Killing Time Guitarist Carl Porcaro Discusses Their New Album "Three Steps Back"
Band Photo: Killing Time (?)
Long running New York hardcore act Killing Time, who have gone through a series of break-ups and reunions throughout their 20+ year career, have just released their first full-length studio album in over a decade. "Three Steps Back" hit stores on February 9th via Dead City Records, and a record release party is planned for February 27th in Brooklyn. The band is currently streaming several sample tracks from the new record at their MySpace page. Killing Time guitarist Carl Porcaro spoke with me about the aggressive and high energy new release, writing the album in their original jam session space, and their plans to tour in support of "Three Steps Back."
xFiruath: Killing Time has been around since the end of the ‘80s. Can you give me a history of the band for anyone who isn’t familiar with your music?
Carl: We started out in 1987, the day after Thanksgiving. There were three of us, myself, our drummer Drago, and the other guitar player Rich, and we were in a band called Breakdown with two other guys. We started to play a whole load of shows and had a demo out and then for some reason, which seemed tremendously huge at the time, and I don’t even really recall what it was now, it made us split down the middle. We were on were way up and then suddenly we were hating each other. The three of us left those two guys. We went done to this little basement record store and told the guy who ran the store that we needed people for our band. Everyone went to this place even though it was tiny. It sold every hardcore record that was coming out. Within a week we heard from Anthony, our current lead singer, who was in a band called Token Entry, and he brought along Mike (former Killing Time guitarist).
When spring time came around we had recorded the Killing Time demo, which was actually the Raw Deal demo because that’s what we were called then. People were into it and we started getting into shows without missing a beat. We signed to a label called In Effect and put out our first record. Around ’92 we put out an EP and then we broke up. The New York hardcore scene at the time was in transition. It had grown really fast and a lot of outsiders had come in. It had gotten really good but then it started to change and there was a lot more violence. Fucked up shit was going on at all the shows and people weren’t putting them on anymore. We got back together and recorded a new record and toured on it, then split up again. We’ve been back together since about 2005. We played a couple of reunion shows, which were tremendous. We’ve been playing and working on this record and are psyched that it’s out. We’re ready to go and play the songs live for people.
xFiruath: You’ve had a long hiatus in-between each album and tour. Have you guys remained active with other projects outside of Killing Time?
Carl: Everybody has been involved with other projects. I played all over the world and released a couple of records with a band called Electric Frankenstein. Anthony was in a band called Angry Head on our first hiatus. Everybody’s been involved in a load of different stuff. Rich was the guitar player in a band called Maximum Penalty for a few years. We’ve never stopped being involved in music, it’s always been heavy music. The hardcore scene has come in waves where things are humming and waves where things are kind of fucked up. I think Killing Time kind of comes in waves like that too. Props to all the bands that have stuck it out and hammered away through all the different phases of the hardcore scene, but we just do it our way.
xFiruath: I understand you wrote the album in your original practice space where you also wrote your earlier albums?
Carl: We have a little crappy ass garage out in the suburbs where our drummer grew up. It’s got no heat or A/C and it’s a fucking hellhole that’s super loud. It’s a small room with the sound bouncing everywhere. Every time we go to do a record we play there. We started writing it back in 2008 and here we are “Three Steps Back.”
xFiruath: “Three Steps Back” is Killing Time’s first studio album in about a decade. How does this one sound in comparison to your previous work and what can fans expect to hear this time around?
Carl: Like with most of our stuff they are going to hear a really high energy record with a lot of power, a lot of fast, a lot of mid-tempo mosh stuff, a lot of heavy drums, metal guitars, really catchy songs. Really well thought out, amazing lyrics. Big background vocals and a lot of variations. With this particular record they will hear us get more metal than we ever gotten and in a lot of songs more punk rock. A lot of the stuff is real raging old school hardcore punk rock stuff. It’s super in your face and aggressive. Sound wise the record sounds different too. It’s a really tight and punchy record. I’d be interested myself to hear what people think is different about it because I wrote a bit of it and am really close to it.
xFiruath: You mentioned the lyrics a little bit. What do the lyrics deal with on “Three Steps Back” and who writes them?
Carl: The lyrics are written by the whole group really. The lion’s share of the lyrics are written by our drummer Anthony Drago but we all pitch in. The lyrics are based in real stuff and things we encounter in our lives. Stuff that we think and feel about. It’s all about stuff that’s happened to us and our reactions to it or how we feel about certain topics. It’s pretty personal. I wouldn’t say we take any particular stance issue wise, we aren’t really an issue band, but we write about our own lives. People have always related to our lyrics because they are written in an eloquent way but we put ourselves out there pretty much. We don’t really hide behind a whole lot of shit.
xFiruath: I really liked the cover artwork concept with the clock inside the eye. Who did the artwork for the new album?
Carl: The artwork was done by John Drago, who is our drummer’s brother and a fantastic artist. We saw that and really liked the way it worked and we had him incorporate the clock design because we’ve always had that in our logos and albums. It’s really cool and he actually did the cover for our first record “Brightside” as well.
xFiruath: I’ve heard you guys have a record release show coming up pretty soon?
Carl: Yes that’s February 27th at the Knitting Factory in Brooklyn, New York. We’re playing with Vision and Incendiary and Suburban Scum.
xFiruath: Are there any concrete plans set in place yet for touring in support of “Three Steps Back?”
Carl: We’re talking about all that now actually. We’ve locked in a few gigs. We’re playing with the Cro-Mags down in Baltimore two weeks after our release show. We’re lining up a spot on the New England Metal Fest and then we’re probably going to play the This Is Hardcore Festival. We’re working on more but that’s the highlights so far.
xFiruath: This actually happened quite awhile back, but I saw that your song “Telltale” was on the game Grand Theft Auto IV. How did that come about?
Carl: That was fucking great, we were psyched about that. It’s a brutal song and it was just perfect. The city was called Liberty City and it was modeled after New York City, but a kind of raw version of New York, which was the way it used to be when we started playing music. Appropriately they got a lot of bands from that era. Whoever was doing the video game had that sound in mind and reached out to us and a lot of the bands we came up with. It’s a little piece of New York hardcore on one of the biggest selling video games ever.
xFiruath: Tell me a bit about your own musical tastes. Who are you listening to in your free time?
Carl: I listen to some of the oldies. I’ve been listening to Slayer all the time and Celtic Frost. I’ve been listening to this Boris and Sun O))) split record and Motorhead and Shrinebuilder. I’ve been listening to “Infernal Overkill” by Destruction. I listen to a lot of music and those are some of the current things I’m going through. Most of them are kind of old, but I’m kind of old so there you go.
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