Sullivan King gives us the lowdown on his style, the House of Wolves EP, and more!
Sullivan King grew up in Los Angeles and started attending live shows as soon as he was old enough to get in. While his initial attraction to metal and rock bands helped shape his love for guitar and live instrumentals it was his restless spirit that began to seek more. He wanted something refreshing that allowed him to leverage his full skill set as both an instrumentalist and DJ.
Now after many years in the scene, Sullivan King has produced collaborations with a variety of artists ranging from Kayzo to Excision and most recently with Dirtyphonics and Riot Ten! We were fortunate enough to catch up with while at Lost Lands where he not only performed a thrilling set but also scored a guest spot with the legendary supergroup Destroid. Listen to the House of Wolves EP below, and keep reading to get the full low down on this rising star in the bass music scene!
Stream Sullivan King – The House Of Wolves EP on SoundCloud:
Growing up in Los Angeles, how did that city’s diversity in music help shape you as an artist?
That’s a really good question. I don’t really think it was as much Los Angeles itself, as it was the people I was around. You know like friends, family, and those who I was close to. It was a lot of my own musical discovery. The access to being able to go to shows and experiencing the music culture. Being able to go see DJs and metal bands, just every kind of music was there. If someone was like “hey check out this new hip-hop artist,” you could actually go see them. Whereas in some small city in the Midwest, you’d have to wait a couple years for that one band you really wanted to see.
If someone was like “hey check out this new hip-hop artist,” you could actually go see them. Whereas in some small city in the Midwest, you’d have to wait a couple years for that one band you really wanted to see.
With deep roots in the rock and metal scene, do you feel that was what initially drew you to bass music?
No, not at all. I think what drew me to bass music was just the fact that it wasn’t rock and metal. That it was something else that I could listen to that was sort of a cleanser and refresher to what I was used to listening to, in that it sonically didn’t sound the same. Whereas it may have the same energy, but it was a totally different format and style.
Then obviously there was enough similarity to where it kind of worked to go back and forth between it, and the gap between metal and dubstep you could see was slowly closing. But generally, I got into electronic music, then got into production because I thought it was like something different from just playing six strings all day.
The House Of Wolves EP has tracks that are epic crossovers between the genres of metal and dubstep. If you could give your unique style a name, what would it be?
[Laughs] I get this so often because people are always like, “What do you want to call it?” and it’s like okay, “Oh he’s the king of metal step or it’s bass metal,” or it’s just all these different things. And I really don’t know what to call it either. That’s kind of the thing, I am a “half live act/half DJ,” but definitely with what I do, it leans more into the electronic world.
So it’s like, I wouldn’t call it EHM, which is “Electronic Hardcore Music”, which is what I See Stars would call themselves. I kind of feel like that is along the line, but it’s also not “electronic death metal,” which is what people also like to call it. I wouldn’t say it’s that either because I’m not a death metal artist. I know what I’m not, I just don’t know what I am, so that’s kind of my answer for that.
You play the guitar, provide the vocals, and DJ too. Do you ever feel any extra added pressure during your performances?
Other than I’ll most likely fuck up a lot more? [Laughs] I feel like trying to do all three, there is more opportunity to make mistakes and not give the best performance. But at the same time, I also feel like that is what makes it cooler. Because it’s easy to DJ once you get the hang of it. Like there is less time involved in learning to be a DJ than there is being a great vocalist, and I’m not a great vocalist. In being an incredible guitar player, I am a guitar player but I’m not an amazing guitar player in my eyes just yet.
Sometimes I will miss a note, I will fuck up playing a solo, I will forget a line or something will happen and that’s just kind of part of what makes it organic. Making mistakes is almost what makes it perfect in a way, at least that’s how I look at it.
I mean they say most performers, it’s the ability to carry on after a mistake that makes them a performer.
Yeah, exactly. I would say that’s part of the entertainment as well. You sometimes don’t go to a Nascar race for the race, you go for the crash kind of thing. Well maybe not that bad [Laughs], not to that extent, but in the sense of just like we’re waiting for the “oh shit get the ambulance”. That’s kind of what some people go for, am I wrong Twiitch? (Twiitch is Sullivan’s Visual Designer)
Twiitch: No, keep goin’. [Laughs]
Do you go to a fight to see 12 rounds or do you go to see a knockout, you know? You wanna see some blood on the canvas. So I would say for me it’s like, no you don’t wanna see me fall off the stage or have something bad happen, but it’s about the jokes and mistakes that make it a performance. That’s just part of it.
Do you feel that live instruments have begun to surge in popularity in the electronic music scene lately? If so, why do you feel that is happening?
I think it’s happening because people realized simply that you could. I don’t know, I don’t think that it’s just suddenly happening. There have been bands and electronic artists that have done this for decades before me. I really think that it’s come down to people realizing that they can do better, and what could be done to make it better. There are a lot of artists who know what they are capable of, and it was honestly just waiting for technology to catch up and the timing of it all.
And it’s people evolving as artists and getting better and stronger outside of the musical fields they grew up in, prior to producing electronic music. Guys like Dabin and Grabbitz, that knew they could go be great DJs and producers because it was fun to do. And it was easy, to a degree it was accessible and can be done from your computer. Then they were like, “yeah this is super fun,” but now I know I can expand more so I’m just gonna go do that.
Who is one artist that you would love to go b2b with on a set in the future?
It’s funny because when I go do a b2b I just nerd out. I play the weirdest shit and just like to have a good time. That’s my time to go have fun and be like “I’m just gonna play random shit”. So I don’t know who I’d really want to go b2b with, who would you say? [Motions to Twiitch]
Twiitch: Knife Party?
Knife Party would be sick. I don’t really know, I’ve done a lot of b2bs with Brillz, Datsik, Kill The Noise, etc.. I’ve honestly done a lot of stuff with my idols. I’d probably wanna just do it more with emerging artists like myself. That would be a little more fun than what you would expect. Like if I were to go up with Dillon Francis, you know what you’re going to get.
If you could only listen to three rock or metal artists for the rest of your life, who would they be and why?
Billy Joel, because he’s easily my favorite songwriter and performer on the planet. The guy is just automatically top shelf greatest living artist of my generation. Unbelievable, the guy is 70 years old and the way he performs is just so entertaining and incredible. So anything by Billy Joel.
If I could just listen to things, Metallica’s Black Album has to be. Every time, every time it comes on in my car it doesn’t matter what I’m listening to when they come on it is just perfect. It’s a perfect record.
Third is hard, it’s a toss-up between Van Halen and Avenged Sevenfold, I’d probably go, Van Halen, because Eddie is the absolute greatest guitar player that has ever walked this earth. Hands down, there will never be a better guitar player than Eddie Van Halen.
Finally, where is your favorite spot to grab a bite to eat in Los Angeles?
Oh, dude…I don’t know I love food. [Pauses]
Twiitch: I’m running through my head…
It’s just literally like, I don’t know, where is my Roman Scroll to read from. There are a couple. The best I would say because it is near my studio and everything about the place is perfect is a little joint called Steampunk. It’s this little coffee shop on Burbank Blvd. and just everything about it is awesome.
Their main thing is this thing called “the stack” which is a breakfast thing of potatoes, waffles, bacon, eggs, chicken tenders, and then just cheese…. There is this sauce that is just like habanero, mushroom, aioli, it’s fucking ridiculous. Honestly, I’m a huge coffee nut and it is hands down the best cold brew I’ve had in my life. Like I’ve had a lot of cold brew and this place is just unbelievable.
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Featured Photo Credit: RUKES.com