Interview with Mark “Kaz” Kasprzyk of REDLIGHT KING November 3,2011

November 8, 2011 by: admin

November 3, 2011


Hollywood Records

Mark “Kaz” Kasprzyk (Vocalist)

Hamilton, ON

By: Shauna O’Donnell

Hi Kaz, how are you today?

Hello Shauna, I’m pretty good. How are you?

I’m doing really good. How do you like living in Hollywood?

I have mixed feelings about it. It’s pretty good because it is close to the studio, the weather is good and I rent a little house there with a garage. I built a little writing room inside the house and on Sundays we play street hockey. We made it home.

Do you get homesick sometimes?

Yeah, this year more than ever. I’ve been down here 4 ½ years, so this year I started to get really homesick. I plan on spending Christmas back home in Hamilton.

You released your debut album titled Something For The Pain through Hollywood Records. The title of the album seems to want to tell a story.

Yes and we succeeded.

(Laughs) What is this album written about?

I would say most of the stories are relatable to a lot of things that I have gone through in my personal life. They are really about the human condition as well. I’m influenced by so many different songwriters, but I would say that these songs definitely have a personal touch.

Which of the tracks is the most personal to you?

They all are really. “Something For the Pain” is the first song I wrote for the record. It is more of a broader perspective. “Bullet in My Hand” is very personal. Some songs definitely have an exclamation mark on a time or period in my life where it was notable enough to write it in a song.

Did you write all of the music and lyrics for this album?

No, for this record I had a few co-writes that helped with the music and they also touched on the lyrics as well or helped me around the corners anyway. I would say for the most part I write everything.

How long were you writing it?

I was making this record for three years. Having said that I’m almost done writing the next one. It’s good, I feel like within those three years I was building a project. I wasn’t just writing a record. When we went to go produce the actual record, we were locked down in the studio for three months and we laid it down. After I knew that I wanted four or five songs on the record, the other songs filled in the landscapes. There were quite a few songs that didn’t make that record.

How many songs did you end up writing?

I probably ended up writing about twenty and now there is another twenty or certainly pieces of them. When I’m in the zone, working, writing, being creative and it’s all coming, then I can’t say no to it because I have been in the exact opposite where I will be sitting there and smashing my head against the wall not being able to do anything good.

A lot of people can’t just sit down and say “I’m going to write a song today.” It has to come to them naturally.

Yeah and often it comes at the worst times. I’ve woke up in the middle of the night and hated myself for it, but I turn everything on, record the idea and then crash again at seven in the morning. There is no rhyme or reason for it. What’s cool about this band now is that we can sit in a room together, so the next record won’t be just me. It will be four guys sitting in a room working on arrangements. I’m really excited about the music side of it for the next record.

I noticed that you play guitar, do you play any other instruments?

Yeah, I play a little bit of everything, but mostly it is for writing. I certainly wouldn’t say I’m a drummer, but I play the drums. Guitar is my main instrument. I fiddle on the keyboards to round things out and add color. I do whatever it takes as far as the recording process goes, but I’m a guitar player.

I really love the song “Bullet in my Hand.” The video came out amazing, actually all of your videos are incredible.

Thanks! “Bullet” was killer. I did it with a really good friend of mine that I grew up with. We used all the planes up in my hometown of Hamilton. I used to see them as a kid. The whole video was an ode to my grandfather because he was a Captain in the Polish Air Force. He flew 44 missions and he flew the Lancaster Bomber, so that has kind of always been our que for Redlight King was that Lancaster. It was fun and it was inspiring. My old man came down and checked it out. It was a good day.

I bet he was proud.

Yeah, he was definitely stoked. I crawled inside a Lancaster. It was pretty awesome.

It sounds like you enjoy making videos, some bands don’t.

The thing is I had all the control and it was all my friends. We just did something a little over the top. I understand why bands and even I sometimes feel like they are a bad commercial. They are just stupid. When I watch some of them it is frustrating because sometimes it isn’t entirely what it is. You just try and make something honest, new and exciting for people to watch. For me, “Bullet” was eye-catching. Our video for “City Life” was me showing you where I live. That was the streets that I grew up in and I’m going to make the video look like that.

Your music is a nice mixture of rock and hip-hop. What sets your music apart from other rock/hip-hop artists? What do you do differently to create your sound?

I don’t necessarily go out with the intention of crossing styles or genres over. When I start to write the music, the lyrics and the melodies I think I sort of let it dictate itself. Because I have a certain style and range, I can get away with that and it feels natural, so basically I just try and do what feels right and what comes from inside. I will look around and if I see Jules or one of the guys in the band nodding and they are into it, then I know this is where we are at. So I don’t know how other bands processes are but I know that is how we end up with the sort of sound that we have.

Do you think your music appeals to fans of both rock and hip-hop?

I think it appeals to more than that. I have friends in metal bands and I have friends in R&B bands. It is whatever makes sense. I think it crosses over because the songs tell stories and they are about the human condition. I know people are stoked to have the record, so I think we are on the right path.

I think you are very talented. You sampled the Neil Young classic “Old Man.” Was it tough getting Neil’s people to let you sample the song?

Initially the song was an original song that I wrote and I kind of did that as a guilty pleasure. I didn’t expect it to ever see the light of day, but I played it to a number of people and they got so excited about it. They were like “You’ve got to let Neil hear it.” So I said “Okay, we will try and get it to him.” We went through different chains of the business side of the music industry in order to let him hear it and get the sample cleared, everyone said no, but no one listened to the song. You’re just not allowed to sample, not just Neil, it is kind of a rule of thumb or you’ve got to pay the piper. At the end of the day I just thought until Neil hears it and says no, I am going to keep trying. That was over a process of a couple months. Finally I got the president of our record label who is a veteran in the industry and he kind of came up in the same era as Neil to pass it along to Neil himself. Neil heard it and right away said “It is great, let’s put it out.” It was fantastic.

How did it make you feel to know that he liked it?

I will tell you, it put a smile on my face. I remember at the time being really excited. The guy is a legend, an icon and for him to say “That song is great” was just an honor as a songwriter.

You recorded at Wax Studios. Didn’t Neil Young record there also?

Yes he did, it was TGG Studios in the 60’s, he did half of his first solo album there. So many Neil Young things kept coming up, it was like “This song has got to happen. There are too many coincidences.”

Are there any other artists that you would be interested in sampling?

I don’t know that I would do it again. I had never sampled before, I have always written original music. There is about three or four guys I could list right now, but I think that may be a one time thing. I don’t want to be the band known for sampling the greats. I just thought that was a song that I needed to write. I was really happy because you have the younger generation now who do not know who Neil Young is. What’s even scarier is fourteen and fifteen year olds don’t know who Kid Rock is. In that case, let’s put this out and show them where it came from. We will show them some roots here and hopefully it will get people to listen to a timeless classic.

Starting tomorrow you will be on tour with Everlast. Growing up did you ever dream you would be out on tour with a band like Everlast?

I don’t think so, I was a fan though, I’m not going to lie. I bought his records. The life I lead now, the people I talk to and meet on the level as peers, I would never have thought of any of that. Now that I’m here and I’m living in it, I’m excited and grateful.

Where are you looking forward to visiting on tour?

I love touring in the States. There isn’t a place that I’m not looking forward to touring to be honest with you. I really take the time to take it in. I’m in Boston right now and I look at all the architecture and go in shops. I check it all out and then when we play I spend time with as many people as I can. The States are killer because Hamilton is so much like the States you don’t even know it. It’s a hard working steel town and everybody there supports each other. It reminds me of Detroit, St. Louis and Boston. There are so many killer towns. To me it is home. I am making the United States my home.

We are happy to have you.

I’m happy to be here.

So, you are into restoring old cars.

Yeah, absolutely! I ride an old 1950 Harley down the West coast and stuff. I just wrench on that because I am so busy with the music. Working on cars is sort of a part time job as much as it is a passion. I love old cars and I have one that I’m going to bring down to California and start to wrench on part time.

Is there a particular car that you would love to get your hands on to restore?

Yes I was fortunate enough before I left for California to make a trade for a 1937 Lincoln Zephyr. It is a car that I always wanted since I was a kid. It is just a really beautiful art deco car. It is a V12 and there’s non left. It’s pretty rough and it is going to need a lot, but it exists. It’s a nice feeling to have something like that.

Thank you so much for the interview. It was awesome talking with you. Before I let you go would you like to add or say anything?

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