The Killing Lights Michael Orlando's Reflection on Staking Previous Endeavors

You may know them as Vampires Everywhere! having gotten their start with their EP "Lost in the Shadows" (2010) and later LP's "Kiss The Sun Goodbye" (2011) and "Hellbound and Heartless" (2012), they did extensively well for themselves. Over time things changed for the better and The Killing Lights was created, this being a whole new project entirely.  Frontman vocalist Michael Vampire Orlando, discussed his time with Vampires Everywhere! and the transition to The Killing Lights with plans for other projects and the oncoming future.

1. Introduce yourself, tell me what you do in The Killing Lights, and how long the band has been together?

Michael: This is Michael Vampire and I am the lead singer for the band called The Killing Lights, we're a band outside of Los Angeles, California and this is a new project which has been together for about 6 months maybe less?

2. You guys went through a number of member changes too many to count as Vampires Everywhere, do you see "THIS" line-up to be the "one" to say goodbye to the member changes or there's no telling?

Michael: Ya know right now it's looking really awesome, everyone is stoked about what we're doing the music we're making, right now it's perfect, you live and your die and you don't know when that will happen but looks like everything will be pretty solid for a really long time.

3. Where is the band from?

Michael: Los Angeles, California.

4. The Killing Light's style is unique and inspiring, where do you draw influence from?

Michael: Well for this record it's kind of diverse we started off as one thing then added other things, we didn't want to limit ourselves to one style with this release. Our influences are from anywhere metal, rock, pop, maybe some indie in there, we just keep it open. We don't really reference any bands  doing anything like that, we all have our own inspirations, there isn't really anything that pop's it's head in there and you're like "oh this or that". So we keep it open and be ourselves.

5. Has your vision for the music ever been impacted by time?

Michael: I'll have like a CD and scatter things and multitask, different ideas popping in every day or second there has never been a clear vision since day one. Like with Vampires Everywhere! there was so much confusion with timing, us not having a stable line-up, this band has a clear vision and have been testing demos for the past year and a half figuring out what we wanted to do, before coming out with something, as to why we took so long, we're stoked to finally have a solid song line-up on this release. I woke up this morning going like, since we just finished pre-production, saying finally we have something for everyone to hear. I think now the vision is clear and back then I was a little confused.

6. Do you see a theme or mood that you're trying to capture when writing songs and the music that goes with it?

Michael: Definitely the Vampires Everywhere! stuff was more revenge orientated I was very angry at certain relationships and things I got involved in so that's how I got out those emotions. Now with The Killing Lights, it's a new vision it is different and I try to make it positive but it turned its cheek and I got my angry out a lot more, even though I thought I was threw with it but I'm not. So I have a lot of positives and triumphed types of messages, we got in a lot of situations with record labels and managers and a lot of things got to me emotionally, people saying things and friendships so with this release it's us triumphing through all of the bullshit we put up with and went through. We  think our fans and we love ourselves, that's been the hardest thing we know what we love, if it was all me 100% I'm a child of the 90's we didn't want to go that far back. We wanted to be true to ourselves and had an amazing ratio of those worlds with this release.

7. You guys are no longer with Century Media Records, does the same go for Hollywood Waste Records?

Michael: We had parted ways with Hollywood Waste a long time ago, they were an imprint of Century Media Records, we were suppose to release our first album as Vampires Everywhere! , I had a good friend of mine Kyle, run it but is now with another label and is still a really good friend of mine, I think it was just a little ahead of its time for Hollywood Waste. As for Century Media Records, it was a great time and decent relationship but sometimes people need to take a big risk of trust with their artists and we felt we needed more confidence and support, financially, musically, just needed something else, and decided to turn in our letter of not continuing on. Century Media Records did want to pick up Vampires Everywhere! and when we changed it to The Killing Lights we decided to not turn in the demos to the label. We did all of this on a friendship bases there was no hard feelings we thought it was just time to move on, there were rumors we were dropped but that's not true this was our own decision.

8. You've said that you had not 1 but 3 albums that you decided to scrap, why were these scrapped and not released? So will we be seeing any of that material?

Michael: Originally we were writing while on tour on our bus, me and DJ we were writing the next Vampires Everywhere! record which we completed then ended up loving then hating. We then went on another tour and wrote more songs and completed then decided to change the band to a new project. We had like 50 songs sitting in the back burner great songs and if Vampires Everywhere! was still going,  I think the fans would have enjoyed it, I just don't think it was a time for that record or a time for Vampires Everywhere!, we were lost and didn't know how to do it, me and DJ being the only remaining members me being an original member from the beginning, I just thought it was time since DJ and I have such a great writing relationship we wanted to do something else. The Killing Lights was born from that and as far as those demos only time will time, I really don't know with all of the bands reuniting and fun stuff who knows what it will be in the future probably not.

9. Michael, you have mentioned being involved in a near fatal car accident that happened years ago, so why didn't you start off this band as The Killing Lights instead of starting it as Vampires Everywhere?

Michael: That's a good question. Initially  the whole Vampire theme came from the idea of immortality by that I meant I went through a tragic car accident that I survived, the doctors had told me "I must have an angel on my shoulders or I must be invincible" that's what the doctors had said. I had always been fascinated with Vampires and the culture and The Lost Boys film, and how would it be cool to take that and make a band of it. At the time it didn't occur to me that people would be battling me over the name Vampires Everywhere!, looking at it as a controversial name, bands like Vampire Weekend and stuff like that, there's a lot of weird band name's out there like Papa Roach - you're not thinking there a bunch of roaches or there all potheads to me it was the name, which to me represented immortality and a theme.

I was going through a heavy dark phase of my life it did represent my accident but people being close minded, stubborn,  some jealous, attacked me for being this or that and I had to defend myself on yes I am a little outta my mind, and do think I was a living Vampire at the time. It was more of a lifestyle than the mythology of it all, try explaining that to a close minded person at the time. I don't even have a metaphor for you, it's like something smells good and you know it does but there arguing that it does, the managers and labels involved with us did not get it either. But to me this is for our fans and for us this isn't for 45 year old men trying to figure this out. The Killing Lights is my homage to that accident because before I found out it was a name to an AFI song, it was more of a last thing that I saw before getting hit by the car. Now for the layman's it's obvious now unless everyone starts thinking we're light bulbs and we're going to glow on stage I don't know what the next thing is going to be for ignorant people. I think this is a clear cut path to being  a band than a gimmick to people.

10. When you announced the name change, you mentioned of recording a debut record,  but that has since changed to a debut EP, why the change of heart?

Michael: We just feel an EP will represent what we're trying to achieve. I can't tell you how many songs will be on it, it is an EP and an LP we felt like it wasn't time for it. It would take too long to record and putting out 10 to 12 songs it's a lot to do without before getting out there on the road and showing people who we are and that I'm not dead. A lot of people are starting to figure it out, the band's numbers going up and starting to work our networks a lot, this EP will tell everyone we are everything and it will show that with this release.

11. You released the two demos "Don't Turn Around" and "Waste My Time" but those WILL NOT be released on this release, why did you decide to do this or will they be released at a later time?

Michael: Well "Don't Turn Around" was basically the first thing we ever recorded as The Killing Lights and held onto it, at the time we were still associated with  Century Media Records and they wanted us to release something to let everyone know we were still around. It was very premature to put that out, it's like you get together with a friend and have 1 idea with a friend of what you want to be when you grow up, tell the world then change your mind about it, it was kind of that way. Premature material instead of us sitting on it for a bit we put it out, we do like "Don't Turn Around" but it's not be on this release but "Waste My Time" will be we're just doing a few changes to it. We were shooting a video for that song but had decided instead of putting out a more rock n' roll track we wanted a heavy metal track first, I am angry and I have a lot more to say and wanted to put out a heavier track for everyone to hear.

12. Where are you in the recording process of the new EP?

Michael: We just finished pre-production yesterday and DJ is going to lay down the musical tracks starting with bass, then guitar, with the programming and the rest will follow, then I will do my vocals. I think we've decided on who will be mixing this release, he's done work with a couple of our friends and right now we're in the process of tracking once that is done we'll be mixing and mastering it.

13. How has the vibe in the studio been going for everyone?

Michael: At first, we were very confused being pulled in a lot of directions, me and DJ at each other's throats then we sat down and knew what we wanted to do, but were pushing too hard and not sure but then figured it all out and it worked out well. For two dudes to work everything out you could image what we were going through and we're still best friends so it's been working out well.

14. When did you start writing for this EP?

Michael: We picked up different pieces over the last 6 months trying to figure stuff out.

15. Where are you recording the EP?

Michael: Currently recording it at my own studio in Hollywood, California then sending everything over to be mixed and mastered in North Hollywood, California.

16. Are you using any new instrumentation, you've never used in the recording process before?

Michael:  Yes I am singing a lot more if you would say that's instrumentation, it's very melodic even with the metal songs, I love filter and regular vocals and trying a lot of different things, and the fans are pushing me to be more melodic and it' dawned on me that it was a good idea, screaming along is fine and we'll have that, but the fans want to sing along so there needs to be melody. DJ is still programming a lot of stuff there, he's doing more guitar work on this release, it's a round release and everyone will be surprised with it and be a very big deal for sure.

17. Have you picked out a title and know how many songs will be on the EP?

Michael: Yes we have but we're keeping those under wraps for now.

18. Does the title have a story or concept behind it or will this release have a concept at all?

Michael: No concept and the story is basically is triumph, determination, don't let someone or people take you down sort of vibe. It's not one of those where I have my fist in the air and I am saying "All you misfits I am King and I am going to tell you how to get out of this situation" it's not like that. This is how I failed if you listen to it, don't do the same thing sort of vibe.

19. Mark Jackson and Ian Scott are producing this release as well as Michael and DJ Black. Why the need for so many producers?

Michael: At first we were going to use MJ and iRoK but they are working with my girlfriend who is working on her own release and are doing a great job with it, we needed a lot of attention then thought DJ and I would get to work on it, doing it ourselves, every band should have 1 of those types of releases before the craziness happens.

20. Dorothy is another producer for vocals and a song writer, how does she fit into this release?

Michael: Again it was one of those situations where she is tied up with her own material, we didn't know the workload that this took, so she got pre-occupied with her own stuff. She says what's cool and what's not cool. It's not what we thought it's just DJ and I driving ourselves insane which is good.

21. Are there any collaborations or any surprises on the EP?

Michael: I have talked to 2 different people and they are excited about it. I don't know what will happen with it, again it's an EP and if I did have them involved it's only because I was a part of their record and there friends of mine or they could bring something to this record that I could enjoy. A lot of people are into the name dropping thing of having this person to make an impact, a lot of people have these collaborations happen and they turn out to be shit. The thing that we've learned and myself you need to do what you do, not worrying about what everyone else is doing. The minute you do that you'll go insane, like all of my friends are on Warped Tour this year and I would love to be on there with them, but couldn't do that because of the band's change with the name, no record, a lot of things changed. It's one of those things where I am so happy that there doing their thing it's a great feeling for me, I am not a jealous person and enjoy seeing people succeeding. Only time will tell it's a barrier of getting them here and you will just be surprised.

22. How do you think the mixing and mastering will go?

Michael: It will go great. We researched how we want to do it, we didn't want to go on a giant level or budget a lot of bands put in thousands of dollars into it, then think the money will sell it and it's a cool if you have the money and the people to work with you. But us we don't, we don't have a label or anything like that, we do it all ourselves and for the fans. To get our name out there show everyone what we're doing, it's not for us to drop a lot of money for a producer to tell us it's cool so we're just doing it our own way and we'll get a guy to mix it for us. Everything is going so well.

23. When can we expect the new EP to be released?

Michael: That's a great question, I would say after summer. We thought let all those summer festivals go through, we won't be done with this until August then set it up for release. We don't have a date but will release it soon enough.

24. Some bands who have done the name changes and style changes, have gone as far as NEVER playing the former material again, so will this be the same for you guys?

Michael: Well I mean if this was a name change I'd say yeah we would play some stuff. But this is all new, it would not make sense for the singer of the band Fun who was previously in like an emo to sing those songs in Fun it's completely different. We're a completely different entity we're not like Vampires Everywhere! name change that's not it. I'm not going to come out there in ripped spandex covered in paint, that's not going to be me for this record. So playing the songs where that would be the thing to do, it just doesn't make sense, it's a mind fuck. It's not fair to our fans ya know? Because I'm not out there to confuse anybody and I'm trying to make this situation as cool as possible, we're not releasing too much info to confuse people. I mean people are just finding out who Vampires Everywhere! was  it's like we're a different entity now. So most people don't understand it's not a name change it's a whole new thing. So the answer to playing the Vampires Everywhere! material it's going to be no.

25. Would you say that all previous Vampires Everywhere! merchandise will be considered "rare" due to this name change and fans should stock up?

Michael: Well yeah I started another Twitter called "TheRealVE" - it's kind of like this, if there are Vampires Everywhere! fans  and fans who are into it that much and want the music and the merch all of that stuff, make it apparent on Twitter. If Twitter is blowing up with millions of people I will put merch up for them to buy. It would be rare I am not re-producing merch I still have stuff from Warped and other tours that I would love to give to the fans who want it. But if there's no demand for it, then it's just not the time to do it. So do consider whatever you got rare for sure. All the fans who have tattoos no point of being upset about it, it was a time in your life so hopefully the next tattoo will be a TKL one.

26. You and DJ Black have a record label called Dark Kingdom, since you guys aren't signed to a label will the "new" label representing you guys or will you be continuing the DIY approach?

Michael: It's both of our label, I own it, CEO and DJ is co-owner and record's the material for the artists but it's not an option for us right now. I'd like to keep everything separate, it starts getting confusing but not saying something won't happen or change though. But right now I think it's best for The Killing Lights to go our as themselves doing their own thing. Dark Kingdom has signed some artists and will be releasing whom soon.

27. Aside from The Killing Lights you guys are working on another project called DIRT - what can be said about this project?

Michael: Well every since Warped Tour happened with Chelsea Grin, Alex and I have always fucked around talking about working together on this project called Dirt. One day I texted Alex and asked him if we were going to do this or not, he said hell yeah! So DJ and I came up with a song, sent it over, he loved it, so we made the Twitter - He has a lot on his plate, new record, Warped Tour so we're going to wait until he has some free time then pursue it more, doing it slow, getting the fans involved.

28. Would you consider bringing Dirt and The Killing Lights together for a show or tour or would that be too much to handle?

Michael: That's kind of interesting, I'm a big believer of having to play once, you don't want to confuse anyone and so much going on right now with all these bands it's confusing. It's easier to keep them separate until they need to be together.

29. What are your plans for playing shows and touring and plans for this year?

Michael: Yeah we are a big believer right now of doing everything ourselves and probably will head out on our headlining tour in October is what we're looking at, unless something comes along that makes sense, so look forward to that. We're finishing up a music video  which should be out in a few months. We're going to be making moves soon a lot will be coming from us soon.

30. What should labels/zines/promoters know about your band? Why should they be interested in it?

Michael:  Well I mean in all honesty we're bringing a fresh new style to music. We feel we're bringing something that is close to our hearts out into the music scene. It's not generalized into one thing it's a rounded recorded. People who know me, this is the first time I am putting myself out there vocally, lyrically, and is DJ's first time showing what he can do on guitar. It's not one of those things we better hold back from doing, we want to put ourselves out there and make it the best music it can be for this EP. It's a brand new thing for me and it's not something I've ever done.

31. Where can we listen to your band and where can we buy your stuff?

Michael:  Currently we have a merch store open on Big Cartel you can get merch there - all of our pirate stuff, been talking about priate stuff for a long time so thought it would be the perfect logo for our band, the whole skull and crossbones check that out. You can find that on our Facebook - and Twitter - as for the record buying it will be announced soon.

32. Any final words of wisdom?

Michael: I just want to thank all of our fans who have been sticking around and supporting me, been going through some crazy shit, there's been speculation on what's been going on with me. A lot of our fans are still around and this record is for the fans who give a shit. I've always been fan orientated and this will prove to them that I have stuck around for them and they have stuck around for me.

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