An Interview With Punk Band ICE NINE KILLS About Their Involvement With PUNK GOES POP VOLUME 7 And More!
Posted On 01 Aug 2017
Released on July 14th via Fearless Records, the Punk Goes Pop Volume 7 collection includes familiar names and emerging punk artists covering the biggest Top 40 hits. This installment has artists Dance Gavin Dance, Andy Black, State Champs, Amity Affliction covering pop chart hits from Justin Bieber, Ed Sheeran, Drake, The Weeknd and more.
Watch this space for more on PUNK GOES POP:
Another one of the bands featured on the collection is Boston, MA’s Ice Nine Kills. They were formed in 2006 by high school friends Spencer Charnas and Jeremy Schwartz. To date, Ice Nine Kills has released three EPs: The Burning, 2 Song Acoustic and The Predator. Four full-length studio albums: Last Chance to Make Amends, Safe Is Just a Shadow, The Predator Becomes the Prey, and their most successful album to date Every Trick in the Book.
Read more about the Pop Goes Punk Collection and Ice Nine Kills in the following All Access interview with the band’s front-man Spencer Charnas:
Thanks for your time! Where does this interview find the band today?
Thanks for asking me to do the interview! We are currently locked away at our studio crafting the new INK album. We are in the pre-production stage right now and are very excited about how it’s sounding so far.
What are some words you would use to describe 2017 so far? How differently did you all approach this year?
The 2 words I would use would be, “successful” and “rewarding.” I feel like the band really jumped to the next level with the release of our last album. It’s nice to see the fruits of your labor pay off in a big way.
Can you recall the moment you all met and decided you could start a band together? Can you elaborate on how you are all different and how that helps the band dynamics? How did you come up with your name?
The newest lineup of the group met in 2009, but I had formed the group years earlier in high school. We were all friends but not band-mates at the time. A majority of the current INK members were in a local Rochester NY band called Remember Tomorrow. Our personalities and music tastes are so different from each other that it provides a really eclectic sound for the final product that is INK. I had loved the author Kurt Vonnegut, and in particular, his novel ‘Cat’s Cradle.’ In that book, the earth ending substance is called Ice-Nine, the rest as we say, is history.
I am always curious to know about a band’s sound and really their dynamics has been influenced by the city they all live and write their music.
I’m originally from a town called Swampscott, which is just North of Boston and right next to the town I currently reside in, Salem MA. Being such a horror centric band, I have to assume that my proximity to one of the most sinister towns in the world must have subconsciously influenced me and subsequently, the band’s sound.
How do you think this group has grown over the years? What has remained the same since you first formed?
Our desire to create music that moves us and our fans has never wavered. Also, our drive to succeed and make a living (in a very competitive landscape) has never faltered.
Let’s talk about your involvement with the collection, “Punk Goes Pop.” Why did you all initially decide to be part of it? Have you enjoyed the previous 6 installments?
I’ve always thought the idea behind the album was very clever. We were able to participate in the 2015 addition with a Maroon 5 cover of “Animals.” People seemed to really like what we did with that, so we were eager to get an opportunity to be on the compilation again.
Did you get to decide what song you would cover? How did you about picking and finally selecting Taylor Swift and ZAYN’s song, “I Don’t Wanna Live Forever”? What was it like making this song yours and re-inventing it in the style of Ice Nine Kills?
We got to choose which cover we recorded. The only stipulation from Fearless was that it had to be a cover of a fairly modern song that wasn’t already claimed by another band on the comp.
At the beginning of this year, you released a re-recorded version of your album, “Safe is Just a Shadow.” Can you talk about why you did this?
That album had always been a big fan favorite but we felt it never got the proper release it had always deserved. The original album was also out of print at the time so we thought it would be a good move to also take advantage of the advances in sound quality and not just re-release it, but re-record it. We did a tour where we played the album front to back this past January, it was a great experience to play songs live that we hadn’t touched in years.
Your newest single is called “Enjoy Your Slay.” What was the inspiration for this track? Will it be on a new forthcoming album soon?
With every song on the last album being inspired by a famous novel, it wasn’t long after it’s release before fans began requesting us to create more music based on literature. For the last chapter of this album cycle we went with Stephen King’s The Shining.
As a special treat for fans of the story, we were able to secure an unbelievable guest vocal appearance on the track by none other than Sam Kubrick, Stanley Kubrick’s grandson. On our tour of the U.K. last fall, we became great friends with his band Shields, whose technical prowess and dynamic songwriting blew us away. Being a big fan of their band and Sam’s vocals, we knew his inclusion on the song would provide a strong connection to the story’s legacy. His performance undeniably adds a layer and depth to the composition that is truly chill inducing. This track will not be included on the next album, it is a stand alone single.
What are your plans for this summer? Will you be playing out live at all? Can you describe what one of your live shows is like? What makes for an ideal performance for Ice Nine Kills?
We will be writing/recording all Summer long for the next INK album. The only live performances we had for the Summer were in late May/Early June in The U.K., it was fantastic and we can’t wait to return. Our favorite kind of shows are semi small intimate venues packed to the brim with kids screaming along to every word. For us, not even a huge festival show for thousands of people can top that.
Who are some of your favorite artists? Who would you all love to work with in the future? What would be a dream collaboration for this band?
Some of my all time favorite artists would be: Nirvana, Midtown, Finch, He is Legend Andrew Lloyd Webber, Danny Elfman, Claude-Michel Schonberg and so many more. I would love for Dr. Dre to produce a song for us. Yes, he’s on the other side of the planet when it comes to style, but I’d love to see his genius mind at work with a style like ours.
What do you hope is the message of your music? What do you hope people continue to take away from your songs?
Use aggressive music as an outlet for your demons, not as a blueprint for your actions.
What advice would you give to a band just getting started on this music path?
The number one thing besides having great songs and a great aesthetic, is that you must be patient. Success rarely happens fast in this business, so be prepared to bust your ass for years before you see the results you dream about. Once you get there, you’ll realize it was all worth it!