Profile: Steven Kerchner and Will Rivera of LORD

LORD

Since Virginia’s LORD have been slugging it out since 2005, with a handful of EP’s, splits and full lengths, they’ve had plenty of time to hone their sludgy hardcore sound into a sharp point. Later this week the band will be releasing their new album Blacklisted which does indeed feature their best all around sound to date. It’s six tracks of bludgeoning sludge with hints of thrash, black metal and a heavy dose of hardcore attitude. Ahead of the album’s release we got a chance to ask Steven Kerchner (vocals) and Will Rivera (guitar) our set of Profile questions so read on to see what they had to say.

Lord - Blacklisted

How did you first get into playing music and have you achieved the level of success that you always hoped to achieve?
Will Rivera: I started learning to play Sabbath, Zeppelin, AC/DC, The Misfits and Ramones songs by ear around 15/16 years old, but I really didn’t start wanting to be a serious musician until I was in my early 20’s. As far as success goes, everyone’s ideas of what constitutes success will vary depending on what they want and hope to achieve. I would love for more people to be aware of this band but I don’t crave fame & fortune, just the opportunity to retain our artistic freedom and integrity while trying to reach new audiences.
Steven Kerchner: When I first started playing music in a band, I was invited by some friends of mine who already had something going. I used to sneak out with the vocalist that they had before me and we would pick up all of our friends and joy ride. We eventually got caught and as he was fourteen at the time his parents were not pleased at all. He had been taking their car out every night to pick us up and he was sent off to boarding school once they found out. I was asked to join the band. I had always dreamed of being the drummer in a band, but my introduction to band life was as a vocalist. I can’t say that I ever had any ambition starting out to make anything of it aside from writing music that I enjoyed and hanging out with my friends. Music had always been a place for me to hide myself in growing up and I felt right at home being a part of creating music and sculpting sound. I’ve definitely gotten to do a lot of really cool things by making music, making lifelong friends, sharing the stage with some of the artists I look up to, getting to travel and tour off of something that I put my blood, sweat and tears into and create something that allows another listener to have a safe place that they too can get lost in. I view all of this as intense success and feel that it has filled my life with so much experience and pleasure. I see success as maintaining individuality and artistic creativity throughout the remainder of my life, whether one person or any mass of people give a fuck about it or not.
What’s the most you have ever debased yourself to get your band onto a show, into a magazine or otherwise promoted, covered, debased and praised? If you don’t have a story please tell us any embarrassing story.
WR: I can honestly say that we’ve never done anything to debase or embarrass ourselves that would hurt our integrity at all, but we’ve had to sell tickets before for shows with larger national acts at certain venues, that’s never fun. It’s definitely not a morale builder to have to whore yourself and your art to sell tickets for the opportunity to play with a band that you respect and possibly idolize, but I’m realistic enough to see it as part of the business. We prefer to keep our operation as DIY as possible and shoot for shows that will elevate our presence without compromising who we are. We’ve been playing the game long enough to know what it takes to push things forward, but still try to maintain a stable situation where all of the members are comfortable with the moves we make.
SK: Aside from pay-to-play gigs early on our gigging history I can’t say that I’ve done much of anything extraordinary to get on a bill. For the most part through word of mouth, or networking with other bands that we play shows with and methodologies such as these, we’ve been very fortunate to receive a lot of support from our peers. I’m very grateful for this. Back in some of my younger days, I used to have a friend of mine light me on fire mid set. There was one song in particular that had a clean break in the middle of it and then a snare pop and all hell would break loose. Right on the snare pop my friend would light me up and I would run around batshit crazy on fire. I did this many many times successfully. Until I was demonstrating to some friends of mine in the parking lot outside a venue, offering my fireplay services/running through their set on fire as a favor. I was not wearing the right materials nor was I soaked with sweat from having been jamming so the fire was not as controlled as it was in every other case. The fire shot down my sleeves, down my pants, causing some relatively serious burns on my arms and for me to strip down in the parking lot. That was the last time I intentionally set myself on fire at a show.
What do you see as some of the great things happening in metal and what are some of the worst things happening inside the scene right now?
WR: I think metal seems to be bigger than ever as far as how far reaching its impact is felt, the sheer amount of bands and the access we have to music these days is just mindblowing, but that also makes for a very dense market in which you’re fighting to not only stand out amongst the crowd but to be heard when everyone is screaming just as hard as you. It can be a struggle and just within our own local scene there are bands that we feel that we’re comrades with and sincerely hope that they get the opportunities and praise they deserve, but there’s also a lot of backbiting and true competition between some bands that do what they can to get where they need to be. We’ve had our fair share of drama over the years and just choose to focus on our situation and support the scene as much as we can without falling prey to the pitfalls of jealousy and trashtalk.
SK:  I guess there’s always been a lot of talk about posers in metal, but I feel like it’s more prevalent than ever as the mainstream acceptance of metal has increased dramatically in the past 20 years. I feel like there are a lot of bands, where for example the vocalist, thinks that he or she sounds angry but is not actually an angry person. Do not feign anger, do not fake your emotions in your music. I see these habits as the downfall of the integrity of metal and of music as a whole.  I only write angry songs when I’m angry and sad songs when I’m sad.  There is no faking it.  
It seems that now everyone has a passion for some cause and that those people are very open about displaying their passions. This is probably a very, very good (and progressive) thing socially. What are some of the most important issues (social/political/humorous/etc.) for you and how do you insert those issues into your music? (This question is especially appropriate for you since your music is quite an outlet for your physical and emotional pains).
SK: Over the years I’ve definitely focused on LORD having a positive message in the music. I have encouraged the listener, all listeners, to become introspective and evaluate themselves and the way that they interact with the world and all of the living things in it. Human consciousness, renewable resources, wastefulness, human suffering in our own backyard and on the other side of the globe and how we are all interconnected are the main focus of the lyrical content in Blacklisted. The Awake album on the other hand for me was an album that had less globally conscious lyrics on it and included some very personal ones. In dealing with the loss of one of my closest and most dear friends, we wrote The Great Communicator in memoriam to him. Many phrases littered throughout the album also reference my pain of this loss and trying to overcome it.  
What, or who, got you into metal and how old were you? How did your family take the news?
WR: It was my mom actually, haha. She would always have MTV on in the house when I was growing up and it was the early 80’s so I was being exposed to Quiet Riot, Van Halen and mostly hair bands, which were the fad at the time. The 2 bands that really caught my attention early on were AC/DC and Guns N ‘ Roses, they had a different vibe than the glam crap that was all over MTV, but it was really Headbanger’s Ball that truly opened my eyes to the underground, as well as Metal publications like Metal Maniacs and RIP. I would read bands’ thanks list or what shirts they’d be wearing and then seek out those bands…I definitely fell down the rabbit hole when it came to heavy music, everything had to be more extreme and nastier than the last. I’m sure my parents hoped it was just another fad with me, but the bug bit hard and they knew it was over when I started growing out my hair and wanted my own guitar, haha. They’ve always been supportive, but I won’t be seeing them at a LORD show any time soon.
SK: Needless to say, my family was not very enthusiastic about my appreciation for metal which started at about 7. My sister warned my parents that there was another guy in her class that liked Ozzy Osbourne and that he (classmate) seems to be very disturbed. I first got into metal when my family got cable and I was exposed to the music videos shown on MTV. I was immediately captivated by both the raw sound and the imagery. I started reading all the metal magazines I could get my hands on and read all the interviews of my favorite bands, saw what bands they respected, and read all the reviews. I’ve continued to enjoy all types of music since then, but since the age of seven I have identified first and foremost as a metalhead. 
What advice do you have for aspiring music critics and outlets out there? How can we all better serve the genre in the eyes of a hard-working musician?
WR –  The only advice I could give to music critics would be to actually take the time to listen and not just go by some publicity quote. I’ve read some reviews where you’d swear it was a regurgitated tag line and it seemed as though they’d heard the 1st track and it was enough to judge the entire release. I truly appreciate those reviewers who you can tell have taken the time to pick things apart and are able to make an honest assessment…even if it’s not what you necessarily want to hear. I once got a 4/10 rating from a national publication I really respect for an old band of mine. As much as I wanted to call bullshit cos I had worked so hard on that record, it was actually great feedback cos you could tell they really listened to the album and were able to be specific about their issues with it.  As much as it was difficult to read, it was a learning experience.
SK – I think that everybody that listens to music should be a music critic. I think that any time music is played, a listener should play the ‘what do I like about this, what do I not like about this’ game? As a listener we should remain open at all times to all forms of music and expression and play this game on an individual and case-by-case basis. I think a lot of people just listen to something and decide right away they like it or they don’t but don’t take the time to identify what they do or don’t like about it. Anytime I’m driving and pick up new music I force my passengers to play this game. As far as critics publishing their thoughts? I read some reviews where it’s very clear that the person has not listened to the album that they are just turning out some bullshit to meet a publishing deadline. I don’t know who this benefits, maybe only somebody paying for advertising on said site. However if your site is not known for quality writing the advertising is wasted. In general, people should be taking pride in their work. Ideally the bands that are writing the music and publishing their own music have put a lot of heart and soul into what they’re doing and for somebody to simply glance over a short bio and assume that they know jackshit about that band is not helping anyone. It’s not helping the site, it’s not helping fans of the music, it’s not helping people that are looking for new music, and it’s definitely not helping the band if a reviewer does not actually take the time to listen to an album. At this rate if they really don’t like the album, who is it serving to write about it? I guess sometimes depending on the writer giving a bad review, I will check something out because I know that my taste is different from theirs. Bands I’ve never heard of before, if I don’t read a review about them, I still have never heard of them. Reading a shitty review doesn’t really do much for me. Being interested in the band that you are reviewing or interviewing, is another benefit to the interviewer, the band, and the reader. Generic questions tend to get generic answers, so it is always exciting to see questions geared towards a band specifically even if it’s not a band I’ve ever heard of. I don’t really give a shit how long they have been together. I don’t really give a shit where they came up with the idea of the forming the band. I’m always in several bands. That story is fucking boring to me. What’s interesting to me is what sets those bands apart in the sea of heavy music.
What’s your goal? You guys thinking world domination? Maybe saving a continent? Maybe invading one? Any interest in starting a cult? Do you guys have day jobs or hobbies you want to share? Whatever it is, please let us know.
WR: As far as goals, I’d really like to push this band as far as we can and continue having a good time while doing it. It’s truly a labor of love for us and a necessity. We’d be doing this even if no one else cared about it cos it’s something that is a vehicle for expression and a method of solace for us.
SK: My goal is to continue creating music for the duration of my life, ideally with the same core group of friends, maybe some others. Continue to play with the artists I love, both peers and the ones that have inspired me, sometimes that is one in the same. There are certain artists that I would love to do some sort of collaboration with, so I guess in a sense that is on my bucket list. Otherwise my intent is to continue to create deeply conscious music with my best friends until I die.
Many thanks to Steven and Will for their time!


Blacklisted will be available May 26 on Heavy Hound Records. For more information on LORD visit their Facebook page.

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