Christian metal band Fit for a King’s newest album, Deathgrip, seeps into your soul and compels you to bare all that’s buried. While touring the world and living their dream onstage, Fit for a King’s tear provoking lyrics hit you right in the feels, exposing your deepest pain just to tell it to go to Hell. Shockwave spoke with front-man Ryan Kirby at Souled Out Fest about the bombing in Paris and how it fueled the making of their latest album Deathgrip.
Shockwave Magazine: What’s up? How was the set tonight?
Ryan Kirby: It was great. I wish the pit area was a little bigger, but everything else was awesome.
It was and I think everybody knew the songs.
Yeah, it was fun. They put people into that tiny little pit, so people were just getting pounded against the walls and stuff. It was cool.
You guys are considered a Christian metal band, is that correct?
Being a Christian metal band, do you guys catch any kind of flak from the religious community? I know some bands have.
Yeah, we named a song “Pissed Off” and that made a lot of Christians pissed off.
Yeah, it was a very small minority. Maybe 3% of fans were like (surprised look), “How on earth could you cuss in one of your songs?” And we were just like, “Okay, well, it’s not a cuss word. And even if it is, who cares?”
You play venues with bands that aren’t Christian bands.
Yeah, we play more non-Christian tours. We’re very respectful of other people’s beliefs and their right to do whatever they would like to do, and in exchange, they are usually very respectful of ours.
That’s great. You guys are with Solid State Records right?
And you’ve been with them the whole time, since the beginning?
Well yeah, since we’ve been signed. We were a local band for six years before that.
And you guys are from Texas?
Tyler, Texas right?
Originally from Tyler, and then we kind of migrated. Now, we’re all in Dallas.
I lived in Texas for four years. I love Texas. I loved it there. My middle son was actually born there.
Really? Yeah, Texas is a pretty awesome state.
It’s awesome. You guys are on your fourth album now, Deathgrip?
Did you see any differences between the last album Slave to Nothing and this album, as far as the band’s mindset? I know how this album came about, which I want to talk about as well, just in case people that live under a rock don’t know (laughing).
The mindset on this album, is we were just a lot closer. Everybody was better with constructive criticism. So, the mindset was being very open with each other. A lot of it had to do with the bass player. Tuck [Ryan O’Leary] had joined the band nine days before Slave to Nothing.
Wow, I didn’t know that.
Yeah, we had no time, and we barely knew him. We were really getting to know him as we were doing the album. There wasn’t any kind of chemistry, but over the course of two years we got a lot of chemistry, and so it was a lot more cohesive on the new album.
That’s really cool, and you guys were in Germany when the Paris bombing happened, right? You were going to play Paris after Germany?
Yeah, four days from that day, we were going to Paris to play.
Yeah, that’s nuts. I read something in an article about that and you guys were just thinking about death; how short life is. What was really cool was when you turned and asked the fans about their lives and they shared their personal stories with you.
There were at least three songs on your album I can personally identify with. I know for a fan to identify with just one of those songs and become emotionally involved is amazing. I think this is the best album out of all four.
Well, thank you. We think so too.
So sick man. I’ve got, I think, four or five favorite songs on the album. “Stacking Bodies” is one of my favorites.
We are playing that this spring. We have a super heavy tour this spring, so we’re going to pull out all the heavy stuff like “Disease” and “Stacking Bodies.”
And “Dead Memory” (smiling with praying hands)?
At least we played that one tonight (smiling).
Yes, you did and I was excited about that. I saw a Tweet that you guys did and I wanted to ask you about it, because I didn’t see a follow up Tweet. The Tweet was that if you sold fifteen-thousand in the first week, you were going to pierce Tuck’s nipples. Did that ever happen?
No, I mean we beat Slave to Nothing. It did 6,900 and 180,000 streams. Deathgrip did like 8200 with 860,000 streams.
Do you still joke with Tuck about it?
Yeah a lot (laughing), we need to do it. It was a bummer that we didn’t sell as many, but we beat our record with the streams. It was like eight times more what Slave to Nothing did. So, everything’s turning to streaming now.
Honestly, it relates to so many people and their situations. I think if it was more widespread and more people knew about it, it would hit those sales like crazy.
Well, maybe by time the next album is out, this one will get out there.
Where are you headed next?
We play New Jersey, it’s like Asbury Park.
Yeah, we’ve never been there.
Have you guys ever played overseas?
Yeah, we did a European tour last year with The Amity Affliction and we have another one this winter with After the Burial and Emmure.
Oh that’s going to be sick. That’s overseas though, right? Of course.
Maybe they’ll do a U.S. leg. Who knows?
Oh, let’s hope they will. Tell me something about Fit for a King that no one else knows, something that only Shockwave will know.
A lot of people don’t know our bass player is from New York. He is actually from right here.
Yeah, he was crying on stage. He’s always wanted to play the big stage since he was young. He joined our band right before Slave to Nothing, like I said, and he had always just been in the local bands. He’s the oldest member, so he had kind of given up his dream of being in a band that’s touring and making a living. Now he is making a living. We finally got to come back and play the venue we always played as a local band.
That’s really cool. OK, so Deathgrip came out October seventh right?
Where can you get, or anybody get it, that doesn’t know?
If you want it online, all the normal places like ITunes, Google, and all that. If you want it in stores there’s F. Y. E, local shops, and Christian bookstores; which, a lot of people don’t know, like Lifeway Christian and Mardel’s.
Ok great, so any last plugs?
Yeah, thank you for the interview, and thank you to anyone who checked out the interview.
Awesome, thank you for taking your time out to chat with me. It was awesome.
Fit for a King may have lost a member or two over the years, but gained more than just new artists. They have acquired a family brought closer together by personal stories of grief and triumph. Make no mistake by their brutal screams and heavy hitting breakdowns, Fit for a King‘s lyrics take you outside of yourself and force you to re-examine life as you think know it.
“Music can minister to minds diseased, pluck from the memory a rooted sorrow, raze out the written troubles of the brain, and with its sweet oblivious antidote, cleanse the full bosom of all perilous stuff that weighs upon the heart.”