Open the Fridge headed on down to The City of Brotherly Love this past weekend to once again check out Wizard World Philadelphia, an event that has proven itself time and again to be a true tempest of geekdom, enthusiastically bringing together the genres of comics, movies, television, and gaming, and in turn uniting the fans who love it all. Among the many interactions OTF had the pleasure of experiencing over the weekend, nerd rock musicians Kyle Stevens and Jim Demonakos, collectively known as Kirby Krackle, sat down with us to talk about the band's history, their busy schedule, and the nerd rock genre. Be sure to check out their website, KirbyKrackleMusic.com, for the latest music and news!
Kyle and Jim, thank you for coming all the way from Seattle to enjoy Wizard World Philly with us. It was a true pleasure chatting with you!
Open the Fridge: Guys, welcome back to the east coast. You’ve been out this way a few times, yes?
Kyle Stevens: We were at New York Comic Con a couple times, Toronto, and North Carolina, but it’s our first time in Philly. Geek Nation invited us out to play their show last night at the Field House. That was fun.
OTF: It was a great show - done very minimalistic with just the acoustic guitar and the pre-recorded tracks.
KS: Thank you. It was something new. Usually we just do the acoustic but the pre-recorded tracks were something new. With it, we’re able to bring the full band energy to a place when we can’t take the full band.
OTF: How long ago did you get started?
Jim Demonakos: About four years ago. We started writing in 2008. That’s when we decided to do “Kirby Krackle”, and then we released our first album in 2009. That’s where we began and we’ve been going ever since.
OTF: I’ve always been curious about the name, "Kirby Krackle." What was the inspiration behind it?
JD: A buddy of ours, Brian, came up the name. We had been talking about a number of different band names, what we could be called, and he had thought, “What about Kirby Krackle?” It’s like the Kirby dots that Jack Kirby used to draw in all the energy he used to put on the [comic] pages. They were known as Kirby dots or Kirby krackle. So we thought, Kirby Krackle! There’s something about the name, so we adopted that as our moniker.
OTF: Your genre is, of course, “nerd rock.” Did you go that route because you have a passion for all things geek?
KS: I had been doing music for a while, and then Jim and I were talking about, "why has no one done stuff about comics?" and we thought it would be a cool niche that we would try to help take to the next level from where it had been previously. And there still aren’t that many people doing it. We always try to encourage young dudes and young girls to write songs about stuff besides the normal, because the more of us weird little things that are running around, the cooler it is for everyone. So, go start a nerd rock band!
OTF: Kyle, you’ve been involved with music for a long time, even doing production for other artists.
JD: We’re like, crazy old.
KS: Yeah I’m crazy old. (laughs) I started when I was 13, by no means professional then or anything. I don’t even think I’m professional now. Just making home recordings with my buddies and playing talent shows and things like that. It’s just what I’ve been doing since then. The record I produced was for Gigi Edgley from Farscape, and that was fun. That was my first foray into the whole convention scene, and looking back at it, it makes sense from going from that to Kirby Krackle, but didn’t really think about that when we started. [Gigi] did a CD and people were really into it and it was fun to see the two worlds collide. And it sounded like an electronic George Michael. It’s what I dream I could sound like. An electronic George Michael.
OTF: Were you a Farscape fan going in to the work with Gigi Edgely?
KS: You know, I didn’t even know anything about Farscape, I’m ashamed to say. I had been to comic cons before but I didn’t know what to expect from the whole sci-fi scene. It was interesting to see hardcore fans walk up to her booth and say things like, “Here’s a 100-page scrapbook I made of my favorite memories!” And they'd give it to her - something that this person had spent many hours doing. The hardcore fandom was pretty awesome. ... No one’s made us a scrapbook, dammit.
JD: Yeah! It’s annoying. Every show, I come away with my heart a little more broken because there hasn’t been a scrapbook.
KS: That one guy did make you a swimsuit out of his scabs, saved up from the year.
JD: I liked that. It was a little too much super glue, but other than that, it was pretty snug.
OTF: ... I have no response for that one. Ok, moving on! Jim, I understand you founded Emerald City Comic Con.
JD: Yeah, that’s my show. I’ve been running it for about a decade now. We just had our 10th anniversary show. I’ve been doing that since the early 2000s along with running a chain of comic book stores, The Comic Stop. It’s been great. The show has grown. We had 53,000 people this year. It’s been a decade of awesome.
OTF: You hosted one of the most amazing events I think I’ve ever seen at a con: the voice actors reading the Star Wars scenes.
JD: Man, that was awesome. It’s hard to not watch the full hour. It’s an hour long but you need to set time aside. I think we’re up to 700,000 views on YouTube just for that video. It’s crazy. We had all those actors as guests and I had the idea to take Star Wars and have these guys do their character voices. It turned out great.
OTF: It was pretty hilarious. Now, back to the band. Your Green Lantern-themed song, "Ring Capacity", has been my anthem for the past year. A great song with great energy. I still can’t remember the numbers, though.
KS: I can’t remember the numbers either. I think last night might have been the one time I got them right.
OTF: Were you Green Lantern fans going into the process of writing the song?
JD: Oh, yeah.
KS: Yes. We wrote it right before Blackest Night and the timing just worked. We put it out in 2009 as a single for the summer, and then in 2010, it came out on E for Everyone, our second album.
JD: It was really interesting. Kyle had gone on vacation and taken this big run of Green Lantern with him and came back with the idea. He said he always thought it was cool how Geoff Johns wrote how much ring power was left, and that’s how we started brain storming about the song. Then we just figured out a way to create everything around it, even got the Oath to work itself into the chorus.
KS: We love when people scream it with us. Sometimes we’ll yell, “The Oath!” and the whole crowd does it. The thing that’s weird though, they don’t do the ring count very much in the comic anymore, and that was the coolest thing.
JD: It was like Spawn’s power meter. You guys remember that? Good times.
OTF: You guys had tried hard to get "Ring Capacity" on the soundtrack of the Green Lantern movie, but sadly, missed by "a Ryan Reynold’s chest hair" as Kyle so eloquently put it. But, Warner Brothers has said they’re going to try again with a sequel.
KS: Reboot! Hell yeah.
OTF: Will you try again to get the song in the movie?
KS: Yes, we would like to. We’ll try again.
JD: "Ring Capacity 2.0!" We’re going to change the numbers and it’s a brand new song. 99-cents.
KS: 99-cent! Do it! Remix!
JD: We’ve been talking about doing a dance song, so I'm thinking we take that song and just put *unce unce unce* behind it and then, BOOM, there we are.
KS: People would hate it.
OTF: You guys have had some success with Marvel, though. You did the song "Who Watches the Watcher” which is being used on the Watcher web series.
KS: Yes, it’s the theme for the web series. We recorded it for them in October of 2010 and it was supposed to come out a few months later, but it still hasn’t come out. We still hope that it will, a year and a half later, at some point. It was a different sound for us. It was more of a 50s sound and it was fun to do. We're really glad they asked us, and during that time we got to play with Joe Quesada on stage. He introduced us to a lot of people via his Twitter when we first started off, so we’re indebted to him for that. He’s a great guy and it was fun rocking with him on stage, which can be seen on the YouTubes.
OTF: Will you be back for New York Comic Con this year?
KS: Perhaps. We were there the past three years, but it’ll depend on what’s going on with recordings and concerts. I know we’re going back to Toronto and playing the Electric Playground party and then we’re going to do Baltimore [Comic Con] this year too. We hope to do Nerdapalooza in Florida too, but we don’t yet know if that’s going to happen. We usually have a bunch of different things lined up, but about three of them end up working out.
JD: We’re also hoping to do a couple shows outside of the US. We’re doing Australia in a couple weeks and then we’ve been talking about trying to get out to London for the MCM or one of those shows. It’d be a lot of fun to keep spreading the Kirby Krackle word outside of North America.
OTF: And we look forward to hearing more from you as well.
Kyle and Jim, thanks again for taking the time to talk with Open the Fridge! We hope to catch up with you in San Diego and Baltimore later this year!