INTERVIEW | William Mecum (Karma To Burn): “If we make it to 100 songs I’m gonna retire”

karma to burn BR: From what we heard so far, “Arch Station” is a “beast” of an album. Who long did the making of it last? What does your recording process look like?

William: We spent about 45 days writing and recording. “53” and “54” had already been written, and the bones of “55” were started in West Virginia, so the rest of the writing flowed pretty smoothly. Recording starts with the drums and the first guitar track. We just play the song as best we can to get a clean drum take, then move on to the rest of the tracking.

BR: In a new video for “55” we saw two new faces in the band. Introduce them to our readers and tell us who did they assimilate in the bend?

William: Well, the new bassist is Rob Halkett, or “Irish Rob” as some know him. Rob plays bass for The Exploited, I met him a few years back over a few beers at a festival. During the 2013 tour, Evan and I played as a two piece. During that tour, Rob stepped up and played “20” with us at Bannermans in Edinburgh. The rest just fell into place. Evan is from West Virginia…that’s enough, right? Evan plays for a lot of Morgantown bands, and works for some friends of mine. We crossed paths in the past, but we didn’t really know each other. Long story short, it was august of 2012, we had about a week to find a new drummer and go on tour. A mutual friend suggested we call Evan. I gave him a list of 13 or 14 songs to learn, and about 5 days later we had our first practice. Three days after that, we were on tour.

karma to burnBR: There’s an upcoming European tour. Is there some place you are especially happy to play?

William: There are a lot of favorite venues out there, but a few stick out. We played Bad Bonn in Switzerland earlier this summer, that’s one of my favorite places to play. The Underworld in London is always a great time. We are headed to Norway and Sweden at the beginning of September, everyone is looking forward to that.

BR: Speaking of the tours, what is the craziest situation you had with fans?

William: Fans? Well, I don’t have any good stories about fans, but I do have story about a van. We did a tour this old piece of shit van that burnt liters of oil a day. The oil would burn and black smoke would fill the van. We’d show up at a show stinking like burnt oil and covered in black shit. People had no idea what the fuck happened to us.

BR: What do Karma to Burn members do when they are not on the road?

William: Rob works as a sound engineer at Bannermans in Edinburgh. Evan is a sound engineer at 123 Pleasant Street in Morgantown, and works at a steel drum shop building instruments.

karma to burnBR: How did it happen for your songs to become numbers instead of proper song names? Is there some order in them?

William: Yeah, the numbers are just the order that the songs were written. “1” is the first songs the band wrote, “59” is the most recent.

BR: What will you do when you run out of two-figured numbers? Switch to tree-figured numbers?

William: If we make it to 100 songs I’m gonna retire.

BR: What is your favorite “number” to play live?

William: They are all my babies, I love them all.

BR: The band stopped working in 2002, and then got reactivated in 2009. Why did it come to hiatus in the first place, and why did you reunite the band again? What changed during those 7 years?

William: Well, two of the members were drug addicts…it was causing a lot of problems. They had to go to rehab. We all decided to give the band a second chance, but the drugs came back into play, and the same old bullshit started happening again.

karma to burnBR: The visual identity has most certainly always been the significant part of your albums. What is your favorite “mascot”, the goat or the bunny?

William: The goat, or as we call him, the “Goataineer”.

BR: What do you think your music looks like to someone who is used to an instrumental albums of guitar solo gods?

William: A break from all the guitar solo bullshit.

BR: Gun is pointed to your gun, and you have to host a pop star as a vocal on one of your songs, who would you chose?

William: I’d tell them to just pull the trigger! No no, From any point in history? Little Richard. From current times? Adele, she’s a pop star that can actually sing.

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