We are introduced in a narrow, dimly lit corridor. We stand before David Gunn, frontman of America’s most dangerous band.
The violent streets of Flint Michigan have fuelled David’s lyrics, and he pulls no punches in his narrative. ‘’I think I’d find it harder if I didn’t talk about it. Maybe it’s some kind of purging thing. I couldn’t ever imagine just making shit up.’’ For David, it isn’t just about exorcising personal experiences, but also those of his community. ‘’There’s so much bullshit news out there, and it all has a fucking agenda, so we just say it how it is. I write about what we’ve all been through.’’
“I don’t care what others think about what we do…”
When a band releases new music, it is often taken as a foreshadowing of what is to come. For David, he hopes to continue exploring all sides of his art ‘’If I’m gonna have angry moods there’s gonna be angry songs. Which I guess is inevitable. I don’t care what others think about what we do.’’ A crew member makes his way down the corridor to retrieve some gear, ushering in an uncomfortable silence as we make way. David pauses and reflects for a moment or more before expressing his view on the way fans in certain scenes demonstrate unhelpful attitudes ‘’People get up in arms about a band changing their sound and its pathetic.’’ We discuss the sonic shift of Bring Me The Horizon and how they have grown in popularity and appeal ‘’If a band wants to change their sound it doesn’t matter, its their life. You don’t want to be a fifty year old man writing the same songs you did when you were nineteen, and anyone who shuns a band for exploring new territory is a fucking loser.’’
On King 810’s latest EP Queen, we continue to hear the sincerity of David’s experiences as well as a shift towards more melodious tones. This time, the songs are overtly romantic. That said, love songs are not unfamiliar territory for David. The lead single from their debut LP Memoirs of a Murderer may have sounded like a violence inciting statement, but David reveals ‘’Killem all is a love song. It’s about camaraderie. That’s a deeper love than you’ll ever get between a man and a woman, or between a social group, or even a relative. That kind of love where I come from is a survival mechanism. It’s your infantry. The love you’ll get from a woman isn’t necessarily keeping you alive.’’
” ‘’They think it’s a gang, they see us as criminals.’’
We also take this opportunity to ask David how ‘’normal’’ people in Flint respond to the King 810 phenomenon ‘’They think it’s a gang, they see us as criminals.’’ David continues to dispel the myths about Flint ‘’It’s a black city. There’s not a lot of metal guys. Nine out of every ten people I interact with aren’t into metal or anything like it. I’ve known people for twenty years who don’t even know I do this.’’ Back in 2016, King released the song ‘’We Gotta Help Ourselves’’ in aid of the Flint water contamination disaster. The community responded well to the bands virtuous work, but to this day the water in Flint is unsafe to drink or bathe in due to its dangerous lead levels.
When asked what advice he would give to young people growing up in an area like Flint, David advises that you get sharp. ‘’You should stay book smart. If you grow up in the streets, it’s not ‘street smart,’ it’s just inherent. If you don’t need to be street smart then don’t. I got in trouble a lot, so I spent time in prison where I got to read a lot.’’ David expresses his disdain for big mouthed guys ‘’You’ve gotta listen to people when they talk, if someone knows more than you then shut up and listen. So yeah, read and listen. That said, I’ve made some stupid decisions, I’m not a role model or someone who is admirable.’’
“It’s unusual that this sort of censorship worked its way into this side of music, especially when its about going against the grain.”
We turn our attention to the title of King 810’s latest LP La Petite Morte or A Conversation with God. La Petite Morte translates to ‘the little death’ often referring to orgasm or a part of the soul dying. ‘’Make no mistake, the album is about sex. It’s so fucked that we have taboos around sex, and so much of it comes from religious sentiments. Punk bands scream their heads off about whatever, but they hardly ever talk about sex. It’s unusual that this sort of censorship worked its way into this side of music, especially when its about going against the grain.’’ David gives us this insight but stresses that ‘’the album title could mean so many things that people can take as they will, so I wouldn’t want to summarise it too much.’’
Known for their theatrical live shows and intense music videos, King 810 have always expressed multi modal forms of art as well as their music. ‘’Sometimes the song writes the video and sometimes the video writes the song. I don’t really like playing live, we’ve dialled it back on the theatrics but this time we’re focusing on the music.’’ Clearly, the music speaks for itself.
“I’VE HAD THREE FIGHTS. I’VE WON ALL THREE FIGHTS.”
We end this interview on a lighter note regarding David’s current music playlists. ’’ Code Orange are cool, we wanna play a show together sometime. I love Nine Inch Nails, Manson and Cradle of Filth. Bands like that you get the movie and the soundtrack! But to be fair, 98% of the music I listen to is hip-hop, it’s where I come from.”
Concluding the interview, we turn the conversation to another one of Gunn’s interests. MMA Fighting. “I’ve had three fights. I’ve won all three fights.” Make no mistake that KING 810 are a band that are far from being untruthful when it comes to their darker sentiments. They are not a band to disguise where they’re from, nor use it for bragging rights, but instead, in a darker way than most, unite both music and the harsher realities of the world.