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Studio Life: I Killed The Prom Queen

Amid a reunion rife with drama and line-up changes, one of our longest-standing metalcore acts are back with their first album in seven years. Guitarist Jona Weinhofen proudly flies the I Killed The Prom Queen Flag. Photos by Andy Hayball.

Being your first album since 2006, how is this one shaping up in terms of your back catalogue?
It’s difficult to say right now as we’re right in the thick of making the record, but there are definitely a lot of ideas and elements present on this new record which we have never had before. That said, I think we have added these ideas in a tasteful manner so we have kept the integrity of the “IKTPQ sound” but shown that we have evolved as a band and musicians at the same time. I think fans of old IKTPQ will not be disappointed in these new songs but we’re also offering some elements to potential new fans.

You are the only original member left in the band, how has that affected the album? Do you feel like you’re starting all over again in a sense with all new members?
To be honest, some of the other members coming and going has happened so gradually over the past few years that I haven’t really noticed. And all of the new members are people who have been close friends of the band or involved with the band and its members in one way or another over the past 10 years or so. Kevin [Cameron] and I have written all the music together since the split EP with Parkway Drive so the only release he wasn’t on was the first EP. The key songwriters have always been Kevin and I and so I don’t think fans will find there to be too much of a massive difference in our songwriting style. Past members JJ [Peters] and Sean [Kennedy] obviously were very involved in the songwriting processes and they have been missed, but all of the base guitar music was always written by either Kev or myself, or us collectively. We have now brought on new members who have been just as valuable with their input on these songs. On this new record we have had three different members write lyrics, three different members write certain pieces of music and songs and all five of us collaborating on the record in every way possible.

As the only original member, why did you decide to keep the IKTPQ name instead of starting fresh with a new name?
Kevin and I have been the key songwriters since 2003 and so we felt that while we were still writing music together, the vibe of the band and its music shouldn’t have to change. We definitely considered the idea but it would have meant huge steps back for the band as a whole. I’m now 30 and I didn’t really like the idea of being in the ‘new band on the block’ and having to open local shows and support tours when I’ve spent the better part of 13 years working towards goals with IKTPQ from the beginning. Since I’ve always written the music, managed the band, organised the merch designs etc. I think the decision was up to me as to whether the band should continue as IKTPQ or not. If this record is not well received then I guess things will be re-evaluated, but we’re all very confident that this record is IKTPQ’s best work yet and we’re very proud of what we’ve achieved on the album.

This album seems to have been a long time in the making. What’s taken so long in terms of getting this one recorded and out there?
We had a few months set aside at the end of 2012 to write the album and we had a studio booked for January of this year, which would have meant a June release. My involvement with Bring Me The Horizon was still quite hectic at that time and basically my plans with them took priority over IKTPQ. Unexpected things kept popping up forcing IKTPQ’s writing back further and further and when I departed BMTH it meant I could finally focus everything on IKTPQ. It’s just one of those things we have to put down to people being busy, plans changing and coping the best we could with the situations we were dealt.

You’re back at Studio Fredman plugging away at your new album. Why did you choose to go back there and how is the studio influencing your output?
We had actually decided last year to try a different studio and producer but the album wasn’t ready in time and in the time we had been waiting, we decided that we would prefer to work with Fredrik Nordström and Henrik Udd again for a number of reasons. I have a great working relationship with him as well as a good friendship. We compared so many different records and producers and the conclusion we kept coming to was that Fred’s sound was the best match for us and also the most consistent throughout different recordings. Also the fact that I lived in Norway and spent a lot of time in Sweden meant that I have a lot of friends and contacts here who would make things easier when it came to recording the album. As we work so well with Fredrik and Henrik, we knew that we would get the best possible outcome for these songs. They know exactly what we are after sound and production-wise and they’re both easy to work with as well as being strict when they need to be to get the best possible performance out of us and the best end result for the album.

Bjorn “Speed” Strid from Soilwork stopped by the studio recently, what did he contribute to the album?
IKTPQ collectively have always been huge fans of Soilwork. We supported them on their first ever Adelaide show and they have always been a big influence on IKTPQ musically. I came to be friends with Björn through touring and seeing his band perform all around the world and I knew he was getting more interested in production work so I approached him to produce the vocals on our album and also to do a guest appearance. He spent just over a week and a half here in the studio and had some awesome input on all of the vocals, both screaming and melodic. We plan to have a couple more guests on the record, mainly friends who have been associated with the band for some time, but Speed has been the only one we have confirmed so far.

What are some of the lyrical themes running through the album?
The main thing we’re trying to avoid is too much negativity. There is a lot of that in our genre and a lot of this music is based around things which upset us or make us angry. We’re trying to take that emotion and channel it somewhere a little more positive. Lyrically the songs still deal with some negative issues and how we choose to deal with those issues, but the point of the record is to give people hope and more of an idea of how they can turn negative things into something good in their lives. We have one song that was written about our feelings towards animal cruelty. Since 2011 IKTPQ’s members have all been vegan or vegetarian and while we aren’t a vegan band, it is something that we feel strongly about in our personal lives. We also have songs which deal with the loss of loved ones and how being on tour full-time away from home can affect your life and the lives of those close to you.

You guys are now managed by the same company that looks after big names like Paramore, A Day To Remember, Sleeping With Sirens, Falling In Reverse and more, what’s the game plan for IKTPQ in 2014?
I was quite surprised when Fly South Music approached me about managing IKTPQ. We had decided that it was time to seek some help on the management side of things since we haven’t had a manager (besides myself) since around 2004. We all knew we wanted to release this album and tour full-time and there’s only so far doing things ‘DIY’ can get you in this industry. One of the managers at Fly South was quite aware of the band and some of the bands on their roster were fans of IKTPQ so they became interested when they had heard we were writing a record and had plans to begin touring full-time again. Our plans for 2014 are to unleash this album on the world, hope that people like it and tour like crazy. Right now we’re pencilled in for Australian, North American and European tours all in the first half of 2014.

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