Contributor’s Note: It was a cold blustery night in Des Moines and I was not feeling good while battling the flu. Ryan was absolutely a kind, gracious person in this interview, and I really appreciate him taking the time with me to discuss God, Fit for a King, that fateful night in Paris, and “Deathgrip”, along with other fun topics. Check out Fit for a King on Facebook at www.facebook.com/fitforakingband and www.twitter.com/fitforaking and follow them on Instagram at www.instagram.com/fitforakingtx. Go to their official website at www.fitforaking.com to pick up a copy of “Deathgrip” via Solid State Records. Without further delay, here’s my conversation with Ryan Kirby, vocalist for Fit for a King!
Matty: Tell me who you are and what you do in the band.
Ryan: I am Ryan Kirby and I am the vocalist.
Matty: I know you haven’t been in Fit for a King since the inception of the band, tell us how you got into the band.
Ryan: The band started in 2007 and I joined in 2010, still a local band through all this, it was just kind of the right place at the right time. I played some local shows with them, they lost their vocalist, they were a bigger local band than our local band, we were breaking up, and I was like, “hey, can I try out”
Matty: What do you mean they lost their vocalist?
Ryan: He got married and decided not to do music anymore.
Matty: What was the name of your local band?
Ryan: Bodies Awake, but I had like 15 local bands before Fit for a King, but that was the last one.
Matty: So you’re a Cowboys fan?
Ryan: I am.
Matty: Tell me who your favorite Cowboys player is.
Ryan: I guess it’s generic to say Dak Prescott. I like how he conducts himself.
Matty: He seems like a class act. Are you an Ezekiel Elliot fan too?
Ryan: How can I not be? *laughs*
Matty: What would you say if you’re getting interviewed by a Packers fan right now?
Ryan: I wouldn’t have anything to say to them. I’d walk away from the interview.
Matty: I’m a Vikings fan I guess. *laughs*
Ryan: Then, you’re safe. *laughs*
Matty: How’s the Carry The Flame tour going?
Ryan: It’s good, we’re a few shows in, but it’s just getting better and better, we’re hoping that trend continues.
Matty: Why should people come out early to check out your band?
Ryan: Because we’re heavy and we have some breakdowns for them, and we offer a different message than the other bands being that we’re a Christian band, and everything.
Matty: What does it mean for you to be in a Christian band, other bands in that genre define it so many ways, what does it mean in your view?
Ryan: I write about my life, I’m a Christian, it’s through the lyrics in my personal belief in God, and how I combat certain things as a Christian. Not every song is a Christian song, I mean I write about my life and not everything is “praise God”, we’re not a worship band or anything. We talk about a lot of the dark aspects of the world and struggles, and stuff like that. Not a lot of happy stuff.
Matty: What are some of the struggles, is it inner struggle or?
Ryan: I mean worldly. One song is about the Rwandan genocide, the Paris attacks, one song is about a fan who told me about a struggle when she had an abortion and her struggling to live with that. Some Christians don’t like how dark it is, and I’m like, “that’s the world, you can’t just hide”.
Matty: Exactly man, as a Christian I feel the same way. I feel that we need to be the light in the dark places. As a Christian, do you get tired of those questions about Christianity?
Ryan: No man, if I did, we would say, “we’re Christians in a band, but we’re not a Christian band”. We know that it’s going to come when we call ourselves a Christian band.
Matty: What is the craziest thing that has happened on this tour?
Ryan: Our drummer forgot his rack ton at home and we had to have it shipped to him. That’s about as crazy as it gets. Seeing ten flipped cars on the way here through a two hour stretch in Iowa, including an 18-wheeler and stuff, that was kind of ridiculous.
Matty: You should’ve seen the weather. Thunder, snow, hail, rain all at once.
Ryan: I’m glad I wasn’t here at that time, it was 80 degrees in Texas.
Matty: What’s your favorite memory of After The Burial, who is headlining the Carry the Flame tour?
Ryan: We haven’t really made too many memories yet, we’ve just kind of met them for a tiny bit, but watching them play, they’re ridiculously tight, they’re one of the best musically live bands I have ever seen as far as them performing the music that they write.
Matty: What is the most humbling memory that you have as a member of Fit for a King? Whether its embarrassing, or a fan story, etc.
Ryan: Most embarrassing would be tripping on stage at a show in Utah, that was pretty embarrassing.
Matty: How did that happen?
Ryan: I tripped over a cord, it was a small stage, luckily it was awhile ago, and the show wasn’t very big, not very many people witnessed it. As far as humbling stories, just when fans share their stories, it’s really humbling, and it helps me refocus on what God has for me in this band, every time I’m getting more carried away with popularity in the band, somebody will come up to me with a story of triumph where God used our band. I’m like, “okay, this band is a lot more than whether we are popular or not, or just playing breakdowns”.
Matty: That’s what I tried to convey in the review, that yes there’s some anger and frustration but there seems to be that hope in the lyrics that you write. So, I heard some merchandise got stolen?
Ryan: We had some basses stolen, an amp, and other stuff.
Matty: Is there a GoFundMe page for it?
Ryan: We just direct people. If you feel like helping, go buy some merch. We don’t want to make people feel like that they have to donate anything. Some people have been insistent, and I tell them to buy a t-shirt so they at least have something. The stuff might get returned one day and we don’t want to take a bunch of money, and six months from now, the guitars and amp come back, and that would put us in a weird spot.
Matty: That would definitely be awkward! I am trying a section called “Your Immediate Reaction”. I give you a word or phrase and you tell me what comes to mind.
Ryan: Let’s do it!
Matty: The moment you realized you were going to do this for a living:
Ryan: When I got to quit my job. I was a courier, I had to pay all my own gas and everything, and I basically worked all week to spend it all on gas, just to have a little money for touring.
Matty: Favorite home-cooked meal.
Ryan: I’m going with rice and chicken. I’ve been watching my diet, I need to exercise more, but I’ve been very strict with my diet for the last four months. I haven’t had an ounce of dairy, been trying to eat vegetables daily.
Matty: Cash Me Outside How Bout Dat
Ryan: That meme needs to die, that’s my initial reaction.
Matty: Working with Jake Luhrs of August Burns Red.
Ryan: He’s amazing, he’s an incredible person, we became good friends on their last tour, I’ve kept in contact with him ever since.
Matty: Playing shows in Iowa.
Ryan: Cold. Every time it’s freezing. For some reason, we always book here in the winter. I also have to mention Zombie Burger. We haven’t played at Wooly’s in 4 years though, we’ve played Lefty’s twice, and we’ve played Des Moines twice.
Matty: I recommend Tacopocalypse.
Ryan: I had guacamole from there earlier. It was good!
Matty: I believe in….
Ryan: Jesus Christ. He’s my Savior, but I also believe in the power of the breakdown!
Matty: Let’s say I give you $50 and you can go eat anywhere in the world, where are you going and what are you having?
Ryan: I want to go to Franklin’s in Austin and get ribs. It’s one of those places where you have to go to at 7AM, the line is all the way down the street and they close when all the meat is gone. Just a rack of ribs!
Matty: One reason why we need to see Fit for a King in concert.
Ryan: We just bring constant energy for 30 minutes to an hour, depending on if we are headlining or not, we don’t take breaks, and we don’t let you take breaks.
Matty: One local band that is not signed that people need to check out.
Ryan: They just got signed, but Backwordz. I’m friends with their vocalist Eric, they’re an amazing band, and they’re a super fresh take on metalcore. They didn’t get signed technically, but they have a partnership with Stay Sick Recordings. So, keep an eye out on them.
Matty: Didn’t they do something at Donald Trump’s Inauguration?
Ryan: They’re very Libertarian, their vocalist has crashed a lot of things. He’s crashed a Black Lives Matter rally, he might have crashed the Trump thing. He’s not a fan of big government. Not going to get too political though. *laughs*
Matty: Take us inside the video to “Dead Memory”, I kind of want to get back to that collaboration you and the band had with Jake from August Burns Red.
Ryan: The song was written about my wife suffering because of her dad leaving her, the song goes, “its been 15 years since you walked away” No contact for 15 years, when she was 9 years old. It’s about her dad trying to pop back in, and that was the whole struggle of the song, should I let him back into my life, and her finding that its just best for her to move on, that she made it through her whole life without you, and he was just causing her more pain, pop back in and leave, pop back in and leave. She was just like, “I just need to break it off”.
Matty: It’s a very weighty song and a very weighty topic, thank you for sharing. I really think that is the strength of your band is that you’re willing to talk about the tough issues. I know that you have been asked this question before, but I know that you played a show in Paris a few days after the Paris attacks, was there any hesitation to not playing that show or anything like that?
Ryan: About every band on the package had a lot of concerns. There were times when we were like, we shouldn’t go, but we eventually decided to play because we figured we all decided that this was what we needed to do because you let terrorists win whenever you change your life and live in fear over things, so tickets stopped selling after the attacks, they were still for sale, but nobody was buying the tickets anymore, and a lot of people didn’t show up that did buy their tickets, but there was like 100 people that did show up, and they just kind of had that attitude, “screw the guys that did this, we’re going to have fun no matter what”. I would be lying if I said that we didn’t keep an eye on where the emergency exits at the venue were, it was a very nerve-racking night, but once it was done, we were so glad that we did it.
Matty: I wonder if they should Oui Oui in approval, like Daniel Bryan shouting “Yes Yes Yes”
Ryan: I would laugh if they did that.
Matty: If you could make any song for a WWE Wrestler or UFC Fighter who would it be?
Ryan: I don’t know that many, probably The Rock because he’s an awesome person.
Matty: Where can people pick up “Deathgrip”?
Ryan: Pretty much anywhere, they’re in FYE’s, Christian bookstores, which a lot of people don’t know about, like Lifeway and Family Christian.
Matty: Where can we find you guys?
Ryan: Go to Google and type in “Fit For A King”, everything you need to know is on the first page.
Matty: Thank you very much for your time!
Ryan: Thank you man, this was a lot of fun!
And there you have it, go to any store and pick up “Deathgrip” by Fit for a King, you won’t regret it. Check out MUEN Magazine for my review on it!