INTERVIEW: The Karma Killers, the not so typical New York City band

You may have heard of punk-new rave rockers, The Karma Killers, through one of the many weeks of the Vans Warped Tour summer line-up announcements. After two years of dedicated songwriting and performing, the band signed with Island Records and is set to release an EP and a full album later this year. With hearing their new catchy single entitled “Coming of Age,” their video for the song available below, it was apparent that the band is set to take-off in a blaze of punk rock stardom. Substream got a chance to sit down with band after their set at the Island Records party at this past SXSW to talk about the new music they are working on and their excitement for the future of their career as a band.

Substream: Would you guys mind introducing yourselves and your place in the band?

Micky James: I’m Micky sing and play guitar.

Billy Stevens: I’m Billy and I play guitar

Mango: I’m Mango and I play bass. Our drummer is over there, so I’ll just introduce him, his name is Josh and he plays drums.


Substream: So you guys signed to Island like a year, maybe two years ago?

Mango: Actually we officially signed with them I think at the end of September, so basically almost October. So, it’s pretty fresh and we haven’t been with them for too long, but it’s been awesome.


Substream: What has that transition been like from not being signed to finally being signed? How has that experience been as a band?

Micky: It’s been relatively easy, I mean we are just antsy to start touring and start putting out records.


Substream: You guys are working on a record now, correct? Or about to release one?

Micky: Yeah we are actually writing the record, almost done writing it, but we have an EP finished. I don’t know exactly what date it is coming out but definitely before our tour this summer on Warped Tour.


Substream: What themes are you exploring or what are you hoping to say through the record?

Micky: There is no really theme, I’m not really like a concept/theme based writer. It will just be about our experiences and as a band, as an unsigned band for the past couple years. Some storytelling. It’s probably going to be a very…I don’t want to say “balls to the walls,” but very…how do you say….punch?

Mango: Yeah I think we are just trying to keep it real, you know? Just be the band we are and make the music that we love, to say it in the simplest terms.


Substream: So what was it like when you got the call or the email that you would be heading on Warped Tour?

Mango: I mean it’s kind of like the start of our careers finally, you know? Being able to share out music and our love with everyone else. 20,000 kids everyday, you know? We are blessed to be on it.


Substream: How was the process to get on Warped Tour for your guys?

Mango: It seemed to just happen over night, we got a text from out manager saying we were on Warped Tour this summer and were like cool (Laughs), like I guess were gonna go do it, fuck yeah!


Substream: What stage are you gonna be on?

Mango: We are starting on Kevin Says and we might move around throughout the summer.

Micky: Yeah I think it will be between Kevin Says and Ernie Ball.


Substream: Do you know any of the bands that are going to be out their with you guys or are you excited to hear about anything in particular?

Micky: There are a couple of bands I’ve heard even before I knew they were heading out on Warped Tour that I thought were pretty cool. This band from LA, I think they are called New Beat Fund, they are rad. We are also really influenced by like No Doubt and the Red Hot Chili Peppers and that band has that kind of vibe, so it’s really cool, we love that shit.


Substream: As far as like, New York bands go, you aren’t the typical New York band, and it’s funny you mentioned bands like No Doubt and such, because I feel like you totally fit with the LA music scene.

Micky: Yeah I mean thank you that’s cool, that we aren’t compared to New York City because New Yorks amazing, I think it’s the greatest place and the bands that come out of there are amazing, but I guess we worked so hard to try to stick out of New York City so for you to say that is just really cool.

Billy: I don’t think our sound is not one particular scene or area, you know, it’s a collective sound from different time periods and different places.

Mango: The definitely is some older LA influence in there from bands like the chili peppers, like we were just saying, but New York too and even the UK. Definitely a British, punk rock influence. It just kind of feels like it is a melting pot of all different cities, form the history of their music put into one.


Substream: In the midst of all these exciting things happening in your lives right now, what does music mean to you guys?

Billy: Music is the face of God (Laughs).

Micky: It’s everything, it’s culture, it’s who people are, especially people who are very sensitive to music.


Substream: Let’s talk about your stage presence, you guys seemed very comfortable up there. Like, I feel you guys could play at a children’s playground and make it seem like The Roxy or something.

Mango: We have a good time with that, we are just comfortable on stage.

Micky: Yeah, I’m not gonna bullshit, we were nervous tonight (Laughs). It was a lot of excitement. And this sounds really cliché, but we get really lost. It’s like that’s our fucking, that’s our arena. It could be in a basement or whatever, that’s where we really come across as artists.


Substream: Would you say that’s your favorite part of this all? Between writing, performing, and producing, what is your favorite aspect?

Micky: Always my favorite has been playing, I love playing to a crowd.


Substream: Let’s say you were in the room with 2,000 people and you could only play three song that would describe yourselves to the audience, which of your songs would those be?

Micky: For right now I would say “Domino.” A song called “Tightrope” and… I’m trying to think of a new song that we wrote in the studio that’s not out. I would say “Goodbye” maybe.

Mango: I basically agree, those three songs definitely would represent us well if I had to pick three.


Substream: Final question, if you could tell anything to your fans right now, what would it be?

Micky: We are a new band, I hope they can feel what we feel with what we are putting out. And I think just be aware.

Mango: The fans are who we are, you know what I mean? Although we are a fairly new band and starting to experience people taking an interest in our music, you become who they are and they become who you are. That’s really the beautiful thing about it, they take our experience and make them their own and we feed off that energy and it lets us continue to create.