February/March 2013

by Westley Holdsworth

Fresh Talent: Killing Bear

by Westley Holdsworth

Fresh Talent: Killing Bear

Pukerua Bay band Killing Bear features Tia Beaufort on the drums, samples and vocals with Cormac Ferris on the guitar, effects and lead vocals. Shortly after the demise of grunge rock band Alpha Noise in 2009, Ferris starting writing new songs and started his own solo project, then Beaufort joined and Killing Bear was born. Their name is derived from the concept of their music, as Beaufort explains.

“Our concept as a band is to try and tell the story of Killing Bear through our music. It is also a pretty awesome band name too. ‘The Vine of Souls’ is a concept album about a fictional character called Frank Williams who is possessed by the ancient Amazonian warrior Killing Bear.”

‘The Vine of Souls’ does indeed take you on their journey through the epic music of Killing Bear, with the tracks interspersed with short spoken word samples taking the listener through the story of Killing Bear. Describing themselves as experimental folk rock, the pair produce a truly unique sound, more rock than folk but always rather odd, in a good way.

“We try to create a mix of rock, pop and experimental sounds. We have many influences such as The Flaming Lips, Led Zeppelin, Black Sabbath etc. that also factor in our sound. When we write our music we maintain a very open original view and just jam what comes to us. We don’t try copy anyone or try write songs like other bands, we just always have fresh new ideas and turn them into songs.”

One problem of making such challenging music can be finding an audience, however Killing Bear haven’t had much trouble in that department.

“Our fresh sound is hard to put into a specific category so sometimes it can be hard to find the right audience. But most people that see us live and like us really, really get into our music, which is awesome.”

The majority of the recording was done by Killing Bear in Kapiti and mastered by Mike Gibson at Munki. They haven’t sacrificed strong songs for weirdness and ‘The Vine Of Souls’ is a thoroughly enjoyable listen.

The band are currently working on a video and a “new live experience” for fans. They’ll be using a sample pad with bass loops and a pinhole camera that films Ferris face and projects it onto a screen with additional psychedelic visuals.