skirting band a bit more so Ronny, KITE’s guitarist and vocalist, answered our usual Band of the Day questions…
We’re all from Norway, from the dark woodlands of the Hedmark region in the east. Nowadays we reside in three different cities; Ole (bass/vox) in Oslo, Bjarne (drums) in Elverum and me (Ronny/guitars/vox) in Jessheim.
How did you meet?
Me and Ole grew up together in a small town called Flisa, skateboarding and listening to punk / hardcore 24-7, and started our first band together around 1994-95, and have played together ever since. Bjarne we got to know first in 2007, when we invited him to join KITE after we had a three-year break with the band. (He was in another kickass band at the time, Jaqueline.) And that constellation instantly stuck, and is still sticking pretty good!
How long have you been playing as a band?
KITE started way back in 1998, then sounding a whole lot different from what it has become today, but the band name has followed the project all the way, through numerous changes in line-up and styles. Today’s version of the band has been unchanged since 2007.
Before you get sick of being asked… where does the band name come from?
Well, it feels like some relic from ancient times, that everyone has forgotten about, or displaced. But as I recall, the name came up during a brainstorming session after we recorded our very first demo in 1999, and seemed like the most awesome band name at the time, meaning something playful and floating or whatever symbolic we put into it back then. Later, it has just followed us, and now we just can’t seem to get rid of it somehow.
What are your influences?
For me and Ole’s part a lot of inspiration came back from the 90s and hardcore and skate punk acts, mainly from Sweden (Refused, Breach, Fireside, etc) and also a lot of American influences from Bad Religion / NOFX on the punk side, to Gorilla Biscuits on the hardcore side, to metal acts such as Pantera, and everything in between. Later we have sucked in everything in all kinds of genres; stoner, post-rock/metal, doom and so on. And there is Bjarne with his influences from both punk, stoner, indie rock and others stuff, and of course Bjarne and Ole’s common love for country music, and all of us with our passionate love for Weezer(!). So you can say the influences vary a whole lot, and I guess you can hear that in KITE as well.
Describe your music. What makes you unique?
I think that is a natural sequel to the previous question. Our inspiration pool is so deep and full of variety that we will no matter what end up being coloured by that when writing music. Unless we put on boundaries and decide that we want to be ‘that’ kind of band, doing exactly ‘that’ sort of thing, within ‘these’ limited rules.
I think we have a maybe not unique, but an unconventional approach to songwriting. Something that happens when exactly the 3 of us are put together in a creative and performing mode. The result being something a bit different with roots in both sludge, stoner, post-metal, doom, hardcore and rock / metal in general. Give it a try!
Do you have any particular lyrical themes?
On The All Penetrating Silence the lyrics are mostly self-reflections, of the darker nature. Exaggerated thoughts and realizations on one’s life and situation and general whining about what could have been done different and negative shit really. Those are not necessarily the thing of a KITE lyric, but on this EP that is the reoccurring thematic.
What’s your live show like? How many shows have you played?
Our live shows are the best. You should go see one! (laughs) Well, I suppose I can say that we are quite energetic, and really heavy sounding. And you can tell from an audience view that we really enjoy being on stage. Since we have been at it for almost 20 years now (!), we have done quite a bit of touring and live shows. Most in our home country of Norway with maybe around 100 shows or so, a few tours in Sweden and Denmark, plus for a period we did 5 or 6 tours of Britain, doing maybe 40-50 shows altogether during 2002-2004-ish. And we plan on doing a lot more in the coming months (and years!)
What’s the wildest thing you’ve seen or done at a live show?
At one of our shows? Well, Ole was thrown in a jail cell by Swedish cops after a gig we did in Gothenburg some years back. The gig wasn’t that bad, but the drunkenness after the show got pretty ugly.
Other than that, nothing really crazy has happened at our shows, other than some without-pants encore (in Bodø up north in Norway) and maybe this really punk introduction (in Sandefjord, Norway) where I introduced us as Def Leppard, starting the show by falling over the drum kit during the opening riffs… (laughs)
During a show I’ve attended the worst thing is without a doubt during Pearl Jam’s performance at the Roskilde festival in 2000 where 9 people were trampled to death in the mud in front of the stage. Beyond tragic! The wildest thing I’ve seen must be during a Slipknot show in Oslo, where I played the support slot with my earlier band, Stonegard. A crazy ass guy in the audience took a stagedive from the high up gallery right into the unexpecting crowd below, ending up in the hospital…
What kit do you use / guitars do you play / etc.?
Me: Duesenberg Starplayer guitar, some kickass pedals, and no amp/cab in specific, but often one channel through a Peavey transistor bass amp + and the other through a Sims Watts amp. And whatever cabinets are available where we rehearse/play (Sound City, Marshall, Engel etc)
Ole: Rickenbacker 4003 bass, Ampeg SVT Classic, Ampeg 810 cab. Pedals: Bass Big Muff, Boss bass overdrive, Way Huge Pork Loin
Bjarne: a 60’s Ludwig kit for the EP recording, but live he uses a quite new Premier artist kit
What, if anything, are you plugging/promoting at the moment?
We released The All Penetrating Silence EP one week ago as I write this, which is our first release in 9 years. It is released digitally on Sludgelord Records, and will also be available as 12” vinyl come August. So we are promoting that release eagerly these days. It sums up what KITE is about today, and it sounds frigging awesome, if I must say it myself. And we are following that up with a tour this fall, which I will be specifying more during the next question.
Keep on promoting our recent release (and upcoming vinyl release), and doing a bunch of awesome live shows in Norway and Europe this fall. Some are booked (Norway and Germany) and more are being booked (if you want us over, please holler). Visit our social media for then whens and wheres.
And we are also in the writing process for a full album, which we hopefully will record and release in 2019. The songs that are done or under construction so far are beyond words. I love the stuff, and hopefully, you will too when we get to show them to you!
If you were second on a three-band bill, which band would you love to be supporting and which band would you choose to open for you? A chance to plug someone you’ve toured with, or a mate’s band we’ve not heard of before!
Oh, that’s a tricky one! I would love it for BREACH to reunite, and we’d open for them as a special guest on tour. First on the bill, I’d like one of the kickass other Norwegian bands out there. But most of them are so good, it would be offensive to suggest they open for us and not the other way around. But Sibiir is one of my favorite Norwegian bands these days, but since we actually will be opening for them on a tour in the planning, that also gets the wrong way around here… Sâver is also an insanely heavy and awesome new Norwegian band everyone should look out for, but since Ole in KITE also plays there, a double gig might be a bit too much for him, so that gets conflicted as well.
From previous Band of the Day Empire Warning: If a Norse God had to take over from one band member what god will it be, what position would they be filling?
It would be really cool to have the almighty thunder god Thor swinging his hammer on the drum kit, but I think he grooves nowhere near Bjarne… So I’d rather take a well-earned break myself, and replace me with Brage, being the god of music and all. Who else to write the ultimate killer riffs than the god of music?
From another BotD, The Crawling: Being in a band can be as much of curse as a source of enjoyment and satisfaction. What keeps you going when things get tough?
For me, I need the curse to inspire and push forward. If band life or music writing comes to easy, it gets boring. I need that challenge. But when you hit that wall, what do you do to get through? Hm, well it’s all about having fun really. The key to survival in this game is being good friends within the band, and always keep fun before business, the latter being the real curse that breaks up most good bands eventually.
The All Penetrating Silence is out now on Sludgelord Records