As they were on the brink of achieving mainstream recognition, London based music collective KINGS OF THE CITY were struck by tragedy when their lead singer and key songwriter Danny Wilder was diagnosed with stage 4 lung cancer.
Determined to continue doing what came so naturally to him, despite his illness, Danny carried on writing and recording music with KINGS OF THE CITY, managing to complete an entire album’s worth of material before he became physically unable to visit the studio or even pick up a guitar. After a year-long battle, which he fought tooth and nail until the end, Danny died on the 3rd of October 2013.
The album is now complete and we caught up with the guys to talk about the last few years and the album making process.
Now, as explained to the About To Blow readers previously – you guys have gone through an incredibly tough journey as a band. How does a band and group of friends first and foremost get through a situation like that?
Well its certainly a true test of character when such unfortunate circumstances occur. I guess for us we were lucky to have grown up together and already treated each other like brothers. I think all anyone can do in that situation is be kind, caring and patient. Everyone deals with these things in their own way and sometimes just sitting there and listening can be the greatest help. One thing is for sure though, all the petite differences and stupid arguments became irrelevant after the reality of the situation became clear.
Did continuing to make music and the process of creating the project help deal with what you were going through?
We were certain to push each other to finish this record. Danny was only able to come to the studio once every couple of weeks, as he was having chemotherapy. However, as soon as it was that time, we checked all our problems at the door and it was only about the music, even if it was only for a few hours on that given day. I definitely believe it helped Danny deal with it all.
Danny was obviously a huge part of the band. Can you let us know some of the great memories you guys shared together whilst Danny was with us?
Our best memory of Danny has to be going on tour supporting Maverick Sabre. It was like the greatest lads holiday ever. We were playing our songs to loads of people every night, and getting drunk and merry and getting up to all kinds of shenanigans. On top of that, Danny was getting the love and respect he deserved after each show. I had never seen him so happy and in his element than on the tour. But other than that, there are too many to mention. Just being in the same room with him and being able to create music itself was such an honour and exciting experience.
The support from the public was great during the Kickstarter Campaign. Must have been nice to know you have so much backing and people who are keen to hear No Snake?
We couldnt of done it without the Kickstarter backers and we will be forever grateful. I remember the day we launched the campaign. I havnt been so nervous in my life. A lot of people thought it was too ambitious but in the end the story and the music touched enough people that it was all possible. Thank you world!
As a project, do you feel No Snake encapsulates everything you guys have been through as a a band?
I think No Snake sums up the range of emotions we went through during the whole ordeal of Danny’s battle against cancer. I would not recommend any track to listen to, as you need to hear the record from start to finish to understand how we were all feeling.
After the project can we expect anything more from Kings Of The City as a band?
Kings of the City can never be the same without Danny, so we will not be making any music under the name. I am however putting a few projects together involving different band members and line ups, as well as bringing some new people to the table. These will all go under our new record label we have setup, Lonesome Dog Records. Watch out for a project called LuTi as well. Its like Pink Floyd and the Wu Tang Clan had a baby.
What can anyone heading down to your gig this month expect from the live show?
We have Danny’s best friend George performing Vocals/Guitar. George is a boss and has been part of the journey too. People can expect a good night of live music and a lot of emotion. Its our final ever show, so we will be going out in style.