What was your first metal experience?
Kim Gill: My first Metal experience I would have to say was discovering Metal through a Hip-Hop album. Yes, a Hip-Hop album. My twin sister, Karen, had bought the Swizz Beats album ‘Ghetto Stories’ and on the album, he did many collaborations with a ton of artists, including Metallica. As many fans of Hip-Hop know, Swizz Beats is a very renowned producer with a high caliber of work. The fact that he appreciates many types of music shows more about him and many producers like Rick Ruben, who work behind the scenes for the “megastars.” Now this wasn’t the first Hip-Hop/Metal collaboration he’s done. Back in the 90’s, he produced a song entitled “The Omen” with DMX and Marilyn Manson for the ‘Flesh of My Flesh, Blood of My Blood’ album. His work altogether just goes to show how much Hip-Hop and Metal artists enjoy musical tastes outside of their own, or what they are “stereotypically” inclined to enjoy. Anyway, Swizz had Metallica and Ja Rule did a song together called “We Did It Again.” The song was HEAVY, yet the rhymes were smooth and correlated evenly. It was like iron and silk. And I just said to myself “wow, Metal is not that bad.” About a year later, I was watching the first Resident Evil movie and when the movie ended, some of the songs from the soundtrack started playing and then one that I really liked was Slipknot’s “My Plague.” The song was dope! It was ear-pleasing and then I started searching their entire catalog. Their look and sound was different from any traditional Metal band that we all know and love. Their music consisted of so many different exotic sounds and instruments, including DJ-ing and it amazed me how nine people with so many various musical tastes can come together and create something so wild. And from exploring the musical tastes of each band member, I started to learn about and most importantly, explore, different types of Metal music.
Why is Morbid Angel your ultimate band?
Ahhhh, Morbid Angel. I’ve been a devoted fan since I was sixteen years old. That band got me through high school. They were the first Death Metal band I had gotten into — my gateway to the “dark side.” Their music is just so amazing. The artistry behind their work and their powerful messages stood out to me the most. I identified as an Agnostic long before I even got into Metal and when I first heard “God of Emptiness,” I was just blown away. That slow, brutal, heavy riff in the opening just captivated me. And the lyrics, oh the lyrics. The lyrics from that song is in two parts. The “accuser” and the “tempter” and I heavily identified with the accuser. “Lies – and you fill their souls. With all the oppressions of this world and all the glory you receive? So, what makes you supreme?” I mean it’s dark, but would traditionally be questions Agnostics would ask. Another reason why they are my ultimate band is, because of Trey Azagthoth. He is one of my personal heroes who I got to meet twice! Meeting him and telling him how much he has inspired me with his philosophy of Metal, which has molded me into the Metalhead I am today, was truly rewarding. Trey Azagthoth is one of the most open-minded Metal musicians, EVER! And if more Metalheads thought like him and even saw things from his perspective, then Metal in general would progress even further.
Why is being Agnostic so important to you? Like why was that the biggest connection you felt with death metal? For me it was a very similar feeling with Death. It was like, this guy Chuck gets it! But, I want to know your perspective on this connection.
I wouldn’t regard being Agnostic as important, but I feel that it best describes me in terms of spirituality. I’ve always been a person who questioned things, and the truth is everyone should be that way. We shouldn’t take information at face value just because it’s the population’s consensus, which can sometimes be based on little to no evidence, or even worse, lies. To me, I would like to acquire something a little more tangible. I seek the ultimate truth. I ultimately believe in science. Simply because science can be proven with studies, experiments, and logic. Although there is a lot I do question, there are some things, which can not be explained that I have experienced. I believe in karma and bioenergetics. I’ve witnessed karma a few times, and I wholeheartedly believe that whatever energy you put into an environment will produce in your results. I love people who go out of their way to put positive energy into the room. I once had a coworker who was a devout Christian. She never judged me about what I believed, nor did she try to foist her beliefs onto me. She respected me and I respected her. She was one of the nicest people I worked with and I truly admired her efforts to make every work shift a positive one and putting positive vibrations into the universe. She would write down a bible quote and put it in her pocket. She would say a prayer for herself and everyone. In my opinion, she was the type of Christian that all Christians should be if they wanted to identify as such. And although the ‘God of Emptiness’ lyrics resonated with me, I don’t feel that it was my biggest connection with Death Metal, personally because I don’t feel that my music choice or my beliefs connect in any way. But I can understand why it would for someone else, or why many would believe that.
What are some Brooklyn/Queens based bands you loved that never got enough attention?
There are bands from the tri-state and beyond who I love and believe should get more exposure. Some Brooklyn and Queens bands I like are Apparition, The Machinist, The Gemini Method, Immortal Suffering, Line of Scrimmage, Psycho Enhancer, and Alekhine’s Gun. Some of the bands from the tri-state area I like are Surgical Strike, The Merciless Concept, Decimate the Living, and An Aborted Memory. Others from beyond include Da Crown from Chile, Sand from Japan, Visceral Leishmaniasis from Brazil, and Sentenced to Fight from Puerto Rico.
How does your family feel about your metal love? Was your love for metal ever a problem in your house? (I ask because my family still doesn’t get it.)
Hahaha my family is still in the “what the fuck is this?” stage, but over the course of time, have become my biggest supporters in what I do. Last year, I got to take my parents to their first show so they can see first hand what the scene is like. My mom enjoyed it, but my dad didn’t so much. They came back again when I co-hosted the PUi Ritual. They were so proud of me. Even when I tell my mom what I’m up to now, she smiles to herself but is still too shy to admit that she is.
What’s the book you gave to Karyn Crisis?
When Karyn Crisis came back to NYC for the second time to perform with her new band “Gospel of the Witches,” I gave her a book that I had previously read, which was recommended by my good friend Tacarra Moore. The book is by holistic healer Queen Afua entitled “Heal Thyself: For Health and Longevity.” In the book, she talks about her many health issues and how pharmaceutical medicine didn’t help her ailments. She also gives tips and recipes too. She had to learn at an early age the benefits of natural medicine and how to heal herself physically, mentally, and spiritually by becoming in tune with nature and what it provided. This all correlates to some of Karyn’s experiences which she described in a few interviews when she talked about her work as a healer. I felt that the book would resonate with her so much, especially being that the introduction was an ode to natural healers. The introduction was so powerful that I bookmarked it with a sticky note and had Karyn read it. A few seconds into reading it, she was so moved by it and even began to cry. She said that it made her heart flutter.
Who is on your wish list for interviews?
There are so many icons I would love to interview. On my wish list would have to be Gaahl from Gorgoroth. He is such an interesting and fascinating person and a prolific character in the world of Black Metal. He is the epitome of what Black Metal is about. Not to mention that he is one of the more progressive icons within that world. Another person I would love to interview is Trey Azagthoth of course. Dude practically changed my life with his wisdom and music. Then there is Nergal of Behemoth. He is the epitome of a warrior. He stood by his convictions, especially with his battle with leukemia. He didn’t care what his Christian critics had to say about it, and his only source of inspiration at that time was the infamous book “The Art of War” by Sun Tzu. With that, he was able to defeat his enemy, cancer, and move on to bigger and better things. In fact, when I first got to see them play – and this was his first New York show after beating cancer’s ass – he said these immortal words: “It feels good to be back. But it feels even better to be alive.” And I was so thankful and grateful to see, hear, and witness that moment. Lastly, I would love to interview the God father, Ozzy. As you know, Heavy Metal just turned 45 years old this year commemorating the release of Black Sabbath’s first album back in 1970. It was the album that started it all, and I would love to know how he feels about the expansion of Metal since then, and what he thinks the future is … and, if he believes that he is the only person to actually dictate what is “considered” Metal to all the elitists out there haha.