Kyle Gruninger, vocalist for the Vancouver-based hard rock band Incura, recently took a moment out of his busy schedule to speak with me about the band's new self-titled release. Incura is an extremely unique group that combines metal with opera and a theatrical performance, creating a true listening/viewing experience. Here's what Gruninger had to say.
Now that your self-titled debut disc is complete, how do you feel about it and are you satisfied with the outcome?
Kyle: Very satisfied with the outcome. We took the time to really make sure every second was exactly what we wanted. Quality of songs and overall performance were extremely important to us. Saying that, we don’t know if it's good or not... we were locked in a studio for a year... you grow so close to something when you do that, that it’s hard to know what’s good or bad... only the fans can give you an honest answer.
What is your writing process like?
Kyle: It's a collective. We all bring bits and pieces to the songs when writing. It could start with a guitar riff, a drum beat or a vocal line... then it runs through the Incura machine and music happens.
When you write, do you write with the live setting in mind?
Kyle: Not really, though every song is different. The live show is a completely different monster.
Check out the song "Who Are You"
Along those same lines, your music has so much going on I was wondering if it is difficult to translate to the stage?
Kyle: We don't play anything on the record that we can't do live. Of course there are pieces you can throw on a record that are not needed live, and are used more for the song. But, yes, we play everything live. No tracks. No vocal backing. No auto tune. Real live performance.
The name of the band Incura is interesting to say the least and sounds as if there is a story behind it. Where did the name come from and what is the story?
Kyle: We had an old name for the band "Invein." We didn't really like the name after a while, and a lot of other projects had it... we wanted to keep the vibe, but give ourselves an identity outside of the normal "band name.” We combined the old name with a favorite Final Fantasy spell "Cura" and the name was born Incura.
The songs on the record are not exactly what you would find on your typical hard music album. You offer a welcome range of musical sounds and abilities. Do you think this is due in part to your varied influences and/or a desire to explore new realms of music?
Kyle: We all just have such a vast range of music we listen to. We don’t agree on much when it comes to a playlist. I personally have a strong desire to be different, push an artistic envelope and I am not afraid to try new things and sound different.
The band keeps things interesting thematically. Can you talk about some of the subjects you tackle on this record?
Kyle: Life. The record is a direct reflection of my life. Whatever I go through and have been through I write about. The songs range from the hardship of love and loss, to the struggle to make an identity in the world filled with so many sheep, the financial struggle that comes with living life and trying to start your own biz from nothing and the ways I chose to fund and finance my career. Like Jay-Z says, "Hustle 'caine, hustle clothes, hustle music. But hustle hard in any hustle that you pick."
What kind of touring plans do you have in support of the record?
Kyle: We just got back from Europe, and before that got off the road with friends Apocalyptica on their Canadian Tour. As I write this we are headlining our own Canadian tour. Europe, the USA and constantly being on the road is our only option.
What is next for you?
Kyle: TOUR, RECORD, TOUR, RECORD, TOUR, RECORD... for as long as life lets me!