An email interview with Barry MacKichan, singer/bass player of Kiros.
Please give your name and duties in the band.
Barry MacKichan, singer and bass player.
Kiros has been around since 2004. Can you give us a quick history lesson on Kiros?
Well, we actually started in 2000 as high school kids playing in the garage. We put a lot into our local scene, booking shows, promoting, bringing in other bands etc. We released a full length titled Counterproductive, and nervously ordered 500 copies (the minimum order.) The cd exploded locally, and we sold over 2000 within the year just playing weekends. In 2004 the timing seemed right to go full time, so we left school and jobs and hit the road. We toured Canada, extensively during 2004-2006, releasing a couple EPs, and some successful music videos. Our first tour in the USA was Warped Tour 2005. We helped set up stages in the morning for the right to play. It was 15 hour days setting up, playing, tearing down, and walking around with discmans to sell cds for gas money, all followed by taking turns driving through the night. In early 2006, the band almost fell apart with member changes and other crisis. After re-evaluating everything, we decided to start over, and late 2006-2007 we started touring again, and recorded our most successful album to date “A Single Strand”. The day before it released in Canada, we agreed to release the record under Torque Records. Torque singed a distribution deal with Victory Records, and In 2008 we started touring more in the USA, when our record re-released in the USA. Shortly after that, we became apart of the Outerloop Management family, and things deteriorated with Torque, so we left the label. 2009, we recorded a 3 song EP entitled the Hurricane EP with Paul Levitt (All Time Low, Versa Emerge etc), independently released it, and found ourselves getting better and better tours, festivals, industry and label attention. In 2010, we started writing for a new full length, while staying on the road for almost 10 months. We started talking with producer Mark Lee Townsend (Relient K, The Wedding, House of Heroes), and recorded the first half of the record with him in April/May. In January 2011, while on our first European Tour, we started talking with ANGR, and signed the dotted line in May.
Since 2008, we’ve toured with Emery, Maylene And The Sons Of Disaster, The Audition, Hit the Lights, Every Avenue, There for Tomorrow, VersaEmerge, Blessed by a Broken Heart, School Boy Humor,Broadway, Showbread, Oceana, Ivoryline, Secret and Whisper, Closure In Moscow, Vanna, Love Hate Hero, In Fear and Faith, Seventh Day Slumber, December Radio, Queens Club, Sent by Ravens, Stellar Kart, Everyday Sunday, Abandon Kansas, Children 18:3, Philmont, The New Divide and more.
What is the meaning (if any) behind the name “Kiros”?
Kiros is an ancient greek word for “A divinely appointed moment in time.”
You’ve recently signed to ANGR. What made you decide on this label?
Over the last couple years we’ve been talking to almost a dozen labels, ranging from majors to indies, but we could never agree on a contract. There was always some huge compromise we’d have to make that would change the fundamental identity of the band, that just wasn’t worth it to us. When conversations started with ANGR, they were excited about what we were doing, how we were doing it, and had no desire to change it. They just wanted to get behind it, be a part of it, and escalate it. At the end of the day, that was a huge deciding factor for us.
Does signing to ANGR mean your music will be heavier?
No. Most of the songs for this new album were written and recorded before they started talking to us. Musically we’re definitely the odd man out on the roster ha ha, but when it comes to our lyrics, method, ideology, purpose and overall vision as a band, the fit couldn’t be better. We love the charity work they do as a label, and the passion and energy they bring to the table.
That said, this is definitely our heaviest record to date, but not heavy in the sense of hardcore screams, chugs and breakdowns. It’s a rock album, it’s rock heavy, and it unapologetically won’t be us trying to be something we’re not. Our sound has definitely changed from “A Single Strand,” but I’ll leave the details of those changes to your discerning ears.
It’s been over 3 years since your last full-length album (A Single Strand). How does it feel to finally be recording a new album? What took you so long?
Honestly, the biggest delay was figuring out label stuff. We’ve been in constant negotiations with labels for then 2 years, so at first it just didn’t seem to make sense to release anything independently. Instead we stayed on tour. At the end of the day, we got so frustrated waiting, we decided to release independently, and we paid to record an EP with Mark Lee Townsend (Relient K, The Wedding, House of Heros). As we were getting ready to release it, ANGR came on board, and decided they wanted to make it a full length, so back into the studio we went.
How does it feel? Amazing!!
You’ve toured coast-to-coast in the USA & Canada several times since the band’s inception. What are some of your favourite cities/venues to play? Least favourite?
That’s a hard question. I think what makes a show memorable is more the people than the city or the venue. We’ve played some garbage venues in small towns that we’re some of the most enjoyable shows we’ve every played.
Although Kiros is a Canadian band, 90% of your tour dates are in the USA. Do you feel that it’s easier to break into the USA market vs. Canadian market?
I think it’s harder to break into the US. The Canadian market is minuscule by comparison. There are only 15-20 major cities, so you run out of places to play pretty fast when you’re on tour 8-9 months a year. That said we’ve had more radio success and better tour opportunities down here then home, so we’ve kinda followed the opportunities south of our border. Plus the weather is better during the winter haha.
Who are some of your favourite artists to tour with? Any crazy tour stories you’d like to share?
Some of my favourites have been Blessed by Broken Heart, Emery, Maylene and the Sons of Disaster, and Seventh Day Slumber. We’ve gone out with Emery and Seventh Day Slumber each twice, with a third run with SDS in the works for next year. With Blessed by a Broken Heart, it was tour pranks from day one, and every day on tour was a party! With Seventh Day Slumber, they just look at us like we’re insane, but we keep them entertained. I think that’s why they keep taking us out, and they’ve been a great band for us to tour with. Huge shows, huge production, and great guys. For crazy tour stories, check out our youtube channel www.youtube.com/kirosband. We document a lot of what goes down with video blogs.
Who are 3 active current bands/artists you’d like to tour with?
Thrice, Jimmy Eat World, and Justin Bieber.
What is one major positive and one major negative aspect about the current state of the music industry?
Major positive is that we exist in a time where there is great music in every genre, and where artists can do a lot on their own. It really is in the artists hands to make it or break it. The downside is the music industry itself is really struggling, so it has become cautious, and unwilling to take chances, especially on the genres (rock) where a lot of people are stealing the music. It can be very hard to survive financially when your traditional main source of revenue (record sales) disappears to illegal downloading, and your main costs (like gas) are going up. It’s both exciting and horrifying to see the rapid changes, but at the end of the day, I’m so blessed to be doing what I do.
Thanks for taking the time to stay in touch with your fans at Indie Vision Music. Is there anything else you’d like to add to this interview?
I’d like to add please check out www.worldvison.org and consider sponsoring a child in a 3rd World Country. Today, almost 30,000 kids will die from hunger and preventable disease. (That’s 10 times the number of people who died in the 9/11 terrorist attacks). Give a little, save a life, and get a sweet new pen pal.
Thanks for the interview! The new CD will be available in September!