Texas Metalcore rockers, Kublai Khan, have built a reputation for creating music with chugging riffs, aggression and lyrical storms that serve as a punch in the gut. Managing to maintain their trademark, the band has listeners on pins and needles for what’s to come throughout their upcoming release, ‘Nomad’. I caught up with vocalist, Matt Honeycutt, to discuss the creative process behind their third studio album and Rise Records debut, the recent tragedies and natural disasters in Texas, the deep and powerful meaning behind his tattoos and more.
Congrats on the release of your third studio album, ‘Nomad’. Tell us about the backstory behind the title and what this album personally means to you.
Basically we all just completely adopted the nomadic style of living. Being a traveling musician, you're always pushing forward and never standing still. Constantly traveling and being away from home begins to mold you into a different breed of person. Coming home, for me, gets harder and harder with every tour. I get so used to grind that it kinda becomes more real than my own bed. I feel more myself when I'm in a van or on a plane and that's why the title ‘Nomad’ just made so much sense to us.
What was the greatest learning lesson that you guys learned as a band throughout the creative and recording process of this album?
Patience. By far. Spending weeks together in a studio trying to create and compromise is its own beast. Having everyone work together for a single goal is a lot harder than it might appear. Endless days and sleepless nights will truly test a team's drive to achieve mutual success. But with some patience and a lot of luck, we pulled through.
There's consistency in the Kublai Khan sound. Have you ever felt a desire to reinvent yourself?
To an extent, yes. More visually than anything. When this band started we were literally high school kids with no concept of image or aesthetic. Our sound has remained relatively unchanged throughout the years. But, how we carry ourselves and present our band is the largest leap. Being ourselves while still conveying a sense of strength and southern attitude.
Any upcoming tour or festival appearance plans that you can fill us in about?
Hell yes! In October we will be opening a few dates for Hatebreed in Texas, which we are beyond excited about. From there, it's off to Europe with Emmure and Chelsea Grin. We will be capping out the year with a large Australian tour with our friends in The Acacia Strain. A Lot of shows and a lot of good opportunities in the near future.
Touchy subject, yet what has recently happened in Houston has affected the state in which you were brought up in, have you had any direct family members or friends affected by this tragedy? What are some of the greatest methods of healing that you have witnessed or have been involved in?
Luckily, none of us were personally directly affected by the storms. We live in a very northern part of Texas. But, a lot of our friends in Houston really had a hard time. None of them were hurt, thank goodness, but the ones that had boats showed true Texas pride and helped many get to dry land and shelter. The stories of loss are sad, but the stories of courage completely outweigh that. People from all over the country poured in to help and that alone can really help bring back a person's faith in the human spirit.
Let’s talk tattoos. What is the most memorable tattoo you’ve created and what does it personally mean to you.
Probably my torso. It was the first major tattoo I ever got. At first glance, it's nothing more than a traditional sailing ship. But the details are what meant so much to me. The islands to the right of the ship represent my home and having to leave it. The lighthouse on the right represent my adopted father who is always there to guide me home when times are rough. The clouds above represent my mother and father. The man is blindfolded and drifting with a flock of birds representing his absence in my life yet still being a part of who I am. To the right is my mother who passed long ago. But she was always there to blow wind in my sails and push me in the right direction. And I am the ship itself. A fragile creation pushing out into the unknown trying to discover my own path. Got it tattooed years ago and the meaning has only grown stronger with every year.
Photo Credit: Andrew Holmes Photography
What song by a fellow artist really inspires you and is a go-to track when you are in need of a push?
“The Color of Money” by Bury Your Dead. That song has stood the test of time as far as being a song that makes me wanna get up and do something with my life. The recurring theme of strength resonates with me. Being strong mentally, emotionally, and even physically is a true power I strive to harness. Trying to push to be greater than the day before is true motivation. And that song sure does help.
If you could grab a drink with any musician either dead or alive, who would you choose and why?
Jonathan Davis of Korn. I've always been fascinated by the depth of his lyrics and the massive contribution he put into heavy music. Korn was one of the first bands that really turned me on to harder music. The intensity and raw style that both he and his bandmates displayed are enough to make anyone a fan. I wouldn't be here if it weren't for him. I have ‘Life is Peachy’ tattooed on my arm for god sake. If I did ever get to share a dinner table with him, I'm sure listening to words would be nothing short of amazing.
What is the greatest difference that you have recognized between fans in the U.S vs. fans overseas?
In a lot of ways, U.S fans are spoiled. We are so fortunate in this country to have such a thriving music scene. Even to the point of oversaturation. People have so many shows and artists at their disposal that at times it can create a climate of apathy. Overseas, the shows are more limited. People come out in mass numbers when bands come to their countries and the hospitality is unmatched. We just love playing music. No matter the location.
Last but certainly not least, any closing messages for your fans?
I just wanna thank y'all for reading this and shout to everyone who has been by our side all these years. We have a new record titled ‘Nomad’ that dropped on September 29th. Check it out and take care!