Fit For A King’s Ryan Kirby Talks “The Hell We Create”

Norwegian painter Edvard Munch, he off the Scream painting fame, is quoted as saying ‘Art comes from joy and pain…but mostly from pain’ and it is that truism that Ryan Kirby, vocalist and lyricist of Texan’s Fit For A King, paints his own art on their storming new album The Hell We Create.

‘It was one of the most vulnerable moments in my life, sitting at her hospital bedside crying, not knowing if my wife would live through the night. Just a million thoughts going through my head, losing her, becoming a single dad. All this stuff. The band kept going ‘more, more, we know there’s more’ and I’m going ‘guys c’mon!’ But I’m glad they pushed me and made me more open with this record. It definitely was cathartic.’

Kirby is relaying the lyrical content of the album which includes his wife suffering and still recovering two years on from a stroke on tracks like End. Add to the mix the recent adoption of two children careening towards – and through – teenage hood, bringing their own colours to the family palette, makes Kirby mould the content of album on the beautifully raw track Fracture.

‘’Fracture’ is about the kids. I wrote it from their point of view talking about their biological parent. How they aren’t going to move on until they take them out of their life. They expressed with me they don’t want them in their life anymore, how loving them has only led to hurt, so it’s better to let them go.’

While the lyrics reach deep inside, the music contrasts and is punchy, powerful and upbeat, all adding to the storyline unfolding.

‘We wanted it to definitely have a lot of dynamics, so it would almost feel like a journey throughout the record instead of a typical album. I’ve listened to so many records where you’re just listening and by song six it’s get a little repetitive. So we wanted to really find ways to have these subject matters but the music to feel fresh song to song.’

The Hell We Create does take you on the roller coaster of dynamics throughout the thrill ride that is the album as the band continues to evolve album to album.

‘I think we’ve always been a dynamic band, so it throws me off when people say ‘oh your singing now?’ We’ve been singing forever, we’ve had soft songs on every album. I think we’re getting better cause we couldn’t write a song like ‘What You Left Behind’ six years ago, so that’s how we evolved. I couldn’t have sung a song like that six years ago, or even ‘Falling Through The Sky’. I couldn’t have done it. I think we’re evolving as musicians getting better as musicians which opens us to be more dynamic.’

Four songs have already been released, End, Reaper, Times Like This and Falling Through The Sky with another, Eyes Roll Back being performed live. The last one though stands out from the rest with its buzzsaw guitars and scattered vocals.

‘That one is the only song with a different writer. We wrote that with Zach Jones because we just wanted to write a really fun heavy song. They were working on it while I was working on another song vocals with Drew. I was like this is really cool and I got to write some lyrics real quick before putting some vocals on that song. That’s probably why that sounds a little different from the rest of the record.’

Eyes Roll Back is opening as a little surprise. We were doing Reaper as the opener but as we are playing such a different tour with I, Prevail and Pierce The Veil, it didn’t seem to be having the same impact. Like for this crowd, it’s probably the heaviest thing you’ve ever heard if you like Pierce The Veil, so they were lots of people just…staring. So this might be too much for somebody who is new to like heavy music. So Eyes Roll Back is lot easier to bob your head too.’

This is an album that will get you in the ‘feels’ yet at the same time want you to blast through your speakers, the ultimate contrast of light and dark, soft and heavy. It’s an album of hurt, raw and emotional yet inspiring. As John Lennon said ‘Art is only a way of expressing pain’ and this album is truly fine art.

Interview By Iain McCallum

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