"WE'RE JUST CONSTANTLY EVOLVING": AN INTERVIEW W/ ADAM RAMEY OF DROPOUT KINGS
Since the band's inception, Dropout Kings have quickly gained notoriety in the music scene as well as a devoted following in a very short amount of time. Originally formed under the name Phoenix Down and followed by a brief name change, Dropout Kings have proudly fused metal with rap elements and really define their own personal twist on the trap metal genre.
Vocalist Adam Ramey was kind enough to sit down with us and provide a little insight into how Dropout Kings operate.
CAMERON (WWU): Who was the brain behind Dropout Kings inception and how does DK today compare to the original ideas you all had when the band formed?
ADAM RAMEY (AR): I was. I was just getting out of another band and wanted to stay busy. I wanted to do a Linkin Park cover but wanted a real rapper on it, found Eddie, did the video, it did well, we decided to make a band out of it. The ideas have changed a decent amount since the beginning as we continue to learn and grow. We’re constantly evolving as people and it reflects in the music as well.
WWU: How has quarantine affected Dropout Kings practices, meet ups and just overall ability to function at your normal capacity and how are you all working around these inconveniences?
AR: Not too much, we only really rehearse as a band before tour, so that hasn’t affected things much in that department. It’s really had me working more on the marketing side of the band which is fine because that’s my favorite part!
WWU: What was it about making this nu-metal rap fusion that made you guys decide that was the right direction for you?
AR: I think we always knew what we wanted to do. I’ve wanted to be in a band like this my whole life. When Eddie and I did that Linkin Park cover before the band started, it showed me how well Eddie’s vocals blended with that type of music. It also showed me we had a really unique dynamic. So, with all those factors coming into play I think it was only natural we landed on what we did. I think what really makes us stand out in the metal world is that people haven’t really heard people spit bars over heavy shit the way Eddie does. He’s a REAL rapper.
WWU: Upon my first listen of your new EP, I was instantly drawn to "Hakai", not just because of the title referencing DBZ but because of how well this fit together with the explosive nature of the track. Can you give a little background on what hakai means and how this song ties in with that theme?
AR: Thank you, Hakai means destroy in Japanese. The song is just about fucking shit up and destroying everything. We wanted a song for when you just want to break some shit.
WWU: GlitchGang was released in early April and it was super unfortunate because you guys couldn't tour to support its release, as it was also the height of the COVID-19 pandemic here in the US. However, GlitchGang still managed hit the Billboard charts. How does that feel and what was the initial reaction you all had when you found this out?
AR: Yeah that was unexpected and crazy! We had the option to push the release but decided against it. The people needed music and we had it for them. Hitting the charts was surprising for sure and amazing we’re so fortunate to have such amazing supporters. It just goes to show you don’t “need” physical distribution to make an impact. That revealed a lot to me and hopefully other musicians as well.
WWU: How have things been since signing with Stay Sick? What do you love most about working with them?
AR: It’s been great! We enjoy working with them because they give you a lot of freedom as an artist in just about every aspect. They also understand how to market the product and they believe in the band. Honestly, you can’t ask for more than that from a label.
WWU: What were your influences vocally going into this project? Is that list of influences ever-changing when you're coming together to write new music or have they stayed the same?
AR: Honestly, I really tried to get in my own head space for the most part. I really wanted to dial in on what made me unique vocally and I wanted to hammer that home. The list of influences though definitely change constantly depending on mood etc. but I drew the most influence in general (vocally) from Chester Bennington and Oli Sykes. I basically learned vocals watching them.
WWU: Will Dropout Kings lay low for the rest of 2020 or will you guys be trying to fit in some studio time and/or make some live appearances, If possible?
AR: We’ve written about 30 tracks during the pandemic. We went into writing mode since we can’t tour. We’ve been doing podcasts/interviews/press releases to stay busy. So if you do any of that, hit us up! We got time.
WWU: What's one thing you have achieved in Dropout Kings that you once thought wasn't in the realm of possibility?
AR: Honestly, I’ve never had people care about a project like they do with this band and that’s one of the hardest things to do. Also working with some of my favorite musicians I never thought would’ve been possible. It’s pretty amazing looking back.
WWU: Will you guys be doing a tour for GlitchGang to make up for lost time once you're able to safely, or do you think that you'll have to pass it up?
AR: Absolutely. We haven’t even gotten a chance to tour off this EP yet so that’s a definite yes.
WWU: Going from your debut album AudioDope to your latest EP GlitchGang, it's very easy to notice that you guys really fine-tuned your sound and the new music really has a different vibe than the first time around. What did you want from GlitchGang that you maybe didn't achieve from AudioDope musically?
AR: We definitely changed it up a bit. I think it’s really because we’re still a young band and we’re young men as well. As we grow, we’re just constantly evolving as people and as musicians. We’re not afraid to try new things and we constantly strive to push the envelope on what we think is possible. I think that’s really what drove this EP to be what it turned out to be.
WWU: If you could bring one up and coming band out on tour with you who would you pick?
AR: I’d have to say my dudes in Jynx! They’re a really sick band and they’re really good people as well! I think it’d be a really dope tour for sure.