[ This is an interview series highlighting musicians who go from being a band’s biggest fan to being in THAT band. The title is taken from the hardcore band Kill Your Idols. ]
At what point in your life did you discover Kayo Dot?
Ron Varod: I was really interested the downtown NYC scene right after high school in about ’03 and checking out a lot of shows at Tonic and similar venues. I saw that Tzadik released an album by a goth metal band called Kayo Dot and checked out some samples on their site and really dug it but kinda forgot about it.
A little while after that I saw KD were playing a last minute $4 show in Philly opening for Dillinger Escape Plan and knew I had to check it out. They had 9 people on stage and it was super massive sounding, I knew that as soon as they struck the first chord of the first song (Marathon) that this was my new favorite band! (Even with a handful of bro-ey dudes behind me screaming really crude shit during the whole set to Mia and the other asian female violinist at the time.)
What was the album that drew you in and how did it affect you?
RV: Even though people were being really rude during their set, by the time I got to the merch table all of the copies they had of their only album at the time “Choirs of the Eye” were sold out, so I ordered it online the second I got home and listened to it non-stop until they released the next album a few years later. It was really interesting and progressive music that still had a lot of emotive qualities, up until then I didn’t really think that was possible.
What were you doing before you joined Kayo Dot and how did you join the band?
RV: I had a band up until 2 years ago called So is the Tongue that played a few shows (including our first) with Kayo Dot, sort of a prog-metal trio that I sang for and did the majority of the writing. I also played and still do play solo shows under the monkier Zvi (http://ronzvivarod.bandcamp.com/) that I’m actually taking on the road end of August up to Canada and back.
I sort of crept into Kayo Dot slowly. After they had mutiny of the ‘Dowsing’ lineup at the end of what I heard was a shitty tour, I subbed for a one off gig at an avant-rock festival they were scheduled to play at Tonic. I was super stoked to do that one and then sat in years later to do the only live performance of “Stained Glass”. A little after that they asked me to sub for Mia on a european tour winter 2011 and I’ve been playing with them since.
After being in Kayo Dot for 3+ years, what would you tell your younger self about the band? What about life and music?
RV: Going on tour is awesome, it’s way better than going on some lame vacation and seeing a bunch of landmarks and eating local food. Touring is gonna be one of the reasons you still want to be in a band and “go for it”.
The guys in Kayo Dot talk about doody and weiners like anybody else you know and want to be friends with, they’re awesome dudes to hang out with, also they’re the best karaoke crew you’ll ever find.
Also you’re gonna be thrown a lot of difficult music that will frustrate the shit out of you, but try not to be a baby about it, you’ll come out a better musician and a more well rounded person at the other end.
Marry, Fuck, Kill. Bandmate version: Toby, Keith, Dan.
This game is super dark but I think I’ll go with this….
RV: Toby steals all my patch cables, dude’s gotta go.
Let’s say I’m 17, love extreme-avant-prog-metal and want to start a band. What’s your advice for me?
RV: Do it as much as you can now while you have the free time, you’ll get your chops up and hopefully work a lot on your own playing and songwriting while you’re at it.
Make being in a band fun, even if you’re the leader and the one holding the reins don’t be a dick about it, it’s just fucking nerd-metal music, girls aren’t going to like it anyway.
demos, My Fruit Psychobells, Bath/Leaving Your Body Map or Part The Second?
RV: I’m totally false and haven’t listened to much Maudlin even though it’s all on my iPod. I’ve probably listened to Part the Second the most. We did ‘Stones of October’s Sobbing’ once at a Kayo Dot show and it was a really fun to play and some kid just started screaming “oh my fucking god” over and over again like he was gonna cry as soon as I hit the first chord.
That “some kid” was probably Hock.
RV: Andrew probably wouldn’t cry, I don’t think he has emotions.
RV: I DIDN’T MAKE THAT THREAD! I CAN’T HELP THAT THE KIDS FUCKING LOVE ME!
ZVI Tour Dates:
Sat 8/16 New Haven, CT @ Anna Liffeys
Sun 8/17 Providence, RI @ Funky Jungle
Mon 8/18 Allston, MA @ O’Brien’s Pub
Tue 8/19 Danbury, CT @ Heirloom Arts
Wed 8/20 Hancock, NY @ FWF
Thu 8/21 Syracuse, NY @ Gorham Brothers Music
Fri 8/22 Toronto, ON @ Ratio
Sat 8/23 Ottawa, ON @ Black Squirrel Books
San 8/24 Montréal, QC @ The Plant
Mon 8/25 Burlington, VT @ Nectar’s
Tue 8/26 Portland, ME @ Geno’s