On their recent tour stop in Buffalo, we had a chance to talk with Ryan Kirby of Texas-based Metalcore band Fit For A King.
For our readers who may not be familiar with the band, can you give us an elevator pitch describing the history of Fit For A King?
We’re a band that started in 2007 with a bunch of high school friends, I joined in 2010 with Bobby, the band got serious in 2013. That’s when we got signed. And things are just kind of going from there just a lot of touring & a lot of records.
For the better part of a decade, you’ve been signed to hardcore label Solid State Records. With many bands shopping around their services to many labels, what has led to the loyalty of staying with Solid State?
I guess, to be blunt, record labels at the end of the day are just banks. Solid State, they were the first ones to give us a shot. And then they gave us a great deal to renew. And we love Adam and we love Brandon and Tyson and everyone that works with the label. So just they’re all cool guys. And they let us keep more of our money than other labels. Yeah!
“Dark Skies”, your fifth full-length, has been out since last September. Do you find that the songwriting process has matured with each release?
It definitely has! Working with Drew really helped us move forward as songwriters and really see the bigger picture instead of focusing hard on parts individually.
You worked with Drew Faulk (I Prevail, Motionless in White, MMF) for this release. What was it like working with him compared to your previous albums?
He was very vocally driven. He’s not a guitarist, or a drummer or anything. Whereas in the past, we’ve either had drummers or guitarists that are producers, so they tend to focus more on the instrument they play, and I understand because they know it better. But Drew is very into the songwriting and the vocals as a whole. So he’s not looking specifically at one thing, he’s very like a big picture guy.
You’ve mentioned in previous interviews that “Backbreaker” came from anxiety issues you’ve dealt with. How do you manage your anxiety today?
Really just being in the band, and just forcing myself to do it, has gotten me through it. And now it’s not really as much of an issue. It’ll creep in every now and then, not band related, just random awkward situations outside of music. But it’s not really an issue anymore. And I always tell people, it’s just 10+ years of forcing myself to play and perform in front of people and speak in front of others that has helped push me. So, sometimes you just have to push yourself, even if it’s 10 seconds here, 30 seconds here, you just kind of have to try.
Do you feel like the lyrical content has transitioned from personal undertones to a broader societal undertone with this release?
I’d say this record, with the exception of Price of Agony, is definitely way more personal than like Deathgrip. Deathgrip dealt with a lot of exterior things like events, and all that, where this does a lot more with anxiety or just mental issues, stuff that’s inside.
So your guitars, Bobby part of the band shortly after the release of this album. Was that something that was a long time coming? Or was it an abrupt departure?
He’s always talked about slowing down touring or completely ending touring. He’s still a part of the band, he still writes & he’s with us when we’re practicing for tour. He’s at home right now writing. So if anything, it gives him more time to focus on the writing. He just doesn’t participate in the touring aspect anymore.
Is it because he started a plant business or something?
That was part of it. That was just mostly out of necessity for needing a new source of income now that he’s not touring. And he has a passion for plants with his wife. So it was a natural next step because he wanted to stay home with his kids. He needed a way to make some money while he’s there. So he took something he really enjoyed outside of music and found a way to turn it into a business.
Many consider FFAK as one of the few remaining Christian Metalcore bands that hold true to that genre. What do you think has led to the demise of this “genre” of bands?
I think it’s because being labeled a Christian comes with a lot of negative connotations that are perpetrated by a lot of denominations, and places like Westboro, just very hateful towards certain groups of people. I’ve seen Christians picketing metal shows saying that everyone is gay, for some reason, malign and hateful towards gay people, hateful towards metal, just overall hateful. So the term Christian is just associated, it’s like an umbrella term that also encapsulates all these horrible people. And I think a lot of bands separate from it, because you don’t want to be grouped in with that group of people. And on top of that, I don’t even like calling ourselves a Christian band, because I feel like that means every song needs to be Christian themed, and the purpose of everything you do is gospel driven. And while I’m a Christian, and everything I do in my personal life is driven that way, there’s only one song on our new record that even has a Christian theme to it. And there’s only two on the previous record that have a Christian theme. I just kind of write about stuff, and since I’m a Christian, it’ll pop up here and there, but it’s definitely not like our band sole purpose is to be a Christian band.
So, would you more feel good/bright light at the end of the tunnel vibes for lyrical content
Yeah, I mean, my faith with how I handle things. Faith has a huge bearing on how I face things in life.
We’re big on indie artists at DigiSpun. Any hidden gems you’ve been listening to lately?
Well, I have to give a shout out to the band I started managing. They’re called Hollow Front. They’re not signed, but they’re crushing right now. So go check them out!
Their latest album, Dark Skies is available on Solid State Records!
Catch Fit For A King on their North American headlining tour with Norma Jean, Currents & Left Behind