King Kraken

King Kraken Feature
King Kraken: Adam Healey, Mark Donoghue, Pete Rose, Richard Lee Mears & Karl Meyer
King Kraken: Adam Healey, Mark Donoghue, Pete Rose, Richard Lee Mears & Karl Meyer

Big Slabs of Monster Riffage

King Kraken are a five piece hard rock band from South Wales made up of Mark Donoghue (vocals), Pete Rose (rhythm guitar), Adam Healey (lead guitar), Karl Meyer (Bass) and drummer Richard Lee Mears. I met up with them at The Green Rooms gig venue and rehearsal space to talk all things music.

First of all, how did the band start? Rose explains his process in trying to find the right pieces for the jigsaw, and typically it seems a combination of having worked together before and social media: “I was with another band last year and, to be honest, I’d had enough so I put feelers about about starting something new. I met up with Karl and a few other lads to jam. It didn’t go anywhere but Karl and I stuck together and I knew Rich from previous bands so we had a good platform. Mark replied to an ad I put on Facebook around June last year and after rehearsing for a while, there was still something missing.” After a final attempt at recruitment, Rose knew instantly that they had found the last element to create the perfect storm: “After the last ad, Adam came along and we knew straight away that we wanted him in the band. We’ve pretty much been gigging from day 1 and haven’t stopped since.”

Moving away from many bands who start by doing cover versions, King Kraken are focussed on original material – so what is the writing process for the band. Rose explains that the whole band are involved and it’s sometimes Mix and Match: “I had a handful of tracks that the band pretty much ripped apart and rearranged and that’s pretty much how it works. Any ideas that come along are pulled apart”

“Subject to change” interjects Mears laughing before Meyer continues: “We’ll often exchange ideas and riffs online and we know pretty quickly what works and what doesn’t!”

After a year using this honing process to develop songs, how many complete tracks do the band have? Rose explains that they have numerous songs, but their live repertoire depends on one particular variable: “In terms of playing live, it’s currently about 40 to 45 minutes, but it does depend how fast Rich is on the drums!” they laugh, before Donoghue continues: “The ideas are flowing all the time, so we’re always looking to add new songs.”

In terms of recording an album, the band are reluctant to rush the process, according to Rose: “We want to release the best product we can possibly make and for that quality, it’s a lot of cash to front up. We recorded an EP bit by bit over a couple of months as we developed songs which was good to have something to put out there but now we have a full set of songs, we’d be able to record a whole album in one go, so that would reduce costs.”

At this stage, after only a year of being a band, the focus is very much on gigging and getting to play for as many people as possible. One avenue for this is music festivals, as Mears enthuses: “We did Metal 2 the Masses recently and that opens up new potential fans, so I’d say things are growing steadily!”

Are there any plans for the future? As Rose says, it’s just about getting the band name known: “It’s really about playing live and getting our name out there”. Donoghue continues: “We’re all in this for the long haul so there are no time limits.” Mears again goes on to emphasise the importance, and enjoyment, of festivals within the growth process: “We have one small festival and one larger festival coming up over the coming months so they’re going to be highlights and we’re really looking forward to them!”

Like most bands, King Kraken have a range of favourite venues, including Hangar 18 (Swansea) and The Patriot (Crumlin) but they are especially keen to pay tribute to one venue. Rose enthuses, with his diplomatic hat on: “Green Rooms” he says loudly before the band erupt into laughter. This can be explained by the fact that we are actually chatting IN the Green Rooms and the venue manager just happens to be sitting across the room! Rose continues: “But seriously, this is where we played our first ever gig, so it’s a special place!”

Not that gigging isn’t without its difficulties for the rockers who juggle day jobs with music. Rose explains how they try to coordinate shows: “We have a shared calendar online and if a date is free, we’ll put a show in” but the technology can be subject to human error, as Donoghue admits: “I remember there was a time that I wasn’t available, but I hadn’t put it in the calendar and a show got booked! Thankfully we were able to move it!”

Meyer takes up the theme: “When we played Metal 2 The Masses, we actually had another gig booked the same night in the pub next door. We were really geared up to play both, but unfortunately the scheduled slot at the festival meant we weren’t able to”

And as a relatively new band looking to appeal to new fans, how would Rose describe the band’s sound to anyone who may be looking for new music? “Big slabs of monster riffage!” he laughs before continuing: “We’ve been compared to the likes of Black Stone Cherry, Clutch and Corrosion of Conformity. On balance, I don’t think we’re specifically one genre.”