(Interview with Tim King)  soil.jpg (22343 bytes)

April 1, 2002
Chris McKay: What is Soil up to right now?
 Tim King: We're leaving tomorrow for a two-week tour with Adema. It should be a pretty good show. We're in Europe until April 13, then we fly into Atlanta and then we have about 5 hours off and then we leave for the tour with Sevendust (laughs).  CM: For the uninitiated, how would you describe the band?  TK: Basically, we're a stripped down rock band with modern elements. We don't take any DJ's.  We don't take any keyboards. We don't rap. It's just guitars, bass, drums and vocals all plugged into Mesa Boogie and Ampeg amps and played at about 10. We're not about frills and masks or makeup or anything like that. We're just about playing good heavy rock with a modern twist on it.  CM: Are you rebelling against all of the rapping and DJ's and all of that? TK: It's just not us. We do enjoy a lot of that other stuff. It's kind of weird, because we formed Soil originally as a side project to get back to our roots and play the kind of music that we grew up on. We wanted to put a little heavier twist on it by down tuning the guitars and using a beefier tone and speeding up the tempos a little bit. Having two guitars in the same band, instead of playing the same thing we always want to play something different and a lot of melodies come in from there. Shaun, our one guitar player, is the melody master. He's good at putting harmonies and stuff like that. It adds something really unique to the sound. Some of the chords that we use, you might find on an Aerosmith or Black Sabbath record. We're all into heavier stuff, too so we had to incorporate that. The more traditional elements are in the vocal harmonies and the melodies. Ryan has a melodic type voice. He's got a more traditional voice rather than the screaming at the top of your lungs like a lot of the nu-metal stuff. That's one of the things that I noticed when I first heard him. I actually heard Ryan for the first time on a CD compilation tape of unsigned bands. I heard his voice and there was just something magical about it and I thought, "That's the singer for our band. That's the missing link to this project." We got Ryan in the band and it's just been amazing ever since.  CM: How did you manage to get him in the band after just hearing him on a demo?

TK: Actually, there was a contact address on the demo and I wrote the guitar player who took about a month to give the actual letter I wrote. He was scared that we would steal Ryan away and that he would leave their band. He finally owned up and gave him the letter. Then Ryan contacted me and he left his band (laughs).  CM: What were you trying to capture on the album?

TK: We kind of made the whole album flow together. One song might be a lot faster or a lot heavier than another song we do, but we tried to keep it where it was like a little story at the end or a soundtrack type thing. We just wanted to keep it flowing.  CM: A song like "The One" is fairly heavy, but between the lyric and the melody, it could easily be broken down into a lighter waving acoustic song.  TK: You really think so? CM: Yeah, I mean if you wanted to just rearrange it and go soft, you could easily do it.


TK: I can see that. You're probably right. It's kind of funny, because in the lines of "Breaking Me Down," Ryan goes "breaking me down, sweet sugar, breaking me down, sweet baby." He's pretty much the only person that could sing "sweet sugar" and "sweet baby" and get away with it (laughs).  CM: Also, on "Black 7" there's a bit of Randy Rhoads in your arpeggios that have a modernized "Diary Of A Madman" feel that make the song almost sound like metal theater. How much of that is studio production versus what you are live? TK: On the album itself, when we went into the studio all of the songs were already written. What (producer) Johnny K did was help us stay true to our roots and what we're all about and he just rearranged the songs. He'd say things like, "Cut that chorus down a little bit or only do that pre-chorus one time." He helped us a lot with the arrangements of the songs which made them get to the meat of the subject. Sometimes we cut out a little filler and sometimes we added a little filler. He just sat down with us with a notebook and we all went threw it together and we all voted on it. So it was really a group effort. It was an amazing thing instead of a producer just saying, "Do this, don't do that." He said, "Why don't we try this, what do you guys think about this?" It was a pleasure to do the album with him. We were all sitting there and Johnny was saying, "I want to add a little production here to modernize them and give them a little edge and flair, but I don't want to go overboard." Then when we got to "Black 7," he said "This is the last song on the friggin' album, let's go nuts." So we put keyboards and pianos. Johnny had a grand piano in back so we put some piano stuff on there and chords and sound effects. You name it, it's on that song. When we play live, we don't add any of that and the song doesn't lose its touch live. It's actually one of our best songs live. The crowd goes nuts on that song.  CM: Are you completely happy with the record?

TK: We're all very proud of the record. We worked really, really hard on it. We were in the studio for two months straight every day for twelve hours a day and Johnny pushed each of us into a position to give it our all. Everything you hear from Soil is what we represent and what we want to represent. There's not anybody twisting knobs and telling us "do this or that." That's one of the reasons we're so, so proud of the record is because it's the record we wanted to make. It's not the record that somebody else wanted us to make. We were really fortunate with the label and producer that we picked because we were able to keep the control over the songs. CM: So how did you wind up label mates with Alicia Keys' and the mostly teen pop/R & B label J Records? TK: What happened is that the demo of our song "Halo" made its way down to a radio station in Orlando, Florida. The program director really liked the song and started spinning it for his specialty show just to see what people thought of it. Right off the bat, it got instant audience reaction. People started calling all through the day and all through the night requesting the song so he kept it on rotation on this big modern rock station WJRR. We had record labels start calling us out of the woodwork. We had a new record label flying out every week to see us at practice. So we set up a showcase and we had just about every record label there at the showcase. We had all the offers come in and we picked the top three labels with the exact offer that we wanted and who told us more or less the things we wanted to hear from a record label. Then we flew to New York and spent one day with each record label and met everyone from the mailroom staff to the CEOs of the companies. We got to basically interview them. We walked away after meeting Clive Davis and our A & R guy and the whole staff at J Records and we just said, "This is the record label for us." It was pretty much the first time that all five of us were unanimous on a decision (laughs). Usually, we go by majority rules. For the first time, we all knew that this was a home for us. We were fortunate enough to have the chance to make those decisions. Most of the time, one label comes calling and you have to take that. Because of WJJR and Pat Lynch in Orlando, Florida, we were able to have our pick from about ten labels.  CM: How long have you been out there promoting Scars? TK: Right now, today it's been seven and a half months and we haven't had a break. Tomorrow we're leaving for Europe with Adema. Then we start the Sevendust tour for five weeks. Then we get a break at home to die and get a hold of ourselves. Then we go back to Europe for a month. Then we start OzzFest and then all of the summer festivals. Then we'll probably come back and do another States tour (laughs). We're not stopping until this record is exhausted. This is our dream. This is what we set out to do and we're all about working hard and making the dream come true so we're going to stay out for as long as possible. As long as people want to hear what we have to offer, we'll keep playing.  CM: So what should the audiences expect from you live? TK: Basically, we've been on the road for seven and a half months and we're a machine right now. We put on a live show where you get 100% of our energy if we're playing in Alaska or Amsterdam or Atlanta or wherever and whether there are five people or five thousand people there. We give everybody a Soil show. They come and give us time out of their day. We want to give them their money's worth. It's a lesson that we learned a long time ago from an old manager. He said, "You know what? It doesn't matter how many people are there. It doesn't matter how bad you feel. All of those people paid to see a show. You better give it to them." I've always lived my entertainment life upon that. The rest of the guys followed suit. It's a great thing when we know that we can get up there and deliver the goods every night.  CM: Then you can collapse on the bus after the show, right?

TK: Exactly. That half hour to 45 minutes on stage makes every little bit of business and heartache and sickness worthwhile because that's our time to spend with our fans and our time to give back to them because they've given so much to us.   CM: Do you ever get time to spend time with the fans?

TK: Every night. Even when we were on that Merry Mayhem tour with Ozzy and Rob Zombie, we went out after the show when everybody was piling out of the arena. We'd just stand by the bus and sign autographs for a couple of hours. Every night when we're on our own tours we go back to the merchandise booth after we play and sign stuff for the fans and just say "Hi" and stuff. That's what we're all about. Without them, we wouldn't be out here right now. I'd be sitting home on the edge of the bed with my bass and my thumb up my ass. So we definitely give back and we just enjoy meeting them. We want to meet them just as bad as they want to meet us.


CM: Is there any particular fan-meeting story that sticks out to you?

TK: There's just so many. There was this one kid and he said the same thing to each of us. We came walking off the bus and he said, "Are you guys gonna rock "Halo" tonight?" We said "Yeah." He started screaming, "Yes, yes!" and grabbing his head and pounding his chest (saying) "That's what I came to see. Have you ever heard of MTV2?" We're like "Yeah." He's like, "I saw "Halo" on MTV2 and I said, "Who are these guys?" I came out to rock "Halo" with you." He said that to every single one of us (laughs) and kept pounding his chest to every single one of us. It was off the hook (laughs). The guy was in the pit going nuts the whole time. It was great. We meet all kinds of people on the road. We've had bums try to walk on our bus to beg for change. It's just always a constant adventure out here. Every day is like Saturday night. Anything can happen (laughs)."

(Chris McKay/