Super powers, the artistic process and more with King Tuff’s Kyle Thomas

by Rose Blanton

Last week I got a chance to chat with King Tuff’s Kyle Thomas over the phone about his new record, Black Moon Spell. Thomas had some pretty insightful things to share including his views on the supernatural, Bobby Harlow, fuelling creativity and many other things. Check it out below.

Rose Blanton: A lot of the songs on Black Moon Spell have a supernatural vibe. Is the occult a big interest point for you?

Kyle Thomas: Well, I think you can look at everything as supernatural in some way. I try to keep a view on the world that everything has power. Like, try to see everything with new eyes, like you don’t even know what it is.

RB: What is your favorite track off of Black Moon Spell?

KT: I really like “Headbanger,” “Black Moon Spell,” and “Eddie’s song.” I’m pretty proud of that album. I think it came out pretty good.

RB: I think it’s fantastic, it’s pretty extensive, about 14 tracks right? 

KT: Yeah, but there are like some mini tracks on there, like “I love you” and “Ugly” are pretty short.

RB: I really like “Rainbows Run,” I think that’s my favorite.

KT: OH! I like that one too!

RB: Bobby Harlow helped produce this album, I fucking love him, everything he touches is gold (in my opinion). Did you enjoy working with him? 

KT: Oh, me and Bobby are the best of friends. We’ve gone down the rabbit hole many times together. It can be intense working with other people on something that is so dear to your heart, you know. You got to give up a lot, but I think it pays off, man.

RB: You’re also in the band Witch with J. Mascis, is it intimidating working with someone like him?  

KT: Definitely, at first it was like woah! At that time I was 21 or 22, it was a long time ago. I didn’t even really know how to play lead guitar. It was kind of crazy to be playing lead guitar and have one the best lead guitar players playing drums in my parent’s basement [laughter ensues here].

RB: I learned that you and your brother are quite the artists. Did he do the art work for your album? Or did you guys collaborate on it?

KT: I did the cover of the new album,  he contributed a little to the back. He did the drawing (the bat) for the last album. He does a lot of my t-shirts. But yeah we collaborate a lot on art.

RB: Do you ever want to take break from music and focus more on visual art? 

KT: I definitely have always known when I get to the point where I can tour less, I can do the art more for a while.

RB: Yeah and with both of them being creative avenues, I’m sure one fuels the other. 

KT: And with the art, I really don’t have to think about it. And that’s the key to making art or music. Music… I think about it too much. Because there’s people paying attention to it. And now I’m thinking about what people will think of it, which is the worst possible thing to do.

RB: When you’re thinking about it, do you find it hard to be yourself? Do you get nervous?

KT: Definitely, it’s just…. You can’t do that when you make art of any sort. You just got to focus on making something creative and something you like. And some people will like it and some won’t. A lot of people get caught up in their own heads, once people pay attention. That can really ruin shit.  But it’s hard not to think about that stuff every once in a while, at least.

RB: Yeah, I get really nervous when speaking in public, I can’t imagine putting my songs out there for all to hear (or judge). 

KT: I gave a speech one time at wedding and it was really scary, but I fucking killed it. Afterwards, I had a bunch of relatives asking if they could sponsor my comedy career.

RB: Well, if art and music don’t work out, you’ve got one more skill to fall back on. So ten years ago, when you were living in your art studio, did you ever think your career would be this fruitful and this big. I mean Sub-pop and Bobby Harlow, that’s huge. 

KT: Yeah, I’ve kind of just always been on the path. It’s been very gradual. Every step leads to another thing. It didn’t just happen all of a sudden. It’s been a very long, drawn out adventure. But I think that’s good, you know. One day, I just kind of said “I’m going to get signed to Sub-Pop”  and then a couple months later, it happened.

RB: So, maybe you willed it into existence. Maybe you can see the future.

KT: I think there’s power in that, will power, ya know (laughs). You just have to really believe in what you do.

RB: So my last question is a little morbid, but if you were on death row what would your last meal be? [laughs] Sorry!

KT: That’s a good question…..Probably one of my mom’s dishes. Her matzo ball soup.

RB: Oh also, is “Rainbow’s Run” about oral sex?

KT: Yeah, it’s about giving head to a woman. [laughs]

RB: OH I KNEW IT! Well Kyle thanks so much for your time, the album is fantastic and I can’t wait to catch your show in October!

KT: Hell yeah, come say hi!