Jet Black Kiss's Robert causes Quite the Flame in this Discussion


California based rock project, Jet Black Kiss has been doing up-and-running for quite sometime, now that years have gone by so has the project, expanding with shows, touring, and a "best of" release called "Power of Three" which includes favorable tracks, new tunes, and even a video plus more! Frontman vocalist, instruments, and production guy Robert S. Liam A.K.A. Simon, discusses this release and the plans they have for the rest of this year!


1. Introduce yourself, tell me what you do in Jet Black Kiss, and how long the band has been together?

Robert: I'm Robert Liam, friends call me Simon (my middle name). I'm the singer, multi-instrumentalist, writer and producer of Jet Black Kiss. I refer to JBK as a project, rather than a band because although others get involved for live, I am ultimately the sole permanent member since its incarnation in 2005.

2. Please tell us about the history of your band and its members.

Robert: JBK started in my personal home studio and the project was officially launched with the release of the first album 'Star Rock Lights' in 2007. SRL was a solo endeavor, however, JBK was intended to become a full band upon completion of the album, hence a band name, opposed to promoting myself as a solo artist. Over the years, many members have come and gone due my focus on solo studio recording, resulting in primarily depending on 'hired guns' for live performances.

3. Where is the band based out of and what is your music scene like there? Are there any local bands you could recommend?

Robert: JBK is based out of Los Angeles, CA. The music scene in Los Angeles, from my perspective, is vast and so varied that there is no center or substantial pull from any particular genre. I think it's good because bands can do just about anything and be viable. Everything has been recycled over and over since the 90's, so it's very difficult to do anything that can truly be called 'fresh' or 'new'. You just have to do what you like, add your twist to the flavor, and go for it. Anything goes. There is one identifying image trend that seems to be draping across all genres of music...beards. There is a plethora of bands sporting the beard look. The bands that are closest to my genre that I have had an interest in recent years are a couple of hard working bands called 'The Dreaming' and 'Stitched Up Heart'.

4. Where does a name like, Jet Black Kiss come from and mean?

Robert: Jet Black is my look and the kiss comes from my charm. :)

5. How would you describe your style? Which bands influenced your music?

Robert: In the early days when JBK started, it was a straight up rock endeavor influenced by bands such as Stone Temple Pilots, Billy Idol, Guns n' Roses, Motley Crue, and Velvet Revolver, etc., along with some touches of Rob Zombie, The Cure, Filter, Placebo, and Smashing Pumpkins. I've always been a huge fan of classic rock with hooky choruses and melodic vocals like AC/DC, Led Zeppelin, and Aerosmith. I just took a slightly moodier approach to the genre. Later the music evolved into a little heavier and darker sound with the self-titled follow up album, more influenced by Filter, Rob Zombie, Metallica, Three Days Grace, and a tinge of My Chemical Romance. The third album 'Cursed' kept that theme going, but I was listening to a lot of Ozzie, Avenged Sevenfold, Sick Puppies, Muse, and Placebo. And onto the post album-trilogy singles I included bands like Chevelle and Breaking Benjamin into the mix.  Also, I proudly admit that 'The best of Michael Jackson' was pumping a lot during late night Hollywood parties in my music studio, but I don't think you'll hear any of that style in my music. ;)

6. What lyrical theme do you guys use in your music? What message do you want to send?

Robert: My lyrical subject matters are vast. I write what I am thinking about at the time. It may be about love, loss, politics, social issues, or whatever mood I'm in. I might write about a book I read or movie I saw. One of my favorites is a song entitled 'Dogs of War' written about William Shakespeare's play 'Julius Caesar'. JBK is not specific to any particular lyrical theme. My life is as complicated as anybody else's, so that's what I write about Élife.

7. Why did you see this "Best Of" album to be a perfect fit for your new single and accompanying video of "The Flame"?

Robert: The last few years since the release of 'Cursed', I've been focusing on writing single tracks instead of a full album. This allowed for more time to be spent on each track, also considering that the general public, statistically, has only been purchasing single tracks from artists instead of albums. I was originally going to release an EP containing the singles 'Dogs of War', 'Zombie Love', and the Garbage cover 'Only Happy When It Rains' along with the new single 'The Flame'. These are all of the songs that I recorded between 2011-2014. During 2014, while I was working on the video for 'The Flame', I decided that I wanted to completely re-mix all three of the previous albums for a re-issue and give them some new life. During this process, I also decided that it would be better to release a collection of 'favorites' from the trilogy of albums along with the latest singles. Not only to renew some vitality and exposure of the old material, but to close a ten year long chapter. 'The Flame' is a bold punctuation to the end of the chapter and a transition to a fresh new version of JBK. I have a wealth of experience now, a new perspective on what I love musically, and a matured perspective on life itself and the future. You can expect the evolved sound of JBK to be bigger and more dramatic.

8. What about this "Best Of" album "Power of Three", who is the "Power of Three"?

Robert: 'Power of Three' starts with the trilogy of albums that it contains. Also, the last couple years of my life has been surreal. I've discovered a very interesting reality regarding mind power, collective thinking, and the significance of the associative number 3. The 'who is' power of three will be revealed in a couple of other projects that I'm working on with others. One is an instrumental/orchestral project called 'Haunted Hands' and the other is a rock/metal project called 'Dying To Know' with a female singer.

9. Why did you want to go and decide on this "Best Of" album, why was now the time to do so?

Robert: It's been four years since the release of Cursed and I felt that it was time to release a proper full album with the completion of the music and video for 'The Flame'. And like I said before, it's the perfect way to sum up the last ten years as a collective experience and then move onto a new era of JBK.

10. Do you think that the fans both old and new, can take a liking to your style of sound when hearing these selection of tunes offered on "Power of Three"?

Robert: The songs that I chose for P3, for the most part, fit together as a unit. There are some mood swings and variations on instrument tone throughout, but it flows without any drastically dramatic changes that suggest a ten year gap from the first track 'The Flame' (recorded in 2014) to the last track 'She's An Alien' (recorded in 2005). The newer tracks definitely have more of a metal style of drumming rather than tracks like 'A Beautiful Day' and 'Car Crash' having a traditional rock feel; but vocally (with exception to some vocal growth), it all works together.

11. What was the process like when picking out the 12-tracks to be included on this "Best Of" release?

Robert: It was quite easy to choose the tracks. I obviously gravitated towards the ones that have been the most publicly popular over the years, but I also wanted to include my top favorites. Luckily, for the most part, I agree with the public, so there was very little discrepancy as to what should be on the album. The only issue was keeping it limited to 12 tracks. I didn't want to go overboard, but it was important to have all of the singles on there from (2011-2015) in addition to tracks/singles from each of the three albums.

12. Did you get all the songs that you wanted or were there some that you wanted but couldn't get?

Robert: For the most part, yes. There are some album tracks that I really love, but were never outwardly acknowledged by the public, so I chose to leave them out as options. I would have liked to include, for instance, the tracks 'The Secret Door' (Star Rock Lights), 'Don't Fade Away On Me' (JBK), and 'The Gift' (Cursed).

13. Do you think this will be the only "Best Of" album from you guys or will there be a sequel to go with it?

Robert: There will definitely be another "Best Of" album, but it will only contain material that I write from now until the end of the next era (another decade possibly?). The great thing about being the sole member of JBK is not having to depend on others to keep it going. As long as I am alive, JBK will always exist, and I will never stop creating to keep it alive.

14. While creating this release, did you write or record anymore tunes to be included on a future release?

Robert: Over the last year, while working on 'The Flame' I wrote and recorded new material for JBK as well as for my two other projects, alongside producing other artists. It's been an incredibly busy couple of years for me. I've got so many things brewing, but I work non-stop, so it won't be too long before new material starts surfacing. I predict that there will be a full JBK album with all new material by latest, 2017.

15. What do you have in-store as far as shows and touring goes?

Robert: I'm currently pulling together a top-notch line-up of musicians for live performances. I will start with local shows along with a short west coast tour, dates are pending. We'll see where it goes from there Éperhaps JBK will end up in your town if everything goes well!

16. How about the rest of this year, what else can we expect to see from you guys?

Robert: The rest of this year will be focused on live shows and studio recording. What else may happen is a complete mystery. It will, however, be an extremely busy year.

17. Anything else you'd like to say or want to add on?

Robert: Yes, thank you very much for your interest in JBK! Lastly, I just want to express the importance of supporting independent music and artists that you (the listening public) likes. The new generation of music consumers have been conditioned to think that music is free. It costs artists a lot money to properly record, mix, master, manufacture, promote, and distribute their music. Music videos are essential and costly. Touring is expensive with high fuel prices, hotels, food, etc. and it's even harder on the road now with pay to play policies at a growing number of venues. Artists are people, too, with real lives, and need to financially support themselves. If a local band that you like is playing a show, go see them, and don't ask them to be 'on the list'. If you want to have a copy of a song or album they put countless hours into, pay for it, don't share it. Not only do they get paid for that purchase, but it also helps their status on the charts. You have to remember that it is their JOB and they need to be supported to continue doing what you get enjoyment from. Simply clicking the 'Like' button on their Facebook page isn't enough for that. Thanks for listening and try to remember how much we all love music and who puts the effort into making it.

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