Kingdom are half way down their European tour with Wrong Answer. Vocalist Davin Bernard spoke to us about the cold European weather, Transitions and making a change through hardcore. Make sure to still catch them on tour – check all dates here.
Hi guys! You’ve been on the road for about a week now. How has Europe been treating you?
The shows have all been fun (Regensburg, DE is the undisputed favorite!!!) and we’ve been shown some really astounding hospitality. It’s always so shocking to come from so far away and have people you’ve never met overfeeding you and thanking you for coming (while we’re saying, “No no no! Thank YOU for inviting us!!!!) It’s just surreal. I will say though that the bitter cold has been pretty hard on us. We arrive at venues as they’re opening and usually the heat hasn’t been turned on yet, the majority of the places we’ve stayed at have been freezing cold, and then the hot water usually runs out after 1 shower so most of us end up taking cold showers. But that’s winter tour for you. I’m happy to see that hardcore seems to have become a little smaller than last time we were in Europe- we’ve noticed less photographers, less kids, smaller shows… all of which I think is a good thing. Hardcore loses a bit of its heart when it gets too big.
How is it for a girl on tour to be surrounded by guys all the time?
How is it for a girl to eat cereal for breakfast? How is it for a girl to put on a jacket when it’s cold out? I don’t know how to answer these questions other than: Normal. I’ve been touring surrounded in dudes, eating cereal in the morning, and wearing jacket in the cold for a very long time. In fact I’ve never done it any other way. To tour with girls, eat a roast for breakfast, or wear a bikini in the cold, now THAT would something really different.
You think people react differently to a female-fronted hardcore band?
Yes. For example, male-fronted bands never get asked about the gender of their vocalist in interviews.
Can you introduce people to Transitions, the organization you’ve been donating the profit of the new songs to?
Absolutely! Transitions is an aftercare clinic for girls who have been rescued from sex trafficking in Phomn Phen, Cambodia. We knew that we wanted to do a fundraiser for a group working against human trafficking and after a lot of research I came across Transitions. They have a really unique (“holistic”) approach to rehabilitation/reintegration with very high success rates. Transitions provides medical care, job and life skill training (like yoga instruction!), and trauma therapy. Rather than rushing girls in and out of a system they work with each girl to help her heal from her past, gain a sense of herself, and begin to dream of a new future. It was also really important to us to work with a group without any religious ties. And get this: when I wrote to James Pond (co-founder of Transitions) about our plan, he wrote back saying he’d always hoped a hardcore band would do something with them. Turns out he’s been into hardcore for years!
Why did you decide to support a good cause with the little money you make?
Well Dave and I wanted to give Transitions our own money but we make very, very little, so we spent the little we had on recording the songs (which we recorded at the same time we recorded the Threads 7″) and making the tapes. In the last week and a half we’ve made about $500 from the songs, and when we get home I’ll use my next paycheck to print shirts, which should raise quite a bit of money as well. It’s all about what matters to you. Money doesn’t matter to me, it comes and goes. What matters to me is doing right by the world. (I have to quote one of my favorite bands here, Strike Anywhere, “I pledge allegiance to the world! Nothing more, nothing less than my humanity!”) James and Athena Pond, the founders of Transitions, dropped their entire life in America and uprooted their family to dedicate themselves to helping survivors of sex trafficking. Each one of us has something we can do, small or large scale, and while we personally are not ready to quit our lives and move to Phomn Phen like the Ponds, we can do something. So we did this.
Can you share your vision on using hardcore to change the world?
Sure. To put it simply- hardcore changes US, and then WE change the world. The music starts it, the scene fosters it, then kids take it outside our community and into the world. It’s no more complicated than that. Hardcore is a starting point where people become inspired to do really incredible things, and hardcore as a community comes together to do really incredible things.
How do you think your straight edge/vegan approach influences that?
Well, those issues are a priority for me. Veganism is the foundation that all my other beliefs are built on. It’s a subject that I will always talk about, always try to help people see the importance of, always live my life by. Kingdom formed (in part) to promote veganism and, hopefully I don’t sound like I’m bragging here, I think we’ve done a pretty good job with it. At least a hundred people have told me personally that we are the reason they became vegan. Then those people inspires others, and so on, and so on.
What’s up next for Kingdom after touring Europe?
After nice long showers in our own houses and a solid night’s sleep, we’ll start getting ready to tour South East Asia/ Australia in late spring!
Anything you’d like to add?
Thanks a bunch for the interview! I’d like to plug our blog- xkingdomx.blogspot.com– stories from each day in Europe are slowly making their way up there (with pics/videos too)… check it out if you have time!
Enjoy the rest of your tour and thanks for answering our questions!
Photos by © DS Photography • Flickr