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'Maybe Someday They'll Get It': King 810's David Gunn Talks 'Memoirs Of A Murderer'

Wednesday, 01 October 2014 Written by Alec Chillingworth

Hot shit. The next big thing. Plenty of bands have been called it, but very few have actually packed the requisite punch to back it up. King 810, currently at the centre of storm in the metal world, certainly appear to possess that star quality, those ripples of innovation and natural power that can't just be squeezed out of a larynx by Simon Cowell.

Their music is certainly a product of their environment. King 810 hail from Flint, Michigan, one of the most dangerous cities in the US and an emblem of post-industrial decay. Since they began bubbling up, the band have been subject to fierce scrutiny at the hands of keyboard warriors. The question at hand? Their authenticity. Taken at face value, King 810 are dismissed by many as violent, gang-advocating thugs.

“I think there's always a minority of people who are going to do that anyway,” David Gunn, the band’s frontman, said prior to their first London show. He speaks quietly and is certainly not the brash, larger-than-life caricature you might expect to encounter.

“If everyone was just loving us, I'd feel like something was up,” he continued. “I don't consider those people, because even if they were behind what we were doing, they'd still be people who jump to conclusions after seeing one video. Maybe someday they'll get it. Sometimes it's a slow burn for people to pick up on it, but some will never get it. I kinda feel sorry for those people.”

Beneath the buzz and chatter, King 810's debut album, 'Memoirs Of A Murderer', is a bruising, hour-long journey and representative of a band invested in their craft. While influences pool from each end of the musical spectrum, the band are known for a crunching metallic stomp reminiscent of Korn, Slipknot and the like. For Gunn, their music being reduced to one main characteristic is symptomatic.

“People want to pigeonhole you for being just one thing – they're so narrow that if you make a heavy song, they assume that you can't make a soft one,” he said, referring to Take It, State Of Nature and several other acoustic interludes that litter 'Memoirs Of A Murderer'. “The metal bands who make a dozen or so heavy songs and one or two acoustic anomalies on their records seem to be accepted, but to have a multi-faceted band that has more than just your 'heavy with a couple of acoustic things' is crazy.

“I don't know why they don't get it or understand that people are more dynamic than just heavy songs. At the end of the day, when we're done with this music thing, we're still from Flint. This is what we go home to so it doesn't have anything to do with endorsing violence. It's a part of who we are. It really comes down to people being so narrow that they can only accept one thing from you, and that thing is the face-value stuff you get from one Google search.”

And therein lies the rub – ‘they’ think it’s a gimmick. Is Flint really the shithole King 810 are making it out to be? Are they actually best mates with Richard Branson? Well, the Flint Gunn speaks of in 'Memoirs Of A Murderer' seems all too real; the murder capital of the USA painted in a light that’s anything but flattering. Gunn is no Bowie; he's not playing a role on the album.

“I haven't packaged and made it for the next record or anything, but I don't wanna make another 'Memoirs Of A Murderer,” Gunn said. “I want to keep the catharsis of King 810 intact – I don't wanna go into this next record and be a completely different thing. These elements in 'Memoirs...' are just part of the way I write and who I am, so they're always gonna be there. It's not gonna up and change but it's not gonna be 'Memoirs Part Two' or anything.

“It's gonna be a more mature, grown version of what we're doing now – I don't want to lose who King 810 is. Every record isn't gonna be a new concept, ‘cause I didn't make this character up – I didn't invent it for the record. To just make up this whole new story on the second album wouldn't really make much sense.”

For all the web negativity and posturing, King 810 really have made an impression. Whether you love them, hate them or only know their name from some metal elitist’s rants in the flat above you, it’s hard to deny that what they’re doing is reverberating with people. A queue snaked through an alleyway in Islington prior to their London bow, something that Gunn is still computing.

“It's been way beyond what we expected it would be,” he said. “I didn't expect 20 people to be at these things, you know what I mean? With Download [Festival] you can play, and it's gonna be 10,000 people regardless, because it's a festival. But when you do your own headliner, coming here when you've never even been here before and don't really know what's going on here... I didn't really get my hopes up.”

Controversy has propelled artists to headline-bothering levels of fame in the past – Alice Cooper, Ozzy Osbourne and Judas Priest have all been subject to scaremongering and inflated levels of popularity as a result. While King 810's notoriety is one of real substance, the fact remains that they aren't actually 'America's most dangerous band' as some media outlets may have you believe. It is true that they have been in trouble with the law - look no further than the reasons they missed Download earlier this year - but King 810 are a band with a message and that message is being heard.

“If it's in the States or over here, the biggest highlight is showing up and having these groups of people being so into what we're doing,” Gunn said. “It's not validating but it's encouraging. We thought we were the only ones who were into what we were doing. After a little while, we thought that Flint was the only place that understood what the hell we were doing.

“I never thought I'd come to England and people would be just as crazy about it; knowing every word, having the King 810 tattoos. These guys in Scotland had them, and we thought that was just us who were doing that at home. I never imagined that this would go all over the world. It's crazy that it got out of Flint.”

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