Catch up with prog-rock 5 piece Time King's Brandon Dove and watch the video for their new single "Main Street", part of their The 1955 Collection.
What brought you together and got you interested in starting Time King?
Brandon: This is actually an interesting story. I met Shayne in 2009, as a matter of fact - which is a lot longer ago now than I'd like - at a Berklee College of Music Summer program. We met, became friends, totally hit it off, and we both had plans to return there in the Fall for college in 2010 and start a little project. He's from California and he ended up going there to Boston in 2010; I ended up staying local on Long Island - which is where the rest of us are from, New York - and one thing led to another and even though we were not at the same school, we were on the same coast, and he hit me up and he was like, "hey, let's do this". So, for about a year, we were just traveling back and forth making music over iChat or traveling between Boston and New York and kind of just shelving some ideas and putting out a few covers. We had the help of a couple of friends who would become the band members, so by 2012 is when we actually committed to being Time King, being a band, and I guess that's the moment when we really came together. This thing that preexisted, Shayne and mine's little project, became Time King. The two friends, Kalvin and James, who were helping us demo and helping us do covers ended up taking it on and we found our drummer, conveniently, on YouTube and he became one of our best fiends; and that's kind of the mixing pot that made the Time King cake that you see before you [laughs].
Where does your name, Time King, come from?
It actually is just a very, very well-timed - but mistakenly typed - text message. It was a text message typo that we ended up using as a joke and then when we came back and tried to think seriously about a band name and revisited it, our serious efforts could not top the convention of the one that we didn't take seriously. It stuck, it worked, it was easy, there were links for it, and I guess that would set the scene for how we operate best, which is, we operate best when we don't take ourselves too seriously and that's represented in the band name.
Which musicians have you been influenced by, individually or as a band?
There's definitely a big ol' list that all of us are influenced by and it's kind of interesting and unique. We love Esperanza Spalding, Incubus, Jamiroquai, and some of us on the Long Island side of things definitely come from those roots like Glassjaw, The Mars Volta, Rx Bandits; it's a solid mix. It's interesting, but that's one of the things where, when we found Goose for example - we found him on YouTube and we were able to distinguish that he was a local dude who was just doing killer drum covers - I think one of the things that really made us connect with him, before we even met him, was just that he was like, "in case you're curious, I'm going to give you my Last.fm playlist of things I dig," and the list was like Esperanza Spalding followed by Kimbra, Dillinger Escape Plan, Meshuggah, Alien Ant Farm, and Periphery followed by some jazz or pop. It was such a strange list that it was scary how close it was to the artists that we love, even though all of the artists were like two different sides of the spectrum. That set the scene for us connecting with him and we share a lot of that.
Is there an artist you've been hooked on lately?
Yeah, yeah, definitely. A big one for us lately has been the newest Anderson .Paak album and it just came out last year, in 2016. He's kind of an emerging hip hop artist that we really dig who has roots in gospel music, which we love; he's a drummer himself and he sings and he raps and he's super good, so we've been on that, lately. It's heartbreaking and inspiring to watch his interviews and hear his story.
Which words would you use to describe your own sound?
It's funny, 'cause you kind of talk about these things and it becomes these unanimous jokes that we end up really committing to. It doesn't matter who you ask, you definitely would get the same thing. We started creating this little quote, like, it's music for your inner nerd and your inner party girl [laughs].
What were your inspirations behind this new single "Main Street"?
It's a stand-alone single, technically, but it's actually the first piece of a giant project that we'll be exploring for the next year or two. We've coined that a project because it's not necessarily an album, it's a collection of 4 EPs with singles in-between with "Main Street" being the first. We're calling the entire collection The 1955 Collection, actually. "Main Street" is going to be followed up in Spring with the Frontierland EP. It's exciting - and a little scary - because it's the first step in this big direction that we've been conceptualizing for a little while now and it's the first impression; we're confident at this point that it sums up all the different things that we're trying to accomplish with this project, like a little overture.
While the track is an introduction, the influence kind of comes from this idea that I think is pretty prevalent amongst our generation which is, it seems that people these days are very addicted to nostalgia. They love the '90s throwback and everywhere you go there's either a reboot of an old TV show or movie, or a comeback, or a throwback and it makes you think about nostalgia. "Main Street" is centered around that, along with this idea of how nostalgia can be something that you can become addicted to; you get enamored with it, then you become addicted to it and maybe, in a way, you alienate yourself from it because you say, "I can't live in the past, it's not real, I have reality to deal with," and the song depicts that. By the end of the song, it rethinks that to embrace the idea that that magic you feel, that nostalgic vibe that you get when you think of certain things that make you feel that way, they are part of your reality and part of who you are. You'll see in the video and the song that we iterate that. Even the title, "Main Street", is named after Disney Land, and that's a place you go that, no matter when you come back to it, you're always a kid. It's a song about someone or something - it could be a person, a significant other, a place - and it's that process and magic you feel when someone or something makes you feel like a kid again. You say to yourself, "it's not real, it's fantasy," and no, it is real, and toying with that.
Could you tell our readers more about The 1955 Collection?
It's definitely a process that I could say is continually unfolding; we've only written part of it so far and it's a continual discovery, but there's definitely some parts of it that are set in stone. All the stuff I just said about "Main Street" kind of sums up what the entire collection is going to discover through different iterations, but one of the other pieces behind the concept is just finding a format for us to release music that is different from saying 'album'. To release a collection - we have the single "Main Street" and Frontierland which is a 3 song EP, for now - it's a chance for us to put stuff out quicker, put out smaller pockets of music where we can put more focus on the song while, at the same time, letting things group themselves into a bigger mass over time. Some songs will either stand on their own or get grouped into EPs periodically and, eventually, those EPs will find themselves grouped into this giant mass; they're kind of independent but they're also related. One of the ways that they're related is that each of the EPs are going to explore different musical and conceptual aesthetics for us. Like, when I named our influences, we have so many different musical influences that we mashed together and I guess you could say we're still doing that mashing, but we'll definitely have a deliberate exploration of some of those assets. I can already say, off the bat, that Frontierland is the most rugged, rock-oriented of the collection whereas other ones might focus on different elements of our sound in a more exclusive way.
Is there one track you've been working on that you're most excited to share with fans?
It's interesting, because the timeline has been strange up to this point. Because the concept builds upon itself, some of the songs on the EP, we've been working on for the greater part of a year and the most recent song we actually wrote was "Main Street" and we wrote that in September or October. Our bass player, James, is our engineer, but he also works for Dream Theater on the road and he'll be away for 6 weeks, then he'll be back, then he'll be away; it's forced us into this new format for the band where we act quick and we adapt. With "Main Street", in September we decided we wanted to write a song and so we did it in 10 days: we wrote it from scratch and then demoed it, tracked it, mixed it, and mastered it all within 10 days before James went away. So "Main Street", because it's the most recent one we wrote and it sums a lot of stuff up, so we're most pumped about that, at least currently.
In one sentence, how would you sum up The 1955 Collection?
It's a chance for us to explore a number of different musical, lyrical, and conceptual ideas all under one umbrella.
What do you hope listeners are able to take away from your music?
I think one of our goals - for this song or this collection or the upcoming EP and our music as a whole - when we make that joke about music for your inner nerd or party girl and we call ourselves party prog, I think what we want the takeaway to be is that we're definitely brainy, nerdy people - we love video game culture and a majority of us went to school for music or audio-engineering - and it informs what we do and definitely defines that progressive element of what we do. In terms of a traditional, progressive band - where it's all about the 20 minute songs with tons of technicality, some people would argue, to a fault - I think what we want for our music is, we want people to take as much as they want to take. If you're someone who really digs nuance and you really dig complexity and love listening to the details of the composition, we would love for people to get pumped about that because we're pumped about that; about dissecting every song and understanding the chord changes and the relations between musical themes and key changes and rhythmic elements that are related. We would love for people who are pumped about that but, at the same time, we love a song with lyrics that people can relate to and it's something for someone that's positive and that makes them think about something in a certain way. Or, on a surface level, for a person who's not interested in the musical/technical stuff or deep lyrics, maybe they're just interested in a song that they love to blast in their car that's just catchy and accessible and feel-good. There's all these different levels and there's no hierarchy to these levels, they're just different interactions. I guess what we'd love for people to take from our music is something that gets them pumped on any level, whether its on the surface or deep, as long as they take something passionate from it.
Is there anything you want to add?
I could rant about plenty of topics [laughs]. I think we just love what we do and maybe it's just a vibe thing but, ideally, if people hear the passion in it and it gets them pumped, that's what's awesome. All 5 of us love art that inspires us to do something or think about something - that's why we do this - and music is a chance to think about things, meet cool people, go to cool places, and learn everything and there's parts of life that are not so great, so you've got to really grab the stuff that is great and create other great things with it.