I Am King is one of those bands you should probably know the name of before everyone else starts talking about them. With their first full length under their belt, the Pennsylvania natives are already making moves, from signing with Velocity/ Rise Records (Of Mice and Men, Sleeping with Sirens) and touring with heavy hitters Silverstein and Story of the Year. Substream caught up with one of their lead singers, Sam Sky, to talk about their new album and opening the Scream It Like You Mean It 2013 Tour.
Substream Magazine: Congrats on making your first full length, Onehundred. What was it like making I Am King’s debut full length?
Sam Sky: Well it was a little bit of everything if that makes any sense. We were in the middle of recording pre production, with the impression we had a week and a half left at home. So, when we got a call from our producer saying, “Hey man! Can’t wait to see you guys tomorrow!” Naturally we were very confused. Turns out there was some major miscommunication and that we were really booked to go to the studio that next day. We only had four songs mapped out so far, so we were a little freaked out at first. Alas, we went to the studio the day after and cranked out the rest of the record! Everything went so well in the end!
SM: Which song is your personal favorite off the record?
SS: I would have to say “Birth By Sleep” for many reasons. Besides the obvious Kingdom Hearts references, this song is the most different on the record and stands alone strongly. It’s the only song that we have that we’re all singing on the record.
SM: “Julia,” your new music video, was just released online. Did you have fun making that video?
SS: It was probably the most fun thing I’ve ever done as far as things out side of performing live in I Am King. The Premiere Cru’ [the team who shot the video and came up with the concept] are some of the coolest, most fun, and professional group of people I’ve ever had the pleasure of working with. Can’t wait to work with them again!
SM: You guys are on the Scream It Like You Mean It tour right now with Story of the Year and Like Moths to Flames. What’s it like touring with bands who have been so influential to their music scene?
SS: It’s unreal (laughs.) I literally watch Story’s set every single night. On the flip side of that is the harsh truth that we have a ways to go to get on their level. They’ve been doing this for over ten years, while this is our second US tour ever. However, we love the challenge and are striving every day to meet it with a smile on our faces.
SM: What’s been your favorite thing about Scream it Like You Mean It?
SS: How unbelievably great all the bands treat everyone else. We’re the freshman of the tour and the touring world in general, so we expected no special treatment what so ever. Yet, everyone from the tour management, to the stage crew, the merch guys, to every single band member, treats us like a million bucks. I’m having the time of my life.
SS: What’s next for I Am King after this tour?
Sky: Touring, touring, and touring!! I think we’re headed home for the duration of 2013 but as soon as 2014 comes around, we hit the ground running. So in the mean time, we’ll be practicing our butts off and writing new music!
We also had the opportunity to review I Am King’s new album, Onehundred! Check it out.
Hailing from Lehigh Valley, PA, I Am King have debuted their first full length, Onehundred, filled with angst ridden breakdowns and lovelorn lyrics. The vocals, a symbiotic relationship between Sam Sky’s singing and Nate Newhard’s varied screams, complement each other in a way that their voices combine harmoniously into a single thought. With these soaring vocals and powerful screams laced in between verses and vibrant guitar melodies, this album has the hallmark elements of a scene sound that is going to get eaten up by the young venue dwellers. Their debut offers fans a more intense sound than their EP, unafraid to go deeper and darker.
Opening the album with “Alpha,” the call to action leads off with an unrelenting pace and intense screams that will grab listeners of similar sounds’ attention with the voracity they are so fondly drawn to (ex. I See Stars, Underoath.) The dramatic “Fallen,” (Baby, you’re the greatest mistake I’ve ever made) is a likeable hit with frantic guitars when the vocals aren’t being emphasized by minimal music. IAK recently released their music video for “Julia,” an unrequited love tale with a pop riddled chorus and dangerous hooks. “Move Slow” reads like a club song and has hints of an underlying experimental beat, but is quickly covered up by overwhelming, heavy riffs. The last three songs end the album on lighter notes, with “Thrive” and “Birth By Sleep” relying mostly on Sky’s driving vocals, then to “Omega” with a ballad-like bridge and chorus that brings Onehundred to a slower, steady close.
At points, the album struggles and blends together, creating a seemingly endless song with the same patterns and screams. I Am King even managed to grab guest vocalists Elliot Coleman (Sky Eats Airplane) and Spencer Sotelo (Periphery) for two tracks, but where most would be able to distinguish a solo from a different vocalist, nothing stands out, and thus it takes away from the collaboration.
But this is what an album sounds like before a band grabs a slot on Warped Tour. I Am King were the Ernie Ball Battle of the Band winners in 2012 on Warped, and seem to be itching for a spot on the full tour. Onehundred is a confident first step in I Am King’s career that shows a multitude of growth, even from a single EP. Expect to hear more from the dynamic sextet in 2014.
I Am King
Listen to: Fallen
Interview & Review By Stephanie Roe