Interviews: Coral The MerKnight

On this new occasion, we have had the opportunity to interview the Progressive Metal/Hard Rock band Coral The MerKnight from the USA. Check out this band and follow them on their FACEBOOK PAGE.

1. Where did you get the idea for the band name, you plan it or come out just like that?

When I was working on the album that would later become vs. SEARANTULA (It Weaves a Web of Metal), it was originally going to be a solo album. If you've heard that album you also know that it is very silly. My band name at the time was Torn by Guilt. Not very silly. It also didn't really convey the solo nature of the project at the time. At some point, a friend of mine randomly called me "Coral the Merman" for reasons I don't recall. A light bulb flashed on when that happened. It seemed to fit the project I was working on very well but the problem was.. it wasn't metal enough! Morphing the Merman into a MerKnight was the final piece of the puzzle.

2. Why do you want to play this genre?

I dabbled in the catalog of bands like Metallica in my early years but I wasn't obsessed / passionate about metal until I came across the Gothenburg Sound. There was an afternoon in my early teens when I heard on the radio, songs from In Flames, At the Gates, and Dark Tranquility all in a row. My mind was blown and has never been the same since. It really was a life-changing experience for me.

3. Did you know each other before the band was formed?

At some point during the course of working on my solo album, I stumbled across the kickstarter for Ghost Ship Octavius's first album (former God Forbid and Nevermore members). One of the perks was getting their singer, Adōn Fanion, to do vocals on your tracks. On a whim, I decided to give it a shot and he helped with my covers for "Under the Sea" and "1000 Miles". They came out amazing and this made me realize my project had so much more potential if I collaborated with others instead of keeping it purely a solo project. Not too soon after another exciting opportunity came up to have one of my favorite drummers participate on a few songs but that ultimately fell through. It was a bummer but I had remembered that Travis Orbin (now in Darkest Hour but I had originally known him from his days with Periphery) did a lot of session work so I took a chance and reached out to him. In hindsight, I'm glad the first opportunity fell through and Travis said yes, because we've been working together for many years now and every collaboration has been awesome. As I started to get more confidence working with other musicians I found Cris online and asked him to sing a song I wrote about a poisoned fish ice coffee. For some reason, which I still don't understand, he continues to work with me to this very day!

4. Each band member's favorite band?

I'm gonna have to go with Thrice. They aren't the heaviest band in the world but they certainly are well versed in aggression. My favorite album by them is Vheissu. Every creative choice they make is just perfection. I will never get tired of it. For Cris, it is Alice in Chains. Can you think of a better bass line than the opening of Would? I didn't think so. You also have Sean Kinney on drums who is very underrated. For Travis, it is Frank Zappa. His favorite album of Frank's is Joe's Garage (hmm... a rock opera, coincidence??) We all clearly have very different interests, which I think works really well when blending our sounds into something unique and refreshing.

5. Who or what inspires you to write songs?

This seems to change each album. For the first album, I tried to create funny ideas or concepts first and then that dictated the moods and tones of the songs. For the second album, I wrote the music first based purely on having cool riffs and musical moments, etc. There was some thought given to dynamics so lyrics could fit in but I had no idea what the themes were ultimately going to be. For the next album, I'll probably try a hybrid of the approaches.

6. Where was your last gig?

It was a while ago, but I believe it could have been at the Stone Pony in New Jersey USA. This was exciting for us because it had been made pretty famous because of Bruce Springsteen. The only problem was that our van with all of our instruments broke down on the way there... Fortunately, there was a really cool South African band (Just Jinger) that helped us out big time and let us use a bunch of their equipment.

7. Where would you like to act?

Nothing beats the intimacy and connection with the crowd of a small club, but it would be awesome to play at a sold out arena at least once in my life! I know that won't ever happen, but it can't hurt to dream big!

8. Whom would you like to feature with?

I have a really cool cover idea that I would love to do with Lauren Babic of Red Handed Denial. She has a crazy vocal range (both cleans and growls) and has done a whole bunch of awesome covers with other collaborators. Lauren, if you are reading this, please DM me!

9. Whom Not?

My gut is telling me Taylor Swift because she seems to be everywhere you turn and it is getting to be a bit much. I bet if she actually contacted me I would sell out in a minute though haha. Maybe that's how I can get into the arena...

10. Have any of you ever suffered from stage fright? Any tips for beginners on how to beat that?

Yes, every gig I've ever played. Somehow it always goes away the second I hit that first note or chord. So... hit that first note or chord!

11. What bands have inspired you the most?

Misha Mansoor / Periphery has probably inspired me the most. I used to listen to his recordings on Soundclick before he ever had a full band behind him. The amount he and the band were able to do on their own initially without a label etc. inspired me to try to do as much as I could by myself in my basement studio. I still have a lot to learn, but I wouldn't be where I am without watching and trying to emulate their footsteps.

12. Weirdest thing a fan has ever asked you for?

It turns out that Christina Scabbia from Lacuna Coil loved our cover of their song "Naughty Christmas" and reached out to me on Instagram. She told me about a close friend who was suffering from cancer and it was a very difficult situation that they wanted to keep private and that she could use my help with some financial issues.. it was at this point that I realized that Christina_ Scabbia_3 was not actually Christina Scabbia at all...

13. What do you think of your fans?

I love my fans! I need more of them!

14. What do you think of our site?

I love the track-by-track breakdowns and learning more about what makes the bands and albums tick and the behind-the-scenes details you don't get from other places.

15. Something else to add?

If you are listening to my music that's great but there is also a big component related to the music videos, many of which I film and direct myself. Make sure you check out the YouTube channel! You are missing out on the full experience otherwise!

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