August 31, 2018 Interview – Tony Kim of Dance With The Dead
Sometimes when you least expect it, a hobby can turn into something much more. Longtime friends, Justin Pointer and Tony Kim, would toss around musical ideas, just for fun. Having no idea that their creations would lead to something beyond their own personal satisfaction, here they stand as the dynamic duo known as Dance With The Dead.
A concept project based around a balance of Electronic and Rock music, Dance With The Dead engulf their listening audience with a heavy dose of ’80s influenced Soundtrack-styled music that haunt dreams. Heavy, melodic, and impossible to ignore, their latest album, Loved to Death, could be their most powerful effort to date. An album that could launch them to the forefront of modern retro Electronic Rock music, isn’t it time you know who Dance With The Dead are? Here to fill you in on what you have been missing, Tony Kim chats about the concept behind the band, their latest album, Loved to Death, their passion for Horror flicks, plus more.
CrypticRock.com – Dance With The Dead came together some 4-5 years ago, and as a duo, you have put out some extremely compelling Synth/Electronic instrumental Rock music. First, tell us, what led to the formation of the project and the concept behind it all?
Tony Kim – First of all, Justin and I have been friends for about 15 years and grew up in the same town, yet we’ve never been in bands together until 2012. Just for fun, we would get together and have drinks and write music since we both had the same vision on the sound. I sent him a track titled “Dance with the Dead” one night and he thought that should be the band name so that’s that.
CrypticRock.com – The name is quite fitting to your sound. It is dark, melodic, cinematic, and could easily fit in somewhere between a 1980s Horror flick and video game. Tell us a little bit about your influences as a musician?
Tony Kim – We’re both big Horror fans and also love bands like Daft Punk, Justice, Misfits, Metallica, John Carpenter, etc, so we thought the band name was very suiting. We wanted the Horror influence from all the movies we loved and also wanted to squeeze in some Electronic and Metal.
CrypticRock.com – It works well! There are a lot of acts out there who are in a similar realm as Dance With The Dead, but there needs to be a vision attached to the music for it to be effective. Dance With The Dead accomplish that feat. When composing, do you have visual inspirations or a setting you work within?
Tony Kim – The main thing for us is for the song to tell a story. We don’t have a vocalist so our synth parts and guitar parts are the vocals in our music. As for inspiration, most of our songs start with a riff and from that riff we start piecing things together.
CrypticRock.com – Very interesting. The music is quite vivid and does paint a picture. Your latest LP, Loved to Death, was released back on August 14th. A killer collection of tunes from start to finish, what was the writing and recording process like for this collection of songs?
Tony Kim – We wanted to write a record with high energy and try stuff we haven’t tried before. We didn’t want to separate our sound too much from our previous releases but still have something refreshing and more evolved. I believe the album originally was going to have 15 tracks but even though those songs were good, they didn’t fit well with the rest and felt that the 10 on the record were the strongest.
CrypticRock.com – The songs included all fit perfectly. Perhaps the ones that did not make the cut will be on another album or an EP. The guitars are very prevalent in this album. Do you think Loved to Death is the group’s best balance between synth and guitars to date?
Tony Kim – Absolutely! Again, we took our sweet time to make sure that every track to every sound was exactly how we were hearing it our heads. We wanted both synths and guitars to be in your face.
CrypticRock.com – You certainly accomplished that. You have a list of shows coming up right through the fall. Seeing Dance With The Dead’s music is ultra cinematic, do you have any special visual aspects associated with your shows, especially around Halloween season?
Tony Kim – Just like our records, we try to step it up a notch from our previous tours. I think the fans are going to be pretty stoked this year. We added a lot of new features to make the shows more cinematic.
CrypticRock.com – Fantastic! Let’s talk about the artwork of your releases. Each is eye-catching, but perhaps the most mesmerizing is Loved to Death. Appearing to take strong influence from an Italian Horror film movie poster, who is the artist behind the work and the concept?
Tony Kim – Yes, this one is my favorite so far. The name of the artist is Marc Schoenbach and you can look up his work under Sadist Art Designs. Extremely talented guy. As for concept, we wanted to capture old B-Movie style art yet still modern. The vibe was a love story but still creepy and haunting. Marc definitely nailed what we wanted.
CrypticRock.com – Yes, it is really a cool album cover. Seeing the group is really clicking on all cylinders with the release of Loved to Death, how are you finding the response of North American listeners versus the rest of the world, including the European audience?
Tony Kim – The response has been equally great and we’re very thankful. We have a lot planned for 2019, so we’re going to be touring pretty heavily.
CrypticRock.com – That is great to hear and something to look forward to. Last question. Clearly Horror fans, what are some of your favorites?
Tony Kim – My favorite Horror movie of all time is The Exorcist (1973). Seen it a million times and it still creeps me out. The film is so ahead of its time. I saw it for the time when I was 7 years old and I was so terrified I literally couldn’t sleep at night. The realism and the way it’s shot is just amazing.
Some of my other favorites are Halloween (1978), A Nightmare on Elm Street (1984), Night of the Living Dead (1968), The Return of the Living Dead (1985), Creepshow (1982), Christine (1983), In the Mouth of Madness (1994), Suspiria (1977), The Evil Dead (1981), The Thing (1982), The Monster Squad (1987), Alien (1979). Gremlins (1984), and I guess the list will go forever, so I’m going to stop.
Sep 25 The Observatory Santa Ana, CA
Sep 28 Utah State Fairpark Salt Lake City, UT
Sep 29 The Marquis Theater Denver, CO
Oct 02 The Riot Room Kansas City, MO
Oct 03 First Avenue and 7th St Entry Minneapolis, MN
Oct 05 Subterranean Chicago, IL
Oct 06 The Loving Touch Ferndale, MI
Oct 07 Lee’s Palace Toronto, ON
Oct 12 Knitting Factory Brooklyn, NY
Oct 13 Metro Gallery Baltimore, MD
Oct 14 Brighton Music Hall Allston, MA
Oct 16 Spirit Lodge Pittsburgh, PA
Oct 17 Big Room Bar Columbus, OH
Oct 18 The Camel Richmond, VA
Oct 21 Soundbar Orlando, FL
Oct 23 White Oak Music Hall – Upstairs Houston, TX
Oct 25 Gas Monkey Bar N’ Grill Dallas, TX
Oct 26 Jack’s Bar San Antonio, TX
Oct 28 The Rebel Lounge Phoenix, AZ
Oct 30 Brick By Brick San Diego, CA
Oct 31 Roxy Theatre West Hollywood, CA
Nov 01 Slim’s San Francisco, CA
Nov 02 Star Theater Portland, OR
Nov 03 El Corazon Seattle, WA
Nov 04 Biltmore Cabaret Vancouver, BC
Nov 14 Brugge Minsk, Belarus
Purchase Loved to Death: