What inspired you to first start making music? And how did you come to be in your current incarnation? Or if you prefer, a brief bio about you.
I (John Bruner) first starting writing songs in high school because I was terrible at processing emotions and music was the only outlet I had that made sense to me. Since then, I’ve found like-minded musicians to help me make these songs the best they can be. The King of Mars has been together since 2015. We’ve been through a lot of lineup changes, but now we’ve settled on our main core with a rotating horn section. We take funk, punk, hip-hop, blues, jazz and put it all together into a wonderfully insane mix.
Provide us with some info about your latest release…
We recently released our album, Bleach and Aspirin. We’ve put so much work into recording these songs. The album was produced, mixed and mastered by our keyboardist, Randy Deadman and trumpeter, Jason Deran. Since it was produced by us and all the funds were raised by us, the album is very dear to our hearts. The five songs give a good summary of who we are as a band. Pretty much every band member gets their time to shine throughout the album and you can hear the different influences that each member brings to the songs.
Which ones would you consider your main influences both music-wise & non-music-wise?
My two biggest musical influences lately have been Stevie Wonder for his horn arrangements and his vocal chops and Father John Misty for his lyrics and songwriting. For non-musical influences, I’m always greatly influenced by my friends and peers, the books I’m reading and the shows I’m watching.
In what way does your sound differ from the rest genre-related artists/bands and why should we listen to your music? In other words, how would you describe your sound?
Our genre is hard to pin down. Since we have nine members in this band, each person adds a different element to the sound. I like to describe the band as a sonic baby between Radiohead and Red Hot Chili Peppers with a horn section added in. We stand out from other bands because we have a huge group of insanely talented musicians, but we also put a huge emphasis on the songwriting and hooks. I want the listener to be able to appreciate the complex skill behind the music while still being able to get the song stuck in their head.
Please name your 3 desert islands albums, movies & books…
My three desert island albums are OK Computer by Radiohead, I Love You, Honeybear by Father John Misty and To Pimp a Butterfly by Kendrick Lamar. My three books are American Psycho by Bret Easton Ellis, Ham on Rye by Charles Bukowski and A Clockwork Orange by Anthony Burgess. My three movies are Fantastic Mr. Fox, Saving Private Ryan and Pulp Fiction.
Do you prefer studio or performing live and why?
I prefer to play live instead of the studio. I love feeding off the crowd’s energy at shows and seeing them sing along and dance around while we’re playing. There isn’t a better feeling than being able to see people jamming out and having a good time to your music. That’s what it’s all about. I love the studio, but there’s some intangible element to live shows that’ll always keep me playing music.
Is there any funny-unique story you would like to share with us, always in relation to your music ‘career’?
A funny memory I’ll always have from this band is the year we did a Christmas show while the whole band wore onesies on stage. It was the funnest, hottest show we’ve ever played. To this day, I haven’t worn that onesie, but it was worth it being able to play that one show.
Which track of your own would you point out as the most unique and why?
I would tell people to listen to our song, “For a Ride”. That’s a good representation of the band. It has classic rock elements, a killer synth solo and a melody that’s guaranteed to get stuck in your head.
Would you like to share with our readers your future plans?
We have an April show coming up! We’ll be playing in Chicago at The Elbo Room on April 13th with our friends, Alabaster, The Smokin’ Tones & Beau Diamond.
Free question!!! (Ask yourself a question) you wish to answer and haven’t been given the opportunity…
Something I always wished people would ask us is what’s the best part of being in this band.
My favorite part of this band is being able to bring everyone together. Even when all nine of us get together for rehearsals it’s such a good time. I feel so incredibly lucky to be able to make music with some of my favorite people in the world and it doesn’t hurt that they’re all insanely talented.
Curated by: Christos Doukakis
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