It’s been almost three months since the release of “Without Wax”, the latest EP from Atlanta based emotive punk rock band THE KILLAKEE HOUSE, but we figured we will recall this earworm record to help you enjoy the autumn days with some summer energy so expertly depicted in this amazing record. We asked the band to share their top inspirations behind their craft and this new EP, and here’s what we got.
The Killakee House is the brainchild of vibrant and outspoken frontwoman, Courtney Kiker. When forming the Atlanta-based alternative punk band in 2020, Kiker didn’t have to look any further than long-time friends, Craigan Hogeland and Juergie Landstrom. The band pulls inspiration from The Menzingers and Against Me! incorporating these inspirations while carefully crafting a sound of their own.
For their new EP, The Killakee House brings a lot of melodies and high octane pop punk rock vibes, spiced up with cozy vocals, warm guitars and overall nostalgic, yet uplifting feel that’s all spangled with emotional undercurrents.
“Without Wax” is out now via 59 X Records.
Inspirations behind “Without Wax”, by The Killakee House:
Selfhood by Sharks
Juergie Landstrom: This influenced the majority of the creative decisions made for drums and lead guitar. I listen to Selfhood and find that this record exudes a certain playfulness that you don’t get to see very often in punk music. Whereas many bands are playful in the sense that they don’t take themselves too seriously, or have a deep element of sarcasm in their songs, Sharks play around with where the melody starts and ends. It feels like you could have guessed where the vocals or leads zig where they should have zagged, but the twists are more light-hearted than I’ve heard from other punk bands. While writing the Killakee House songs, I found many opportunities to inject some playful melodies and riffs. The songs felt like they were meant to be played around a campfire, so I did what I could to make it feel like someone else was chiming in with a funny riff here and there.
I also wrote/played the drums on this album, so I feel like Selfhood bled into the drumming as well, in a more tonal aspect. I used the fattest, lowest-tuned snare I could to support the low end and create a broad foundation that wouldn’t distract from the vocals. 21″ and 23″ inch sweet rides for the cymbals rounded out the low-washy element I was going for, which worked well for the writing on Selfhood in my opinion. I wanted to bring the same playful nature to the drumming as I tried to with leads, because I felt that these songs needed to be fun to play live as well. I did my best to shake up the standard four-on-the-floor punk beat wherever I could.
Adios Amigos by The Ramones:
Craigan Hogeland: I have always admired the relentlessly driving barre chords that Johnny Ramone uses and specifically had this album in mind for rhythm guitar tone referencing. Our songs turned out very driving and rhythm guitar/vocal melody centric (probably because Courtney and I initially wrote them one on one with an acoustic guitar), so I made sure to use as many barre chords as possible to fill out the sound. I actually remember texting Peter (59 X Records label head) about how great the guitar on Adios Amigos sounded and how we should strive for something in that ballpark.
American Idiot by Green Day:
Craigan Hogeland: This is an album I find myself constantly referencing while recording, so I had to mention it. I think all the instruments sound great, separate and together. Some of the inspiration I got from this album is very similar to Adios Amigos: big crunchy guitars that complement the vocal melody with the rhythm guitars up front and the leads a bit more mixed in. The main difference, inspiration-wise, is the bass. I’m a huge Mike Dirnt fan and strive to write catchy bass lines that complement everything else going on in the song and maybe add some extra flash if it fits. Plus, his bass tone is always amazing. We actually used mostly his same rig in the studio: Fender P-Bass, Fender Super Bassman amp, and a REDDI DI box.
Rented World – The Menzingers
Courtney Kiker: The Menzingers are my favorite band. I’m probably responsible for at least thirty percent of their Spotify streams. I’ve grown up listening to other punk bands and didn’t really discover them until 2012, but they quickly overtook my playlists. When I first heard Rented World I thought to myself, “This. This is what I would want to sound like.” There is not a single bland melody or vocal line on that entire album. I’ve been writing songs since I was 12 but it wasn’t until I heard this album that I really knew what I wanted out of my songs. If you listen to Without Wax you’ll probably notice a lot of similarities in the vocal tones and the general texture.
White Crosses – Against Me!
Courtney Kiker: Against Me! was my first favorite band. I first heard them when I was in 5th grade after finding a Reinventing Axl Rose CD at my friend’s house and sneaking it home with me. So I’d say that Laura’s songwriting throughout her entire discography inspires the way I write in general. I love the raw, unwavering emotion she puts into her songs. The way she takes her anger, fear, regret, and other experiences and molds it into these catchy, powerful vocal lines is just fascinating to me, especially on White Crosses. I wanted to be able to take my own relatable experiences and express them in my melodies the way she did on that album. On Without Wax you can definitely hear the inspiration in the chants and overall tone of each song. [Courtney Kiker]