interview with King Moroi

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What are your names? / Who plays what? / How old are you? Smirnov - Bass & Vocals; Jerry Toothpaste – Guitar & Vocals; Monkey boy – Drums & Backing vocals.

Have any of you played in other bands? We all have played in different bands and projects before; two of us have other active bands now.

How is it that you started playing music? Smirnov: A friend of mine asked me if I want to play e-bass in his punk band “Loozers of the year”. I could only play basic guitar, but I said “yeah, sure”. Back in those days I borrowed a bass for rehearsals and also for our first live gig. I’m still in contact with the band we played with, called “Zuname”, and with their bass player as well. I switched to a double bass one year later. Jerry: FM radio MB: I always favored rock `n` roll music even as a kid. So naturally I hung out with those of my kind. And a lot of those kids played instruments. I did, too. I started to play bass but that was not really setting me on fire. I figured I wanted to play drums at the age of 19 and when I had my first drum kit you could find me hardly anywhere else than in my rehearsal room for months. I was hired by a band that already existed for some years. I think I was their fourth drummer. They were a bunch of moody guys and they were drugging heavily, too. Their music was sort of a mix between The Smiths/The Cure and NIN/Manson. Their sound was so fucking raw and powerful and loud it was almost like a jet`s engine at take off! And they gave a shit if the mixing guy had grey hair. I played three or four shows with them which to me were among the greatest things I did in my life so far. Then the front man quit and the band was history. And I could not exist without that feeling anymore.

Did you make music even when you were young? Smirnov: I started playing guitar by myself as I was 16 or something, I had no teacher so it took ages until I could play a 3 chords song. Jerry: Played in a band during junior and senior high school called Liquid Blue. They still play today under the name of Yoke Shire.

Where are you from? USA, Germany and Russia.

What year did the band form? The band started 2012, rehearsing almost a year before we came on stage.

What's your style of genre? Kick ass psychobilly. If you want to go more precise, we would call it new school psychobilly with a surf touch.

What inspires you? Smirnov: punk rock attitude, local bands, kind people and good musicians. Jerry: Plugging in my Hellmark guitar. MB: Spending time outside on a walk or on a trail clears my mind and provides space for new thoughts. Musically I learn a lot from watching musicians play in youtube tutorials. Last not least the people from other bands who we meet live.

How often and where do you rehearse? We meet once or twice a week for rehearsals. We have a room in Frankfurt am Main, which we share with two other bands.

How have you developed since you started with the music? Jerry: We know when to stay out of each other's way. Smirnov: We now play better and write better songs.

Are you looking for a booking agency, and what are your thoughts around that? Smirnov: The fact is, booking agencies only interested in well known bands. We could not find any so far, who would want to work with us on a regular basis. Jerry: So we make the booking ourselves and it works quite well. As we grow we will consider how we will manage booking.

Are you looking for a label, and what are your thoughts around that? We work with Bellfire Records and Cargo Records as distributors. The whole “Label” thing is only relevant for the trendy music genres or dinosaurs who gets $100k for a single appearance.

What made you decide to make this music? Jerry: Psychobilly rocks! Smirnov: Despite the story of starting playing music above, I couldn’t find any band playing what I wanted to hear live. MB: The music of a band that I like has to be both evil and beautiful. King Moroi is pretty evil, and it has this aggressiveness which I like a lot.

What are your songs about? MB: Um, chicks and beer? Smirnov: Love and fear. Jerry: Love and Death. And cakes.

Who does the composing and writes the lyrics? Jerry: Group arrangement. Smirnov: We all bring some ideas and then we mostly work together on them until the song is done. Sometimes it goes fast, like two or three rehearsals and it’s done, sometimes it takes ages and sometimes the song just doesn’t work. MB: Jerry delivers most of the riffs as well as most of the lyrics. Smirnov does most of the arrangements by constantly deconstructing and reconstructing the parts. Sometimes parts of the songs develop while we do a session.

Do you start with the music or the lyrics? Smirnov: Sometimes it’s music, sometimes lyrics. Jerry: We usually start with a cup of coffee

Do you compose in a certain environment? Smirnov: A quite place is always good, but you will never get this. Jerry: in the darkness

Have you done any covers live? We did a few covers with our own arrangements, mostly from our friends’ bands songs.

What language do you sing in? English

What are the least and most people to attend one of your gigs? 10-300

What ages are most of your concert attendants? Around 35

Do you always play the same songs live, or do you vary? It varies.

Do you have a regular place you play live often? “Feinstaub” and “Das Bett” in Frankfurt a.M. and “Wild At Heart” in Berlin.

What was your first gig like? We played in the legendary Dreikönigskeller in Frankfurt on a pre-bout party of a local roller-derby team.

What was your latest gig? We played two gigs over the weekend with our friends “Johnny Flesh and the Redneck Zombies” in Arnstadt and Hannover, a week later we played a charity show with our friends Dislikes. And a gig with The Astro Zombies. We have a few gigs coming up, e.g. with Demented Are Go and The Brains.

Have you had to cancel a gig? We have a curse on this, 30% of our gigs are being cancelled, but none of them were canceled by us. Where have you played live this year Among others we played with Kitty in a Casket in Stuttgart, Peacocks in Weinheim, Demented are Go in Mannheim, Batmobile in Essen, Turbo ACs in Frankfurt and Astro Zombies in Berlin. We have a list of all our gigs on the web site, check it out:

Where do you plan to gig the coming year? Most of the shows will be in Germany, we will try to come to Austria, Switzerland, Holland, Belgium and France.

When did you start to sell merchandise, and what do you have for sale? We have been asked many times about merch during our shows so we decided to make our first shirts in 2014, one year before our debut album’s release. Currently we have 3 different shirts, patches, buttons and stickers. And our album and the new 7” of course.

Where can people buy your merchandise? At our shows. Some people, mostly from abroad, send us emails, asking if we have shirts or CDs. We reply to every email we receive and send out stuff. We are finishing a merch page online now to make it easier for our fans. It will be available on our website:

What do you think about people downloading music instead of buying records nowadays? Smirnov: Downloading or streaming is much easier and faster. I think the biggest problem here is that people don’t understand that they don’t support the band by downloading or streaming their songs. On the other hand, many kids have no money to buy a CD or mp3, so they get the music they like the other way. I surely can understand this. Jerry: It's a double edge sword because it allows us to market ourselves to a broader audience, but a the same time there are significant costs with producing an album that can't be met when the audience downloads music for free. MB: I perfectly understand why people not necessarily want to fill their shelves with CDs or whatever medium anymore. Music as a file on your hard drive or mobile device is all you need today. Times change and so does the equipment. That is ok. Apart from that more and more people favor streaming services which are great if you are looking for new shit and more music which fits to your personal gusto. I personally still buy it if I like a song or an album. I still like the idea of my personal ownership of the latest album of my favorite band. Thinking of illegal downloads – well, for a band´s songs it is good if they are shared because the songs are played and listened by more people. Of course the band does not see any money for that and this is especially bad for small bands.

How do you think the music industry has changed because of this? Jerry: Completely. It's an entirely different process for musicians now. The definition of success and exposure has altered since the past 15 or 20 years. Smirnov: Digital distribution ruined the major labels. Most people are also fine with the low quality of video and sound-recordings available online, so they don’t want to go out to see a live show. It’s a hard time for bands, but it forces musicians to be good, to deliver better shows. MB: Record companies have lost a lot of money because of illegal downloads. They have become even more careful about picking up new artists. On the other hand it seems that the companies are becoming more and more successful in their efforts to build hit construction kits. Predictable songs follow each other out of the assembly line. And the loop after which you hear the same shit over again becomes shorter and shorter.

What do you think of my work? Smirnov:It’s great, keep on going! Jerry: Without music journalism and DJs, underground music would be even more obscure than it is now. We appreciate the support and exposure. I do some DJ work and assist a music journalist so I realize how important these roles are in continuing the legacy of local and underground music. MB: No heroes without a story writer to report on their latest awesomeness. 

How do you think and know that this interview will help you in the music business? We think it will give us some exposure, thanks for giving us this opportunity.

Do you have any role models or idols? MB: No Jerry: The Reverend Horton Heat (Jim Heath) is a phenomenal guitar player. Dick Dale is also a big influence. Smirnov: Any local band going out on stage and playing their own music is my hero.

Is it easier to find inspiration from older bands, or bands that are more active today? Both old and new bands inspire us. Some old bands stopped developing themselves, which results in boring new albums; but some of them keep on track very well.

What have been your biggest obstacles? Smirnov: Not enough time for everything I want to do. Jerry: Carrying my amplifier up a flight of slippery steps while trying to balance a microphone stand on top of it. MB: Finding band mates with the same ambitions has been by far the most difficult exercise as a musician.

What advice would you give other bands or artists? Jerry: Keep your day job and don't spill beer on the rehearsal room carpet. Smirnov: Support each other, it’s not a competition.

How do you get psyched for a gig? Smirnov: Loading and unloading our equipment is usually enough. Jerry: I’m watching horror movies. MB: Couple of beers usually do a good job.

Do you have any new material? We just released a single on vinyl called "Let me out". And we are constantly working on new songs.

What are your web sites?

How can people reach you? and via our FB page as well.

What are your plans for the future? Upload photos from our last show, wait for tonight, take over the world. Do you have something to add? Get up off the couch and go to see a band. You will see strange people, you will meet cool people, you will feel the energy and you will have a story to tell!

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