DIAG: Heya! I’m Robin from DrunkInAGraveyard. So tell me who you are and what you do? When did your band start and have you played live gigs before?
KAMINO: Hey Robin! Ed here – lead vocalist and guitarist for the band.
Kamino started out around 3 years ago, although the four of us played together under a different band name before that. So overall we’ve been playing music for around 10 years.
DIAG: Let’s start where I think everyone needs us to start. How the heck did you get involved with Jered Threatin? Did he contact you?
KAMINO: The first contact we had was via email, from a ‘Casey Marshall’ at StageRight Bookings. (It’s probably worth saying at this point that we’re 100% certain Casey Marshall and Jered Threatin are the same person, given that the StageRight website, plus all the websites for his industry contacts, are all owned by the same GoDaddy account with nearly identical layouts).
The first email didn’t offer up much information, it pretty much asked us if we wanted to play a gig. Our drummer Chris is away travelling at the moment – we’ve got our friend Mark standing in, so this provided an opportunity for a bit of gig experience with Mark before tour dates in December and early 2019. Plus, we’re always up for a show! So our reply expressed our interest and asked for more information.
The reply explained we would be supporting LA rock artist Threatin, and would “provide us with exposure to a wider audience and the opportunity to make some good music industry contacts”. To be honest, we’ve been doing this long enough to take this sort of thing with a pinch of salt, especially having not heard of Threatin before. But as I said earlier, we wanted the show regardless of this, so confirmed with the promoter at this point.
DIAG: I understand KAMINO was the support for the Bristol show. Can you tell me how the show went? Did he play the full set? How did the set go?
As I said we’re always up for a show, and we enjoy ourselves regardless. Our set was really good all round – we had a chance to debut a couple of new songs and play for a decent length of time. Of course there weren’t many people to catch it, but it was fun to hit the stage!
With regards to Threatin’s set, given the circumstances (and bearing in mind that he didn’t bother to watch us play – explained in a bit more detail below), we only caught the very start whilst packing our gear down. So I can’t say if he definitely made it to the end, but his audience consisted of members of the two support acts and his tour manager. To make himself look even more silly, he brought two giant banners and a smoke machine to show off to an empty room. He didn’t even lay any merch out because there was no-one there to buy it.
DIAG: A twitter account called Jered Threatin Fan Club is saying the photos of the empty club are just photos of a soundcheck and the gig itself was in fact packed. What do you have to say in response to this?
KAMINO: Looking at the Twitter account I think it’s a parody to be fair (Editor’s Note:
I would agree). Having said that, we did spot the Threatclub.com link in their bio before the story broke – I think this site is a real fan club! (And likely orchestrated by Threatin himself, like the other sites).
In response to anyone questioning the photos (which were taken at Rebellion in Manchester I believe) and making any claims against them, they’re an EXACT mirror of what we saw in Bristol. Basically, Threatin’s wife filming the set from right in front of the stage to mask the fact there were two or three people in the audience. Every Facebook event, including the Bristol one, was flooded with paid likes from profiles with suspiciously South American-sounding names – I’ve got no doubts whatsoever that the venues were far from packed.
DIAG: How did the venue staff react at your gig? Was that atmosphere awkward? How did Threatin respond?
KAMINO: The venue staff were fantastic as ever to be honest. On the basis that they were given completely false attendance figures, Exchange had 4 bar staff and 2 bouncers working – all for no more than 15 people (the two support bands and people who came with them). We shared the immediate amusing side of the situation with them on the night, but also how frustrating it must have been for them to go through this, especially with the troubles that UK venues are experiencing at the moment! The manager on the night even apologised to us that the show hadn’t been what was advertised by Threatin! The situation of course wasn’t the venue’s fault, and their response shows how professional and considerate towards local unsigned artists they are.
DIAG: When was the first time you had a feeling that something was not on the level about the Breaking The World Threatin tour? Was there an “a-ha!” Moment where you realized you’d be had or was it little things?
KAMINO: As I mentioned earlier, the initial blurb in the email about making industry contacts was enough to scoff at, but it wasn’t until a few days before the gig that we truly noticed some strange goings-on. Myself and Paul (guitarist) were chatting online one night and looking through Threatin’s socials, and noted 800k views on a YouTube video with barely any responses, 30k Facebook likes but hardly any post interactions. It became pretty clear pretty quickly that there was paid content involved. We shared this with the band in our practice before the show, and even wrote a parody song about what we’d found – before the gig had even taken place!
DIAG: Was there a point where you guys had to sit down and have a conversation about how you were going to proceed with all this?
KAMINO: It wasn’t as such that we “had to”, it kind of happened naturally after the show had taken place. We had a band meeting a couple of days later to talk about upcoming plans, and drifted off-topic quite quickly to talk about Threatin. This led to us sliding far, far down the rabbit hole – we sifted through Threatin’s socials again, and saw comments from bands & promoters from the other venues on the tour. We then looked at his website and made the connections between the fake industry pages, we looked through his tour dates and found that most of these clashed with other gigs at those venues on those nights… About 18 hours before the story broke in the media, we’d already unearthed most of the dirt, so to speak. We’d even joked about making our own documentary about it! And then of course we saw that NME had gotten hold of the story – this reaffirmed with us that we were right in what we’d found.
DIAG: When you realized this was all a sham how did you feel? Angry? Amused? Hurt?
KAMINO: The whole situation was and still is very surreal – we’ve definitely gotten a lot of amusement out of it, from being a central part of it and also having read stories from other people. There is a sense of anger for a couple of reasons – not so much from the show we played, but more towards the impact that this has had on the venues and other bands involved. It’s a difficult time for music in the UK, and venues, promoters and artists certainly don’t need to be dealing with this right now.
DIAG: How do you feel about how all of this has played out in the metal media and blogosphere? One of the things that has stood out to me is that there’s so many pieces of news about Jered but not so many about the feelings of the bands and staff that were taken along on this ride.
KAMINO: We’re certainly glad that the story has broken because Threatin deserves to be exposed for the actions he’s taken. We’re also grateful to everybody who’s given us a platform to have our say on the situation, and along with this promote our music – like you guys have!
I have to say that the impact the media attention has had on Threatin’s presence is noticeable – his Spotify likes have increased tenfold since before the story broke. I suppose that’s part and parcel of it, but it’s frustrating to think that Threatin has actually gained exposure from this. Even if people are checking him out to see if he’s actually any good, he’s still pocketing small amounts of cash from every Spotify play he gets.
DIAG: Do you think it’s acceptable to beef up your online presence with bought likes? Why or why not? Should this be a cautionary tale to other musicians?
KAMINO: Not at all. Taking any action to falsify your statistics is bound to fall back on you in the end. The 21st century is a weird time for musicians, and I’m not 100% sure if the age of social media is actually the greatest thing for artists. In a lot of respects it’s a revelation, but in other ways it devalues the music itself I think – when people are paying more attention to numbers on a screen than the quality of your songs, when socials won’t let your fans see your posts unless you boost them financially. But as an artist wanting to make a career and be a part of the industry, you have to persevere and be true to yourself. If you try and fake your way through it the truth will come out, and no-one will take you seriously.
DIAG: So I think another question we all want to know is – what’s Jered Threatin like? He presents online as this pretentious preening sort of cock rocker type and I’m just curious how this plays in reality?
KAMINO: This gives me an opportunity to tell another story from the night of the show – I have no idea what he’s like in person. He made no attempt to engage with either of the support bands and didn’t watch either set. Jered walked past us with his head down about 5 minutes after we arrived at the venue, and I didn’t see him again until he hit the stage. He spent the whole night hidden away in his dressing room.
DIAG: Did you find him to be a dishonest or unlikable person? Was he charming?
KAMNIO: As mentioned above I don’t have a whole lot to go on, but similarly I don’t have a whole lot of time for someone who’s travelled all the way from America to put on a gig and can’t be bothered to watch even a portion of the other bands’ sets! Even despite everything that’s taken place, if Jered had watched a little bit of Kamino’s set, & said hello and introduced himself afterwards, we would have watched his set right the way through. I think it’s pretty pretentious to believe you’re in a position where you can hide in your dressing room all night and not go through the courtesies all bands do on our level.
DIAG: I’m also told his wife is his tour manager – did you get to meet her? What’s she like? Is she in on the charade?
KAMINO: I met Kelsea when I arrived at the venue. She seemed friendly on introduction, but a bit less so when storming up to the stage to film Threatin playing to nobody. I’m 100% sure she’s in on the charade – this hit home for sure when we found out she’s also his wife after searching on Instagram.
DIAG: Another question purely based on your own opinion – what’s going on here? Is this the story of a person with too much money trying to buy a career? Is this someone who is really that deluded? Is this an elaborate prank or performance (using this term loosely here) art piece?
KAMNIO: The whole situation is so surreal that it’s very, very difficult to tell, and I’m still not certain if we’ll find out further down the line to be honest! I’ve heard Threatin’s due to make a statement tomorrow but who knows what we’ll discover from it.
I think there are a couple of conclusions we can draw from this though – he has to have had some financial support given that he hired out the venues on this tour for a significant cost, travelled all the way here with session players etc.. As for whether it’s through delusion or a prank, it’s hard to say. I think after everything I want to believe it’s through delusion – as harsh at that sounds it takes some of the fun out of it if we discover we’ve all been duped by some sort of art piece! But it’s a common stunt to pull this day in age, so I wouldn’t be surprised to find out if it was.
DIAG: Have you been in contact with any of the other bands who played or were set to play this tour?
KAMINO: We had a tweet from the Luna Kiss guys who played up in Newcastle – they made a 400 mile round trip to play to 3 people. And of course our friends in Ghost of Machines who we shared the stage with in Bristol, part of the fun of our set was catching up with them and hearing them play.
DIAG: And moreover – where do you guys go from here?
KAMINO: We continue to share our story with anyone wants to listen or who has any questions for us, and hit the road for our next shows in December!
DIAG: Do you feel like this will be a funny story down the road or will this be something else?
KAMINO: We’ve managed to amass a few funny stories as a band – I’m sure all bands have. But this is the pinnacle so far for sure. I’ll put it this way, we’ll never forget it! But how it plays out from here on in will depend on what we touched on earlier, whether it was a stunt or purely a delusion.
DIAG: Now about you, a legit band who I assume has not bought your following…Tell me about your EP Aconite. When was it recorded, and where?
KAMINO: Oh Aconite…we didn’t record that – Jered Threatin actually recorded all the parts for us, we can’t even play instruments and faked the whole thing…” Nah I’m joking. We recorded it quite a while back whilst in transition between our old band and what became Kamino. It was the first hints of a new direction we were taking in music, having grown up and grown out of the band we’d been running since college, and deciding to rebrand ourselves under the new name.
The EP was recorded up at Chapel Studios in Lincolnshire, UK. It’s an old church building in the middle of nowhere, which is the perfect kind of setting in which to escape from daily life and really get your teeth into making a record. We worked with Ewan Davies who’d previously produced for Arctic Monkeys, Kaiser Chiefs…a whole host of cool British bands – he really brought the songs to life and captured the exact sound we were looking for!
DIAG: How would you describe the style of KAMINO and what brought you together as band?
KAMINO: We usually stick ourselves under the ‘Alternative Rock’ umbrella, because it’s the easiest way of explaining the sound to people. For us the alternative part is how we combine different instruments and influences – the big vocals, the driving riffs, the juggling of synth and orchestral elements. Between us we’re into a huge variety of genres, some individually and some collectively, and this helps to make our sound and performance unique.
As mentioned earlier Kamino is a rebrand on the band we formed in college. Myself and Paul (guitar) were in the same school year, and are the two surviving members from the very first instance of the band. Dan (bass) and I went to university together, we’d met before through Dan’s sister Bec, who used to be in the band. Chris is actually my younger brother!
DIAG: I checked out the video for Aconite as well and liked it. Who filmed it and when? What was the inspiration for that?
KAMINO: Thanks! It means a lot to hear that because we actually filmed and edited it entirely ourselves a couple of years ago. We hung a black bedsheet up on my garage wall and filmed a load of closeups with two spotlights attached to mic stands. A huge amount of the credit goes to Dan (bass), who’s a wiz with video editing and put a lot of time and effort into making the clips work.
We’re all into our photography and so decided to utilise our camera skills and see if we had what it took to shoot the video between us, taking it in turns to film, hold the lights, perform etc.. What we came out with actually pays tribute to the song we feel – it’s quite mysterious, it’s edgy, it’s fast-paced and lo-fi. The song itself is about a deadly poison that’s good for you, and I think the danger element was reflected in the way we put the video together.
DIAG: What’s in the future for KAMINO?
KAMINO: We recorded an EP at the end of last year which we’re working on release plans for…stay tuned! Aside from that, we’ve got some UK gigs in December to close out 2018 in Whitchurch and Cheltenham (all details on our Facebook), and are planning to put together a tour for early 2018.
DIAG: And where can we find you online so we can chuck you some legit likes?
Well thanks to KAMINO for chatting about this bizarre situation, and hopefully you all head over and chuck em a like or two or three. Legit likes > Paid likes after all.
You can find Robin on twitter.
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