– Hello and first of all, thanks for taking the time. How is everything going right now with KING DUDE? What are you currently up to?
I am fine thank you. Currently I am sitting on my couch next to my dog in Seattle Washington. It’s Saturday afternoon and I am having some tea and smoking cigarettes and answering questions for a few interviews.


– First off I’d like to start with the name of the project. It’s a name that doesn’t give any clue on what’s your music style, which by the way is quite wide, almost without limits still rooted in Folk music.Were you looking for a name that wouldn’t limit your music?
When I started King Dude I definitely didn’t think anyone would ever hear it, let alone like it. It was a bedroom recording project and the name was chosen sort of randomly. It’s a bit of a burden actually since in America the word “Dude” can have negative  sort of goofy connotations. But I am not an entirely serious person so it fits I suppose.


–  It seems like since you released «Fear» you are getting a wider recognition.That was a more accessible album, with a lot of Pop elements I’d dare say. Was making a more accessible abum something you were consciously striving for?
Yes one hundred percent. I wanted to see if I could make a more polished sounding record in the studio, and the songs themselves had more of a pop element to them I suppose. I hired Bill Rieflin to produce it and he brought an amazing element to the recordings. I learned so much from him and Don Gunn who engineered the recording of Fear that it inspired me once again to record my own music at my own studio. It was an awesome experience.


– And now you have just released your newest opus, «Songs of Flesh and Blood in the Key of Light». How are you feeling about it? What are your feelings on the final outcome?
I love it, it’s my best work to date in my opinion. Also since I recorded most of it myself it feels very encouraging to continue to work this way. During the recording process I was in a very  dark place which shows on certain parts of the record well. I am just glad to have it done and it have people like it.

– This album reminds me to your earlier releases, with an overall raw sound. Did you have a clear idea of how you wanted the album to sound king dude songs of flesh and blood in the key of light album coverlike since the early stages of its creation?
I don’t think it sounds as raw as my earlier recordings, but I suppose I know what you mean. I didn’t really have any idea what this one would sound like other than I was inspired by a lot of gospel music at the time of writing it. I don’t necessarily think that it shows in the recording to anyone but me.

–  In fact once more you recorded this album by yourself, not as «Fear». I guess having total control over your work makes easier to get the exact vision you had in mind?
Well Shawn Fleming recorded a few songs on there too albeit in the basement of his house in Portland, but yeah I mixed the whole record, wrote everything, arranged everything, and played most the instruments. Having this much control is sort of a double edged sword. One the one hand if the record is great you feel elated and if the record sucks, you have no one to blame but yourself.

– This record features a new element, it has a lot of piano. Why did you think it fitted? And have you played it yourself?
I played all the piano parts on the record myself yeah. I became interested in writting songs on piano a while back, but I have no formal music training so it was sort of difficult to start. I just kept on trying to play the damn thing All I got the hang of it enough and I’m still sort of neanderthal when it comes to playing it. But what I found was that piano is a great place to start when writting songs because it takes the music in a completely different direction than a guitar would. It’s been really very fun to write this way.


–  Overall «Songs of Flesh and Blood in the Key of Light» feels like a more personal album. Do you take inspiration from real experiences to write your lyrics?
Most of this record is about me, and my love life which is especially terrifying to write about. It’s still veiled with stories that aren’t exactly literal, but most of the songs have to do with my relationship with a girl that I was in deeply love with.

– They deal basically with love, and the negative aspects of it. Let’s say they are sad songs full of light and, somehow, with a warm feeling. It seems like contrast is a really important element in your music. How important is it?
I think that any good love song should have some element of something dark to it. I think that’s how real life is too, although we don’t want bad stuff to happen when we are in love we can’t ignore it which comes with a great deal of sadness.


king dude 2–  Lyric‐wise a song that really caught my attention was «Deal With The Devil”, they’re so haunting, so straight that almost hurt. Is there anything you can reveal behind these lyrics?
Well it’s a song about a man who lost the woman he loved to death and he’s hone to heaven in order to get her back he makes a deal with the Devil but is ultimately tricked and loses his own life in the process of bringing her’s back. The first verse is very personal and is about my real life and a relationship I had with a girl I really loved. She knows what it means and I love what it means but other than that, it’s just a nice story for a nice song.

– Lucifer is also an important element for KING DUDE, maybe is the personification of that love/light element I was talking about earlier. But I guess nowadays some people would think of Lucifer as something evil and devilish. Do you care about the fact some people may relate your music to something devilish?
No, I don’t care at all. The songs are a bit devilish and all people have that element to them. They are just picking up what I am putting down. Lucifer on the other hand in my opinion has nothing to do with the Devil or Satan. To me Lucifer represents Light and Spiritual knowledge but to others it can does mean something else.

– Music can be different things to different artists; a way to channel certain feelings, just entertainment or a way to spread a message. I personally have always thought your music does have a message, which is it? And what’s your music for you?
My music does have many messages, but there’s no way to condense that into an answer here. My music for me is my life and I am a total slave to it.

– It’s curious the fact you are working with Ván Records, which is basically a Metal label. How did you get in touch at first? In fact a lot of metalheads enjoy your music. What do you think is the main reason for this?
I got in touch with them through URFAUST when we did that split seven inch record. I don’t know why metalheads like King Dude, they didn’t seem to like the Metal band I used to play in. I’m sure being on Ván in Europa brings it to the attention of metalheads and that it spread from there. I suppose have Sven to thank for that and taking the chance on putting out my records.


– Finally, all this about the album being said; how could you describe «Songs of Flesh and Blood in the Key of Light» in just 3 words?
Well, I don’t think I can. The title I chose for the record is ten words long and describes the record perfectly.

– Before finishing this interview I would like to ask you something I’ve been feeling a little bit curious during the whole interview, as it feels strange to talk about «King Dude» as a band being your solo project. Is KING DUDE TJ Cowgill or an alterego?
It gets a little blurry sometimes. But I’m fine with that Being a storiy teller is something that is important to me and in order to do that I have to live my own life and experience things that can be unhealthy without become the story itself. It’s a fine line I walk at all times.

– A few months ago we were lucky enough to see you in Spain. I went to one of those shows and felt like the gig it was like some kind of, not ritual, but rather a religious celebration, it was both on the intimate feeling and the communion between you and the crowd, as in the music and the whole aesthetic, with the stage full of candles. What are your live performances for you? And to be able to achieve what you want them to be, how important is the visual aspect?
I like to think of the shows as making a little church and bringing some semblance of a revelatory experience to people’s lives. We so seldom get that these days and it feels good to connect to one another in song. It’s a very old tradition that I am attempting to be a part of.king dude 3

– Finally, what are now your near-future plans?
I’m coming back to Europe to play some hows in Germany in September. Also I m playing Incubate festival in Tilburg. You should come.

– That’s all, thank you once more for answering our questions. If you want to add some final words; feel free to do it.
Thank you and be well! LTLOTW

Tania Giménez

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