No genre is safe from Kill the Precedent
A thin blonde woman in a flowing, multicolored gown stands tall. Her eyes squint shut as a man pours red corn syrup into his palm, and begins to splatter her face, neck and chest area before he finishes with a glob on the side of her head. A group of friends at a nearby table bare witness over beers and laugh at the scenario.
“What? I have to make it look exactly like yesterday,” Kill the Precedent vocalist Twig VonWussow said, cracking a sinister grin, his hand dripping with fake blood.
This kind of theatrical kitsch was the norm at the Hideaway Bar & Grill on a recent hot Sunday afternoon for day three of Kill the Precedent’s music video shoot for their single, “Goodbye Lullaby,” set for release on Vimeo and YouTube later this September. This song, along with 11 others, is found on their new, full-length album “Dialogues with the Dead,” released through Minus Head Records.
It’s difficult to describe Kill the Precedent’s sound in one word. Sure, the guys took home a 2011 Sacramento Area Music Award, or “SAMMIE,” in the industrial-progressive rock category, and many writers often label them as metal or punk. Instead, their sound swallows all these genres, then spits out hints of thrash, hardcore and heavy electro-rock. KTP are built with members of longtime Sacramento bands like Hoods, Red Tape and Pipedown, and have decades of experience spent writing hardcore and punk music at their disposal. The band draws from a variety of musical influences like the dark and gloomy attitude of gothic rock band Bauhaus, to the more thrash metal years of Agnostic Front throughout the mid-80s.
Put through the KTP meat grinder, even the melancholy sounds of The Smiths’ “Death of a Disco Dancer” morph into an all-out hard rock song, an apparent crowd favorite at their Concerts in the Park performance in this past July, with audience members dancing and singing along.
“In this band, and it goes along with the name, we can do whatever we want. We can play whatever style we want and we don’t have to be in three or four different bands to play that kind of music,” VonWussow said.
The songwriting process often starts with Jeff Almaguer, guitarist and electronic wizard. Almaguer, who says he is more of a “backend guy,” writes all the electronic elements of every song with Ableton music production software. He programs keys, synth and bass, along with every crash and ting of percussion, he then loops noises or movie quotes, before sending off the track to the rest of the band. Next, guitarists Jesse Mitchell and Jason Omundsen layer squealing guitar solos and hardcore chaotic moments over the original track. Enter drummer Jon Pepper and bassist Jon Korn, Pepper coating every electronic element of Almaguer’s creation with live percussion as Korn’s bass drives the pulse of the band. Finally, co-vocalists Sean Smith and VonWussow add their signature beastly voices and abrasive lyrics where nothing is sacred, especially big churches and authority figures–no one is safe.
KTP built their reputation on intense live performances complete with plenty of theatrics, themed costumes, props, a projected video of random imagery from various movies like “Staying Alive” or clips from old television shows, and sometimes, dancers take the stage.
“We wanted it to be a chaotic play that’s acting out in front of you, but with music,” guitarist Mitchell said. “You have the music, then you have these crazy front guys that are dressed all weird, then you have the video … it’s just like sensory overload.”
The lead characters on stage are Smith and VonWussow, who dress in costumes like a priest and a Boy Scout, drunken pilots, Cuban drug lords or, in the case of the band’s album release show at Ace of Spades this past August, Gilligan and Skipper.
A tropical island paradise banner was hung on stage, exposing a sandy white beach with crystal-blue waters. The rest of KTP were dressed as shipwrecked survivors, their clothes torn with shreds of fabric dangling from their arms and legs. A light show helped add a touch of “epic” to the performance, and a video played snippets of horror films and cartoons on a large screen behind the band throughout their set.
As it stands, all members look forward to writing new material as songs from “Dialogues with the Dead,” cover over seven years of music. On November 14, KTP will support longtime horror punk veterans in The Misfits at Ace of Spades with The Secretions, Avenue Saints and The Attack. With seven men drawing from a mixed bag of genres and experiences, the decision to ignore judgments and labels, and tread forward with their ideal vision, is the driving force behind the momentum the band is feeling.
“We’re just putting out the kind of music that we want to hear, and if it’s a slow song or a fast song or anything in between that’s what it’s going to be,” said Mitchell. “I think what’s cool about this band is we can morph into anything.”
Brave a live performance of Kill the Precedent on Saturday, Sept. 28, at Harlow’s Restaurant & Nightclub with Judgement Day, Our Hometown Disaster and Horseneck. Find tickets at Royal Peacock Tattoo Parlor and Spanish Fly Hair Garage for $10 in advance and $12 at the door.