Texan Metalcore Mammoths Set To Tour South African

Three shows across three cities with incredible local acts. In aid of Rocking For Rhinos and other beneficiaries, JamPacked Productions gives YOU the second of five tours aimed at raising R1 000 000.00 for the conservation efforts.

28 June 2018 – Mercury Cape Town with support from As Time Divides / Atlantic South / Treehouse Burning

Truth & Its Burden / OneDaySky / A Fate Like Yours

29 June 2018 – Arcade Empire Pretoria with support from Truth & Its Burden / Facing The Gallows / OneDaySky

Riddlebreak / A Fate Like Yours

30 June 2018 – Sundowners Johannesburg with support from Truth & Its Burden / Facing The Gallows / OneDaySky

Riddlebreak / A Fate Like Yours

Fit For A King is a metalcore outfit from Dallas, TX. The band is signed to Solid State Records, and has released 3 full-length albums through the label and 1 independently. Their most recent release, Deathgrip, was their most successful yet. With more than 1.5m streams in its first week, they also sold just shy of 8,000 copies. Their flexibility is showcased in their ability to tour with a wide scope of acts, from metalcore, to metal, to hardcore. Highlights include supporting acts such as August Burns Red, Beartooth, and participating three times on the Vans Warped Tour. The result of their agenda is not only a catalogue of commanding metal music but a compelling and well-built voice, one that rests on the willing shoulders of a band set on being open-handed.

The Band is composed of Ryan Kirby (vocals), Bobby Lynge (guitar), Jared Easterling (drums) and Ryan O’Leary (bass/clean vocals).

Ticket are R200 – R220 and available here

With that said, I had a chat with Ryan Kirby.

Right, first off, it is a massive pleasure to have you guys here on our sunny shores, although your tour falls in our winter. It’s refreshing having more metalcore heavyweights tour this side as well. Has playing Africa, usually the most ignored continent on ‘world tours’, always been a destination the band wanted to play or was it more a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity you didn’t want to miss out on?

It was something that was never on our radar because we didn’t think we would ever have this opportunity, and it seems larger than life to be doing this.

You’re coming down as a part of Jampacked Productions’ Rocking for Rhinos tour, in aid of rhino conservation. With wildlife being such an integral part of African and South African heritage, the cause hits close to home with locals. Being from a country that also boasts a vibrant wildlife ecosystem, does the cause resonate within the band?

Definitely! I find a great appreciation for all of God’s creations and their roles within the world’s order. And when people abuse them, it hurts us all.

There is a lot of pressure attached to the label of being a ‘Christian’ metalcore band, with a number of bands such as Underoath and As I Lay Dying shedding the label, citing the immense pressure it adds. Do you feel you can relate, regarding the pressure it puts on bands?

There is definitely a pressure, and most of it comes from other Christians. They are definitely the most judgemental group. But my faith is my own, and I won’t shy from it because of the pressure.

Religion and spirituality have a major impact on the band and that shines through within the music. But instead of it coming across in a ‘Bible-bashing’ manner, it comes through in the way you tackle issues, especially stuff like suffering and death on your latest album Deathgrip. Is not trying to come across as preachy an important aspect of Fit For A King?

100%. We aren’t particular fans of the in your face, preaching, type of stuff. I think it does more to push away non-Christians than anything else.

The band originated in Texas, which is usually depicted in the media as a very conservative state. Conservatism is something that has been an issue for promoters and touring companies in South Africa in the past as well, especially in the metal scene, with venues and festivals being pulled and canceled due to lobby groups not wanting certain bands to perform in their areas. Has the band encountered any such issues before?

We have never had protesters of that sort. The only protesters we have had at shows is when judgemental “Christian” groups come out and protest us for playing metal music. And you’d be surprised, Dallas is a very liberal city, same with Austin, San Antonio, and Houston. It’s really just the small towns that vote conservative.

You released a new single, Tower of Pain, last week. That track is definitely a banger and goes against the current trend of bands easing up on their intensity on their later releases, with it being as heavy as anything you’ve released before, if not heavier. Was this a conscious decision in the writing process or did it just come naturally?

We definitely wanted to come out of the gate and make a statement that we aren’t backing down from the heavy side of our band, but on this new album, it has a lot of melody and singing, so its not as if the WHOLE album will be like Tower of Pain, but about half of it will be.

Since your record label debut, Creation/Destruction in 2013, the band has generally released an album every year-and-a-half to two years, which means you might be due for an album pretty soon. Is Tower of Pain part of a planned larger release or is the single on its own for now?

It is! And more info on that will be coming out while we are in South Africa!

Thanks for the chat and insight into the workings of Fit For A King guys, and I’m looking forward to checking you guys at Arcade Empire on the 29th of June.

*Photos by Colby Moore