Oh, Sleeper vocalist Micah Kinard Says Metal Genre is Accepting of Different Views
Fort Worth-based metal-core act Oh, Sleeper always had a knack for crafting metallic, in-depth concept albums, and their new release, Children of Fire, picks up right where 2009’s, Son of the Morning, left off. The motif surrounds God’s final battle with the devil, and on Children of Fire, a post-apocalyptic existence ensues where there’s no devil and no God, and the characters are left to rebuild their own faith amidst doom metal flourishes.
Musically, the release is extremely aggressive, coupling vocalist Micah Kinard’s screaming over distorted guitars and double-kick drum beating. “Endseekers,” the album’s debut single, is already in the Top 5 on the iTunes metal chart, snuggled between Five Finger Death Punch and Korn, and gaining momentum.
Produced by Andreas Magnusson (Black Dahlia Murder, Haste the Day), Children of Fire arrives on Christian metal label Solid State Records digitally this week and in hard copy Sept. 27. While he was gearing up for the release, Kinard found time to chat with Audio Ink Radio about the new album, Oh, Sleeper’s revved up “No Sleeper” energy drink and why he loves the metal scene.
Oh, Sleeper are known for crafting extensive concept albums. What’s the concept behind the new release, Children of Fire?
It’s the most in-depth concept album we’ve done yet. It’s a full story from start to finish, and every song acts as a chapter in the story. It basically follows two characters through a post-apocalyptic setting where God and satin destroy each other in battle, and now there’s no fear of hell and no reward of heaven. It follows these two characters as they watch humanity tear itself apart, and they try to find out their own faith through that time.
Your debut single off the album, “Endseekers,” made it to No. 3 on the iTunes metal chart, right next to Korn and Five Finger Death Punch. Are you stoked about that showing?
It’s super exciting. We’re really pumped on it. The record has a lot of different sounds on it, so I’m anxious to see which songs people latch onto the most and what does the best for us through the different songs. That’s one of my favorite songs, so I’m really pleased with the response.
What was the recording process like for, Children of Fire?
It’s always pretty crazy. We had a really extensive tour cycle going on, and we didn’t get much time to work on recording or writing or demoing, so by the time we got home, we had two months before we went to Virginia to record the album. We got home and completely buckled down… For about two and a half weeks, I totally confined myself to a Barnes and Noble and spent six to eight hours a day drinking coffee and just writing lyrics.
With such a detailed concept for the album, what spurred the lyrics and overall idea?
My background in writing, before I joined this band, was in studying to be a screen writer, and I really like writing stories. As far as inspiration goes, I pull inspiration from all sorts of places. But, my main inspiration carried through all of the albums is my personal relationship with God and how I see my day-to-day grind with that and how He’s shown me through. That’s where I get most of my inspiration, and I find it easier to articulate that through metaphor rather than put it out blatantly by literal translation. When you put things out in metaphor, it makes it more accessible to a wider array of people. Just because I’m Christian, that doesn’t mean I’m just writing for Christians. I want everybody to be able to relate to the music.
As a Christian in the metal community, to you feel any animosity from other bands, or are they cool?
Not from other bands. One thing I love about the metal scene is that once you’re in it and working hard at it, since everybody is going through the same thing, the fans and other bands are really respectful of your personal beliefs. If you’re not up in their face, they’re not up in your face. The only resistance we get is from close-minded listeners who will either see the label we’re on or read a comment another kid posted on our page talking about Christianity, and they’ll completely discount us. There’s a lot of discounting before people even listen to it, and I think that’s sad. There’s close minded people on both sides, and there are just as many close minded non-believes as there are close-minded believers.
The way I’ve always approached my faith with the metal scene is that all I’m doing is speaking form my heart and speaking passionately about what I’m passionate about. That’s what I’d love to see from anybody, whether they’re Christian or not. If a lead singer lives and breathes politics, I’d like to see him or her talk about it and sing about it and pour their heart out about it. Get it out, and be real with it. Don’t try to be someone you’re not. I’d like to be accepted for that, as well. This is where my passion lies.
Oh, Sleeper are releasing an energy drink, “No Sleeper.” How did you come up with that idea?
We’re all big energy drink fans, and I think whenever you’re on the road, it’s a must. I swear the music industry has got to be one of the main backbones of energy drink sales, and we go through so many Monster and Rockstar and Red Bull cans. We were trying to think of something cool and different, and we hadn’t seen anybody do it yet.
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