In the fourth installment of this series, Gerard Creces continues randomly reviewing and interviewing bands that are tagged London, Ontario on bandcamp. Read, listen, download.
King Pin – Damaged Goods
King Pin’s Damaged Goods is a thoroughly depressing romp over a field of rusty razor blades – and that’s exactly what it sets out to be.
Musically, it’s a tight combo of punk rock beats and chunky power chords, dropping out to droning emo guitar riffs that build up to huge-sounding choruses.
The standout track on this EP is “Parachute,” which features several changes of pace. For the most part, it’s a straight up punk song, but it has some good vocal drop-outs and harmonized guitars.
The band consists of Andrew Hoover (guitars), Bob Calwell (vox), Jameson Wolfe (drums) and Nathan Aranha (bass).
King Pin does have a 2016 release, KP//HH, (a split EP with Heart & Harm) in addition to other recordings. However, 2013’s Damaged Goods comes up as one of the best-selling London, Ontario releases on bandcamp.
Lyrically, KP//HH is less inward-focused than Damaged Goods, and throws more vocal harmony into the mix. However, it still comes off raw and wounded.
I reached Bob Calwell by email.
The picture you paint on Damaged Goods is pretty bleak. Why?
There is definitely a theme of hopelessness throughout the EP. I know that for me, personally, it is a reflection on how I felt after living on my own for the first time in 18 years. I had just moved into a new city and was going to school for a program I couldn’t see a future in. I had very little “new” friends and was feeling very directionless in life.
I remember thinking that once I moved out of my hometown, I would gain this new found perspective on life and everything would start falling into place. That didn’t happen and I found myself feeling the same way as I did during my adolescence, which was usually depressed. I felt as though my life lacked a purpose and that nothing was going to change. I definitely needed a couple years of new experiences to realize that this was not the case.
How do you see London, Ontario? What is your experience here?
I think London is a very good city for people passionate about music. Everyone has their own little “scene” and each scene seems to support each other. Ever since I moved here, I’ve been wanting to bridge the gap between all of these scenes, and I think that over the course of me living here, I’ve definitely seen it improve.
I can go to a hardcore show, punk show, indie show, or even a big headliner show and feel equally as welcomed in each scene. I think there is a great sense of community in London and I hope to see that flourish over time.
Since this EP is from 2013, what has changed for King Pin between now and then?
We’ve had a few lineup changes, but I think overall, we’ve kind of found our “sound” for lack of a better word. We know what we’re doing and we know how we want to sound, whereas when we recorded Damaged Goods, we were still kind of trying to figure out what exactly we were doing. The overwhelming response and support after we dropped DG definitely helped secure our band, sonically and ethically.
The lyrical content is really self-critical. Is there a therapeutic value to this and if so, can you describe it?
I would definitely think so. I know that when I go to write lyrics to a song, it’s kind of a last-ditch effort to help me understand what exactly I’m feeling. I’ve never really been one to talk about how I’m feeling with others, whether it be friends, family, or even professionals, so when I write lyrics, it’s kind of my only outlet. And like I said, it helps me better understand what I’m going through. I often find a great deal of closure after writing.
What is your favourite place to play live in London and why?
Well, playing Rum Runners is always fun. That’s like, a “big” venue, so there are often a lot of kids out there who have probably not heard our band. They also treat us very well. Having said that though, we’ve always been much more comfortable playing eye level with our audience, so our favourite venues tend to house/basement shows.
Recommend three London bands to check out.
Youngest & Only– Immensely talented pop-punk band that doesn’t sound like your average run of the mill pop-punk outfit. For being so young, they sure do bring something fresh to the genre.
Soul Sucker – Probably my favourite hardcore band. Mad respect to these guys for doing things their way. Also, the riffs.
Grievances – There’s something very refreshing about this band and I can’t quite put my finger on it. Just go listen to them. Great punk band with a very present emo influence.
So, you’ve got some listening to do, London! Get more King Pin right here.
Feature photo by Nicki Borland