Interview: Melodic metal band The Crown Remnant discuss their upcoming album “The Wicked King: Part II”, + more

The Crown Remnant, a melodic groove metal powerhouse consisting of Geordy Shallan, Will Ash, Jorge Lopez, Josue Lara and Art Ramirez. The band formed in 2016, hailing from Los Angeles, California. They released their debut album “The Wicked King: Part I” in 2017, and are set to release their follow up “The Wicked King: Part II” on January 18, 2019 via Spooky Skeleton Records.

Geordy, Art and Will were kind enough to take some time out of their busy schedules to answer some questions that you can find below. The band member who answered the questions are labelled with their first initial.

Following your album last year, ‘The Wicked King: Part I’, ‘The Wicked King: Part II’ is due for release in January 18, 2019, why did you choose to release it in two parts, and are there any musical difference from Part I to Part II?

G: Well, ultimately, we did it for two reasons. Firstly, we realized that the songs of the two releases can be split into two categories: lyrically, those on Part I contains much more hopeful and positive ideas, where as Part II dives much deeper into darker and disturbing ideas. As well, we felt like splitting the record into two parts would allow it to become much more digestible. A 13 song debut in this day and age just didn’t seem like the smart move. As for musical differences, Part II contains more orchestration and definitely breaks into many more genres. One of the guys who’s heard it said he found Prog, Thrash, Melodic Death Metal, Traditional Heavy Metal, Groove Metal, and more. And I’d have to agree with him on that!

What are your musical influences?

G: It shifts all over the place between Metal, Rock, and Punk for me. I grew up in the San Diego Metalcore scene, so bands like As I Lay Dying, Killswitch Engage, and Adestria were all very influential to me. Outside of that, I discovered The Swedish Melodic Death Metal Scene and bands like Mastodon and Baroness in college – two very different sides of the Metal spectrum that I still very much adore. Outside of the heavy stuff, I’ve always had a soft spot for Pop-Punk bands like Green Day, A Loss For Words, and Four Year Strong – Green Day’s “American Idiot” is the reason I started playing music. Plus, my dad raised me on classic Rock like Aerosmith and Boston, and that’ll always be on repeat for me. You can ask Will, I’ve probably played Boston’s self titled record 100 plus times in the car with him.

 

W: You can find good music anywhere in my opinion. I keep my playlists full of Hip Hop including Wu Tang, Mos Def, Tribe,  Pharoahe Monch, and modern artists like Royce da 5’9”, Kendrick, and Run the Jewels. I grew up listening to all sorts of genres and artists from Thelonious Monk, to Marty Friedman and Jason Becker, from Django Reinhardt, John Coltrane, Wes Montgomery, to video game composers like Motoi Sakuriba, Jeremy Soule, and Michiru Yamane. I always loved the work of Mike Patton with Faith No More and Mr. Bungle, scored themes from Danny Elfman, Howard Shore, Hans Zimmer, and of course John Williams. I was influenced as a player by those guys, Paul Gilbert, Guthrie Govan, Brian May, Nuno Bettencourt, Dimebag Darrell, and other virtuoso guitarists. From Led Zeppelin, Pink Floyd, Radiohead, and more, the list goes on for me, the amazing access to music we have today let’s me keep an adventurous, eclectic, and melodic taste and I try and discover more every day.

 

A: Just like Geordy, my musical influences shift all over the place with Genres such as Progressive Rock/Metal with bands such as Rush, Dream Theater, Emerson Lake and Palmer, King Crimson, Death, Symphony X, and many others. Drummers who i look up to are Mike Portnoy, Neil Peart and the drummer who inspired me to play drums is Carl Palmer from Emerson Lake and Palmer. Growing up in my mid teens I went through different phases, switching from old school Heavy Metal with bands such as Dio, Saxon, and Judas Priest to Death Metal, then to Melodic Death Metal. My father introduced me to the majority of these bands (mainly the old school bands), and Rush being his favorite, I remember him sparking my interest even more by showing me live shows of these bands and every time I would see the drummer, I always said “I want to do that when I grow up!”. 

As Geordy and Art are both trained actors, would any of you consider making your own feature film?

G: I’d love to! It’d have the be significantly down the road though, we’ve got some big plans for the next few years.

A: Without a doubt! I have been in the process of writing my own feature film, which I hope to one day make it come to life on the big screen. 

Geordy, you spent five years prior to forming the band, as a stand-up and improv comedian, do you ever go back to this, and would you ever consider doing a tour with your stand-up material? 

G: I still do both for fun occasionally, it’s just more a hobby that a career path at this point. I’d love to tour as a stand-up, but if I’m being realistic, all the time I’d put in to having a tour-ready set is spent with the band right now – and that’s a decision I’m very happy with.

Will, I know you create video-game themed orchestral scores, how did this come about and do you have any music written for any upcoming game releases?

W: I’ve been into video games ever since I was a kid, since before I can really even remember. It’s a subject I’m passionate about and a hobby I invest into; combining that with the career I’ve been building with music was just natural parts of my lifestyle and personality coming together. When I was younger, I took all the opportunities I could to create music for people’s projects. I took an internship of sorts with a TV and film composer and that introduced me in a larger way to the world of symphony when I was a teenager. I was already deeply in love with soundtracks at that point and on my shitty digital keyboards I took the opportunity even as a young kid to create string, piano, and orchestral music heavily influenced by movie and video game scores. I’m so happy that these scores I love to create I’ve managed to combine with our group The Crown Remnant – it makes us even more unique and hopefully stand out more creatively. My focus is currently on creating scores for the band and our upcoming tracks, including scores on “The Wicked King: Part II,” and a potential supplementary project I’ll stay quiet about for now. Rest assured, I’ll let you know if I snag a contract for the next Legend of Zelda game. 

What are your top five items on your rider when you head out on tour? 

G: Truthfully, water, water, water, water, and more water. I run around a lot on stage screaming my heart out, so I’m pretty much always in desperate need of hydration.

W: If I could be supplied with dignity, sanity, professionalism, personality, and amiability, I’d be living the dream on tour. Also good sound and lighting, so we can pretend we’re cool.

A: Food! Definitely food! Water, MONEY!, Drum Equipment, and my excitement! 

Do you have any rituals before heading on stage?

G: I go up to all the dudes individually and we scream “FOR THE CROWN”. Gets us pumped up and puts us in the right mindset!

W: Couple of pushups, arpeggio sweeps, and a fix of the hair does wonders. The best feeling is a confident first note. 

A: I really don’t have a ritual before hand. I just stretch, I hug my boys, and I deliver the best performance I can give.

What’s your favourite place to tour or venue, and do you have any tours upcoming for 2019?

G: We do! We’ll be doing an extended west coast run starting January 23rd in Tulare, and finishing back in Southern California on February 6th. I’m really excited for Seattle, we’ve never played there before, and Will and I have talked about wanted to go since day 1 of the band. Otherwise, San Diego never disappoints! 

W: For me, it’s all about the intimate shows. House of Blues always nails it on capacity, lighting, and the right amount of intimacy. I’m excited for our upcoming tour in January, The Wicked King Tour is going to take us through Washington, Idaho, Nevada, and more. Can’t wait to be back in San Francisco and we’ll see how much of a distraction Vegas turns out to be.

A: I am definitely excited for Seattle. I’ve never been there, and I hear many great things about Seattle. 

What is your writing process for creating an album? 

G: We don’t really have any one particular way, rather, we have several. We might combine everybody’s riffs into a song, somebody might bring in a skeleton of an idea that we all work out together, we might start with a drum part and work from there, and sometimes people come in with a song that’s 95% done. I think that the lack of one solid method is what helps to create our diverse sound. If we did every song the exact same way, I feel like they would probably end up sounding way too similar.

W: For me it starts with the macro and goes into the micro. Starting with the concept and ideas, sketching out an outline and a design, talking about our inspirations, that’s all the first things I try and sit down to do with the guys. From that moment it gets really exciting to me, and when I conceptualize the idea, it directs me the smaller I go into individual songs, individual measures, and individual notes. When you take control of the narrative from day 1, it gets etched into the being of every tone and sound on the record and lends to a really cohesive project that works from the first to the last track. That’s why I’m really proud of “The Wicked King,” for exemplifying that design philosophy. 

A: I second Geordy on this. We all come together with an idea, and throw out whatever we can’t use, and scratch out whatever we don’t like. We work as a team, and I feel that it is very essential to have everyone on the same page, and have everyone be comfortable with what is going on. 

Art, I understand you train as a stunt performer, do you have any films upcoming that you have been involved with, or any previous films that you have been involved with that we may have seen? 

A: Unfortunately, The projects i was involved with never made it. I never continued to pursue that dream ever since a project fell down in the middle of production which was a huge disappointment, and a very discouraging moment in my life. I am currently working on getting back into that industry, and this time I have people that I can truly rely on, so you’ll be seeing more acting, and stunt performance from me from other endeavors aside of the band.

I’d like to take the time to thank The Crown Remnant for taking time out of their busy schedules to answer some questions for us, and please don’t forget to pre-order their new album “The Wicked King: Part II” here: BandCamp | iTunes | Amazon