It’s a long road to the top in rock and roll. You take your lumps with your success. Cold Kingdom knows this all too well.
Dani Engum (vocals), Evan Ogaard (guitar), Patrick Murphy (drums), Jason Michael (bass), and Zac Boyd (guitar) make up another great band from the St. Paul/Minneapolis, MN area, Cold Kingdom. Still a relatively new five piece outfit, they have been going pretty strong since forming in 2014. They have a fairly new album out entitled, The Moon And The Fool, in which they are currently touring in support of.
Within a few days previous of this interview, the band suffered a tragic loss of gear and merch to thieves. Zac tells us about that and the first music video they shot the day before. Enjoy the read and if you’re a fan or new convert, and can help, the band is currently writing a new song(s) just for those that help out by way of their GoFundMe page.
NRR: Thanks for taking some time out of your hectic day to answer some questions for National Rock Review. What’s been going on with the band, Cold Kingdom, in 2015?
Zac Boyd: We’ve been all over the place! We’ve had the distinct opportunity to play a good handful of festivals over the summer months. We’ve also been very busy with playing out of town shows throughout the entire summer as well. So much so, that we actually didn’t get to play our first hometown show until September! The last hometown show before that was all the way back in May. Needless to say, we’ve been busy busy BUSY!
NRR: Your debut album is The Moon and the Fool, if my memory isn’t horribly wrong. How was recording the album and what should fans know about it straight from the source?
Zac Boyd: It indeed was our debut! Recording the record was very smooth. We have an amazing producer named Ian Combs. He keeps things very easy and relaxed. The atmosphere always helps in creating something that swims around in your head for so long. I think everyone in the band is very proud of what was accomplished on the recording of The Moon and the Fool.
NRR: For the sound of the band, how would you describe it to new listeners?
Zac Boyd: It’s beautiful! I think there is something for everyone when listening to Cold Kingdom. I know that sounds very cliche, but it’s true. Fans of all genres of music find something with CK to cling on to. That’s the beauty of getting a group of musicians together who collectively have so many different influences and musical tastes. It definitely shines through in the music we create together!
NRR: How is the Twin Cities music scene, simply because of all the great music coming from there, for you since forming in early 2014?
Zac Boyd: It’s been a trip. It seemed as though the local rock scene was in a downward spiral for a while there. Then, all of a sudden, there was this HUGE resurgence in local rock and roll. I think people have started to garner an interest in bands who actually PLAY their instruments on stage. It’s been refreshing to be around while this is going on, but even more humbling to be a part of that movement.
NRR: How did the moniker for the band come about and what’s the history of how you guys came together as an outfit?
Zac Boyd: Our guitarist, Evan, was the brainchild of the band. He had the name picked out long before we ever even became a band. He started working on songs with our producer before ever putting anything together. They worked on the songs together and discussed how the songs needed to actually be a part of “something”. So, the search for other musicians began. Evan knew he wanted a female vocalist in the band, but there had to be something special and unique about her. He didn’t want just the run of the mill female fronted band. Evan knew Pat (drummer) from previous bands they had played in together.
Soon into the search, Ian presented Dani to the band. It was an automatic YES when she auditioned. Shortly thereafter, auditions were held and Jason and Aaron came in as the bassist and guitarist. Aaron and the band came to a unanimous decision for Aaron to leave the band and spend time with his newly formed family. That’s where I came in (May of 2015). We’re a very tight knit family. Besides spending so much time at our 9-5 jobs, we probably spend just as much time as a band family as we do with our home families!
NRR: I know you’ve recently finished a new video for the band. What can you tell me about choosing that song for the video and how was the experience shooting it?
Cold Kingdom: Surrender **Not the video discussed in the piece**
Zac Boyd: The song was very personal lyrically to our vocalist. That’s why we chose that song. I can’t go into too much details because we’d like it to be a surprise when we release it! The experience was like no other. None of us had ever shot a video before. We were there from nine in the morning until about nine in the evening shooting. Two different locations, near 20 people lending their time and expertise as extras in the shoot, a full film crew, lots of love and family, and an over abundance of coffee and energy drinks! Monday morning came far too early to roll over and get out of bed for work.
NRR: Okay, I’m sure for a lot of readers, they’ve heard about what recently happened to the band. How did the whole deal go down and it is something you ever thought you’d have to deal with on top of everything else a band does for their craft?
Zac Boyd: It was between the hours of 2:30 am and 6:00 am that our trailer was stolen. We all received a group text from our drummer at 7:00 am that simply read “Apparently the trailer was stolen last night”. I think individually, we all read, re-read, and RE-read that message about 50 times before it really sunk in. What an awful feeling!
We were leaving for a gig that night, so we had all of our gear loaded in the trailer so we could all get off of work for a half day and roll out to our show in Illinos without having to do the cumbersome task of loading a trailer. We obviously never thought that it would happen to us. We just had friends here in town that this happened to not even a week earlier. It was an exhausting day of scrambling trying to find the next steps to take.
NRR: What is the plan moving forward for the band? Will you have to cancel any more shows or with the help of say a gofundme campaign are you looking to get back up off the ground, dust yourselves off, and ride the bull again as soon as you can?
Zac Boyd: You can’t keep us down. We’re worker bees. We had to cancel the two shows during the weekend that we had the trailer stolen. We refuse to cancel anything more. With the help of some very good friends, we will be borrowing gear and playing a little more unorthodox than we typically do. It will be loud. It will be angry. It will be rock and roll!
We started a GoFundMe
account to assist in recouping a lot of gear that we lost. It’s incredible the amount of support that we’ve received. It’s been friends/family/fans from all over the United States that have reached out. We’ve even been contacted by people across the U.S. asking how they can help. It’s so inspiring in so many ways to see the support system that we have. That just told us we were on the right track and to push back even harder. I made a comment on my personal Facebook page, but feel it’s definitely the reaction the band shares in this moment: This is devastating, but not by any means defeating. We’ll come back stronger from this.
We’ve [also] heard a lot of people baffled by the fact that this gear wasn’t insured. I’d like to clear up that confusion a little, if I may. We all have insurance. We have insurance as a registered LLC in the state of Minnesota. The first phone calls we made were to our insurance agents.
However, what most musicians don’t realize, is the little loophole that is in insurance policies. The second you mention that the gear was used to play shows, it’s considered “professional use” and is not covered by an insurance agency. The only way the LLC insurance will cover the gear, or homeowners/renters insurance, is if the stolen items were ON the property.
The only way for gear to be insured for theft, is to have a separate policy by each individual member of the band. It’s the only way to protect your gear. That’s a tough lesson to learn, and something not all musicians have any clue about. That sucks. It’s a hard pill to swallow, but what can you do other than pick up the pieces and move forward? That’s exactly what we’re trying to do.
NRR: Very good to know. Is there a moment, that thinking back on it now, in the your career that you can’t help but still feel a tad bit embarrassed about, makes you laugh about despite yourself, or just still makes you shake your head in disbelief? A Spinal Tap moment if you will, that you’d be willing to share with me, and funny we need to end on a high screaming note?
Zac Boyd: Oh boy… you’re asking for some dirt, huh?! I’ll give you a personal one. When I was 19 and just starting to play shows in Minneapolis, I moved here from South Dakota, I was playing a show in front of a good crowd of people. Our bassist had all of his extended family at the show to come out and support. I was having technical difficulties with my amp. It was frustrating to say the least.
Everyone started to gather around me asking me what they could do to help. I was frustrated, and started feeling claustrophobic. Instead of being rational and just calming down, I grabbed the back of my half stack, pulled it forward towards me and screamed “The show is OVER!” My gear smashed face down on the stage breaking off knobs from my guitar amp and making a horrific sound through the PA. I stormed off stage leaving the rest of my band standing there bewildered.
I walked into the back room and starting throwing stuff around and cursing profusely. It would’ve been something I could’ve walked away from with some pride and dignity… had I not had to go back up on stage and tear my own stuff down and pick up the pieces quietly in front of the entire crowd. Let’s just say I handle things much more professionally these days!
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NRR: If you’re going to do something… (laughing). With a lot of your merch gone, is that the biggest part of the loss in the theft? And will you incorporate that into possible new merch? “They liked us soo much that…”
Zac Boyd: (Laughing!) Not a bad idea. I hope you haven’t TM that yet! The merch was a HUGE loss for sure. We had our hoodies, our t-shirts, wristbands, dog tags, CD’s… everything we need to be able to sell at a show was sitting in that trailer. It’s going to take a lot to recoup that loss. No question about it. We’re currently working on some new designs. We have a good friend at StatusFearMedia that is assisting us with a new merch design. We’ll have to repress the CD and get more copies of that. Winter is around the corner, so who knows… there might be some new, even more rad merch that comes out of this tragedy!
NRR: If I get a shirt with that on it, I’ll consider licensing it to you. How does the group go through the writing process, is it all one person with help or is it a group effort from start to finish?
Zac Boyd: Evan has written a good amount of the music. He’s a brainiac. He comes to the table with a song charted out. It’s very rare any of us have any opposition to the song. He’s just that good at what he does. Since I joined the band, I started emulating the way he writes, and have been able to contribute to writing songs as well. Not one individual in this band is not willing to compromise. As long as the song is good, we work cohesively to make a song that we collectively like, but know that the mass audience we present it to will also love it along with us.
NRR: If you had an adult beverage maker wanting to throw money and free product at you to sponsor a tour, because if anyone could use a stiff drink, is there a brewer or drink you’d happily welcome aboard? And would you need the truck following the tour bus to help with the gear?
Zac Boyd: We keep hearing about this ColdCock Whiskey and how awesome it is. So, I’d definitely love to give that a shot, no pun intended! We enjoy our whiskey. However, we’re always down for a plethora of beer at our shows too. No, we’re not alcoholics, but we will gladly party with you!
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